Recently, barbecue guru Steven Raichlen put out his thoughts on what’s going to be trending in the backyard cooking world in 2016. Some of Raichlen’s notes are already dated—the flatiron steak has been around the butcher case a time or two, and the iGrill temperature-probe app was the hottest smoking accessory last year.
Of course, most of Raichlen’s trends are spot-on though. He points at that smoking is the new grilling, and more and more people are adding smokers to their outdoor cooking collection. A lot of this is because smoking is easier than ever. I recently got a Camp Chef Smoke Pro DLX and can tell you that smoking meat in that thing is too easy, or as my girlfriend, T. Rebel, puts it, “Boring.” That’s not a knock, but you can really set it and forget it for a few hours. Couple that with an app-controlled remote temperature monitoring device and there’s no excuse for poorly smoked meat.
Raichlen also pointed out another trend that I’ve been pushing in the past few years (and pitching to my editors): Smoking stuff other than meat. I’ve written about smoked whiskey before, but that’s just one of many things you can put in your smoker. Cheese, nuts, spices, salt—the list is virtually endless. Just don’t smoke whiskey and ducks at the same time. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Other trends on the list that I can confirm include sausage going high-class and the rise of great barbecue in places other than the South. (It felt like sacrilege just typing that.) But it’s true. I’ve had some good ’cue north of the Mason-Dixon line and west of the Pecos. Still hard to find here in western Nebraska, however, but maybe that will be among next year’s trends.