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BBQ 101: Pro and Beginner Barbecue Tips

May 2, 2022
6 min. read

Rogue Cookers - 5 PM BBQ Summer Sandwich

Welcome to National BBQ Month!

As we introduced last week, during the month of May we’ll be giving away a barbecue pellet grill as the one of the grand prizes in our Summer Fun Season Sweepstakes, along with 20 BBQ themed runners-up prizes. So, don’t forget to enter for your chance to win! But first—take a read through these barbecue tips for pros and beginners alike.

BBQ 101

To start us off, here are a few quick facts about barbecue!

  • The word “barbecue” applies not only to the method of cooking, but also the foods, devices, and gatherings associated with this manner of cooking.
  • Barbecuing and grilling (think: burgers, hot dogs) are two distinct cooking methods. The primary difference is the cooking time and temperature. Barbecue is traditionally cooked “low and slow” while grilled foods are cooked over high heat and relatively quickly.
  • A primary purpose of barbecuing is to break down and tenderize cuts of meat, such as brisket or ribs, which would otherwise be very tough and chewy.
  • Barbecue methods and styles vary widely both regionally (within the U.S.) and also internationally. (More on U.S. barbecue variations in next week’s blog!)
  • There are a number of different types of BBQ smokers, which use various types of fuel including wood, charcoal, and pellets.

BBQ Tips for Pros (The “Traditional” Method)

Regardless of which type of BBQ smoker you prefer to use, the benefits are clear: this low and slow method of cooking produces tender and savory meat with a distinct smoky flavor. Barbecue pros may each have their own favorite technique and flavor preference, yet each one has its merit.

Helpful BBQ Tips & Tricks:

  1. It may be helpful to use an external thermometer, either a digital instant-read or leave-in probe(s), to make sure you are getting the most accurate results so you can properly estimate your cooking time and temperature.
  2. A popular tip when smoking meats is to aim for a light blue, billowy smoke, which can be attained by adjusting the air flow to just the right amount—neither too little nor too much air.
  3. Experiment with different types of hardwood (whether in the form of chunks, chips, or pellets) to impart unique flavor combinations into your smoked meats. Find more information here.

About the Traeger Pro 22 Pellet Smoker

For the BBQ Month grand prize in our Martin’s Summer Fun Season Sweepstakes, we are giving away a Traeger Pro 22 Pellet Smoker! Pellet grills work by adding hardwood pellets (made from compressed sawdust) to a hopper, which are then transported via an auger to a heating pan where they are burned to create smoke. A digital controller is used to select and monitor the temperature, automatically adding more pellets as needed to keep the temperature steady. This makes for an easy-to-use smoker that is great for those just beginning to barbecue or anyone who prefers a more hands-off approach.

For more details on this specific model, visit, or check out the resources below:

Note: The BBQ recipes listed above and below can be made on any type of smoker.

Featured Recipe: 5PM Summer Sandwich from Doug Scheiding of Rogue Cookers

To demonstrate how the Traeger Pro 22 works, we asked Doug Scheiding of Rogue Cookers to create a custom recipe, using Martin’s Potato Rolls, with his BBQ pellet grill. Check out the video below to learn more about his “5PM Summer Sandwich,” then head over to for the official recipe!


5PM Summer Sandwich by @RogueCookers

“What better way to celebrate National BBQ Month than with a Pulled Pork Sandwich with a Southern & Southwestern flair smoked on a Traeger Pro 22. When it is time to get off work and relax with friends and family be sure to make them the 5 PM Summer Sandwich – Pico De Gallo, Pickles, Pimento Cheese, and Pulled Pork on Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls. The Potato Rolls have a touch of sweetness, creamy buttery texture, and provide the perfect meat to bun ratio, in my opinion.”

5PM Summer Sandwich by @RogueCookers
Prep Time: 20 Min | Cook Time: 12-16 Hours | Yield: 10+ Servings | Level of Difficulty: 2 / 5


  • 9 lb bone in Pork Butt
  • Favorite Rib or Pork Rub
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Pimento Cheese
  • Pickle – Hamburger dill chips
  • Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls
  • Favorite Sweet & Heat BBQ Sauce
  • Hardwood Pecan / Hickory


Learn how to make this recipe at:


BBQ Tips for Beginners (The “Easy” Method)

Perhaps you’re still not ready to take the plunge into barbecuing, or you don’t have access to a smoker? That’s okay—we’ve got you covered! The good news is that you can mimic many of the characteristics of traditional BBQ using an electric slow cooker. The similar process of low and slow cooking over a long period of time, still helps to tenderize tough cuts of meat, allowing you to create BBQ favorites like pulled pork or shredded chicken.

Beginner BBQ Tips & Tricks:

Here are few tips to help you get the most out of this “cheat” method:

  • Add a drop of liquid smoke for that extra barbecue flavor. And don’t forget your favorite BBQ sauce!
  • Sear the meat before adding it to the slow cooker to incorporate more contrasting textures and flavors.
  • Remove the slow cooker lid toward the end of the cooking time and cook on high for a few minutes to allow some moisture to evaporate.
  • Alternately—you can “crisp up” some of the meat once it is shredded, in a stovetop skillet for more of a carnitas-style texture.
  • Use BBQ rubs or spices such as smoked paprika to season your food with more of a traditional smoky barbecue flavor.

Beginner BBQ Recipes

Slow Cooker BBQ Bar - Meats

Martin’s Summer Fun Season Reminder


Don’t forget to head on over to to enter for your chance to win a BBQ Smoker!

Coming Up Next:

Check back next week for more BBQ-themed content!

  • May 2: BBQ 101: Pro and Beginner Barbecue Tips (This Post)
  • May 9: The History of BBQ in America
  • May 16: BBQ Sauces and Toppings Guide + Featured Recipe
  • May 23: Foodservice Highlight: BBQ Restaurants, Foodies, & Friends

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