Trial by fire

Master the grill at The BBQ Pro


The BBQ Pro, 10136 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Fair Oaks; (916) 595-7444;

To the untrained eye, outdoor cooking may seem like a fun, casual way to unwind. But if food competition shows have taught us anything, it’s that a cookout can be a life-or-death situation. Roast, or get roasted. Braise, or suffer malaise. Survival is only guaranteed to the person who cooks the juiciest hunk of lamb, and if you don’t already know how to stack charcoal, you’re dead meat, buddy.

If you’re looking to beef up your barbecuing skills this summer, the BBQ Pro in Fair Oaks offers monthly classes ($70) that can teach you all you need to know for a successful cookout. Recipes include pulled pork, whole chickens and Santa Maria tri-tip. Just what you need to shut down the competition. And in case you’re still wondering—a pyramid. You should stack charcoal briquettes into the shape of a pyramid.