Tuesday, May 30, 2006

BBQ Brisket

I received an e-mail today from Adam Byrd from Men in Aprons cooking blog.

He's posted a play-by-play of his Memorial Day barbecue brisket effort with descriptions and pictures of the preparations, cooking, and end result.

Compliments to Adam on a job well done. The smoke ring on that thing is remarkable.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Great American Barbecue Contest

I learned earlier today that Larry and Sue of Pork of the North competition barbecue team earned a 3rd place finish accompanied by a $4,000 check at the Great American Barbecue contest this weekend.

We cooked near them at the Cabela's event in Dundee last year and at the KCBS event in Grand Rapids. They're are great people.

These folks from Saginaw, MI know how to cook bbq. Larry is also a Backwoods Smoker distributor, so if you're looking for a smoker, consider buying from Larry. I'll bet he'd be willing to share a secret or two along the way.

Here's another article about the Great American Barbecue

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Using Honey with Barbecue

Not only does eating local honey provide some excellent health benefits such as immunity to certain types of local allergies, but it's also good with barbecue. Many barbecuers, including yours truly, mix a certain amount of honey into all their bbq sauce recipes.

We're lucky that we know our honey suppliers personally. I encourage anyone that eats honey to get to know the producers and only buy from reputable and verifiable sources. I avoid imported honey or non-local honey because you just never know about the environment the honey was raised in.

Our honey comes from a rural farm in Coffee County, Tennessee. The hives are situated next to fields of clover hay and near a spring fed stream with crystal-clear water.

The picture of my brother-in-law, nephew and his friend working with one of the hives that produce our honey.

Local honey costs more than the imported stuff, but it's worth every penny.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend in Tennessee

Linda and I spent the day traveling today. Linda drove while I caught on some reading assignments. The picture above is a view from a hill on the farm where Linda grew up near Beechgrove, TN. The picture doesn't do it justice. It's so green and peaceful.

It's 84 degrees here today and bright sunshine. I couldn't help but notice that the corn is about a foot higher in the fields than most of the corn we've seen in Michigan to this point. It looks like the growing season in Tennessee is about 3 - 4 weeks ahead of Michigan.

We cooked some bbq last week, froze it, and brought down for our nephew's high school graduation dinner on Saturday.

In Kentucky, we noticed several bbq cookers heading the opposite direction and there's a new bbq restaurant in the Murfreesboro area I'd like to check out. I noticed the billboard on I-24 in the vincinity of Smyrna.

Anyone familar with that one? I'm looking for directions. The name is Nick and Jim's if I remember correctly. On second thought, I know it's got Nick in the name, but I'm not sure if Jim is the second part or if it's someone else, but nonetheless I'd like the check it out while we're here this weekend.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bodacious Blues Barbecue Contest - Carmel, IN

Here are a few pictures of the entries we turned in for judging this weekend in Carmel.

BBQ Contest Schedule

Great Lakes BBQ and Feed Company

Ford Alison of "Great Lakes BBQ and Feed Company" had a tough time getting situated in his cooking site this weekend, but with a little help from John Deere, Ford was able to get his Air Stream out of the mud and earned 11th place overall with a 4th place award in the pork ribs category this weekend.

Pictures of his bbq trailer

ZZ Que

Brian and ZZ Que in Carmel, IN

You can't ask for better neighbors at a bbq contest. Not only did they let us borrow their can opener on multiple occasions for our Anything Butt entry, but they also used The BBQ Guy's "Original Spice Rub" to earn high honors in the chicken category this weekend.

Congratulations on a fine showing!

The BBQ Guy Cooking Team

The BBQ Guy and the bbq parents, Mary and Tom, just after turn-ins were completed at the KCBS event held this weekend in Carmel, IN.

They drove 10 hours to Carmel from Boonville, MO to participate in their first bbq competition.

The BBQ Guy owes them a big thanks for all efforts they put into helping this weekend and for all the work they've done this past year on the bbq trailer.

The BBQ Guy's Wife is missing from the picture (she was behind the camera for this shot).

Thanks also to Arlieque for organizing this contest. We hope to attend again next year.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BBQ Chicken

Budweiser Basted Yard Bird

You will need:
  • Four each boneless, wing or chicken breasts
  • One 14-ounce bottle of Budweiser Basting Sauce
  • 12-ounces of Budweiser
  • Salt, pepper and granulated garlic


1. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper and garlic.
2. Mix the Budweiser Baste and Budweiser together in a bowl and coat the chicken.
3. Cover and Refrigerate for two hours.
4. Grill the chicken until cooked through and serve with your favorite side.

For an extra kick, add 2-ounces of soy sauce and 1 Tbsp. of fresh minced ginger

Recipe courtesy of Brent Wertz, Certified Executive Chef (CEC), graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 1987 with high honors. Upon graduation he began his culinary career working at renowned hotels from California to Scotland and has honed his craft for nearly two decades working on a variety of multi-regional cuisines. Wertz went on to earn the distinction of Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation.

Barbecue Brisket Recipe

Beechwood Smoked Barbeque Brisket

You will need:
  • Two lbs. beef brisket
  • One-ounce salt, pepper and granulated garlic

For Brisket Marinade:
  • Three cups Beechwood Smoked Barbeque Sauce
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup Budweiser
  • One cup beef stock
  • One lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Five green onions, chopped
  • Three cloves of garlic, mashed

1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together well and marinate the brisket for up to 24 hours.
2. Remove the brisket from the marinade and sear off in a hot pan with a small amount of oil. 3. In a large roasting pan, place the marinade and the brisket.
4. Cover and cook for 2 - 2 ½ hours in a 350 degree oven.
5. When the brisket is fork tender remove from the oven and set aside.
6. Reduce the marinade until it coats a spoon and serve with the brisket.

Recipe courtesy of Brent Wertz, Certified Executive Chef (CEC), graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 1987 with high honors. Upon graduation he began his culinary career working at renowned hotels from California to Scotland and has honed his craft for nearly two decades working on a variety of multi-regional cuisines. Wertz went on to earn the distinction of Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Budweiser Kicks Off the Grilling Season with the Creation of Four New BBQ Sauces

ST. LOUIS (May 8, 2006) – Summer, an ice cold Budweiser and grilling with friends and family, what could be better? Anheuser-Busch has the answer and is kicking up the grilling season with a new line of Budweiser sauces, including a baste, two barbecue sauces and a wing sauce. Through a licensing agreement, Vita Food Products, Inc. will create and distribute the mouth-watering new line of Budweiser-branded sauces just in time to celebrate Independence Day.

“When we think about summer, we think about getting together with friends, grilling and enjoying ice cold Budweiser,” said Randall Blackford, director of Budweiser marketing, Anheuser-Busch Inc. “There are few things as distinctly American as Budweiser and barbecuing, and our line of Budweiser-branded sauces provides another way for home cooks and grillers to add flavor to their dishes.”

The Budweiser sauce recipes were created by a team of chefs led by Certified Executive Chef, Brent Wertz, at Anheuser-Busch’s Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., in conjunction with Anheuser-Busch brewmasters. Recognized for his outstanding culinary expertise, Chef Wertz and his team created the new line in the tradition of Budweiser, using only the finest ingredients to craft special sauces resulting in an exceptional taste experience that will pair perfectly with America’s favorite beverage of moderation, beer. In fact, Budweiser is a key ingredient in the creation of these savory sauces. Vita Food Products has confirmed the alcohol content after production meets all government requirements to be classified as a non-beverage food product.
The Budweiser sauces will be available at grocery, gourmet and convenience stores and in casual dining chains.

“Vita is pleased to partner with Anheuser-Busch to further the brand exposure of Budweiser within the food industry and provide sauces with exceptional tastes similar to that of Budweiser beer,” said Stephen D. Rubin, president of Vita Food Products, Inc.

The Vita Seafood division is a U.S. leader in the herring and retail packaged salmon markets, and is engaged in several other food segments, including cream cheese, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce and horseradish. The company markets and sells these items under the Vita®, Elf® and Grand Isle® brands. More than 95 percent of Vita Seafood’s sales are in kosher foods.
Vita Specialty Foods, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, manufactures and distributes honey, salad dressings, cooking sauces, jams and jellies, and gift baskets under the Virginia Brand® name. It also offers a line of salad dressings, gourmet sauces, and beverages under its Oak Hill Farms® brand; and a line of hot sauce-based products under its Scorned Woman® brand name. For more information, visit Vita Food Products.

Based in St. Louis, Anheuser­Busch is the leading American brewer, holding nearly 50 percent share of U.S. beer sales. The company brews the world’s largest-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light. Anheuser­Busch also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s leading brewer, and a 27 percent share in Tsingtao, the No. 1 brewer in China. Anheuser-Busch ranked No. 1 among beverage companies in FORTUNE Magazine's Most Admired U.S. and Global Companies lists in 2006. Anheuser­Busch is one of the largest theme park operators in the United States, is a major manufacturer of aluminum cans and is America’s top recycler of aluminum cans.

For more information, visit Anheuser Busch.

Hot Popped Shrimp Recipe

Budweiser Hot Popped Shrimp

You will need:
  • 32 Rock Shrimp
  • Three-ounces flour
  • Two eggs, beaten
  • Four-ounces cracker crumbs
  • ½- ounce Budweiser Wing Sauce
  • One tsp. black sesame seeds
  • One tsp. white sesame seeds

1. Bread the shrimp by dusting with the flour, dipping in the eggs, then coating with cracker crumbs.
2. Pop the shrimp into a pan and fry until golden brown.
3. Toss with the sesame seeds and the Budweiser Wing Sauce.

Serve hot!

Recipe courtesy of Brent Wertz, Certified Executive Chef (CEC), graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 1987 with high honors. Upon graduation he began his culinary career working at renowned hotels from California to Scotland and has honed his craft for nearly two decades working on a variety of multi-regional cuisines. Wertz went on to earn the distinction of Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation.

PAM Grilling Contest

Compete for the $10,000 grand prize in the PAM Cooking Spray grilling contest. Read the rules.

There will be 220 semi-finalists and the top 20 will be invited to New York for the finals!

Send in your entry form today. I just sent in mine.

Semi-finalists will be announced on or about June 14.

Pork Nutrition Research

A researcher at the University of Missouri is researching sources of omega-3 fatty acids and postulates that someday pork will provide a healthier and less risky alternative source of omega-3's in our diet. Today, we get our omega-3 nutrients from fish.

After all the bad press pork sometimes gets for those on a low cholesterol diet (i.e. fried bacon), this piece of news is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Kansas City Barbecue

Many fans of bbq will argue that Kansas City serves the "best" barbecue around.

I don't really have an opinion about that, but I know they definitely host the biggest bbq contest sponsored by the Kansas City Barbecue Society each year. There are other contests of similar stature, but only one affectionately called just "The Royal" by competitors.

Carolina Barbecue

The Lexington Collection has a nice article discussing the origins of barbecue and it's makings; North Carolina-style--and something I did not know. The Spanish are credited with bringing hogs to the America's. The article observes that we owe a thanks to DeSoto, an explorer from Spain for southern bbq.

Alabama BBQ Memories has a nice article on Alabama barbecue written by Jake Adam York. In the article York writes about the Alabama bbq establishments Dreamland and Bar B Q Bob's.

Here's a excerpt from the article:

"In Alabama, there was only barbecue — and a food either was or was not barbecue. Barbecue was ultimate good, and there were no degrees to perfection.

For years, we ate only at Bar B Q Bob’s, a large A-frame joint as far across town as a place could be. It looked as though it been an International House of Pancakes at some point, and someone should have remembered or asked, but nothing — not the strangeness of ski-lodge architecture in an Alabama town, not the chips or cracks in the veneered tables or booth-benches, not the absolute sequestration of the kitchen — could make this seem important. As long as hickory smoke rose as from a thurible into the cathedral heights of Bob’s, this could be nothing else but The Seat of Barbecue. At least a dozen other restaurants in town claimed barbecue in their names, but there was only one barbecue.

Like religion, barbecue was pure. And purity, once accepted, will brook neither proof nor comparison."

Read the rest of the article

The Art of Cooking a Hog

This article, part of The Southern Oral History scholarship program, written by David Cecelski reminds me of the time about 14 years ago while living in Tennessee. I moved to Tennesee for a job opportunity and through a friend I was introduced to hog cooking. This particular Tennessee gentleman took a serious approach to bbq, but at the same time it was as easy for him as riding a motorcyle is for me now--cooking bbq was something that southern men "just knew" how to do. He'd learned it from his father, who learned from his father and so on.

The gentleman and his neighbor spent the entire afternoon splitting some hickory they'd cut the previous year and let season all winter and spring. They cooked the hog most of the entire evening and part of the morning. It was as much "roasting" as "smoking" I guess, but the end result was similar.

They made a frame from an old bed springs and set it on some concrete blocks and cooked the hog slowly, careful to keep the meat away from the fire just the perfect distance not to burn it, but close enough to cook it slowly.

The hog was served the next day at a family gathering of about 50 people with side dishes of deviled eggs, cole slaw, baked beans and plenty of desert. Not knowing how to eat proper southern bbq, I ate it plain between two slices of bread and resisted the temptation to put ketchup on it, but most of the family ate it plain on a plate and doused it heavily with a vinegar-based sauce. It wasn't pure vinegar, but it was close.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

BBQ Contest Countdown

It's Sunday and less than a week to go until we travel to Carmel, Indiana for the Bodacious Blues BBQ Contest. We're going to have a couple of extra teammates this year, which will come in handy and make things a little easier.

Linda is out packing the odds and ends in the bbq trailer and I'm working out some little kinks in the chicken and ribs methodology. It's raining today and we're trying not to track a lot of mud into the house as we run in and out. But, cooking today is most likely good practice for next week. It's been drizzling rain off and on daily for a week accompanied by cloudy, cool, and overcast conditions. We're hoping next weekend will be nice for all the competitors, but if it's not we'll have our rain gear!

I'm currently taking a Production Operations Management course as a part of my MBA curriculum and have been reading a lot lately about "lean" manufacturing techniques and the focus on eliminating waste from production processes. I'm eager to apply some of those techniques to my bbq effort down the road. I'd be willing to bet that a focus on "lean" is a step in the right direction for almost everyone who cooks competively.

Read more about lean

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The BBQ Guy Original Spice Rub

I received a nice e-mail testimonial today from someone that recently ordered two bottles of our award winning bbq spice rub.

"Got your rub today! Good stuff, sweet and hot later to the tongue...Again, good stuff."

Order your own bottle of Original Spice Rub from The BBQ Guy just in time for barbecue and grilling season!

"I have used this seasoning in competition with excellent results. My competition rubs are not private label recipes. These recipes are my own custom formulations that I use in KCBS and FBA bbq competitions."

"The BBQ Guy"

Friday, May 12, 2006

Suggestive Selling Taken Too Far in Local Restaurants

During visits to two local restaurants recently, Linda and I have noticed an unusual new trend.

It's been customary now for several years and certainly good business practice for the manager and owner to make the rounds in the dining room greeting diners and inquiring about the meal and service. I am sure most diners appreciate the fact that the management/ownership make an effort to visit with their customers and seek out their feedback.

In two out of my last three visits though I've noticed a strange new phenomenon. First, a waitress at Chili's last weekend and then tonight the owner of a new local restaurant that goes by the name "1999"; stopped by our table as we were finishing our meal and preparing to ask the waitress to prepare the check.

The waitress at Chili's ask us, "How was everything?" Strangely, before I could muster an answer and within a split second of asking the question in almost the same breath, she asked a second question, "Fine?"and then abruptly walked away without waiting for me to answer.

Tonight the owner at 1999 was making his way through the dining room and, as he was walking by our table, he asked the following question in the most insincere manner I've ever experienced, "How was the meal?" and without breaking stride and with barely a glance in our general direction, he answered that question with a second question, "Fine?" and kept right on walking.

I'm sorry, but that's taking the whole suggestive selling routine a little too far. It's apparently now the "thing"to do in the restaurant business to ask questions you really don't want to know the answer to, and to avoid any possible chance that the customer might actually want to provide a thank you, or a positive comment about how much they actually did enjoy the meal and service.

These attempts to "avoid" actually listening to me, tarnished two otherwise positive dining experiences.

You Can't Eat BBQ and Drive a Stick Shift

On my drive home from work today I noticed a 20-ish girl driving a Mitsubishi Eclipse in the lane next to me. Traffic was heavy and we weren't moving very fast between stop lights. I couldn't help but notice the cell phone cradled between her ear and shoulder and she was obviously immersed in a conversation.

The car was a manual shift and that the girl was talking on her cell phone, but what really took the cake was that she had a cheeseburger in one hand and a fist full of French fries in the other hand. She was somehow managing to steer with her knees and between grabs for French fries, she somehow also managed the upshifts and downshifts as we moved from stop-light to stop- light. I've heard of multi-tasking before, but this was borderline ridiculous; and most certainly dangerous.

I muttered something to myself about "kids these days" and shook my head as if somehow she would notice my disapproval. As traffic thinned out and the flow started to pick-up speed, I couldn't help but laugh at the obvious...."she could never do that and eat a plate of barbecue brisket".

Eating barbecue is serious business for serious eaters and far from "fast".

"P-leeease, somebody give that girl some barbecue ribs."

New ZZ Que Smoker Picture

Steve has added a custom maple butcher block shelving assembly to this sharp rotisserie bbq pit made by Austin National.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

ZZ Que Smoker

Steve and Linda Creech of ZZ Que sent me a picture of their rotisserie smoker today and I'm looking forward to the chance to get an up-close look in a couple weeks at the KCBS event in Carmel, IN.

I haven't yet confirmed this with Steve and Linda, but it looks like this might be a 4-ft rotisserie pit built by Austin National Smokers.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Carmel, IN KCBS BBQ Competition

Here are directions to the event in Carmel, IN.

(Directions from I-465 exit onto Meridian St /US 31 north)

Exit from I-465 (East or West) at US 31/Meridian St north

Travel north on US 31/Meridian to 116th Street intersection

Right on 116th St and travel east approximately 1.5 miles to So. Range Line Rd (intersection).

Turn left (north) onto Range Line Rd (City Hall building visible on left).

Contest is at the corner of 3rd Ave. SW and City Center Dr. running east along City Center Dr. and south along 3rd Ave. SW off of South Range.

This is two blocks north of the Civic Center.

Turns in Times are:


Cooks Meeting at 4:00 PM

Turn in Anything Butt at 7:00 PM


Chicken at 12:00 PM
Ribs at 12:30 PM
Pork at 1:00 PM
Brisket at 1:30 PM

Awards at 4:00 at the stage!

Over $11,000 in Prizes

Grand Champion $2,000.00

Reserve Grand Champion $1,000.00

See you there!

New Layout for BBQ Web Site

My web designer just finished the layout for my new bbq web site.

You can check it out here.

What do you think?

Practice Cook for Bodacious Blues & BBQ

I pulled the the brisket and pork butts off the smoker at 6 a.m. and put them in the an Igloo cooler for holding until time for the simulated "turn-ins" ala KCBS official turn-in times of noon, 12:30, 1:00a nd 1:30 for chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, respectively.

I didn't get to sleep much last night. It's kind of funny, but I sleep more at a bbq contest than I slept here last night. I guess sleeping next to the cooker and shining the flashlight on the gauge makes it easier to keep one eye on the temperature without actually getting out of bed versus running to the window every 30 minutes or so.

I'm glad I decided to practice though. I've gotten a little rusty with a couple of things over the winter. It's good to get that ironed out now instead of waiting for the contest and then mess it up.

Friday, May 05, 2006

BBQ Smoker Collection

Here's a picture of my arsenal of bbq cookers from Good (Weber Smokey Mountain), Better (Backwoods Smoker), to the Best of the Bunch (McCullough). As you can probably tell, I am a big fan of upright cookers. This picture was taken early in the evening before I fired them up for tonight's practice cook.

So far I've put the brisket and pork butts on to cook and plan get a little shut eye before putting the ribs and chicken on in the a.m.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

BBQ Woods: Better Barbecue Series, Article #12

Using hard woods to flavor bbq meat is as much an art as a science, although there is a fair amount of science involved too.

Choices of woods vary from Apple to Cherry to Peach or Pear and from Hickory to Oak to Maple or Pecan. I've never tried Mesquite, but I'm not sure it would be my cup of tea anyway. I cut my bbq teeth on Hickory, but I've also used Apple, Cherry and Oak from time to time.

I use a hardwood lump charcoal for cooking (Royal Oak brand is readily available in my area) and add "chunks" of seasoned hardwood for smoke flavor. I've found that less is more most of the time. It's pretty easy to oversmoke bbq meat. A word of caution--a couple chunks of wood is really all that's needed to produce a pleasant bbq flavor that's pleasing, but not overbearing.

Based on all accounts, Hickory wood is the most commonly used seasoning wood for bbq restaurants. Take a drive near any bbq restaurant worth it's salt in the southeastern part of the country and odds are, you'll notice a strong smell of Hickory smoke.

Several of my contest friends from Florida have been using Pecan, Oak and even Peach on the bbq circuit with great success. The fruitwoods are a little more forgiving and provide a milder flavor with less chance of over smoking.

But, if you're like me you'll take what I say as one man's opinion and with a proverbial "grain of salt". Half the fun is experimenting with various types of woods to arrive at your own personal favorite.

Happy experimenting.

View the previous article in the Better Barbecue series

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

BBQ Trailer Pictures

I ran across these pictures posted on the Smoke Break BBQ web site detailing what looks to be a well thought out and cost - conscious bbq kitchen on wheels.

As someone in the middle of a trailer conversion myself, albeit a slow moving conversion that is severely limited by personal budget constraints and the efforts of others, I can attest that it takes a lot of hard work to develop a bbq trailer of this caliber.

Spicewine Ironworks

I've been admiring these cookers on the Internet for a few weeks now and the more I look at them, the more I like them. I've already got three cookers, but I guess you can never have too many cookers. They are manufacturered near my old stomping grounds in Columbia, Missouri. Someday when I'm home visiting the folks in Missouri, I'm going to stop in and check them out.

Linda says that the only cooker I don't like is the one I haven't seen yet, and although I hate to admit it, she might be onto something. That's half the fun.

I'm anxious to see these cookers up close and in person, but in the mean time if anyone has some pictures of a Spicewine cooker and wouldn't mind sharing them, I'd love to post some on the site for readers who are in the market for their next cooker.

I'm also in search of some folks that own one of these cookers to share some of their experiences and thoughts about them here on the bbq blog.