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Memphis BBQ champion on the lessons all Aussies can learn from American grilling

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Memphis BBQ champion on the lessons all Aussies can learn from American grilling, the secret to mastering ‘fall off the bone’ meat and his controversial stance on sauce

  • Memphis barbecue king, Craig Blondis, has revealed how Aussies should grill
  • He said low heat, slow speed, sauce-free barbecuing is the best way to go
  • He said people ruin met by adding sauce before cooking – he uses seasoning 

Australians have a lot to learn when it comes perfecting meat on the grill according to Memphis barbecue champion and Central BBQ owner Craig Blondis.

The award-winning restaurateur spoke to FEMAIL about all things meat, including how to get it to ‘fall off the bone’.

He started by explaining the key differences in barbecuing in Australia and the US.

‘I would say the biggest difference between Memphis style BBQ and Australian BBQ is the temperature you cook at. Australian BBQ (grilling) is usually at a much higher temperature than Memphis BBQ (smoking),’ he said.

Barbecue king Craig Blondis has revealed how Australians can  improve their skills on the grill this summer

Barbecue king Craig Blondis has revealed how Australians can  improve their skills on the grill this summer

Craig is the founder of Central BBQ - a popular restaurant with four kitchens in Memphis

Craig is the founder of Central BBQ – a popular restaurant with four kitchens in Memphis

Craig likes to prepare his meat with rubbing salts first.

‘I like a simple rub for my steaks consisting of Black Truffle salt, Garlic, Black pepper, and White pepper. I rub or season my meat two to three hours before cooking,’ he said.

‘When it’s time to cook the steak I scrape off all of the excess seasoning or rub before grilling. When the steak is finished grilling and you start resting the steak, I put a little butter on top, let it melt into the steak, lightly dust the steak with the rub/seasoning, and serve.’

Which is why he never uses sauce when he is cooking.’If you can master cooking low and slow you do not need sauce. In my opinion, sauce is meant to be an accompaniment served on the side, not part of the cooking process.’

The secret to meat which falls off the bone is patience, not sauce, he explained.

‘Memphis style BBQ is low and slow. We cook whole pork shoulders (18 to 20 lbs.) at 225 to 250 degrees for 16 to 18 hours. We rub our meat and let it marinate for 18 to 24 hours. This is a dry style of cooking versus wet,’ he said.

Craig believes meat should be cooked dry not with liquid marinade and sauces should be served on the side

Craig believes meat should be cooked dry not with liquid marinade and sauces should be served on the side

Craig’s top secrets revealed: 

The top five secrets to the perfect BBQ

1 – Let your meat get to room temp before BBQing

2 –  Use quality meats. You get what you pay for

3 – Maintain a consistent temperature while cooking 

4 – Enjoy the time spent with family and friends while BBQing

5 – Remember that your meat will continue to cook even after you take it off the grill

The top five mistakes people make when BBQing

1 – Letting your grill get too hot

2 – Drinking too much 

3 – Not paying attention to the grill

4 – Using too much seasoning and not being able to taste the meat

5 – Over-smoking the meat to the point that’s all you taste

Source: George Flondis 

‘Wet is a style that uses liquid marinade as opposed to rubbing dry spices onto the meat.’

‘Ribs for example take 4-6 hours at 250 degrees, shoulders take 16 to 18 hours,’ he added.

And the barbecues used are different too.

‘Direct heat (coals directly under the meat) is the common type of grills used in most backyards. Indirect heat (coals are offset from the grill). This is typically the type of grill (smoker) used to achieve the fall of the bone meat,’ he explained.

He said the trick is to cook things slow - and claims some prime cuts can take 18 hours to cook

He said the trick is to cook things slow – and claims some prime cuts can take 18 hours to cook 

‘When you use quality ingredients your finished product shows. From the cut of meat to the spices used to season the meat, even the type of wood and / or charcoal that you use.’

And some grills are simply better, he claimed.

‘My favorite BBQ grill is The Big Green Egg. It’s a versatile direct heat grill. You can smoke, grill, and even bake on this grill. I have one in my backyard,’ he said.

‘Another grill that I like is the Kudu grill. Kudu is an open flame grill. much like a camp grill with multiple cooking surfaces and heights. It’s the ultimate camp grill, it’s portable, compact, and lightweight.’

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