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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roasted Jamaican Jerk Chicken


Tonight I prepared two roasted chickens for a work lunch tomorrow.  The chicken marinated in a mixture of allspice, black pepper, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, thyme, white vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, an onion, soy sauce, and olive oil.  I've got my fingers crossed on the jerk seasoning because I've never prepared it before. 

Linda found the jerk recipe on Cooks.com

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BBQ Smokers, iPods and Androids

My wife has had an iPod Touch - known for it's ability to run Apple applications from iTunes and access the web anywhere there's a wireless connection available - for 12 months. I've had the Droid Eris, which runs Google's Android software applications for two weeks and I've have realized that there's not a huge difference between them.  Both run neat applications that provide entertainment, education, and time savings.  Both will access the Internet. And both cost roughly the same.  I'd give a slight edge to the , but only because it also makes phone calls possible, but that's really an apples and oranges comparison (pun intended).

It's easy to make a similar comparison between the Backwoods, Stumps, or Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) smokers and the various derivatives.  All are upright smokers with the removable cooking racks configured vertically. All are easy to cook with and will each prepare excellent bbq and make fire control and temperature maintainence very easy.  All have options that incorporate the use of water and steam in the cooking process.  All allow the user to add charcoal while cooking without too much trouble.

But here's where the apples and oranges thing comes into play....

The Backwoods and Stumps are insulated smokers. The WSM is not.  Accessing the water pan in the Backwoods and Stumps is easily accomplished.  The WSM requires a funnel or hose in order to add water while cooking.  The Backwoods and Stumps provide easy access to the meat as it cooks.  Accessing meat on the upper rack in the WSM is as simple as removing the lid, but accessing meat cooking on the second rack requires removal of the upper rack.

I'll give the WSM an advantage overall for home use because it's cheaper, lighter, and easier to store. Now if Weber will just add an option that allows me to make phone calls and surf the Internet while cooking I'd be first in line to buy one!

Monday, June 28, 2010

BBQ in the Rain


I am lucky to have such a dedicated bbq assistant. 


But in the end, a few rain drops didn't hurt anything.

Starting a BBQ Blog

I've been writing about bbq on the internet since 2001.  I've had three different bbq sites, but without a doubt this bbq blog has the most readers, the most content, and has even generated a little revenue to help supplement my bbq expenses.  Thank you readers.

I wasn't the first person to write a bbq blog (a web log).  There were others before me and there will be others after me.  If you are thinking about starting your own bbq website or bbq blog, you can save yourself some trial and error mistakes by doing a little research.  I've read many articles about blogging and monetizing websites, but a recent article I read provides a road map for starting a blog.  Here's an excerpt from the article on Problogger.net :
Content Model. Who will write your content? How often will your content be published? What’s the purpose of every article? Will you do straight-up blogging, or a little bit of traditional webmastering? Will you be doing “open-ended blogging” without an “end date” for your content to be roughly finished? Will you accept guest posts
You can start a blog using these guidelines via Blogger.com or Wordpress.com or one of hundreds of other possibilities.  The answers to the questions above make it sound more complicated than it really is.  And as Linda will tell you, if I can do it anyone can do it. So...jump on in, the water is fine. And, when you get yours started let me know and we'll trade links.

BBQ Guy blogging tip:  If you make it a habit to post a picture with each blog post you make, your readers will thank you for it.  (I don't or can't always follow this advice, but I definitely try.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Organic BBQ Sauce?

I wrote an article several days ago about high fructose corn syrup and why it's so prevalent in bbq sauce sold in the grocery stores. It's nearly impossible to find a commercially produced bbq sauce that does not contain corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup (there's a difference).

Linda brought home the organic bbq sauce from Annie's Naturals last month and asked me to try it.  It sat on the kitchen counter for several weeks and yesterday I decided to try it out. The ingredient list looked promising, so it was time to go for it.

I tried the finger tip test first before pouring it on any actual bbq.  I didn't want to chance messing up my bbq if I didn't like the taste for some reason.

To make a short story much shorter, this particular style of organic bbq sauce did not pass my taste test.  I'll keep looking for an alternative, but the search has proven difficult.

Suggestions?

Pork Butt Barbecue


We're hoping to take a few days vacation (if the tropical weather formations cooperate).  Linda suggested that we whip up some pulled pork to take along for sandwiches and reduce our dependency on eating out and to minimize prep time and allow more "vacation time".

Today, I am barbecuing two bone-in-butts on the Weber Smokey Mountain.  We're meeting another family and a nephew or two might join us too. Ten pounds of pulled pork should do the trick perfectly. 

These butts were injected with a mixture of apple juice, honey, and Bad Byron's Butt Rub.  More rub was applied and then the butts were refrigerated overnight for cooking this morning.

As bbq goes, pork butts are very low maintenance.  Put them on the cooker. Check back in 4 hours. Wrap in aluminum foil.  Check the internal temp after 3 more hours and they'll be close to done.  Easy, simple, delicious.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

BBQ Bison Ribs


I cooked these bison ribs on my kettle grill for supper tonight. The ribs were purchased from Gap Creek Buffalo in Bradenton, FL. I used a marinade of Worchestershire, beer, honey, chipotle adobo, salt, pepper, garlic, and soy sauce.

Using aluminum foil, banking the lump charcoal to one side of the kettle, and rotating the ribs every 20 minutes allowed me to cook these bison ribs in about an hour and 10 minutes. It's the first time I cooked them and may have actually overcooked them, so they were a little more chewy than I expected. They are pretty healthy for a barbecue entree.

If you don't have time to watch the entire video, here's a picture of the final cooking results:


We served the ribs with a healthy portion of Spanish rice.

KCBS in Kansas City Newspaper

I ran across a link to this article about KCBS today.  What an opportunity to showcase the sport of bbq to 1,000's of readers throughout the Heartland and maybe the world. Somehow I think this article does more to talk people out of trying to compete in bbq contests than encouraging it. 

The article talks about branding, sponsorship, and insinuates that it's expensive and people in their 20's maybe can't become involved for that reason unless they team up.  But, hey if you're in your 30's and 40's maybe you can.

What?

I'm not a professional marketer and I don't work in the public relations industry, but I am sure there was a better way to answer the question about future leadership in the KCBS than talking about Japanese cooking styles.  Why even bring up the part about drinking beer?  Is that something sponsors are looking for when they consider spending money sponsoring teams or events? 

I've got a suggestion. Perhaps the KCBS should spend more time encouraging younger participants by providing tools, classes, and training for those who choose to use it to find ways to make the sport more affordable via branding and sponsorship.  After all, isn't a bbq society about promoting common ideas and developing enthusiasm for cooking bbq?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FBA Cooking School

If you've always wanted to attend a bbq cooking school, but couldn't justify spending the money here's the one you've been waiting for.  The Florida Barbeque Association (FBA) Fun Cook is hosting a "No Holds Barred" Cooking School in Clermont, FL. The FBA Fun Cook is scheduled for 9/3 - 9/5 at the Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort.

If you don't want to do the cooking school, I still recommend attending the Fun Cook. Linda and I attended this event a couple of times when we lived nearer Orlando. It's a nice way to get to know your fellow competitors and share bbq war stories and fish tales.

Friday, June 18, 2010

BBQ Pitmasters Season 2

I read a Twitter post from BBQ Pitmasters creator John Markus recently announcing the narrowing of the field for the season 2 cast.  It took me awhile to warm up to Season 1.  Having competed in KCBS contests for several years, what I was watching on TV and what I actually experienced at bbq contests did not match up well. 

After the 3rd episode, my attitude toward the show changed a little and it started to grow on me.  I began to realize that some of the hype was necessary to draw a bigger audience (and advertisers to pay the bills), but that doesn't mean I agreed with all of it.

I wonder what Season 2 will bring?

BBQ Business Ideas

What choices do contest cooks have to combat rising expenses? For most contest cooks, starting a bbq business aimed at capitalizing on bbq contest participation seems viable. The basic choices are as follows:


--Start selling bbq rub

--Start selling bbq sauce

--Start a bbq vending / concession business

--Start a bbq catering service

--Start a barbecue website

--Pursue corporate sponsorship

On the surface, each of those ideas sounded promising to us. They certainly sound simple enough. How hard could it be?

We found a co-packer and started selling our bbq spice rubs at contests and to family and friends. If you're thinking of taking a similar approach, plan to spend at least $850 in start-up expenses, add another $300 or $400 if you want professionally printed labels for your bottles. To earn back the start-up costs, plan on selling at least 1,000 bottles of rub in 10 oz. bottles (600 if you decide to start with a larger 13 oz. bottle).

It would be much easier to sell bbq sauce in these volumes, but the start-up expenses are about 400% greater, so increase the sales to 4,000 small bottles (or 2,400 big bottles). After a little research with the health department and state regulators, we crossed bbq vending, concessions, and catering off the list quickly. The start-up expenses to comply with the legal requirements are nearly $20,000, plus rent on a commissary facility to store supplies and prepare foods.

I started two barbecue websites that do generate a small amount of revenue, but not nearly enough to support the cost of contests. If you have technical expertise, this might a viable alternative for you, but based on my "seat of the pants" knowledge level, it's not been the answer to our expense issues.  Hint: YouTube.com, Twitter.com, and Facebook.com will help you increase your web site traffic if you use them strategically.

Which leaves one more option -- corporate sponsorship. I haven't put any efforts into obtaining a corporate sponsor for our bbq team and as difficult as it sounds, it is probably the best option on this list. And that brings us back to the lack of spectator involvement in the events. Without large numbers of spectators at bbq contests (I'm talking thousands), the corporate sponsorship is going to be hard to come by.

Sell Jerky, Earn Money. Each $12 Twin-pack autoshipment carries a $5 commission.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Buffalo Ribs

Hello all, it is The BBQ Guy's better half.  I just ordered 2 racks of buffalo ribs from a local grass fed buffalo farmer.  We both like buffalo/bison, but have only eaten the basics -- steaks, bison hotdogs, and  buffalo burgers, so I decided that next weekend he will be smoking something NEW!!

Long story short -- I am asking for suggestions to pass along to my personal BBQ Chef.  Anybody out there with any Buffalo bbq experience??

Oh no I've got to go The BBQ Guy has just discovered I hijacked his blog!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Puts the Sweet in BBQ Sauce?

It's become common place to find high fructose corn syrup in most barbecue sauces these days.  In a recent trip to my local grocery store, I searched each and every bottle of barbecue sauce on the shelf for those that did not contain high fructose corn syrup on the label.  Care to take a guess how many I found out of the 35+ bottles for sale?  Four - and I purchased a bottle of each.  All of the bottles I purchased contained corn syrup on the label as one the first one or two ingredients.  Two of them were made by the same company.

I'm not sure I know what it takes to qualify as corn syrup and I definitely don't know how it becomes "high fructose" so I decided to do a little research.

What is high fructose corn syrup?

According to MayoClinic.com:
High-fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener and preservative. High-fructose corn syrup is made by changing the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose — another form of sugar. The end product is a combination of fructose and glucose. Because it extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar, high-fructose corn syrup has become a popular ingredient in many sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and other processed foods. Click here to read more.
And according to ScienceDaily.com:
...sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars -- it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose -- but the typical high-fructose corn syrup...features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose....Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized. Click here to read more.
So to summarize my understanding of those two articles, cane sugar appears to be a complex ingredient and slightly costlier and high-fructose corn syrup appears in processed foods as a preservative and is added to food readily accessible to the bloodstream.

So what is the difference between corn syrup and the "high fructose" corn syrup?

From TheFitShack.com:
...corn syrup solids are in a powder form, HFCS is a liquid. Corn syrup solids are not as sweet as HFCS, however it’s all sugar in the end. Corn syrup solids are dextrose sugar, and high fructose corn syrup is fructose sugar." Click here to read more.
Perhaps most interesting to me is that corn syrup is derived from a powder (corn starch) and can be refined as a powder or liquid.  The corn syrup is processed and most of the water is removed to leave the powder.  High fructose corn syrup is derived from an enzyme reaction and also can be either a powder or a liquid, depending the desired usage.  Click here to read about the processing in more detail.

Wow.  I feel smarter now. How about you?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Whole Chicken


I wanted to share some pictures of my Memorial Day bbq chicken.  This beer can chicken was cooked on my WSM (minus the water pan) at 300-325 degrees and took about 2 1/2 hours to reach 170 degrees in the breast and 180 degrees in the drumsticks. 
After eating chicken cooked this way, I'm not sure I'll return to cooking individual chicken pieces ever again. The brine allows a practical way to add flavor and retain moisture.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Original Charcoal Company Briquettes


I posted this originally a couple of years ago.  I had good results with these Rancher briquettes, but haven't been able to find them since.  I'm pretty sure I got this bag at Wal-Mart, but can't find it locally any more. Has anybody got any suggestions for who might carry this charcoal the Tampa, FL area?

For this bbq blog article, I'm testing some charcoal briquettes from The Original Charcoal Company as I cook a packer brisket purchased from a local butcher shop.
The label says these rancher briquettes are 100% all-natural hardwood briquette charcoal carbon madera which is bound together with yucca starch. The back of the package explains that you get lump flavor, heat, and burn time from a briquette.
When it was available, I used to purchase 40 pound bags of madera lump charcoal from a bbq supplier. I had some very good results with the madera lump in bbq competitions. The burn time was a lot longer than the Royal Oak lump I had been using. I'm expecting the same type of results from the briquettes as compared to Royal Oak briquettes. I guess we'll see how the testing goes and if the madera briquettes continue to be available from my suppliers.
Compared to oak and hickory, I think the madera lump burns even hotter, but I'm not sure I can prove it. I call it the "seat of the pants" testing method, which isn't very sceintific, but most of the time it's the best testing technique a barbecue guy can use...because it's quick, fast, cheap, and easy!