For most people, barbecue for the 4Th Of July or any other day consists of slapping a few Hot Dogs or hamburgers on the grill and flipping them once to create meat kissed by fire. However, proper barbecue can be so much more, albeit time-consuming. What follows is how our Revolutionary War ancestors did when they barbecued meat.

The magic of indirect heat

The idea is to smoke a large amount of meat, a beef brisket or a pork loin or shoulder, over many hours using indirect heat. Ideally, this can be achieved using a smoker that had a separate fire box, which allows you to continuously shovel charcoal in to keep the cooking process going over many hours.

However, a quick and dirty way to do indirect heat on an ordinary charcoal grill involves shoving the charcoal to one side and placing the meat on the other side. The idea is that the meat is cooked “low and slow” over eight to 12 hours depending on how much meat you’re cooking at one time.

How to start

You’ll need to use a dry rub for your meat, which can consist of a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika pepper, chili powder, and a number of other herbs and spices according to your taste. You should also soak some wood chips in order to provide an extra flavor for the smoke that is going to simmer your meat. Place the meat either in the smoke chamber of your smoker or the side of the grill that doesn’t contain charcoal.

During the cooking process

Every hour or so you should check the meat, replenish the charcoal as needed, and apply a wet rub to the meat to keep it moist. Ideally, you should maintain the cooking temperature at between 225 to 250 degrees by adjusting the vents, more open to increase the temperature, more close to lower it.

What to do when the meat is done?

Start checking the meat at about the eighth or tenth hour of cooking with an instant meat thermometer. The meat is well done at 190 degrees. Take the meat out of the smoker and let it rest for a few minutes. Generally, pork takes less time to cook than beef.

Pork Shoulder cooked low and slow should come apart very easily using two forks or even with your fingers (use latex glove).

That is why it is called “pulled pork.” Beef brisket should be equally as tender and come apart very easily with a carving knife.

The best way to have low and slow cooked meat is in a sandwich. Toast some buns and stack the meat with your favorite barbecue sauce and condiments such as onions and pickles to taste. Enjoy.