Sunday, December 31, 2006
"Fat Johnny's Bastardized Piedmont Sauce"
1 quart cider vinegar
12 oz Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 T red pepper flakes
2 T salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp celery seed
2 T Worchestershire sauce
Juice of one lemon
1 T chipotle powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 T onion powder
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Let cool and bottle.
Today's project is brisket.
I purchased a 14 lb. Certified Angus Brisket at my local butcher shop. I had to order it because this type of specialty meat is not something they normally keep on hand, but it's one a handful of places that I've found that sells "whole" untrimmed briskets.
This is a picture of the fat cap on the CAB brisket I'll be cooking. At this point I haven't trimmed any of the excess.
I begin to trim the fat. I remove much of the "hard" fat from the brisket. The knife tip is pointing toward a 1 1/2 - 2 inch portion of segment that runs between the "point" and the "flat".
I use a special tenderizing tool called a Jaccard to pierce the meat before seasoning with my "secret" spice rub mixture. Piercing the meat allows the seasoning to penetrate deeper into the meat and also helps shorten the cooking time a little.
I start at one end and liberally apply The BBQ Guy Original Beef Rub to the both sides of the brisket. You can't use too much of this stuff. It's gooooooood.
The rub is applied and the brisket is ready to marinade in the refrigerator overnight before cooking. I prefer to let the brisket set for 8-10 hours before cooking.
Here's a picture of the brisket after I removed it form the refrigerator the next morning just before placing it on the smoker for cooking.
Here's a picture of the brisket cooking in the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). I've got a dual probe digital thermometer that I use to monitor the internal meat temperature on whole briskets. Brisket thickness varies quite a bit and like to monitor the flat in two places to ensure I don't over cook the meat.
Here's a picture of the final results.
A couple of Saturday's ago I performed a not-so-scientific taste test consisting of three racks of ribs purchased from Sam's Club rubbed with three kinds of rubs I happened to have in the pantry-- The BBQ Guy's Original Spice Rub, HomeBBQ.com Rib Rub, and Billy Bones' Original BBQ Rub.
Three racks of ribs rubbed up and ready for the cooker. I usually marinate them in the refrigerator overnight, but this time I put them straight on the cooker.
After two and a half hours in the smoker at 225 degrees.
Here's a picture of the finished product. I like to add the bbq sauce during the last 10-15 minutes just prior to serving them.
BBQ Secrets Revealed, Click Here!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
It's a simple design for a basic grill, but I think they could be adapted to various other applications, such as adding a fire box and door for low and slow cooking.
Here's an article from CBS News about building a "classic brick barbecue" and another article from DoItYourSelf.com about building a brick barbecue.
Finally for those that don't mind spending a little money, here's a link to bbq smoker plans. I haven't purchased the plans myself, but the description from the Code-Electrical.com web site says they are "complete step-by-step plans for the do it yourselfer" with pictures.
I received an e-mail a couple days ago announcing the lastest effort and wanted to pass along the contact information for anyone interested.
I am trying to pick up where my good friend left off with this endeavor.
If you have any interest in helping to start a Michigan Barbecue Association, please drop me an e-mail note. I would like to get a feel for how many people are interested and then schedule a meeting to discuss the next steps. I would like to have this meeting rather quickly (late Jan, early Feb). So far the response has been very good.
Please contact me at the below e-mail address:
I think Mike is right on the money with the timing for this effort. From what I've witnessed competing in Michigan the last couple of years, Michigan bbq is alive and well.
Lakeland Pig Festival at Tiger Town
P. O. Box 8797
Lakeland, FL 33806
Linda and I have cooked this event in the past and highly recommend it to KCBS competitors and spectators. This is year is sure to be bigger and better than ever due to the success of the Tigers in 2006.
This will also be the first event eligible for my BBQ Fantasy League Championship Standings. If you'd like to participate in the 1st annual 2007 BBQ Fantasy League, please contact me. The league will be limited to approximately 10-teams (first come - first serve).
Last year's winners, Bill and the Dixie Chicks, will be on hand to defend their 2006 Grand Championship.
Prize money is as follows:
Grand Champion = $2,000.00
Reserve Grand Champion = $1,000.00
1st Place = $300.00
2nd Place = $250.00
3rd Place = $200.00
4th Place = $150.00
5th Place = $100.00
6th - 10th Place = $50.00
More information regarding the event is available via e-mail.
Click here for driving directions.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
The opening shot shows a kettle grill, a bag of Kingsford charcoal, some lighter fluid, and a charcoal chimney. I would not recommend using lighter fluid and instead prefer starting my charcoal with the charcoal chimney and some crumpled newspaper or a fire starter stick. I also prefer Royal Oak lump charcoal versus the Kingsford. If you do a taste test, I think you'll agree that lump charcoal is superior.
I also think the chicken skin is incredibly dark--too dark for my personal tastes--but maybe the video is distorting the color of the chicken skin and making it appear darker than it actually is.
Here's another bbq video from You Tube that documents pork rib trimming and preparation. I'll offer a disclaimer again as with the chicken that this is not how I do it, but it's certainly "one" way of approaching it.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I'd like to applaud the contest organizers for realizing that having certified KCBS judges for their contest is important. While it's most likely transparent to the spectators and vendors at the event, as a competitor I like to know that most (if not all) the judges have sat through a judging class.
I've competed in the Taste of Grand Rapids the past two years and I do not believe any emphasis on having KCBS certified judges was placed on the preparations for the event. I do not recall them offering a judging seminar in conjunction with those contests.
Judging bbq may sound simple enough, but there's more to the task than meets the eye at first glance. You might ask, "What's there to know?" There is certainly a school of thought that embraces the "man on the street" theory that if your bbq is really good then anyone can judge it and know that it's good. The other school of thought, and my own personal view regarding bbq judging, argues that for consistency in judging the folks asked to judge the bbq samples need a frame of reference to use as a starting point.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
1 cup tomato ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cups water
3 stalks chopped celery
1 clove minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped onion
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
Cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Strain and refrigerate.
Friday, December 22, 2006
This "microwave" is a wooden box lined with metal flashing. The pig (or other meat) is placed inside the box, the lid is attached, and charcoal is placed on top of the lid to roast the meat inside. The grease flows out the bottom into a catch pan. It's simple, but very effective.
Using this method, you can roast a pig in less than 4 hours. It's very popular for family reunions, taitgating, graduations, Luau's and anytime you need to feed a lot of people. It's seems very simple to use and is priced affordably.
The Cajun Microwave is a similar pig roaster. Here's an excerpt from CrawfishGuy.com that describes the cooking method in more detail:
All grease drips towards one end of the box and out through two holes in the floor (use a catch pan to eliminate any mess). The floor can be lined with heavy duty tin foil before each use (minimizing the cleaning needed). If the box does get grease on it, simply wash out with hot soapy water and let dry.
If you're a do-it-yourselfer, here's a CD ROM with instructions for building a Cajun Microwave. This web site have a nice picture of the inside of the box.
There's more than one way to cook a pig, and definitely more than one way to make a pig roaster. Stay tuned for my own pig roasting project later this year.
Stop by and vote for your favorite food blogs in the various categories. Some regular contributors to The BBQ Blog are among the nominees.
Congratulations to Men in Aprons and Bucky McOinkum's for their nominations in the "theme" category.
According to research conducted by Consumer Reports, organic and non-antibiotics types of chicken exhibited a lower instance of contamination. I've been cooking "free range" chicken for several years. Not only does it taste better, but now we know it's healthier too. I was surprised to read about the percentage rate of contamination for Tyson's chicken in the Consumer Reports article. On the other hand, Ranger's chicken seemed to yield very good results in the testing conducted by the consumer's magazine. I stopped using Tyson's chicken several years ago for different reasons, but based on this article I doubt that I'll ever buy it again.
For the many, many reasons cited in the Consumer Reports article, chicken is best if cooked when it's fresh. If you're not going to cook it for a couple days it's better to freeze it, just to be on the safe side. Remember to cook chicken to at least 165 degrees internal temperature, but to be extra sure we now cook all our chicken to at least 170 degrees.
When cooking meats, and especially when cooking chicken, it pays to use a meat thermometer.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The website includes a 10-step method for roasting a pig with tons of pictures to walk you through the entire process from finding the pig, cleaning the pig, building a roaster, cooking the pig and flipping the pig.
The website also includes a "pig roast hall of fame".
This method is very similar to the method used by some old timers in Tennessee that helped turn me on the goodness of tender, juicy, moist barbecue pork almost 15-years ago.
Here's another source of pig roasting information from the Virginia Cooperative Extension that details spit roasting, underground and above ground hog roasting.
Belson.com also has a Pig Roast Manual that details how to roast pigs for profit.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
One unit has a rotisserie and one is a more traditional shelf construction. The video shows several good views of the fire rings being used in the smokers. Both smokers appear to be covered with an outer shell made of wood and appear to be metal on the inside.
Here's another link from DaveTV that displays a 1939 Chevy BBQ Smoker used at the American Royal Barbecue Contest in Kansas City. For all the bbq fans that are also automotive enthusiasts, this one is a must see.
Also, be sure to check out the wood barrel smoker being used at the 2005 American Royal event.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Holidays are not the time for take-out, for pizza, or for fast-food burgers. Holiday gatherings are best enjoyed when the food is homemade and of the traditional variety. Cakes, pies, cookies and turkey, slow cooked hams, casseroles, and breads are some "traditional" holiday fare that I like during the winter time.
I ran across a nice blog today that salutes mom's recipes everywhere. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. There's great pictures, recipes, and a lot of "off the beaten path" cooking information.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Welding skills required, but you'll have a portable offset smoker your friends will envy.
Construct a simple, but effective slow smoking shed.
Got an old refrigerator? Turn it into a cold smoker.
The traditional barrel-style grill.
BBQ Kit from Refractory Materials
A little more money, but real nice barbecues. You'll be the talk of the neighborhood.
BBQ Smoker from Two Barrels
Vertical barrel smoker.
Big Smokey BBQ Pit
Another barrel-style vertical design.
Rich Sterling's Brick BBQ Pit
This is the best of the bunch--especially if you're a brick mason, or know one that works cheap.
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Saturday, December 09, 2006
Reserve: This Butts For You
4. Swamp Boys
5. Smokin' Cracker
6. Kick the Tire Light the Fire
7. Smoke and Spice
8. Black Creek Cookers
9. Skin and Bones
10. Woodhouse Grill
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Whether your BBQ Guy competes in bbq contests, or just likes to cook-out on your patio; I've listed a few things he might like to add to his collection. Most can be purchased with an Amazon.com Gift Certificate.
This BBQ Wife can not stand the smell and hazards of lighter fluid. So I would recommend a Weber Chimney Charcoal Starter. Before Brian started cooking I didn’t know there was such a thing, now we have converted all our family members to this way of lighting charcoal for their grills and dutch ovens. (Sorry to those of you in the lighter fluid industry.)
A good stainless steel bbq grill set is also a perfect idea. It is probably more for the griller and not just the low and slow BBQ’er afficianado. The BBQ Guy loves his set for hamburgers, hotdogs, brauts, etc., but when he is at the smoker they aren’t much use to him, so keep your cook in mind.
Whether a griller or a BBQ’er, it is important to get that meat cooked to the appropriate temperature; especially chicken. Try a wireless thermometer or a digital temperature probe. The wireless remote has worked fine at home, but at competitions we have found that the remote readings can become inaccurate. It must pick up interference somehow.
Try the BBQ Grill Light. (This was a gift for the The BBQ Guy a couple years ago.)
If your griller wants to try the BBQing/Smoking aspect of outdoor cooking a great inexpensive way to get started is with the Weber Smokey Mountain. The BBQ Guy cooks 2 packer briskets in his WSM at contests and has brought home several trophies. They work.
BBQ Aprons and Mitts are also great additions to the BBQ accessories list. I personally have thrown away more t-shirts stained with BBQ sauce and marinade than I can count. If you don’t like the ones linked here you can always go to Cafepress.com and design your own for your guy.
If your BBQer is already a little deeper into the hobby, try knives. The BBQ Guy is kind of selfish with his Que knives, keeping them all to himself, so you might want to buy 2--one for you and one for him. We have this Henckels stainless steel 10-inch slicer.
If your family is going to make jump into competition cookoffs in 2007, a canopy is a must for any contest a 12 x 12 or larger is recommended if you will be having more than 3 or 4 folks on your team. Brian and I use a 10 x 10, but would really enjoy the additional space a 12 x 12 would offer. You can buy excellent Caravan canopies at Costco.
Contests are very tiring, so make sure you pick up a couple of Coleman cots to help you catch some z’s.
It seems the BBQ Guy Cooking team never has enough insulated ice coolers. You can turn the cooler into a gift basket and fill it with BBQ accessories, gift certificates to the grocery store or butcher shop, BBQ sauces, BBQ rubs (especially The BBQ Guy Rubs).
Share some of your ideas with me. There are always family members begging for ideas on what to give The BBQ Guy.
When I was a kid I remember flipping through the Sears or Montgomery Wards catalogue and writing a short list of things I wanted my family to purchase.
Almost thirty-years later my wish list has changed a little bit. What do you think of the latest addition?
It's an Isata F-Series Touring Sedan by Dynamax. This Ford F-550 comes with a Trition V-10 362 hp power plant (standard) or a 6.0 L diesel option. It also includes a 40 gallon fuel tank. Let's see that comes to about $92 per fill-up for gasoline and $98 per fill-up for diesel with the prices at my local filling station.
Unless I win the lottery it will never be parked in my driveway, but I sure do like to day dream about it anyway.
What's on your list?
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Grand Champion: Lotta Bull
Reserve Grand Champion: ButtRub.com
3. Alabama Power
4. Wild Bunch Butt Burners
5. Sweat Hog
6. Big Pig, Inc.
7. Primo Oval Rulers
8 Jiggy Piggy
9. Smokin' Triggers
10. Magnolia Smoker
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Studies have shown that grass fed beef is lower in fat than grain fed beef, but there are other reasons you should consider buying grass fed beef rather than grain fed beef when chosing your next brisket.
Cattle have a difficult time digesting grains. Their digestive system is much more adaptable grasses. Consider that grain fed beef can cause acidosis in cattle and produce E. coli bacteria known as E. coli 0157:H7. This particular strain of E. coli can cause severe illness, kidney damage, or even death. Not to mention that feedlots that hold the grain fed cattle create secondary contamination caused by run-off into water-ways, streams, rivers, and produce fields (i.e. lettuce, spinach, strawberries, etc.).
Cattle do not naturally eat grains. Their natural food source is grass. Real beef = grass fed beef. Grain fed beef is unnatural. In fact, there aren't many animals that eat grains as a "natural" food source. If the diet of cattle is not supplemented with antibiotics, feeding them grain can actually harm the animal.
Grass fed beef also has less saturated fat and is healthier to eat than grain fed beef. If you want to eat healthier, but love beef, grass fed beef is a viable solution.
If you'd like to read about this subject in more detail and do your own research before you make the switch to grass fed beef, here are some sources of additional information.
The Omnivores Dilemma
University of California Extension Service
Increase Traffic to Your Web Page
Friday, December 01, 2006
The picture above is our latest addition to the collection. This Hallmark Keepsake "Oh, What a Grill" ornament also includes a Christmas poem on the back of the box. I don't know who originally wrote the poem, but in keeping with the spirit of the season I thought I'd include it here.
Oh, What a Grill!
You gotta have passion!
You gotta have heart!
You gotta have turners
and tongs for the meat.
You gotta have marinade,
skewers, and skill.
You gotta have love
for the power of the grill!
And might I add...you've gotta have some barbecue rub from TheBBQGuy.com to top it all off.