Traditional American barbecue is not what your Dad did to hamburgers and hot dogs in the backyard on the 4th of July. That was grilling (cooking directly over flames) a great tradition but it isn't real barbecue.

Barbecue and grilling are often confused because they both involve flames and cooking meat. Real old-school barbecue happens when you place a large cut of meat or ribs in closed pit and let it cook indirectly (away from the fire) with the low heat and smoke of charcoal and or wood fire.

The ideal temperature in one of these pits usually runs between 225-250 degrees, and this very slow magical process breaks down the connective tissues of the meat and turns tough cuts into the most delicious tender food on earth.

This alchemy requires slow and low heat for a really long time. Barbecue was created for just this purpose, to turn large tough inexpensive cuts of meat like beef brisket and pork shoulder into tender, amazing BBQ goodness worth fighting and dying for. Barbecue is a true American original with its roots in the south, but it's popularity has grown over the years and now it has branches reaching all over the place.

Each region of the country has its own unique style and definition of what a good "Q" is. Me? I like 'em all. But Georgia's the best.