Corky's is proactively working to combat the spread of COVID-19. Click here for more information.

DIY Corky-Style Barbecue

All of our meats are available mail order, but you can make a mighty fine rendition on your own with a backyard smoker, a nice piece of meat, and plenty of seasoning. We cook over wood and charcoal. Like barbecue itself, the use of woods is often regional. We like to use hickory, which is plentiful in the South, gives the best flavor, and burns low and slow. You will find mesquite the preferred wood in the Southwest, and alder in the Northwest.

A word of warning regardless of the species of hardwoods: make sure to use cured wood, never green woods, pressure treated, painted, resinous, or soft woods like pine. Your food will be rendered inedible, and we’d absolutely hate for that the happen.

PORK SHOULDER: Every Corky’s pork shoulder is hickory smoked in our seasoned pits for 22 to 24 hours, then immediately wrapped in foil to let the natural juices flavor and moisten the meat.

PORK RIBS: We smoke our pork spareribs low and slow for 5 to 7 hours over hickory wood and charcoal, leaving the membrane on to help hold them together. We mop both sides with Corky’s secret basting sauce, and then just before serving, we scrape off the membrane for easy eating. (For a perfectly acceptable homemade version of the basting sauce, thin a bottle of Corky’s Original Barbecue Sauce with some water.) For dry ribs, we generously season the ribs with Corky’s Dry Rub and finish over an open flame. For wet ribs, we follow the same process, but use a sauce mop to slather a thick coating of Corky’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce that caramelizes down into the meat, right before they come to the table. A mop holds more sauce than a brush, and you can never have enough sauce.

BEEF BRISKET: Brisket is a tougher cut of beef that’s tailor-made for the low, slow heat of barbecuing—7 to 9 hours over hickory and charcoal, to be exact. At Corky’s we prefer to smoke our briskets in foil, allowing them to braise in their own juices, intensifying the natural flavors while keeping the meat tender and moist.

SMOKED CHICKEN: We start our “barnyard pimps” (as our cooks call them) at 7 am every morning in the smoker. Come lunch, you have succulent, moist meat that falls off the bone. We apply a nice coating of our signature chicken seasoning and smoke over hickory and charcoal for around 3 hours. We let the birds rest no less than half an hour to ensure juicy meat, before hitting the grill one last time before serving.


  • Hardwoods and charcoal will yield tastier fare than a gas grill. You can make easy work of building a fire with a chimney starter. This is one grilling gadget actually worth the money. Place some newspaper in the bottom, and then pour in your charcoal. Light the newspaper and let the charcoal burn until light and glowing. When it looks like this picture, it’s ready for dumping into the grill box. All that said, a gas grill is better than no grill, and all the recipes in the book will work on either type. We find that the convenience of gas more than makes up for any downsides—especially for weeknight cooking.
  • Always start with a clean, greased grate. A dirty grate will transfer old flavors from last weekend’s cookout. It’s easiest to clean with a steel brush when the grate is blazing hot.
  • Salt your meat well and well in advance. By salting your meat at least an hour (and up to 24 hours) before cooking, the salt can penetrate the meat, adding flavor and helping insure a juicier end piece. Think of it like a dry version of a brine.
  • Slather your sauces late in the game. Many sauces contain sugars that will quickly burn on the grill, so it’s best to smear with sauces near the end of cooking instead of early on.
  • Know your heat. With grill cooking, you’re often left to guess the level of the heat. Follow our trusty guide for more accurate cooking
Cooking Instructions