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Event Mon Jun 16 2014

Meet Your BBQ Life Coach

wood fireMy mouth was a brisket free zone. Scarred by my mother's recipe - place in glass casserole, top with Lipton's dry onion soup mix with one cup of water and bake until leather — for 40 years, no brisket passed my lips. Then I met Gary Wiviott.

It started innocently enough. Lunches with the boys at Thai grocers or Pakistani BBQ segued into parties at our respective homes. At one such event, Gary teased me with some brisket he'd cooked low and slow, as is proper.

"I don't like brisket."

"Try it."

"I told you, I don't do brisket."

"Try it."

Pushy bastard (and glad for it), it was nothing like I remembered. Gone was the bland, gritty sand like texture seared into my memory, replaced with a spicy bark of glistening smokey beef.

In short, a revelation.

How could something that's been cooked for 13 hours still be juicy, tender and this god damned delicious? Well for starters, by treating it like a verb instead of a noun and cooking it low and slow. My mother destroyed it in mere hours but Gary's got brisket down (and all things smoked as well).

smoked chicken

Co-author of Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons, a definitive book on the art of BBQ that I've gifted both colleagues and acolytes with — if you need help with your 'que, Gary's the best BBQ life coach you can find. So aren't we lucky that he's doing a series of interactive grill master classes on the art of proper BBQ at Barn & Company, where he's pitmaster emeritus and resident barbecue-ologist?

A "how to" primer for the backyard cook, basics like setting up your grill and starting a proper fire will be covered along with other BBQ stalwarts like spice rubs, brining, side dishes and tailgate ideas. Then depending on the class, participants will cook and sample chicken, burgers, prime rib, sausages and vegetables. To Wiviott, the art of the smoke has no place for lighter fluid, soaked wood chips or liquid smoke — which he believes to be equivalent to "the devil having a cold and blowing his nose."

Quite simply, it's an opportunity to sit at the feet of a BBQ guru, get your hands dirty, clothes stinky and stomach filled, while learning the craft of smoking meat and then some. All and all, a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Classes are from noon to 4pm and are available individually for $100 per class. $225 gets you all three, plus one bonus class. Such a deal.

Here's a rundown on the class schedule:
• June 29: Class #1: Spice Rub & Sauce Basics
• July 13 or 20 - Class #2: Smoking That's Good For You
• Aug. 10 or 31 - Class #3: Big Meats (aka Party Time)
• Sept. 14 or 28 - Bonus Lesson: The Perfect Tailgate Party

Sign up by emailing or by calling 773-822-4000.

Barn and Company
950 W. Wrightwood Ave.


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