There’s the rub
Building your offset barbecue is only half the fun. Just as there are no rules for building one, there are no rules for how to cook in one, but a few traditions might give you some pointers.
The US has a number of regional styles. The South is famous for its sweet barbecue sauces because molasses and tomatoes were easy to come by there. Pork is the traditional meat. Cattle farming in the West led to Texas barbecue using beef with a dry rub including some Mexican spiciness, and the local mesquite scrub wood added its own flavour. Sauce is added just before serving. Carolina-style barbecue is known for tart cider vinegar, mustard-based sauces from European cooking, and basting the meat — a technique picked up from the Caribbean. Kansas City has its own barbecue culture, which applied Southern-style sweet and spicy barbecue sauces to beef, merging the Southern and Western styles.
Rubs can be as basic as salt, pepper, and garlic powder, or a sweeter option — brown sugar, salt, pepper, and paprika, filled out with ground fennel seeds, coriander seeds and star anise. A quick google offers up a mouthwatering array of recipes, some noting that pork rubs need less sugar than beef.
Or you can buy commercial rubs and sauces. They have tried and tested the flavour profile and chosen a winning formula. Choosing something with broad appeal is sensible, as you probably won’t just be cooking for yourself, and not everyone will share your passion for eyeball-melting hot chilli. You will have plenty of other things to experiment with when you start out.