Chef David Pan’s Best Tips for Barbecue

Parties, weddings, weekend tailgates – there’s no bad time for barbecue. Here on the Alabama Gulf Coast, a barbecue spread is a summer staple that’s slathered in sauce and sizzled to perfection. But enjoying barbecue and cooking it are two different things, and one is a little harder than the other. Luckily, Chef David Pan of Orange Beach Concierge has cooked up some of the best barbecue this side of the Mississippi and he’s spilling his secret sauce, so to speak, right here on our blog.

Whether you’re a seasoned grillmaster looking to level up your game or just starting on your BBQ skills, his best tips can help you make your best batch of barbecue yet.

1. Start with quality seasonings and rubs.

According to Chef David, choosing the right blend of herbs and spices can elevate your meat from good to spectacular. The rub is a critical first layer of flavor. Consider combinations like smoky paprika, cayenne for heat, brown sugar for sweetness, and coarse salt to bring it all together. We recommend Shug’s Smoked Salts, which are made with coarse kosher salt and a range of flavors like hickory, oak, and pecan. (Plus, you can buy them at The Pantry at The Wharf.)

And don’t skip on the quantity – apply your rub generously, ensuring every inch of your meat is covered.

2. Make a fruit juice marinade.

Did you know that many fruit juices act as natural meat tenderizers? Pineapple juice is Chef David’s favorite marinade for pork, and not just because of its tangy summer flavor. The natural sugars in fruit juice caramelize beautifully on the grill, and the acidity can help tenderize the meat for that fall-off-the-bone texture. If you don’t prefer pineapple juice, apple, orange, and lemon juice are also popular choices.

3. Marinate meat for at least 2 hours.

Patience is key when marinating. Chef David recommends marinating your meat for at least two hours, but the longer, the better (and overnight is best). This allows the flavor to seep in and the meat to become tender and juicy.

4. Slather on the perfect sauce.

Of course, no barbecue discussion would be complete without touching on the crowning glory: your barbecue sauce. Choosing the right one can truly make or break your barbecue, and it’s not just about adding a sweet or spicy coating to the meat. A great sauce enhances the natural savoriness of the meat, complements the seasonings, and adds that extra ‘zing’ to every bite.

Classic barbecue sauces usually have a base of tomato sauce or ketchup, vinegar for tanginess, and a sweet component like honey or brown sugar. You can make your own sauce at home or use a quality store-bought option like Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce, a teriyaki-ish blend made with clean ingredients and cold-filled for natural flavor. Pick up a bottle at The Pantry before your next barbecue.

The art of barbecue involves time, patience, and creativity, but with quality rubs, a good (and long) marinade, a spectacular sauce, and some help from The Pantry, you can claim the coveted title of Barbecue Master.

Chef David Pan
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Orange Beach Concierge was born out of our love of hosting a great party, event planning and everyday organization combined with Chef David’s drive and desire to be the very best at his culinary craft. We are an Alabama gulf coast-based boutique concierge service offering highly personalized services.