Saturday, December 31, 2005
Here are two articles about their competition efforts:
Des Moines Register
Iowa Barbecue Society Interview
The Bar-B-Quau team earns consistent top 5 finishes at contests throughout the Midwest and Southeast.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Competitors from as far away as Michigan and Georgia traveled to Noah's Fork in northern Coffee County Tennessee the past weekend to compete in the 1st Annual Noah's Fork Cast Iron Cook-off competition in search of fabulous awards and prizes. Awards were given for various categories including cooking ability and showmanship.
Showmanship winner, a team comprised of Judy, Rick and Gus Huffines from Kennesaw, GA prepared a squirrel stew combination. The stew was served with southern-style cast iron corn bread and an upside-down pineapple cake. The Huffines team went all-out for showmanship; dressing in frontier clothing and building an authentic canvas shelter framed with Tennessee hardwood logs to earn the award.
Cooking ability winner, Brian and Linda Pearcy, from Plymouth, MI presented a pork with dressing dish to judges and walked away with the "Best Cook" trophy. The Pearcy's also prepared a soda cracker pie that was a hit with judges and spectators alike.
Both teams are already making plans to attend the event next year.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
I couldn't help but equate the growth of bbq contests popularity to the situation.The city executives said that the expense of supporting the event with law enforcement had become too expensive and they simply could not afford to support the event any longer. One thing I think that the city is forgetting, or not giving enough weight to, is the potential economic impact the event could have on the city. Last year was the ninth year for the event and it drew 20,000+ visitors to the downtown area.
The newspaper quoted officials as saying the the expense of positioning 4 police officers at the event exceeded the benefits. I am more familar with potential effects a barbecue contest has on a community than chili contests, but let me go over the potential economic impact of cook-offs in general.
Display booth rental
Advertisement income (from event program sales)
Sponsorship income Vendor booth rental
Based on some Google research, a published report studying small town festivals list the potential impact of such an event at $150,000 - $200,000 or more depending on the level of support the event receives locally in the form of volunteers who are willing to support the event and to support their local community.
Suppose that the city made some sort of arrangement that they would keep part of the proceeds from vending to offset costs and suppose the 20,000 people in attendence at the one day event each purchased a $2 bowl of chili, that's $40,000 in potential revenue.
If the city kept 20 percent or $8,000, wouldn't that more likely than not pay for the expense of having extra law enforcement on duty for the event?
In the case of my local community, I think the executive may be missing the boat on what could potentially become a long standing tradition and source of pride for the residents.
In Tennessee, near where I used to live, the City of Columbia holds an annual "Mule Day" celebration that is supported by folks from more than 38 states on an annual basis. The economic impact of the event according to published reports totals approximately $14 million. Granted, the event dates back to the 1930's and has been held consecutively since 1974, but the event demonstrates the potential for bbq cook-offs, chili cook-offs and festivals in general to generate considerable economic impact on a city and the surrounding areas.
To keep this bbq related:
According to their website, the annual Memphis in May celebration provides $30 million in economic impact to the City of Memphis and is the largest tourism event the city see's all year.
The American Royal website contains a news release stating that the economic impact to Kansas City totals $62 million and revenues from the event increased 6% and attendance increased 11%
Maybe some of this data will help organizers and civic organizations approach their local leaders and educate them on the value of community festivals and competitions to their local economy.
Monday, December 19, 2005
The contest is scheduled for May 25 - 27, 2006 and will be held at the Woodlands in Kansas City, KS. Besides the traditional KCBS categories, the contest will also feature dessert and side dish entries that pay $750 to the winner. The flyer also included information suggesting that organizers are working on putting together a Kid's Que and a Grilling Contest.
In addition to the entry fee securing the team cooking space, there are additional charges for electricity, ice, wristbands, commemorative pins, side dish contest entry, and an entertainment pass.
If I lived a little closer to Kansas City, I would surely send in my entry fee tomorrow.
Maybe we'll get a comparable contest in Michigan someday.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
If you're not already a member of the KCBS, but think you might like to become involved in barbecue competitions such as the American Royal in Kansas City, MO, the Jack Daniels World Championship in Lynchburg, TN, or any of a number of others like the Madison Ribberfest in Madison, IN or the Amazin' Blazin' Barbecue Cook-off in Lebanon, TN; the members of this barbecue society can help make you make a smooth foray into competitive cooking arena.
The KCBS website has a copy of the rules posted that apply to bbq contests sanctioned by the society, a listing of contest schedules, and many of the contest results from past contests posted.
In return for your annual membership fee you receive a KCBS sticker to display on your vehicle and a subscription the BullSheet, the official newspaper of the KCBS.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Rather than adding these pictures to the earlier post about cold weather smoking, I decided to post them separately.
When I pulled these two pork butts from the smoker this afternoon at 4 p.m., the temperature had dropped to 18 degrees outside (not including wind chill). The smoker was holding steady at 235 degrees.
I even managed to do some chores around the house too while the pork was smoking. That's another advantage to an insulated smoker, it's pretty much hands-off. You don't have to babysit it while it cooks. You can spend time doing other things while the cooker just perculates along.
It's worth noting too that, in my opinion, any cooker worth owning doesn't need a thermostat or any other electronic gizmo's to help it function. If the cooker is well-made, you don't need a gadget to make it work. You don't need downdraft, updraft, or any of those so called "minder" devices. In my smoker, you light the fire and put the meat in. It's that simple.
If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm crazy about bbq. I posted this picture of the license plate on my 1998 Ford F-150 to confirm it.
Those that haven't eaten bbq have no idea what they're missing out on. Support your local barbecue establishment, by eating some bbq today.
To take it one step further, learn how to cook your own southern-style barbecue. It's fun, challenging, and a relatively unusual hobby. Anybody can hit a little golf ball around in nice weather. In comparison, it's a small number of people that can take a raw piece of meat, season it with spices, cook it for 7, 8, or 10 hours, slice it up and render it edible. I'm not talking about smothering it in bbq sauce either.
The best bbq doesn't need much bbq sauce. Less is more sometimes and for bbq, less sauce = better bbq most of the time. In contrast, bad bbq needs lots of sauce to make it edible.
Think of that the next time you order bbq in a restaurant and ask yourself, "Just what are they trying to hide behind all that sauce?"
I just finished injecting and seasoning two 6 lb. pork butts a few minutes ago.
We've accumulated close to a foot of snow at my house over the course of the last week, but I think it's time to cook some bbq.
Thankfully, my insulated cooker should have no trouble holding heat in the 20 degree temperatures we've had here lately.
Here's the first update on the progress of our first snowy cook of the season.
I got started a little later than expected because I had difficulty finding a store that still had some charcoal left for sale. I had to go to three stores before I found charcoal. GFS had penty in stock. Apparently, charcoal isn't in high demand during wintertime in Michigan. I don't remember having a difficulty finding it last year, but non of the normal discount stores or grocery stores near me had any this weekend.
I know it's hard to see the thermometer reading in the picture above. My digital camera doesn't have a macro zoom on it for close-ups like this and the digital thermometer, which would be easier to see, only registers down to 32 degrees. It was 20 degrees as I started the fire for today's cooking at 10 a.m.
I just took a quick look out the window an the cooker temperature is now up to 180 degrees. It's time to put the water pan in the cooker and almost time to put the pork butts in.
The butts have been cooking for 4 1/2 hours and I just returned from wrapping them in aluminum foil. The outside temperature is at 23 degrees and there is a hint of sunshine, but it's still pretty cold out. When I pulled the butts out of the cooker their internal temperature as taken on my Maverick thermo reflected 162 and 164 degrees, respectively.
They were beginning to get some good bark formation and look pretty good.
After I wrapped them and stuck the thermo back in and put them back in the cooker, the internal temps on the meat had dropped down below 140 degrees. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised though. The outside temperature is 200 degrees less than the temperature in the cooker.
I'll post more pictures later and post an update on the progress.
Three cheers for insulated bbq cookers. There's little hope of cooking low-and-slow bbq in these kind of temperatures with my WSM, although I did it once last year. Click here to see a picture. Once the insulated smoker is up to cooking temperature, it holds steady in just about any weather. I really don't think it's much different in 20 degree weather than it would be in 80 degree weather.
Just set it and forget it.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I've been threatening to stop using lettuce for my pork turn-ins, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
For me, pulled pork is hard to get situated in the box because it's not all the same size and shape.
Chicken on the other hand, is much easier.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Next month marks the start of the 17th year of the newspaper. The bbq newspaper provides coverage of bbq events from the far reaches of this country.
We've had the honor of contributing some articles that publisher, Kell Phelps, printed in the newspaper and appreciate Kell allowing us to share our experiences with others who might relate to what we have to say. Linda wrote a series of articles that described her experience as a bbq wife and I wrote an article about the Florida Barbecue Association.
If you don't subscribe to the barbecue newspaper featuring barbecue product reviews, bbq contest coverage, bbq contest results, bbq announcements, recipes, restaurant information, pictures and much, much more; you owe it to yourself to check it out.
A subscription to the Barbecue News would make a great Christmas gift, Father's Day, Mother's Day, or anytime. I am sure the barbecue enthusiast in your life will thank you for it.
Here's a news feature article that features the publishers' the Phelps family.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
I arrived at the Detroit Metro Airport at 4: 30 p.m. on Thursday for my early evening flight to St. Louis. Although the forecast was calling for snow there was none in sight.
It started snowing at the airport at about 7:30 p.m. and by 9:00 p.m. it was an all-out snowstorm. The snow in Chicago delayed our plan enroute to St. Louis and our flight was repeatedly delayed until it was finally canceled--at 2 a.m.
I returned home and managed to get 3 hours sleep before returning to the airport the next morning for a 9:30 a.m. flight to St. Louis. That flight was delayed by 15 minutes, but we did finally head out for St. Louis.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Trim Fat (Remember the fat pocket)
Tenderize on both sides by piercing with a fork or with one of the various tenderizer utensils on the market
Spray meat with cooking spray
Sprinkle with meat tenderizer
Sprinkle with BBQ Rub
Let sit for 10-15 minutes for the rub to “settle in”
Use an oven bag, 2 gallon Ziploc, or garbage bag for storage in cooler or refrigerator for several hours
I am not a proponent of allowing meat to sit out unrefrigerated for two or three hours (or more) like I see so many other cook teams doing at various bbq contests. It is a potential health risk for the judges and others who might be eating the brisket later if the meat sits out too long. The longer it sits in the danger zone (internal meat temp higher than 40 degrees and lower than 140 degrees), the bigger the risk of spoilage.
I would like to put together a "rub exchange" for readers of the bbq blog. We can use the blog to put folks together. Just reply to this message if you would like to participate in the exchange.
Here's how it will work:
1. You "raise your hand" to participate by responding to this blog entry.
2. Send me an e-mail at email@example.com or leave your e-mail in your blog response and I will cooridinate distribution of the mailing addresses for everyone participating.
3. I will contact you to get your mailing address and then share the mailing addresses of the others with you so we can all "exchange" our bbq rubs.
4. You package 2-3 cups of your rub in a Ziploc bag and mail it.
5. Feel free to share the recipe too, although it's not absolutely required.
I would like to do this every 3 or 4 months if we can put together enough participants. It's a great way to sample some great rubs and something fun to do as well.
Monday, December 05, 2005
6-7 lb pork butt
Martinelli's apple juice
barbecue spice rub
1. Inject pork butt with 5-6 oz. of apple juice.
2. Spray butt with cooking spray (it will help the spice rub adhere).
3. Sprinkle a liberal amount (i.e. gobs) of bbq rub on the outside of the butt.
4. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight in a Ziploc bag.
5. Heat the cooker to 250 degrees with a wood or charcoal fire.
6. Place the butt on the cooker and cook until internal temp reaches 165 degrees
7. Wrap in aluminum foil. A double or triple thickness is best.
8. Continue cooking until internal temp reaches 192-193 degrees.
9. Remove from smoker and allow butt to rest for an hour or two.
10. I like to wrap the butt in towels and place it in an Igloo cooler, which will hold heat.
11. Remove butt and "pull" or "chop" into bite size pieces.
12. Serve on hamburger buns with your favorite bbq sauce.
Inside The World of Championship Barbecue takes you inside a major championship competition. Filmed at the American Royal Barbecue in Kansas City, you will gain solid tips from among the top barbecue cooks in this sport. Loaded with valuable information covering the entire (KCBS style) competition process, this movie is intended to help new competitors chart a winning course to victory.
In BBQ Secrets: The Master Guide To Extraordinary Barbecue Cookin’, 3 world champion barbecue competition cooks, and restaurateur’s, share their unique approaches to barbecue cooking. Learn how to apply the authentic “low and slow” methods to making pork ribs, shoulder, chicken, whole hog, beef brisket, and more. Master the art of making spice rubs and marinades, and how to use different woods for proper flavoring. This award-winning DVD offers a wealth of expert knowledge not readily available from other sources, and includes the champion’s own private recipes.
I have arranged a special purchase price for these two videos for visitors to my web site. To purchase the videos for a package price of $44.90 plus $7 shipping, send me an e-mail. View my BBQ Catalog
The videos make great gifts.
One little tip I learned in these videos earned me more than $1,500 in prize money last year on the bbq circuit.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
I hope you enjoy it.
If you have questions about bbq, feel free to post them here, or send me an e-mail.
If you have suggestions for articles or links you'd like to see on the blog, please let me know.
This week's edition of American Profile Magazine listed a recipe for Tourtiere Pork Pie. The main ingredient features 3 lbs of ground pork.
I tried my grandmothers' minced meat pie once as a young boy and recall that I didn't really like much. The idea of pie containing meat instead of the traditional apples, cherries, peaches, black berries, raspberries, etc. intrigues me, but probably not enough to give it a try.
I think I'll stick to traditional pie for now, but I'll confess that if I do decide to try a "meat pie", I might try this one out of shear curiosity.
Has anyone that reads this blog had a piece of Tourtiere Pork Pie?
I'm interested to know what you thought?
I've been playing a fantasy football league via CBS Sportsline for four seasons and really enjoy it a lot. I won the league championship the first year in the league, but with fantasy team members Hines Ward, Peyton Manning, Peerless Price, and Marvin Harrision; I couldn't lose.
For most of that first season these four players as a group garnered more points than any other combination of players in the NFL. Of course, I'd like to say that I ended up with them on my team as a result of many hours of analysis, study and calculation, but in the end I have to admit that I picked Peyton Manning because he was my favorite player when he was in college at the University of Tennessee and Peerless Price was his favorite receiver during those years, but the others were just purely lucky selections. With the exception of Price, these players have consistently been some of the best performers in fantasy football for the past four years.
Likewise to win a competitive barbecue contest, luck does play a part at times. (1) The judges that end up judging your barbecue are completely out of your control as a barbecue cook. (2) The weather for the weekend, which will have a profound effect on your cooking times and ability to gain consistent performance from your barbecue smoker, is out of your control. (3) For the most part, the meat that you select from your meat supplier is purely happenstance. Sure, you can purchase your meat from a particular supplier and purchase a particular cut of meat or a cut prepared by a certain packing house, but you have no control over the particular cattle, pigs, or chicken that produced your barbecue entries and you certainly have no control over the guy in the slaughterhouse that processed it.
Don't get me wrong....I'm not saying that the top barbecue teams that consistently rise to the top at nearly every contest they enter do so because they are lucky. I submit to you that exactly the opposite is true. Barbecue cook teams like Bar B Quau, Lotta Bull, Smokin Triggers, Boys from Tornado Alley and Parrothead Smokers win a lot because they are able to take all the aspects where luck of the draw does come into play and consistently overcome them better than other cook teams.
If there was a fantasy barbecue league, those guys would certainly be at the top of my list come draft day.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
It's cold here today and the weather forecaster are predicting three inches of snow by morning.
For those that are suffering through the cold weather with us, here are some warm weather pictures from the Winchester bbq contest last April. The picture on the above bottom is my mother-in-law, Sylvia Stepp of Beech Grove, TN and Petti Groth, from Cookeville, TN, working on cleaning the chicken thighs just before marinating.
The big picture above top is "The BBQ Guy's Wife", Linda enjoying springtime with her friend Petti.
It's a long, long way from short sleeves here in Michigan tonight.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
This stock index was contrived by TheBBQGuy.com to formulate a methodology for tracking the overall health of the barbecue hobby comprised of industries and companies that have a direct impact on the recreational back-yard barbecue cook, barbecue restauranteurs, and serious competition barbecue cooks.
TheBBQGuy.com has taken a seat-of-the-pants approach to researching the twelve stocks that comprise the "The BBQ Guy's U.S. Barbecue Stock Index" based on years of experience in preparing barbecue, eating barbecue and researching the viability of the barbecue industry. Based on this highly unscientific research, the following stocks have been identified as significant indicators of the barbecue industry as a whole.
U.S. Barbecue Index
(Provided courtesy TheBBQGuy.com)
Archer Daniels Midland................$ 24.52
Clorox Company............................$ 54.29
Darden Restaurants......................$ 36.09
Famous Dave's of America...........$ 10.93
Fleetwood Enterprises..................$ 11.13
H.J. Heinz Company......................$ 35.70
Hormel Foods Corporation...........$ 32.62
Pilgrim's Pride Corporation..........$ 31.97
Smithfield Foods............................$ 30.38
Tyson Foods...................................$ 16.78
Wal-Mart Stores............................$ 50.49
Be sure to check-in at TheBBQGuy.com for periodic updates.
Friday, November 25, 2005
36601 Warren Road
Westland, MI 48185
After a quick visit to the Westland Mall on 11/25/05, my wife Linda and I stopped by the Famous Dave’s restaurant for lunch.
As we entered the front door, we immediately noticed that the interior decorators had gone to a great deal of trouble in an attempt to duplicate the atmosphere one might discover in a bon-a-fide southern-style BBQ place, even though most of the items appeared to be reproduction items. I’m sure it’s hard to find genuine southern artifacts for display like that, but some of the items were obvious store-bought wannabe antiques.
We were greeted by the hostess and seated at a booth in the front dining room. The booths, tables and chairs in the dining room were made of wood and covered in red and white vinyl checker table cloths and floor was very clean. The numerous windows let in lots of natural sunlight and made a very pleasant impression. The dining room was filled with blues music emanating from several stereo speakers mounted strategically throughout the dining room. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Vaughn, Buddy Guy, B.B. King and Albert Collins were some of the artists I recognized.
Linda made a comment to me that for a bbq restaurant there was an absence of any smokey aroma she expected. When the waitress arrived at the table after we’d been seated a short time, Linda asked, “How come I don’t smell any smoke?” The waitress replied, “Did you want to set in the smoking section?” Neither Linda nor I smoke cigarettes, but after Linda explained that she was referring to bbq smoke from burning wood or charcoal, the waitress struggled to explain that she shouldn’t expect to “smell” smoke because the smoker was “in the back”. I think the waitress missed the point of the question entirely, but after a period of awkward silence and Linda trying to explain that she thought bbq cooked with burning wood or charcoal would produce at least some amount of smoke fragrance, we proceeded to place our order.
The waitress did an excellent job explaining the main menu items and accompanying side order choices. The restaurant menu has a lunch section and a dinner section, but customers can order from either one. The waitress explained that the lunch items are served in smaller portion sizes and are slightly less expensive. Famous Dave’s offers appetizers, soups, salads, fish, burgers in addition to the “classic” bbq items. The “All-American BBQ Feast” serves 4-5 people for $53 and the menu also detailed a ”Feast for Two” for $30 in addition to various other combinations annotated as “combos”.
Linda chose the “Georgia Chopped Pork” sandwich and I ordered the “Texas Beef Brisket”. Side choices included corn bread muffin, potato salad, creamy coleslaw, corn-on-the-cob, fries, apples, baked potato or beans. We both had the beans, and I added potato salad.
As we waited for our order we sampled the selection of sauces on the table which included traditional Heinz ketchup, “Devil’s Spit”, “Texas Style”, “Georgia Mustard”, “Rich and Sassy” and “Sweet and Sassy”. I liked the two sassy selections best.
After just a very few minutes the waitress brought our meals. The chopped pork was served on a traditional hamburger bun and sauced with the “Sweet and Sassy” barbecue sauce. My brisket slices were served on a slice of Texas toast, with a little “Rich and Sassy” barbecue sauce on top, and accompanied by a corn muffin and corn-on-the-cob in addition to the potato salad and beans I ordered. The chopped pork sandwich looked very tasty and Linda confirmed that it exceeded what she has come to expect from a commercial bbq restaurant. My sliced brisket was a little different from what I would cook at home and had no visible “bark” or bbq spice rub whatsoever, but it was good nonetheless. We were both satisfied with the meal and agreed that it’s head and shoulders above any other barbecue we’ve sampled since moving to the Detroit area.
The waitress brought Coke and Diet Coke refills without us having to ask and the receipt totalled $21. We left a $3 tip and left, pleasantly surprised.
On a scale of 1 through 10, I’d rate the overall dining experience an “8.5″ and the barbecue as “good”. Linda made several positive comments on the way back to the truck regarding the good quality of service provided by the waitress.
“The BBQ Guy”
Member Kansas City Barbecue Society
Member Florida Barbecue Association
Thursday, November 24, 2005
If you've every considered competing in a bbq contest I would encourage you to jump in and try it out. You'll have fun, you'll meet a lot of people, and you'll challenge yourself to improve you bbq cooking abilities. Best of all....it'll give an excuse to cook more often, because you're going to need to practice a lot. The neighbors will love you for it because there will be lots and lots of leftovers from the practice cooks and from the contests.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to do it either. A Weber Smokey Mountain and a kettle grill or two will get you started. A low budget set-up would be to purchase 2 WSM's and use your kettle grill for chicken, or if you're already an avid qu'er, you could purchase a Backwoods Party or Competitor Model.
I use a Backwoods Party and a WSM, with pretty good results. I've placed well in some contests and can honestly say that I doubt if the cooker has very much to do with the quality of my contest results. I need to better utilize those cookers to their fullest potential.
My wife and I got started with a total cash outlay of about $1,500 and then budgeted about $500 per contest for entry fees, gas, meals, and contest meat. In the beginning, the odds of winning grand champion are not very good unless you're on top of your game, but....you should have some fun and learn alot. Best of all, you'll meet a lot of really nice people.
For those that aren't familar with the level detail that goes into preparing for a bbq contest, I wanted to share the schedule we use to ensure that our contest entries are ready for the judges on time. The schedule below is a guideline we use at KCBS contests. Like any schedule, it's a guideline and not necessarily the exact step-by-step method we might use, but it's very close.
12:00 Prep Meat
2:00 Purchase Ice
4:00 Attend Cook's Meeting
5:00 Eat Supper
6:00 Get some rest
10:30 Start cooker
12:15 Begin Cooking Briskets
1:15 Begin Cooking Pork Butts
3:00 Spray Apple Juice on Briskets
4:00 Spray Apple Juice on Briskets
5:00 Spray Apple Juice on Briskets
6:45 Light Fire for Backwoods to Cook Chicken
6:00 Wrap Butts at 160-165 degrees (5 hours max)
6:15 Wrap Brisket at 165-170 degrees (6 hours max)
7:40 Begin Cooking Ribs
8:30 Prepare Lettuce and Parsley for Turn-in Boxes
9:10 Foil ribs (w/juice, meat side down)
9:15 Begin Cooking 12 chicken Thighs (biggest)
9:30 Begin Cooking 12 chicken Thighs (smallest)
10:15 Turn ribs meat side up, add dark brown sugar in foil
11:00 Sauce Chicken Thighs (target temp is 150 degrees)
11:10 Check ribs for doneness
11:15 Heat Rib Sauce
11:30 Unfoil ribs and sauce, low heat
11:45 Prep Chicken Turn-in Box
11:50 Sauce Ribs
12:00 Turn-in Chicken
12:10 Heat Brisket Sauce
12:15 Slice Ribs and Prepare Rib Turn-in Box
12:20 Make Pork Butt Sauce
12:30 Turn-in Ribs
12:45 Prep Pork Butt Turn-in Box
1:00 Turn-in Pork Butts
1:15 Prep Brisket Turn-in Box
1:30 Turn-in Brisket
2:00 Pack and Load to prepare for returning home
If there's ice cream available, we usually eat a big helping after everything is done. It really hits the spot in hot weather.
We had our first significant snow fall yesterday and today the wind is gusting between 20 and 40 mph. It's a winter blast just in time for the weekend.
We usually deep fry the turkey, but this year we're going to try something different. Rather than tracking snow into the house today by cooking outside, I've decided to do what most folks do and cook the turkey in the oven.
To get my barbecue fix for today I think I'll watch a barbecue video or two.
Be sure to check them out on the catalog page of TheBBQGuy.com
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Thinking back to my days of listening to University of Tennessee football on the car radio while working at the car dealership on Saturdays, I recall hearing their long time play-by-play commentator, John Ward, say this during the introduction for every broadcast......It's TURKEY TIME across America!
Or, was that FOOTBALL TIME in Tennessee? (I know, I know, it's been a rough football year in the Volunteer State, but I'm not giving up on them.)
We've thawed the turkey, washed the turkey, made the brine, chilled the brine; and we're getting ready to let the osmosis process begin as the turkey soaks in the brine solution overnight. We're going through all this effort so the turkey will be full of flavor for cooking tomorrow, or maybe it's just so I have something to do and get a few brownie points with Linda--you tell me.
Hope you have an enjoyable Thanksgiving Holiday and enjoy your turkey, ham, or other main course of choice before watching football all afternoon!
Brian and Linda
Monday, November 21, 2005
I know this isn't strictly a bbq group, but it's a kindred cooking method -- dutch ovens. I have a cast iron dutch oven from Lodge that I received as a gift last year. I really enjoy cooking with it.
I was pointed toward this group on Yahoo by someone from the International Dutch Oven Society that used to live in Michigan. There are lots of pictures of dutch oven meals, techniques and recipes.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
I finally got around to the brining experiment with some chicken thighs today.
(The picture on the right is a practice presentation and not an acutal competition turn-in box.)
I did some with a kosher salt, pickle spice, bay leaves, tender quick, honey brine and some more with a kosher salt, sugar, cloves, molasses, bay leaves, oregano, black pepper brine. I brined them both for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Both versions were decent, but I think the next time I do the honey brine I will let it soak in the brine about 15 - 20 minutes longer and see if that gives it a more intense flavor.
I rinsed the thighs thoroughly before cooking and cooked them in my WSM sans water in the water pan. I just put foil over the empty water pan (to catch the drippings) and cooked for 1 hour and 30 minutes (169-170 degree internal meat temperature). Next time I'm going to experiment with skin side down for the first 30 minutes of the cook to see what effect that has on the skin.
So far my experimentation with brines has not provided the skin texture I'm looking for, but I'm going to keep tweaking until I hit on the right combination.
I'll post updates from time to time.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Insulated, upright, barbecue cookers
I knew this day was coming. I've braced myself for it since April 30 (the last cold day here in my part of Southeast Michigan). It was 19 degrees last night with snow flurries and I don't think it was much more than 25 degrees for a high temperature today.
Weather like this would make it pretty near impossible to do much barbecuing with a log burner offset cooker. For cold weather barbecue cooking, it's pretty hard to beat an insulated cooker; and better yet, an upright insulated cooker.
I'm not a scientist, but it didn't take me long to figure out that cookers with the heat source below the cooking grates are more efficient than cookers with the heat source adjacent (offset) to the cooking grates.
I can cook pork butts or briskets on about 10 lbs of charcoal for 9 or 10 hours using sand in the water pan and with water in the pan it takes around 13-14 lbs of charcoal.
Last winter I cooked several briskets in temperatures near 10 degrees with little trouble. If you are in the market for a new cooker for next year's competition season, be sure to check out the insulated cookers on the market: Backwoods, Stumps, and Dominizer are a few of the ones I am familar with and I'm sure there are others. Give them a serious look. You won't regret it.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I have a business proposition for you. Whether you are a bbq contest competitor, backyard cook, promoter of bbq books or other bbq products; becoming a distributor for the "Original Spice Rub" should help diversify sales revenues and increase your profitability.
Our goal is to add from 3 to 5 additional distributors by year end.
Here are the details of my proposal:
• The 13 oz. bottles include a professionally designed product label that contains an ingredients list and a nutrition statement.
• I will provide my bbq rub to you at a wholesale discount price so that you can mark it up and sell it for a profit.
• Similarly packaged bbq spice rub products are currently being sold by retailers for anywhere between $9.00 and $12.00 per bottle.
• The return on investment for this opportunity is tremendous because the product development, packaging, and test marketing has already been conducted. This bbq rub is a proven bbq contest winner.
• There are no territory restrictions, so you can sell it where ever else you want to.
• I plan to add additional products in the future, including a spice rub specially formulated for beef.
I look forward to our partnership and hope that you will agree to be my distributor in your local market.
Member KCBS and FBA
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
My wife Linda and I compete in barbecue contests sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and Florida Barbecue Association.
To assist with funding our competitive cooking efforts, we also market our own original recipe barbecue rub at cook-offs and via our web site about competitive barbecue at TheBBQGuy.com
If you or someone you know also markets a barbecue product and you would like to form a cooperative effort to help both of us potentially increase sales, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it further.
To explain a little more about what I have in mind....
For example, if you have a barbecue sauce (or other barbecue product) to sell and would like to 'trade' me for an equal dollar amount of my original spice rub, I believe we could mutually benefit from this type of arrangement.
Companies like Home Depot, Eddie Bauer, Wrangler, and Wal-Mart have proven that "cooperation" of this type is mutually beneficial and have been doing it for years.
Again, if you have a barbecure or other product that might fit this mold, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
4:50 a.m. The alarm sounded at 4 a.m. and I got up to put two pork butts and a CAB brisket on to cook. I started the brisket about 45 minutes ahead of the butts so they will finish at close to the same time.
9:00 a.m. It's getting colder outside and we're beginning to realize that winter weather is right around the corner. I heard it was 85 degree last week in Tennessee. I'd like to have some 85 degree weather today.
10:30 a.m. I just finished wrapping the meat and checking the temperature probes. The butts were at 162 and the brisket at 163.
2:00 p.m. I just took the briskets and butts off the cooker, wrapped them in towels and placed them inside an Igloo cooler to hold until ready to serve tonight around 5:30 p.m.
Monday, October 17, 2005
This will be a multi-part post that I will update periodically with my progress. For the past several years as the weather starts turn cooler and the bbq contest season begins to wind down, I tend to gravitate towards finding other forms of competitive cooking challenges to "research". I've know about chili cook-offs for a couple years now and have attended a couple to check them out.
This winter I hope to learn to cook contest chili in the spirit of the International Chili Society
Being a total novice at cooking "chili without beans", it should be interesting and quite comical at times I'm sure. I tend to over analyze most everything I try for the first few times, so this time I've pledged to take one of the chili recipes from the ICS website and work on it over the winter with the goal of entering the Snowflake Regional in Jackson, MI scheduled for 2/12/2006.
I'll post updates from time to time on my progress.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
3 cups ketchup
1 cup mustard
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T Worchester sauce
I mix this together and heat it on the stove top for about 15 minutes to help dissolve the sugar. I heat it to 160 degrees for 1 minute. Higher heat has a tendancy to break down the honey and molasses too much.
Store leftover sauce in the refrigerator.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
I am an avid UT Vols football fan. Even though I grew up in Missouri, I watched the Big Orange whenever the games were televised. I was a big Johnny Majors fan and followed the careers of Andy Kelly, Heath Shuler, Reggie White, Alvin Harper, Carl Pickens and Willie Gault, among many, many others.
I came across an article today about one of the most heralded offensive linemen to play in Knoxville since Phillip Fulmer graduated. The article demonstrates why everyone needs a plan B. I hope you enjoy the article about Michael Munoz as much as I did.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Westpoint Barbecue, Dearborn, MI:
My wife Linda and I stopped in for lunch today at Westpoint Barbeque at 25301 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn, MI. It’s the first time Linda has tried a barbecue restaurant since we moved here from Florida and my second visit to a commercial barbecue restaurant in the Motor City area.
Before I say anything else about our experience, I should offer this disclaimer: Linda and I have cooked in barbecue contests with KCBS and FBA for the past three years. We cook our own barbecue at home and enjoy it a lot. Linda grew up in Tennessee and is southern-style barbecue connoisseur. I grew up in Missouri, but fell in love with Tennessee style pulled pork after I moved to Tennessee after college graduation.
I’ve driven by the Westpoint Barbeque restaurant a lot in my trips to and from work and the place always seems to have a lot of cars in the parking lot.
We stopped in at 11 a.m. for lunch on our way to Greenfield Village. We were ahead of the regular lunch crowd and there were only two or three other groups in the restaurant when we arrived.
We figured that any restaurant that has the word “barbeque” in their name should stand a good chance of serving some pretty good barbecue, so we decided to give it a try.
Our intention was to order pulled pork and spare ribs; that way we could both try some of each.
The waitress brought our menus and we noticed that Westpoint Barbeque serves a lot of other things besides barbecue. The first item that caught my eye when I opened the menu was “pitas”. They must have had three or four different pitas to choose from. They also serve fish, steaks, hamburgers, and a variety of other sandwiches and salads. Linda was disappointed that they didn’t have “pulled pork” on the menu.
I ordered the barbecue ribs (1/2 slab) and Linda chose the “sliced” barbecue pork tenderloin sandwich. The waitress served our drinks quickly and brought silverware to the table with the food arriving within 10 minutes of placing the order. The tables were clean, the waitresses were pleasant and we were greeted and seated within a few seconds of arriving.
The ribs are served with Texas Toast and a choice of fries, broiled potatoes or a baked potato. I chose a side order of cole slaw and the broiled potatoes. At first glance the ribs appeared over cooked. They were very black in color and were slathered in a bright red barbecue sauce. The ribs were pre-cut with notches to make them easier to pull apart, but I was able to separate the ribs easily.
Upon first bite my taste buds were greeted with some flavors and textures that I do not usually associate with barbecue ribs; a “charred” texture to the meat from the top of the ribs and a lack of sweetness to the barbecue sauce. I did not notice any rub on the ribs at all. I can only guess that the ribs were cooked with a lot of sauce, and therefore the cooking process “burned” the sauced onto the ribs causing the charring effect. I prefer barbecue sauce that is sweeter and have grown accustomed to honey or molasses flavors. The sauce seemed to be a derivative of the Cattleman’s sauce that you can buy at Sam’s Club warehouse store. I can also only assume that the ribs were cooked a long time before they were served; perhaps the day before. They had the characteristics of barbecue ribs that I sometimes eat as leftovers. The vinegar slaw and broiled potato wedges were very good.
The barbecue pork tenderloin sandwich was served on Texas Toast with lettuce, tomato and A LOT of barbecue sauce slopped on it. Linda commented that she’d never had barbecue with lettuce and tomato. She promptly removed them. Sauce was oozing out onto the bread from all sides. Linda commented that the meat was dried out and that the spice flavoring did not penetrate the meat through and through. I had a bite of the tenderloin and it didn’t take long to figure out why it was served with so much sauce; it was really dried out.
The waitress offered us refills and presented the check: $21 and change. We left a $4 tip and left.
I’ll be the first to admit that we are pretty critical restaurant guests. We notice things like unswept floors, finger prints on the glass, cigarette smells, and unclean restroom facilities. We found NONE of those characteristics at Westpoint Barbeque. The restaurant was very neat, very organized and very clean throughout the dining room area, the waitresses and bus boys were neatly dressed and pleasant. The restroom was one of the cleanest I’ve seen in a family-style restaurant.
On a scale of 1 through 10, I’d rate the overall dining experience a “7″ and the barbecue as “marginal”.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Baby Back Ribs:
10/8 9:30 p.m. I just finished preparing three slabs of ribs for smoking tomorrow. I sprinkled them front and back with The BBQ Guy's Original Spice Rub and put them back in the refrigerator to let them marinade overnight.
I plan to cook them in my WSM using Royal Oak lump charcoal and a small fist-sized chunk of hickory wood for smoking. I cook them at 230 degrees on the top rack of the cooker. Baby backs take about 4 1/2 hours to cook, so they should be ready by about half time of tomorrow's first round of football games.
10/9 9:30 a.m. I started a 1/2 charcoal chimney full of Royal Oak and added the lit charcoal to the unlit lump in the WSM.
"The BBQ Guy"
Member Kansas City Barbecue Society
Member Florida Barbecue Association
Saturday, October 08, 2005
1 can Light Kidney Beans (drained)
1 can Pinto Beans (drained)
1 can Garbanzo Beans (drained)
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced Red Tomatoes
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 medium white onion (chopped)
1 teaspoon cummin
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons The BBQ Guy's Original Spice Rub
2 lbs hamburger (lightly browned)
Combine the ingredients in a large pot. Cook over medium-low heat for 30-45 minutes and serve. Stir occasionally.
Your barbecue friend,
"The BBQ Guy"
Member Kansas City Barbecue Society
Member Florida Barbecue Association
Thursday, October 06, 2005
I did a search on Google tonight for "bbq" and it returned 16,900,000 pertinent pages written in English.
A quick perusing of the search results reveal a huge variety of things bbq--everything from bbq recipes, bbq restaurants, competition bbq cooking teams, bbq equipment, bbq blogs, bbq forums....well, you get the idea.
Entry # 98 is a bbq blog called Texas Cook
Entry # 181 is a web site detailing the BBQ on the Bow a Canadian bbq contest.
Entry # 271 is a press release detailing a review of Peace, Love and BBQ by Mike Mills. BBQ is a family obsession for the Mills family that has grown to include a dozed bbq restaurants in Illinois, New York and Las Vegas.
And I could go on, and on, and on....
So you see, barbecue is past time, a business, a culture, but most of all, it's just plain delicious!
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Have you ever called an off-site catering company to inquire about rates for an event at your home? Most likely , the prices were shocking. Off-site catering companies have high overhead costs due to the State's requirement for a licensed cooking facility. The BBQ Guy Personal Chef Service can provide food for your private event, within your own home at a fraction of the cost. Specializing in events serving from 2 to 40 guests, The BBQ Guy can work with you to provide a memorable event with the best barbecue and southern-style entres you've ever laid your taste buds on!
E-mail The BBQ Guy for more information.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Do you like to cook outdoors? Do you enjoy cooking with grills, smokers, turkey fryers, and dutch ovens?
Want to join a cooking club?
Here's how the club will work:
We will meet on a monthly basis.
Members will learn about various outdoor cooking styles.
Meals will be cooked outdoors.
We will cook main dishes, sides, desert.
At the end of each meeting we will plan next month's menu.
I hope to hear from you.
E-mail me for more information
Friday, September 30, 2005
The American Royal Barbecue Contest is being held this weekend signifying that the 2005 barbecue contest season is nearing an end.
We had a lot of fun in our first year living in Michigan and competing outside of the State of Florida for the first time. We attended events in Carmel, IN; Winchester, TN, Madison, IN; Grand Rapids, MI; and Dundee, MI.
Many people think of barbecue contests as a strictly a southern past time, but I can attest that midwesterners are serious about their barbecue contests too.
Madison, IN and Grand Rapids, MI had too of the largest contests I've ever attended with contestants coming from several states to compete.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM):
The picture at the right is a picture of my Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) bbq smoker. For anyone looking for an economical bbq smoker, this fits the bill perfectly.
The WSM is versatile enough to use in the backyard or in bbq competition. We use our WSM at home when we want to cook smaller quantities and in competition to cook our brisket. We achieved some pretty results with this low cost, low tech bbq cooking solution.
(Sept 14) I've been reading and hearing a lot of debate regarding the pro's and con's of cooking chicken "low and slow" versus cooking at "higher" temps, or even starting at low temps and finishing at higher temps to "crisp" the skin.
I plan to highlight all three methods here this week and provide a step-by-step outline of my testing methods, recipes, marinades, cooking temps, finishing temps, rubs, sauces, cookers used, etc.
I am going to be cooking 12 Amish chicken thighs--4 using each method outlined above.
I like "Amish" chicken thighs specifically because in my experience any chicken that has been soaked in a sodium solution during processing turns out too salty after it's been seasoned with a bbq rub. I've good luck with Publix chicken (all-natural), but since we've moved to Michigan I can't find it. Another good brand is Pilgrim's Pride, which is also Sodium free.
The chicken will be rubbed with an equal mixture of garlic granules, onion granules, black pepper, salt, chili powder and a small amount of chipotle powder. I always put the spice rub under the skin and then fold the skin back on top of the rub and spread the skin evenly over the thigh.
I will marinate the chicken thighs in an Italian dressing mixture that includes apple juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
I never have been a big proponent of allowing meat to sit out until it reaches room temperature as some folks do, so I will remove the chicken directly from marinating in the refrigerator and place it directly on the cookers.
(Sept 19) The chicken cooking test turned out a little unexpected.
The chicken cooked at high temps (325 degrees) and low and slow (225 degrees) then finished at high temps (325 degrees) turned out to be a lot dryer than I expected. Also, the skin did not really crisp up very well. It's a very fine line between crisp skin and burnt black skin.
The chicken cooked at 225 degrees (the way we do it in competition with good results) had a much more predictable result--tender, juicy, tastey, but with "chewy" skin.
I guess I've confirmed what a lot of folks have know for years....there are tradeoffs in just about everything you set out to do it life...bbq is no exception.
Friday, September 09, 2005
You take your wife to dinner at Cracker Barrel on Friday night and spend 45 minutes talking about how it would make a great bbq restaurant.
I don't know what's worse or who is more bbq crazy--me or her--because as she ate her chicken and dumplins' and I ate a catfish filet, we discussed what we would serve our customers if we owned a bbq restaurant.
I do know one thing for certain....I'm a lucky guy.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Spare time activity:
I've been writing a novel for about three months now and it's been a lot of fun.
It's neat to start with a concept for a storyline and expand it upon it...sometimes it takes you in a completely different direction.
My goal is to have it finished before Christmas, so my thought is that by writing about it here will put a little pressure on me to follow through by year-end.
Stay tuned for excerpts and snippets from time to time.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I didn't have a barbecue contest this weekend and decided to take a week off from practicing traditional barbecue dishes.
I pulled out the Dutch Oven and decided to cook some Cornish hens for supper.
The hens were washed, salted and stuffed a sausage and bread stuffing.
I received a 10 inch Lodge oven for Christmas last year and really enjoy cooking with it.
The hens were steamed for 25 minutes in water with bottom heat and then basted every 10 minutes for 40 minutes after adding top heat.
The top heat added the crisp skin and golden look. Next time I will add some olive oil to give the skin a more uniform golden brown appearance.
I've cook Cornish hens in my smoker before and they turned out pretty well, but I think I prefer the Dutch Oven results.
Certified Angus Brisket:
Up until last winter I had been cooking brisket flats purchased at Sam's Club with mixed results. I've since switched over to whole briskets and have been pleased with the results.
There is a meat market near our house that is happy to order Certified Angus Briskets (CAB) for me as long as I allow a couple days notice. If you are using brisket flats, I would recommend you consider changing to whole briskets. I think you be happy with the results. I know I sure am and our contest results will bear that out.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Mr. Red and Mr. Black:
This picture was taken at the Bodacious Blues and Barbecue KCBS Crossroads Cook-off held in Carmel, IN earlier this year.
The black cooker is a Backwoods Party model that I purchased from Joby Stanaland from Ocala, FL and the red cooker was made for me by James McCullough from the New Smyrna, FL area.
I cook out of a 16 ft Doolittle trailer we purchased in Missouri that we are in the process of modifying for bbq competition and bbq catering purposes.
The Backwoods has six cooking racks and the McCullough has five. Both use a water pan to regulate the heat and both are well-insulated.
The picture on the right is a great funding raising idea for bbq contest organizers, civic organization, churches, etc.
At the Madison Ribberfest in Madison, IN organizers solicited businesses to sponsor the pig statues and to decorate them with some sort of theme.
The donations went to the local high school scholarship fund for graduating students interested in attending college. The sponsors got some great advertising in front of the thousands of spectators in attendence and the spectators were presented with an eye catching attraction that added to the atmosphere of the event.
At the end of the two day event sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), a winning pig was chosen based on the amount of 'votes' received from spectators in the form of cash donations.
What a great idea!