A is for america
The whole world grills, but only America barbecues. This slow, smoky method of cooking with indirect heat, which strictly speaking should be done in a pit, makes tough cuts of meat tender enough to slice with a fork. In Texas, the meat of choice is beef; in the Carolinas, it's pork, especially pork shoulder. In Kansas City and Memphis, ribs top the charts--slathered with a sweet tomato-based sauce in the former, sprinkled with a spicy dry rub in the latter.
B is for beer
Beer is the quintessential drink for grilled foods, but it also works magic in marinades. One easy version: in a large bowl combine 1 cup full-flavored beer, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard and 1/4 cup canola oil with 1 minced small onion, 1 chopped small celery rib, 4 chopped garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tablespoon hot paprika, 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add chicken, beef or pork and marinate for 2 to 4 hours before grilling.
C is for charwood
Since commercial briquettes may contain furniture scraps and petroleum extracts, many chefs prefer all-natural charwood: jagged black chunks of kiln-fired virgin maple roundwood that burn cleaner and hotter than any briquette. Produits Forestiers Basques makes the Rolls- Royce of charwood under three different brand names: Nature's Own, Treestock and Woodstock. They're available at specialty- and health-food shops or by mail order from Peoples Woods ($8.90 for 7.6 pounds; 800-729-5800).