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The BBQ season is now open

The spare ribs specialist

Be it entrecôte, fillet or carpaccio - meat is a challenging foodstuff and needs special cooking conditions. As one of the leading food logistics companies in Europe, the Nagel-Group specialises in the transport and storage of all types of meat. Our employees too are professionals and know exactly what is important when handling meat. One employee stands out in particular: Johnie Sanchez. The 49-year-old is passionate about barbecuing and has even made it to fourth place at the American championships in the motherland of the barbecue. His speciality: spare ribs.

"I could barbecue every day," says Johnie Sanchez. He has been a BBQ enthusiast for almost 30 years and has continued to perfect his technique. He works in the Corporate Operational Application Systems (COAS) department. As part of the rollout team, among other things he ensures that newly developed IT solutions or customers with special requirements are successfully integrated in the Nagel-Group's Europe-wide network. Sanchez establishes the necessary structures in the branch offices and trains the employees in the use of new software.

He keeps a close eye on things not only at the workplace, but also at the barbecue. "I have specialised in spare ribs and everything to do with chicken," he says. He does not hold with modern gas barbecues. He swears by his charcoal-fired smoker when he gets started. This allows him to cook the meat gently so that it is extremely tender and juicy.

However, the proper preparation begins much earlier when Sanchez prepares the spare ribs. The meat is marinated between 12 or 24 hours in advance in a special spice mixture. "I have developed my Big Daddy Texas Rub for this purpose," he says. He does not reveal all the ingredients; only these: cloves, bay leaves, oregano and brown onions are just as indispensable as chili powder, mustard and a little sugar. "Spare ribs should be properly seasoned. You should not go light on the seasoning."

Once the meat is placed on the grate, it is only exposed to direct heat for a short time, only long enough until the meat is crispy on the outside. It is then cooked using indirect heat. Sanchez places the charcoal on one side of the barbecue and leaves the other side free. The meat is then cooked there until it is tender.

Onions are also placed on the grate to infuse the meat with as much flavour as possible. Sanchez even combines different types of wood to gently smoke the meat in the smoker. If it has to be particularly elaborate, pieces of wood are soaked in apple juice and then ignited. "All of this is absorbed by the meat," he assures. Don't try and rush a barbecue! It can take up to four to five hours until the spare ribs are barbecued to perfection.

Those who are patient will be rewarded with the ultimate taste experience. Sanchez is as diligent with the implementation of new IT solutions in the branches as he is at the barbecue. "We ensure that one cog fits seamlessly into the next in both the operational and the commercial area." He is happy when everything goes according to plan – not only at the barbecue but also at the Nagel-Group.

Five tips from a professional

1) Avoid too much direct heat. Indirect barbecuing is better suited for almost anything you want to barbecue.

2) Therefore, it is important to keep the lid of your kettle barbecue on.

3) Use a chimney starter to ignite briquettes quickly.

4) Rub the grate with onions. This makes the meat much more tastier.

5) Don't rush, barbecuing needs time! Constant turning is not required.

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