Make Belly-Warming Barbeque at Home

Matt Abdoo '02 holds a burger.

Award-winning chef Matt Abdoo ’02 shares how to create your own masterpieces in the kitchen.

(Get Matt’s barbeque recipes that are easily made in the oven at home. https://scene.geneseo.edu/2020/11/try-this-at-home-barbeque-recipes-from-master-chef-matt-abdoo-02/)

By Robyn Rime

I’ve loved cooking since I was a little boy,” says Matt Abdoo ’02, chef and owner of New York City’s Pig Beach BBQ. “I’m half Lebanese, half Italian, and I grew up with one side of my family telling me to mangia and the other side telling me to sahtayn, both of which basically mean eat and love. For me, food was always about love.” Abdoo’s love affair with food has led to a satisfying and successful career as a chef and restaurant owner. The Geneseo business administration major — who cooked for college friends in the residence hall every chance he got — went on to graduate top of his class at the Culinary Institute of America and honed his skills in American and Italian kitchens, including as chef di cuisine at Batali and Bastianich’s Del Posto, a New York Times four-star restaurant.

And then he fell in love with barbeque.

Abdoo was hanging out with friends on the weekends, barbequing and entering contests for fun, when they unexpectedly won in the prestigious international barbeque competition Memphis in May. In 2015, he and a partner went whole hog and opened the critically acclaimed Pig Beach BBQ, whose large outdoor spaces and family-friendly picnic tables create the atmosphere of a big summer block party.

Despite the food’s traditional summertime appeal, Abdoo believes barbeque is great for year-round eating. “Ironically, it’s probably better suited to eat during the colder winter months because it’s all that really rich, heavy meat,” he says. “People typically associate wintertime eating with stews and braises. But stews and braises use the same technique as barbeque — it’s low and slow cooking.”

And it’s a style of cooking well suited for sharing, which is partly why Abdoo finds the cuisine so satisfying. “Barbeque is usually larger cuts of meat that feed many people, so what do you do when you have a barbeque?” Abdoo says. “You invite your friends and your family over. Barbeque makes me remember when my grandma would cook our Sunday dinners. I love food for its ability to bring people together, and barbeque for me has been a great way of doing that.”

HOW TO COOK BARBEQUE AT HOME: MATT ABDOO ’02 OFFERS THESE TIPS FOR LOW-AND-SLOW COOKING. EXPLORE YOUR PANTRY

“Almost anybody who has a pantry or a spice cabinet already has the stuff to make barbeque. Most barbecue seasonings are salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar. Then there are dried spices that many novice cooks have in a cabinet somewhere: garlic, onion, thyme, fennel. It’s all very convenient, easy-to-get stuff.”

USE YOUR HOME OVEN FOR A STRESS-FREE PREP
“Barbeque is easier to do in your oven because ovens have thermostats, and the biggest variable for barbeque is temperature control. You’re able to set it at 250 degrees and put a piece of meat in your oven and then fall asleep and wake up 12 hours later and it’s done. It takes all the stress out of having to stay up all night with the fire and monitor vents and air-flow and oh-my-god, I’ve got to put in another piece of wood.”

CAPTURE THAT SMOKY FLAVOR
“If you want smoky-flavored barbeque, swap out 20 percent of the sweet paprika for smoked paprika, and boom, you have that smoky flavor.”

TRANSFORM YOUR GAS GRILL
“If you want smoky-flavored barbeque, swap out 20 percent of the sweet paprika for smoked paprika, and boom, you have that smoky flavor.”

TRANSFORM YOUR GAS GRILL INTO A SMOKER
“You can do a rack of ribs or pork shoulder on a gas grill simply by turning the left burner on low and putting some wood chips in an aluminum pan that will eventually ignite over the heat. Keep the meat on the right burner.”

TOP 10 PANTRY ITEMS FOR BARBEQUE
• Salt
• Pepper
• Sweet paprika
• Smoked paprika
• Garlic powder
• Onion powder
• Dried thyme
• Dried fennel
• Yellow mustard
• Brown sugar

Author: geneseoscene

Share This Post On
%d bloggers like this: