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The Three (Major) Schools of Fantasy BBQ

We at Bugbear BBQ consider ourselves jacks of all trades as we seamlessly swim from one school of barbecue to the next to derive the best possible flavors, but lately have been receiving quite a few questions as to what we mean by the “Big Three” in terms of schools of BBQ.

So sit back, grab your notebook and pen, then gaze upon the wonders that are the three major philosophies of fantasy BBQ. Because, despite what the liberal BBQ media would have you believe about the importance of inclusion, there are only three great schools of fantasy barbecue: Human, Dwarf, and Hobgoblin.

To fully demonstrate the intricate distinctions between the schools, we will forgo our usual template of Cut, Rub, Cook, and Parings, and try and examine the same recipe through three different racial lenses.

And, because there is nothing more flavorfully inert as a chicken,* it shall be our patient zero as we discern the differences between Humans, Dwarves, and Hobgoblins.


As the most diverse race, humans, have numerous distinct schools of cooking, ranging from Eastern Dornish to Alabaman (which involves mayonnaise, so beware!). But for the most part, Human BBQ factors in flavor more than any other component of the cook.

As such they (we) focus more on herbs and spices than the other races. To wit, a recipe for barbecue chicken would go a little something like this:

Prepare the rub (we personally prefer the Simon and Garfunkel) and let it soak in water for two hours to get out all the water soluble flavors while rubbing salt under the skin of the plucked bird and allowing it to sit in the refrigerator to dry out the skin. Then rub the seasoning both on and under the skin before setting on the smoker until the internal temperature reaches 155-165.


Just as Eskimos have 40 words for snow, Dwarves have nearly as many just to describe fire. Due to their exacting nature, Dwarves are more intent on the technical aspects of the cook than humans or hobgoblins, which is to say the meat’s texture. Who cares what it tastes like so long as it melts in your mouth? And possibly your hand.

As such, there are an inordinate amount of obscure constructions to Dwarven smokers, with many esoteric means of placing the meat the perfect distance from the flame. Trying to discover and reverse-engineer their techniques might lead to a blood-feud, and there are more designs for Dwarven smokers than I have years in my life, but the major designs usually include aspects from the: Longbraid, Snowhorn, and Dimtoe clans. Each insists on a different distance from the flame for the perfect texture, as well as means of lowering the meat, but all usually agree upon cooking the chicken to 9,324 cana (the official temperature unit of Aragon) for best results.

Salt may or may not be involved, and pepper is considered really pushing the envelope. So yeah, sort of like eating in the northeast US.

Not really a Dwarvish design, but still pretty cool.


First of all, for this recipe to work one needs to either steal the chicken in question or take it from a vanquished foe (preferably “foes”). And no, I am not joking: This is an integral part of the Hobgoblin cooking process. And once the ill-gotten chicken has been acquired, it must be stuffed with another type of meat. The second meat in question is not specified, nor is the chicken’s living state as it ingests the meat in question, ranging from warg to entling. But no matter what, the chicken must have some sort of second meat crammed inside it.

Then the chicken is thrown upon the fire. If it tries to flee the flame, throw it back on and repeat until it finally stops running away. Once the feathers have singed off, the food is done. Probably. Tear off the head in your mighty jaws and chew just to be sure and to establish your dominance over any observers.

I will NEVER get tired of this image.

Yes, we at Bugbear BBQ agree that the Hobgoblin recipe is significantly more… brutal than the others. Yet we cannot dismiss their philosophy since the greatest innovation in barbeque is currently coming out of their methods (ligoake, I’m looking your direction). So we’ll dare to compare hobgoblin cooking to haute couture fashion in that no one would ever dress (eat) this way every day, yet they push the boundaries of BBQ every day and set the standards for the future.

The Others

If you're reading this, Tommy, this image is for you.


If anyone ever tries to sell you some “Merfolk BBQ,” spit in their face before reporting them to the nearest constable for being a fraud: Merfolk have no system of barbecue because they have no access to fire (what with being underwater and all). There are indeed some traditional Merfolk means of cooking via underwater vents and using digestive juices from other fish, but for the most part their foodstuffs are more akin to sushi.


Although quite good, Gnomish BBQ is very similar to Dwarven, but with whatever they have on hand. So, instead of chicken, as in our other examples, Gnomes will usually serve rat.


While we always advocate for trying new styles of foods, there's little meat-wise to be gleaned from vegetarians. Or flavor, for that matter.


This type of barbecue is very similar to Gnomish, down to whatever meat they have on hand. Which is usually other Kobolds. So eat at your own risk.

Gully Dwarf

A Gully Dwarf’s “chikin” is usually a rat flavored with dung. It is also usually packed in dung to “kook” it, so eat at your own risk yet again. But know that all the other races will judge you as an idiot if you do. Because you’re eating with Gully Dwarves. Idiot.

* I had a coworker who once maintained a BBQ joint should not be measured by its prestige cooks, usually consisting of some form of beef or pork; rather chicken. His theory was that chicken is usually so dry, and therefore hard to cook, that it shows true mastery over the other meats. He proved to be a wise man, and if he would have had a newsletter, I would have subscribed to it.


Author Image.jpg

MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout.  He has written two books on fantasy worldbuilding, and teaches worldbuilding techniques, tricks, and tips at Forging Fantasy Realms once a week on YouTube. 

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