How To Barbecue Like A 'Pitmaster'10:00

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"Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques and Barbecue Wisdom" (Courtesy, Fair Winds Press)
"Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques and Barbecue Wisdom" (Courtesy, Fair Winds Press)

The weather's getting warmer, which means it's time to start prepping those grills. But some of you may want to step up your game after hearing our next guests.

Andy Husbands and Chris Hart love cooking, and fire. They're high school buddies who opened the restaurant Tremont 647 together in the South End more than 20 years ago. And since then, they've both been getting more and more interested in smokey, juicy barbecue.

Now, the duo is out with their fourth book, which explores the art of barbecue and journey of the people who love it most. It's called "Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques & Barbecue Wisdom."


Andy Husbands, chef and owner of The Smoke Shop in Kendall Square, as well as Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel in the South End. He tweets @andyhusbands.

Chris Hart, software developer by day, but a pitmaster and cookbook author on the weekends. He tweets @WickedGoodBBQ.


(Courtesy, Ken Goodman)
(Courtesy, Ken Goodman)


  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 6 hours
  • Serves: 6 to 8
  • 2 racks of pork spare ribs, trimmed St. Louis style with the membranes removed
  • 1 cup Classic Kansas City Dry Rub
  • 2 cups Kansas City Tribute Sauce

Prepare your smoker for a low and slow cook, 225°F to 235°F. For this method, we prefer the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, The Big Green Egg or Humphrey’s BBQ Cabinet Smoker that does a better job at low and slow temperatures compared to an offset pit.

Place the ribs meat side down on top of a piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with ¹⁄³ cup of the Classic Kansas City Dry Rub. Flip the ribs and apply another ¹⁄³ cup of Classic Kansas City Dry Rub to the meat side.

Let the ribs sit at room temperature for 30 minutes until they “sweat” some moisture. This step is essentially a quick cure that improves the crust on the ribs during the cooking process. Place the ribs on the smoker meat side up and sprinkle with an additional light dusting — about 1 tablespoon — of the Classic Kansas City Dry Rub.

Smoke the ribs for 3 hours — no peeking, no misting, no basting! Just maintain a 225 to 235°F cooking temperature for 3 hours.

Wrap the ribs tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil. Seal the rib package tightly to remove any air pockets. Make sure the seal is on the bone side of the ribs. This is a good time to refuel or refill a water pan if necessary.

Return the ribs to the smoker meat side down. Smoke for an additional 2 hours.

After 2 hours, warm the Kansas City Tribute Sauce on your stove. Keep the ribs on the smoker, crack open the aluminum foil, and baste the backside of the ribs. Fold and crimp the edges of the aluminum foil so the ribs are fully exposed but still sitting on the aluminum foil.

Close the smoker. After 20 minutes, flip the ribs and baste the meat side. Close the smoker and smoke for an additional 20 minutes.

Grind ¼ cup of the Classic Kansas City Dry Rub to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Dust the ribs on the meat side with the ground rub, close the smoker, and cook for the final 20 minutes.

Remove the ribs by picking up the edges of the aluminum foil. Flip the racks onto a cutting board meat side down. Slice between the bones, stack ribs a platter, and serve immediately.


  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • ½ cup turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Optionally, pulse the mixture in a spice grinder for 30 seconds to ensure maximum blending. Transfer to an airtight container.

Chris Hart and Andy Husbands talk about the bark on the brisket. (Anthony Brooks/WBUR)
Chris Hart and Andy Husbands talk about the bark on the brisket. (Anthony Brooks/WBUR)


  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts (1.9 L)


  • ¼ cup (30 g) chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • Pinch of ground cloves


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup blackstrap molasses
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 4 cups crushed canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Whisk the spice mix ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Optionally, pulse the mixture in a spice grinder for 30 seconds to ensure maximum blending. Transfer to an airtight container.

Combine the oil, onion, and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic are golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the spice mixture and give it a good stir. Add the vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, and mustard and stir again. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Once the mixture boils, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 2 more minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, ketchup, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Cool the sauce to room temperature and puree in a blender.

(Courtesy, Ken Goodman)
(Courtesy, Ken Goodman)


  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 to 12 hours
  • Serves: 14 to 16 as part of a barbecue meal
  • 1 whole untrimmed brisket (14 to 16 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse black pepper
  • White bread, sliced onions, and jalapeños, for serving


  • Offset smoker
  • Wood choice: pecan, hickory, or oak
  • Pink butcher paper

Remove the brisket from the packaging and rinse it under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a cutting board fat side down. Trim away all of the hard kernel of fat that sits between the point and the flat portions of the brisket.

“Square up” the brisket by trimming fat from along the sides, and if the edge of the flat is thin on one end, trim away an inch or two to create an even thickness. Trim any excess fat from the top of the flat but don't worry about the silver skin. Flip the brisket meat side down and trim the fat cap to an even ¼-inch thick.

We are not giving portion sizes on the kosher salt and pepper; every brisket is different. With your fingers, sprinkle a light coating of kosher salt on the fat side, then a light coating of the coarse pepper. Pat with your hand to help the seasonings adhere and then flip the brisket and repeat. Be sure to season the sides as well. If you prefer a peppery brisket, add a bit more. The balance is up to you, but we prefer a light hand with the kosher salt and pepper. Let the brisket sit at room temperature while you get your smoker ready.

Preheat the smoker to 275°F using pecan, hickory, or oak.

Place the brisket fat side up with the point positioned towards the hotter part of the smoker.

Smoke for 4 hours and then flip the brisket fat side down. Smoke for an additional 4 hours or until the internal temperature reads 175°F on a meat thermometer.

Tear off two 3 foot pieces of butcher paper. Crisscross the pieces of paper and wrap the brisket as tightly as possible, securing with some masking tape.

Return the brisket to the smoker and continue to smoke until the internal temperature reaches 195°F, about an additional 2 hours. The paper should be oily and soaked with brisket fat.

Rest the brisket for at least a ½ hour or hold in a warm cooler for up to 4 hours. Slice the whole brisket against the grain and serve with white bread, sliced onions, and jalapeños — no sauce please.

Pickled jalapeños from "Pitmaster." (Courtesy, Ken Goodman)
Pickled jalapeños from "Pitmaster." (Courtesy, Ken Goodman)


  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling and a 1-day cure
  • Yield: About 1 quart (946 ml)
  • 40 jalapeños, cut into 1∕8- to ¼-inch rings
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

Place the sliced jalapeños in a quart-sized Mason jar and set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the kosher salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove the brine from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Pour the brine over the jalapeños, making sure they are entirely covered by brine. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

This segment aired on May 11, 2017.

Kathleen McNerney Twitter Senior Producer / Editor, Edify
Kathleen McNerney is senior producer/editor of Edify.


Anthony Brooks Twitter Senior Political Reporter
Anthony Brooks is WBUR's senior political reporter.