The smell of wood smoke in the air and frost on the ground means only one thing to certain sports fans: fall football. Football season begets tailgate parties, and tailgate parties beget barbecue. Unlike some of our other foods, fall can not claim a monopoly on barbecue. After all, summer and the fourth of July are practically synonymous with this style of cooking. Nevertheless, no football tailgate would be complete without smoked meat -- and that makes barbecue a terrific food for fall as well.
No one really knows the origin of barbecue; it seems to have come from everywhere all at once. Even today, barbecue varieties are synonymous with their region of origin. Memphis pork-shoulder barbecue is sweet and tomato-y. North Carolina likes a vinegary sauce and uses cuts from the whole hog. Kansas City is famous for its dry rubbed ribs while Texas corners the market on mesquite-fired brisket.
And now that you've got your smoker fired up, you might want to consider putting a bird or two on along with your beef and pork. We talk turkey next.