Chef Keith M. Taylor should need no introduction. His accomplishments as an executive chef and culinary consultant for over 30 years combined with his hugely popular catering company Zachary’s BBQ & Soul Kitchen have firmly established him as a master of BBQ. It was a no-brainer that I reach out to him to get savvy BBQ tips!
BBQ is in the eye of the beholder. I liken it to buying wine. There are endless choices, but, at the end of the day, you know what you like. With that said I always suggest getting to know your favorite places and the pitmaster. Fancy names and big franchises miss the mark because there are too many layers between what’s on the plate and the people who are passionate about the preparation. When you know the pitmaster…you know when the best is ready to serve.
The gold standard is the “pit to plate” experience and knowing when other professionals and myself are putting our reputation on the line for hungry guests. When ordering my advice is this:
🔥 PRO TIP #1: Order Pit to Plate
Know when the pitmaster is offering their best AND reserving your place in line…because it will sell out quickly. Pit to Plate is achieved because we plan and set par levels to match historical sales (plus a little extra) so we are serving up the best experience possible without wasting any unsold bbq. There’s nothing like it and knowing who is making your bbq is a good way to enjoy the best from the pit before it’s all gone. Online, email, phone call, camp out at the door, or do whatever is necessary to get the best from your favorite pitmasters!
🔥 PRO TIP #2: Buy from Top Pitmasters
The state of BBQ today is simple, Demand is high, and finding quality requires some searching. Just as I said about the wine you gotta learn what you like. That means you not only need to get to know what your fave places are doing, you also have to learn what sets them apart. Some guys do great ribs. Some are crushing it with the best brisket or style of pulled pork. BBQ yard birds are the best right when they come out so try to enjoy eating your way through the menu in different places.
And remember that during this crazy coronacoaster ride, keep in mind that availability and market pricing have gone through the roof. So if you’re gonna pay top dollar, buy it from the top pitmasters.
🔥 PRO TIP #3: Don’t Sleep on Side Dishes
The side dishes are what separates the men from the boys. If BBQ is king, then we all know the queen is great side dishes. I ALWAYS tell people that the side dishes really make or break a good BBQ experience in my professional opinion. Mix it up and always ask so you can know what sides represent the pride of the pitmaster. One cannot live on “Q” alone!
🔥 PRO TIP #4: Take Good Notes
For my home team and backyard BBQ masters my tips are simple.
• Master time and temperature…the rest is easy
• Be patient and consistent
• Keep a journal, take good notes, document everything, and learn from your mistakes. These will be the building blocks to consistent success.