Whether you’ve made it your life mission to live like Malcolm Reed or you just want to fire-up the gas burner, there’s nothing more satisfying than a good ol’ kiwi BBQ, right?
So when the owners of Miss Moonshines and Street Food Collective, Ryan and Annelise, invited us to their five-hour Pit Boss Master Class, we literally lost our shit—these guys know their meat! Held in Miss Moonshines and outside at the Street Food Collective, you learn everything from getting the smoker (and the Weber) cranking, to preparing an entire pig (poor Charlotte), buying meat, seasoning and cooking to perfection, plus a few cheeky extras—whisky and beer tastings. Heck, we even know how to build a DIY smoker at home.
Without giving too much away, here’s 21 things we learnt about how to BBQ meat like a boss:
- You must have a beer in hand at all times.
- No one is allowed to taste the meat unless the Pit Master allows them to. And yes, if it’s your BBQ, you are Pit Master.
- Make the most of local New Zealand meat and always buy free-range. Miss Moonshines recommend scouting out a local free-range butcher. We love Neat Meat and The Westmere Butcher.
- If you order brisket, ask for a point end brisket. This comes from the fatty, thicker end and will be softer when you cook it…and with language like that, they’ll think you really are a Pit Boss.
- Get your meat out early so it reaches room temperature before you cook it.
- Cooking is all about confidence—you can do it!
- “Low and slow people, low and slow!” If you’re cooking thicker cuts like brisket and pork hock, pre-heat your BBQ to 275°F and cook for 8 hours
- Pohutakawa wood is ideal for smokers and is easy to source locally. Remember wood = fuel, so the more wood you add the hotter the smoker will get.
- If you’re cooking on a Weber, buy Charcoal Cowboys and place a piece of burnt pohutakawa on top for smokiness.
- As Simon the Head Chef will tell you, always buy chef quality knives. Miss Moonshines buy theirs from House of Knives in Mt Eden. Oh, and don’t you dare put them in the dishwasher.
- Use flaky sea salt for seasoning meat and Himalayan rock salt to season water. Table salt is a big no-no.
- Use a mix of cracked peppercorns and New York ground pepper for seasoning meat.
- When making a spice rub aim for a balanced mix of smoke, spice and salt—we prepared the most amazing New Orleans-inspired red rub.
- Split your fresh herbs into two categories; hard and soft. Hard herbs should be added at the beginning of the cooking process and soft at the end.
- Store freshly picked herbs in the fridge inside a sealed container. If you put a small piece of damp cloth on top, it will help keep them fresh.
- Beef has a big, bold flavour, so stick to salt and pep.
- Spritz! Use a braising spray before applying your seasoning and again during the cooking process. If you ask, Miss Moonshines will even give you their secret recipe.
- Oils are important. Canola is good for deep-frying and olive oil is fine to cook with, but always use extra virgin for finishing as it packs more flavour.
- True Pit Bosses know that “If you're looking, you ain't cooking”. When you’re cooking low and slow, don’t lift the lid. As temping as it may be, you’ll let the heat out, silly.
- Tinfoil is the Texas crutch… take that as you will.
- If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Want more? Of course you do! Miss Moonshines hold these classes frequently, so get their details here and give them a bell. The all-inclusive classes with lunch and drinks cost $120 per person. They’ll also take private bookings for large groups—perfect for that stag do, work event or birthday.
Image credit: Miss Moonshines