BBQ author and YouTube personality, Greg Mrvich is widely regarded as one of America’s top barbecue aficionados. And, for good reason. Notably, his YouTube channel Ballistic BBQ has garnered 300,000 subscribers and a whopping 43 million views. Here, he shares how a guy from California learned the art of southern cooking and, in particular, BBQ.
Greg Mrvich: I live in San Diego, CA with my wife Karen and son Garrett. Recently, I retired from the San Diego Police Department and outdoor cooking has always provided a great way to relax and destress. In addition to providing a means of enjoying the outdoors, it’s enabled me to provide my family and friends with healthy, great-tasting food.
GM: Our home is situated on a hill, which allowed us to create a teared, two-level backyard space. It’s complete with a large deck, dedicated cooking area and lots of tropical plants like plumeria, banana and mango trees.
GM: It plays a huge role. For instance, I start each day relaxing with a nice cup of coffee on my back deck. And, I often end each day cooking dinner in my backyard.
GM: Ah yes, my “happy place!” It consists of a basic kettle charcoal and ceramic Kamado-brand grill, as well as a pellet cooker and large offset-vertical smoker.
GM: A critical part, as the design and layout of our entire backyard space is built and designed around it.
GM: My grandparents were from Missouri, which is where I gained my love for southern cooking—including BBQ. Living in southern California has given me year-round cooking opportunities. When pitmasters in certain areas of the country might be buried in snow, I’m grilling and smoking!
GM: I would have to say my deck. I improved it to span an existing dirt embankment, which helped us transform unusable space into a nice sitting area.
GM: I get a lot of questions regarding timing traditional “low-and-slow” cooks like beef brisket and pork shoulder. Since these types of cooks generally take 5 to 9 hours, I always suggest aiming to finish them 2 to 3 hours prior to when you’d like to serve your guests. Once these large cuts of meat are finished cooking, simply wrap them tightly in foil, cover them with a couple of towels and place them in a cooler. Doing so will allow them to stay warm for 4 to 5 hours. That way, you won’t need to stress about your guests having to wait for the food to finish cooking.
GM: Simple: 73º and slightly breezy, a cold beverage in hand and the smell of hickory in the air!
GM: Always have an area, or zone, of your grill that’s cooler in temperature where you can move the meat to if/when it gets too hot or is ready to serve.
GM: Take advantage of all the information that’s available on websites like YouTube [such as Mrvich’s Ballistic BBQ]. It’s a never-ending source and is priceless.
GM: Beef tri tip roast, seasoned with a blend of kosher salt, ground black pepper, granulated garlic and dried parsley.
GM: The seasoning blend is easy: 1/4 cup of salt, 1/4 cup of pepper, 1/4 cup of dehydrated minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of parsley.
Next, rub the tri tip down with a nice coating of Worcestershire sauce. Then season it liberally and allow it to “sweat” about 30 minutes at room temperature.
After that, cook the tri tip using indirect heat (or a smoker) at 250ºF until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 125ºF. Once this target temperature is met, pull it off of the cooker and allow it to rest while preparing the cooker for direct-heat grilling. Once the cooker is very hot, simply sear each side of the tri tip about one minute per side.