Apr 17, 2023 - Food and Drink

Barbecue like a pro: Tips from Backyard Pitmasters Colorado

Illustration of smoke in the form of a number sign and the number 1 coming out of a BBQ smoker.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Tony Bolding at Backyard Pitmasters describes Colorado as a "lesser barbecue area," at least compared to his native Texas.

Yes, but: The Denver resident and competition cooker is hoping to change that image one smoker at a time.

What's happening: Backyard Pitmasters Colorado debuted a series of "Brisket U" and "Ribs U" classes this month on the Front Range that are designed to teach amateurs how to do it right.

  • Beyond protein-specific classes, he's developing more general grilling courses.
  • "I have learned that cooking in Texas is a little different than cooking in Colorado," Bolding told John. "I want the class to learn from my mistakes so they do not have to suffer through them and waste time and money."

What to know: Now that the warm weather makes cookouts more enjoyable, Bolding shared three tips on how to properly smoke meats:

  1. "The most important thing that has to be learned first is how to properly run and manage your smoker. Airflow is key to managing temperature. Understanding how airflow works in your smoker will allow you to cook consistently and efficiently."
  2. Different meats need different techniques. Then trimming and preparing meat "is a very big deal," he adds. A common mistake is overseasoning.
  3. "Always use a water pan in your smokers. Moisture helps increase the quality of heat inside your smoker. Damp heat cooks better than dry heat. You want the flattest water pan your smoker will allow."
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