Friday, March 30, 2012

Annual BBQ and Blues Festival - Barnesville, GA

The Barnesville Lamar County Chamber of Commerce hosts the Annual BBQ and Blues Festival in downtown Barnesville, GA on the fourth weekend in April. The event is sanctioned by the Florida BBQ Association and hosts some of the nation’s best blues acts. BBQ & Blues spices up the atmosphere downtown each year. Whether you are dancing with the neighbors down the street or winning best in show at the classic car cruise-in, you are going to have a great time.

On Friday night you will enjoy the sound of good music, classic cars on display, delicious food, and a kid’s park! On Saturday taste 24 cook team’s brisket and relax under the shade trees to good music while the kids play. Saturday evening is where the weekend ends with great bands, a GA Music Legend is honored and a musically inclined high school student is given a college scholarship. You never know what special music guest may show up!

BBQ & Blues is loaded with good family fun, southern hospitality, and all in the downtown of a charming city.

Here's a video of E G Knight who is one of the headliners for the blues festival.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bikes and BBQ

Today we took a road trip to Mount Clemens, Michigan for the motorcycle show at the Gibraltar Trade Center.  Click here to see a video of the pictures I took today.

After a few hours checking out the bikes, we headed out in search of a restaurant for lunch. When we are away from home, we like to sample the local restaurants.  We drove 3 miles without seeing a place we just had to eat at, but when we were just about ready to head home we drove by a bbq restaurant located on Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township.

A view of the signage from the parking lot

Sliced brisket sandwich and barbecue beans

A sampling of the sauce offerings

Nice logo

When I eat at a new bbq restaurant I almost always choose to eat brisket. As a bbq enthusiast and former contest competitor, I know that brisket is the most difficult bbq offering to produce in high quantity with high quality. So any bbq restaurant worth it's logo and catchy name needs to have a killer brisket to earn a return visit from me. I am happy to say that Smokin' BarBQ serves very good restaurant quality brisket. When I ordered, I didn't realize it would be served on a bun, but I enjoyed it a lot.

While we were there, we witnessed several people coming and going and they all seemed to enjoy their food. One guy who was dining alone made a special point to walk up to the serving counter and comment about how much he enjoyed the bbq sauce choices.  Just before leaving he returned to the counter and explained that he was scouting the place before deciding to bring his family back for a larger meal. He promised to bring them back at a later date.

The Boss Hog with slaw, macaroni and cheese

Linda ordered The Boss Hog - mostly because of the uniqueness of the name. The sandwich was served with bbq pulled pork and Monterrey Jack cheese with slaw. She liked everything about it, except the sweet pickle garnish on top of the bun. (She's a dill pickle girl.)

For anyone looking for a bbq business opportunity, Smokin' BarBQ is expanding their restaurant concept throughout Southeastern Michigan. With all of the empty restaurants I've seen around metro Detroit, this opportunity could be very lucrative for the right person.

Here's a link to a review by the restaurant critic from Detroit Free Press.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Louis Style BBQ Pork Spare Ribs

I purchased some ribs from Gordon Food Service (GFS) last weekend to make some B.R.I.T.U. recipe St. Louis cut bbq pork spare ribs. It takes some extra time to thaw them, since they come frozen from the store, but overall I was very pleased with the quality and convenience of these ribs.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Madness BBQ Spare Ribs

My favorite basketball teams haven't done well in the tournament this year, but it was a nice excuse to cook some pork spare ribs on Saturday. I used rib racks to easily cook 5 racks of ribs (roughly 10 lbs) in my WSM. Using the rib racks, cooking 10 racks of St. Louis cut spares is possible in the WSM (roughly 20 lbs of ribs).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Brown Sugar versus Turbinado Sugar

This morning I mixed up some B.R.I.T.U. (Best Ribs In The Universe) bbq rub to cook some St. Louis pork spare ribs today on my Weber Smokey Mountain water smoker. This rub recipe was made famous by Mike Scrutchfield. He used this recipe to win the American Royal Invitational bbq contest in the mid-1990's.

I snapped a couple of pictures that demonstrate the downside to using the typical kind of brown sugar that is still fairly moist when it's straight out of the bag.

Unsifted and clumpy
 The white sugar and Kosher salt are highly visible in the above photo because the brown sugar did not mix well.

Sifted and thoroughly mixed

The second photo was take after running the rub mixture through a flour sifter.

You can virtually eliminate this issue and avoid using the flour sifter by using Turbinado sugar aka Sugar in the Raw instead of regular brown sugar. If you don't have any Turbinado sugar in the cupboard and don't want to make a trip to the grocery store, you can spread regular brown sugar onto a cookie sheet and let it sit out for a couple of hours. It will dry fairly quickly and mix more easily with other ingredients.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weekend BBQ Plans

I know it's only Tuesday, but the weather this week has been in the mid-60's with lots and lots of sunshine. I've got spring fever and I can't wait for the weekend.

I haven't made pork ribs following the B.R.I.T.U. recipe in a several years. It's my first bbq session in 2012, so why not go back to basics?

For anyone that might be stopping by the blog for the first time looking for pork rib recipes, B.R.I.T.U. is a nice beginning. Virtual Weber Bullet has a nice write-up for first timers and others (like me) who haven't used that recipe in a while.

If you're going to try B.R.I.T.U. for the first time, be sure to watch the video below that features the originator of the recipe - Mike Scrutchfield. His interview starts at about 2:54 if you don't want to watch the rest.  His tip about wood bark is priceless.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Bison Jerky

Last weekend I wrote an article about using network marketing to help fund my bbq contest efforts.  I think I've finally found the perfect fit - Jerky.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Finding the Money to Compete in Professional BBQ Contests

My wife Linda and I competed in barbecue contests for five years in the early 2000’s. I started out as a “helper, dish washer, and box runner” with and progressed to the point that I started my own team as chief navigator, bill payer, and cook of professional competition barbecue team.

We started with events sanctioned by Florida Barbeque Association (FBA) and did some Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) events in Florida. After being transferred to Michigan by my weekday employer, we competed in KCBS events in Tennessee, Michigan, and Indiana with some good results.

It’s been 6 seasons since Linda and I competed in a professional barbecue contest event, but I’ve continued to blog about barbecue on my blog and I’ve stayed in touch with the events via the BBQ Forum and television programs like TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. On easy going weekend afternoons I found myself visiting pit builder websites like Jamie Geer’s JamboPits and Mike Wozniak’s pit of choice manufactured by Peoria Custom Cookers.

Although we did eventually purchase a 16 ft. tandem axle Doolittle Trailer that my dad customized for bbq competitions, we were a low budget team. Low budget is relative though because we regularly spent $600-$700 per weekend including meat, supplies, and gasoline. We spent close to $15,000 on items related to bbq competitions in the two period of 2005-2006.

We stepped away from competing in 2007 after a job transfer took us back to the Tampa, Florida. We made that decision even though we had dedicated 6 years of hard work to having a realistic chance to win reserve or grand champion at any FBA or KCBS event we entered. The payback for winning a typical bbq contest still isn't enough to offset expenses.

As we edge closer to spring, my spare time thoughts have started to include competing bbq contests once again, but first I need to find a way to offset expenses in the era of $4.00 / gallon gasoline.

I’ve looked at several ways to offset expenses in the past including developing my own BBQ Spice Rub products that I sold for several years. I added Google Adsense to my bbq blog and explored various direct sales opportunities. I could probably re-launch the spice rub business under Michigan's new cottage food law, but I'm not sure the upside is worth the red tape involved. In my mind, obtaining corporate sponsorship remains the most viable way to offset competition expenses, but securing sponsorship is difficult and a bit of the “chicken and the egg” syndrome. Winning Team of the Year, The American Royal, or Jack Daniels bbq events is difficult on a low budget and obtaining meaningful corporate sponsorship requires success at or near that level.

As an alternative to selling bbq rub, bbq sauce, or securing a lucrative multi-year sponsorship deal with Weber, Big Green Egg, BBQ Guru, or even 5-Hour Energy, there are other avenues to pursue including manufacturing a bbq related product, publishing a bbq magazine, selling advertising on a bbq website, or coupling competitive bbq efforts with an alternative out-of-the-box sales opportunity such as the network marketing industry.

Network marketing has been around for more than 100-years. The industry was invented by J.R. Watkins’ company in 1868 and has changed tremendously since the 1950’s when two friends formed Amway in a western Michigan community and started selling their flagship L.O.C. (Liquid Organic Cleaner) product door-to-door. Although network marketing is a low cost business opportunity with low barriers to entry (you can enroll as a distributor in most companies for $30-$40 or even less), you don’t earn any money until products are sold. Coupling the right network marketing opportunity with professional bbq competition efforts takes some foresight, marketing savvy, and finesse, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that it’s a viable alternative.

I am an independent distributor with Jerky Direct.  The company offers products that are a natural fit for bbq contests.  It combines natural meat products, direct sales, and the power of leverage through network marketing to provide an income opportunity for those that choose to participate.

To become a distributor, it's simple -- enroll as a distributor on their website and place a $12 order for two bags of jerky to be shipped direct-your-doorstep each month. Each $12 Twin-pack autoshipment carries a $5 commission. The company pays a 20% commission on all retail sales made from your website and a 5% commission on all wholesale sales on your first level.  It's as simple as that.

I can't promise results for everyone, but it's working for me. Any income projection above is just that, a projection only, and not a guarantee of income, individual results may vary.

Enroll now