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Westchester Pit Master Talks Summer BBQ

Westchester's Steve Fretterd brings his BBQ tips to locals through classes around the region.

Steve Fretterd
Steve Fretterd

By Liz Giegerich

If you are apply barbecue sauce at the beginning of your grill session, you are burning off all its deliciousness. Wait until the last 15 minutes to apply the sauce, local pit master Steve Fretterd explains.

"This is one of the most common mistakes that people make when at the grill," Fretterd said. “All barbecue sauce is sugar-based; whether it’s mustard, ketchup, honey, or whatever. Any time you apply heat it will burn off quickly."

Waiting until the last 15 minutes helps you get a nice caramelized meat with no burn, he explained.

Fretterd was recently in Dobbs Ferry to share his secrets at Curious-on-Hudson and now opens up to Patch about his love for barbecue.

Fretterd, 45, is a Port Chester resident and self-proclaimed pit master who just started his own business catering and holding classes for barbecue enthusiasts who want to learn more.

Big Steve’s 5 Region BBQ focuses on the five different styles of BBQ: Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri and Memphis. Usually people are exposed to only one at a time, he said. 

“I always loved barbecuing, being outside, always had a love of fire, and always been into Americana food,” Fretterd said. His favorite style is Missouri because it offers the boldest flavors, a variety of meat and it’s the kind where you get both sweet and hot flavors, he said.

Fretterd first started cooking when he was 18 and thought he knew how to barbecue until a third generation pit master taught him better while he was grilling at a tailgating party in California eight years ago.

The pit master watched Fretterd for a while before approaching him to teach him the true art of cooking meat on a grill.

“He told me there is a big difference between barbecuing and grilling,” Fretterd said.

Ever since his first lessons on the different styles of woods, rubs, meats and cuts, Fretterd was hooked and eager to learn more.

“I took my curiosity of it and love of cooking and curiosity of American history and I went crazy with it,” He said. “I studied everything I could about barbecue and I practiced myself.”

Over the last few years, Fretterd perfected his craft and after being laid off from a job last year he started his business at the beginning of 2013.

In addition to his lessons in Dobbs Ferry, he offers private lessons and does catering. He also makes his own rubs and sauces. Check him out on Facebook here.

You can also find him judging the Pork in the Park competition in Stamford, CT, this weekend. 

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