My Philosophy of Barbecue


You’ve heard me say “philosophers are people, too.” But philosophers are barbecuers, too, and the day has come to tell you all about my philosophy of barbecue.

Good food, good people, and good times: that’s my philosophy.

For me, barbecue isn’t just about tossing some meat on the grill and calling it a day. No, it’s a full-on culinary journey—a philosophy of flavor that’s all about boldness, creativity, and bringing people together over some seriously epic eats.

First things first, let’s talk about the ingredients. In my barbecue philosophy, it’s all about quality and quantity. I’m talking about sourcing the best cuts of meat, the freshest veggies, and the most kickin’ spices you can get your hands on—with plenty to go around. Because my theory is that when you start with lots of top-notch ingredients, you’re setting yourself up for barbecue greatness from the get-go.

Now, let’s talk technique. My barbecue philosophy is all about balance—finding that sweet spot between smoky, spicy, sweet, and savory that’ll make your taste buds sing. Whether I’m slow-smokin’ a brisket or pork shoulder to tender perfection, I’m all about taking my time and letting those flavors develop to their fullest potential.

But here’s the real kicker, folks: barbecue isn’t just about the food—it’s about the people you share it with. That’s right, in my barbecue philosophy, the grill is the ultimate gathering place—a spot where friends, family, and flavor enthusiasts alike can come together to share stories, swap recipes, and make memories that’ll last a lifetime.

So there you have it, readers—my philosophy of barbecue in a nutshell: lots of quality ingredients, killer technique, and bringing people together over some seriously tasty eats. Next time someone asks you about the value of philosophy? Just fire up that grill.

 

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Auggie Salazar
19 days ago

This is mostly plausible as a piece of bbq Phil, as it captures the social dimension well. However, it would benefit from engaging with alternative views — e.g., see Aaron Franklin’s BBQ book (a central reference point in this literature), which claims that slow smoking is critical to good barbecue and which defends this on empirical grounds.

Brian Miller
Brian Miller
Reply to  Auggie Salazar
19 days ago

Forgive the pedantry, but this is a misreading of Franklin (2021).

In Franklin’s Texan American dialect, barbecue' is by definition meat slow smoked at low heat. Sobarbecue is slow smoked’ is analytic (if anything is), and hence is not apt for an empirical defense.

In the picture above the food is probably not barbecue at all, at least not in Franklin’s sense, but rather meats and vegetables cooked at relatively high temperature on a grill.

For those interested in x-phi research into the relative merits of slow-smoked vs grilled food, Franklin’s in Austin is a great place to gather some data.

Auggie Salazar
Reply to  Brian Miller
19 days ago

This is a fair point re analyticity. Franklin 2021 I suppose uses empirical information as part of a Carnapian explication of bbq construed as (as you note) meat slow cooked at low heat. As a brief non sequitur, I was pleased to see recent research replicating Franklin’s BBQ pinto bean thesis. CopyCat recipes were able to replicate the result achieved by Franklin with a high degree of accuracy using:

1 pound dried pinto beans1/4 medium yellow onion, diced1/4 cup chili powder1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt 1 tablespoon black pepper2 teaspoons onion powder2 teaspoons garlic powder1/4 teaspoon ground cumin1 cup chopped smoked brisket8 cups water

Last edited 19 days ago by Auggie Salazar
David Wallace
19 days ago

This sort of work seems to me very much the future of philosophy, partly because it takes seriously the need for philosophy to relate to wider society but also because of its ’embodied’ structure – it’s quintessentially ‘mind-world’, as against the ‘mind-word’ character of more traditional philosophy, and that makes it much harder for LLMs to compete with human philosophers. That applies at the teaching level too – it’s easy to imagine an integrated upper-level course on barbecuing that has students (e.g.) organizing an outdoor party together and being grilled in real time by the TAs on the philosophical rationale for their spice mix. My sense from people I talk to in CS is that even the most recent versions of (e.g.) GPT-4 would find that kind of problem tough to chew on.

Matt McAdam
Matt McAdam
19 days ago

Any philosophy of BBQ that so blatantly ignores the many contributions of the Flavortown School, isn’t worth its weight in salt brine.

James Lee
James Lee
Reply to  Matt McAdam
19 days ago

Agreed. Author clearly did not take into consideration Fieri’s seminal (2007) triple D episode.

Fritz Allhoff
Fritz Allhoff
19 days ago

What’s your go-to drink, Justin? Or anyone? I guess I’ve been more Bourbon leaning in recent years, but hard to go wrong with beer as well. Petite Sirah was always my favorite wine with barbecue, guess some people like Zinfandel.

Fool
Fool
19 days ago

When even the April Fools posts are 100% AI-generated, the Boston University dean wins.

MPA
MPA
19 days ago

I’m so glad to see this in a public forum. I have the same philosophy of BBQ, but when people ask me “What’s your philosophy of BBQ?” I have found that a more pithy response is effective: Food, Folks, and Fun!

BCB
BCB
19 days ago

Gotta say, given Justin’s location, I was hoping for a bold defense of mustard-based barbecue sauce—something that anyone who’s spent time in a state with real barbeque will recognize as an abomination.

Julinna Oxley
Julinna Oxley
17 days ago

I showed this post to my friends who are certified BBQ judges in South Carolina (yes, that’s a thing!), and they disagreed with several of your claims, but primarily the use of the word barbecue as a verb, or a noun in reference to a party or get together. It’s also not the tool used to cook the meat. Sooo….you’ve got your work cut out for you in the public, J! And look into becoming a certified BBQ judge! Apparently the history of SC bbq is a long and people have strong opinions! 🙂

David Wallace
Reply to  Justin Weinberg
16 days ago

False premise.