California is the grilling/smoking capital of the world, where we barbecue year-round, rain or shine, on charcoal-fired kettles, wood-fired smokers and gas-fueled ranges.
Of course, the backyard ’cue brigade is always eager to learn new techniques and listen to lore, and pitmaster David Hill is happy to oblige. He and wife, Jennifer, co-own BBQ Pro in Fair Oaks. Its slogan: “Everything for the pitmaster.”
We were there Sunday night for a sold-out class on how to cook prime rib on a smoker. Before the seminar, we cruised through the store and looked at a load of stuff — turkey brining kits and marinade injectors, sauces and rubs, lump charcoal and bags of wood chunks and chips. BBQ Pro is also a dealership for the Big Green Egg, a high-fiber ceramic grill with roots in the “mushikamado” cooker, used for centuries in Japan.
The Hills regularly host monthly private ’cue classes, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. for $60 (10140 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks; 916-595-7444; www.bbqproonline.com). Coming up are seafood (Jan. 11), bacon and sausage (Feb. 15) and ribs (March 22).
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We learned a lot during the prime rib class, which ended in a feast of the 22-pound perfectly cooked cut of beef that had been smoked over pecan wood for four hours. Slabs of it were paired Jennifer’s avocado-orange salad and smoked side dishes of planked-baked Brie with apricot-chipotle topping, and potato-and-cheese casserole.
Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.