Dear Dr. BBQ:
What are the essential components for good BBQ?
That is a short but fully loaded question. In my opinion, the essential components for good BBQ are long slow cooking with wood for flavor and seasoning that will combine with the smoke and heat to caramelize creating an outside bark that has the same intense flavors and characteristics of a roux. At the same time the internal meat should be cooking and rendering the fat so it results in the tender and juicy inside meat that when combined with the bark makes a product that can only be created in a barbecue pit. Sauce, onions, pickles and side dishes are all nice accompaniments, but not essential for real barbecue.