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Barbeque: A Basic Human Instinct

By Kelly Church

KC's Rib Shack is a successful Manchester, NH barbeque joint with a deep respect for smoky meat. Owners Kevin Cornish and Greg Szaban opened up KC's after several years of cooking their barbeque all around the country. The two adapted their favorite recipes from states like Texas, Tennessee, The Carolinas and Missouri to develop the KC's Rib Shack menu, a three-page ecstasy for barbeque lovers everywhere. Cornish's success can likely be credited to his perspective on restaurant barbeque. He cooks his meats fresh and doesn't bury them in sauce.

"The reason most restaurants in this area hide their ribs in a thick, sweet, overpowering BBQ sauce is because after they come out of the crockpot/pressure cooker/steamer or whatever method they use to speed cook the ribs, they are left with a flavorless, gray much on a bone and a bucket of pork flavored water," Cornish says on the KC's Rib Shack website.

Cornish explains that cooking meat follows the same science that making broth does. You boil the bones until the liquid absorbs the flavor. He says the same thing happens when cooking meat, you lose the flavor in what it's being cooked in. Ultimately, the flavor ends up down the drain and you get a plate full of ribs smothered in sauce to make up for it.

"Most of what we serve is dry rubbed and served without sauce," Cornish says. "We do have sauces on the tables, but I like to be able to taste the flavor of the meat. It depends what mood I'm in or what type of BBQ I am eating. I think BBQ sauce has its time and place, but it's all a matter of preference. There really is no right or wrong."

There may not be any right or wrong way to eat barbeque, but Cornish believes that barbeque is one basic human instinct. Going back to the days before barbeque grills, crockpots and pressure cookers, smoking meat was the only way to get your food cooked.

"After all, until 200 or so years ago, [smoking] was the only way to do it," Cornish says. "Everything was cooked, not over the stove or in the oven, but over a smoky fire. I think it takes more than a couple hundred years for people to rid of that instinct."

This instinct is part of why people know good barbeque when it touches their lips. Cornish believes that KC's Rib Shack has gained popularity over the years by their authentic way of cooking.

"I think people love our BBQ because we don't cut corners," Cornish says. "We don't use meats that have ever been frozen and we take the time to do it right. In the 17 years we have been open, our commitment has always been to serve what we feel is the best barbeque you can get anywhere. That has never changed."

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