food pairing

Good Grilling

Get yourself ready for barbecue season with some expert tips on Southern American-style, slow-cook grilling from Jack Daniel’s

Southern-style, slow-cooked barbecue meats have been growing in popularity around the world lately, and the trend has been building here in New Zealand too.

Since 1989, Jack Daniel’s has hosted the world barbecue championships at its distillery in hometown Lynchburg, Tennessee. Here in New Zealand, the brand has been hosting the National Barbecue Championship – this year clocking in seven events over seven towns and cities around the country, where competitor teams have been vying for the crown in American low and slow cooking.

A perfect partner for barbecued foods, Jack Daniel’s whiskey is mellowed through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal, giving it an exceptional smoothness, and cutting through the rich flavours of the meat. “It also links back to stories around Jack Daniel’s,” says Luke Seeney, senior brand manager at Hancocks Wine, Spirit and Beer Merchants. “Jack Daniel himself used to barbecue outside his old distillery to raise money to build his new one, and everything at the distillery is still done the way it was, it’s a slow, long process. Jack Daniel’s still uses the same water source, makes its own charcoal and barrels, and ages the whiskey in those barrels.”

Here, we share Jack Daniel’s top low and slow barbecue tips, just in time for spring and summer entertaining…


  1. MEAT: Choose the right cuts of meat suited to a low and slow barbecue. Go for fattier and more muscly types such as brisket, beef cheeks, pork and ribs – all of which take time to become tender.
  2. SEASONING: Select a spice rub that complements but doesn’t overpower the meat you’re cooking, but just adds nice flavor to it. “It’s normally trial and error, some are sweeter, some hotter, it depends on the style you like,” advises Luke Seeney.
  3. WOOD: Use the right type of wood or charcoal – each type has a different flavor profile, you want it to be smoky but not too overpowering. Most Kiwis use oak, pohutukawa, applewood, peach or black wattle.
  4. BARBECUE: “The cool thing for this is that you can use a cheap or expensive barbecue. Some of the grill masters start with a super cheap one and work themselves up to a $20k trailer,” says Seeney.
  5. TECHNIQUE: Seeney advises going online for different techniques that other people are using. “There’s quite a big community in New Zealand that does this now, so it’s easy to ask for advice or share information. It’s definitely a growing trend.”
  6. SAUCES: Add one measure of Jack Daniel’s to cooking sauces or meat glazes to give a sweet taste.
  7. WHISKEY MATCHING: Great meat and whiskey pairings include pulled pork with a Jack Daniel’s whiskey sour; ribs and a Jack Daniel’s Honey whiskey and lemonade; a chargrilled beef burger with a Jack Daniel's and cola; and brisket with a Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel on the rocks.


125 years ago, Jack Daniel opened a tavern called the Red Dog Saloon in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Little is known about this popular bar of the time, even the origin of its name is a mystery, but that hasn’t stopped Jack Daniel’s from creating a limited edition bottle to commemorate its memory. Outside you’ll find a special Red Dog Saloon label, inside you’ll find the same charcoal mellowed Tennessee whiskey that has preserved the Jack Daniel’s name for over 140 years.

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