Thursday, November 30, 2006

BBQ Essay Contest -- Last Chance to Win!

Today is the last day of the barbecue essay contest sponsored by


The winning entry will receive a bottle of The BBQ Guy's prize winning "Southern BBQ Rub" and a bottle of the The BBQ Guy's "Original Spice Rub".

It's not too late to send in your entry for a chance to win!

  • Submit an original article of 500 words or less.
  • Entries may be accompanied by a photograph.
  • All entries will be published on the bbq blog.
  • Entries must be submitted NLT Nov. 30, 2006.
  • Winners will be announced by Dec. 15, 2006.
Here are some thought starters for article topics:

"I like to bbq because..."
"My favorite bbq recipe is...."
"How to bbq...."
"My favorite bbq restaurant is..."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Barbecue Championship Series TV Show

If you haven't been following the Barbecue Championship Series on Versus, you're missing out on some good television programming highlighting competitive barbecue/grilling. You can even sign-up to receive a reminder e-mail so you don't miss any future episodes.

These bbq episodes feature some of the best barbecue contestants in the country such as Johnny Trigg, Mike Wozniak, Bart Clarke, and Myron Mixon.

If you like the Iron Chef-style shows on Food Network, you're enjoy the bbq episodes on Versus.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Apple Wood Barbecue

I've been using hickory wood chunks with Royal Oak lump charcoal to barbecue pork. Recently I tried some apple wood instead and noticed a big difference in the depth of the smoke ring in my pork butts. The apple wood seems to provide a deeper and more pronounced smoke ring. I used the same rub, the same charcoal, etc.

Besides the smoke ring, I observed that apple wood has a much milder flavor profile versus the hickory and I was dissapointed with the lack of smoke flavor in my pulled pork. Next time I'm going to try a 50/50 mix of hickory and apple chunks.

BBQ Secrets!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

How to Catch Catfish Like Bubba

It's been unseasonably warm this year for Thanksgiving weekend and this morning my thoughts have turned to fishing--for catfish.

One of my web site friends has a tutorial on his blog about jug fishing for white catfish. When I was a kid we used milk jugs and caught a snapping turtle or two, but we caught our share of fish too.

If you like big 'ole catfish check out Catfish Grabblin' web site for pictures of 40 lbs (and bigger) catfish. And here's some pictures about grabbin' catfish. My brother-in-law purchased the video and we watched it last year during Christmas's wholesome family entertainment...something different for the entire family.

Blue Smoke BBQ

BBQ is universal.

If you don't believe me be sure to visit Blue Smoke BBQ from the Netherlands. Counting his cooking influences from several countries, the webmaster has some pictures of some mighty fine looking dishes that he prepared on his Weber kettle grill. The web page design and layout is pretty slick too.

From one Stevie Ray Vaughn fan to another, "I give Blues Smoke two thumbs up".

Blue Smoke BBQ philosophy:

"At Blue Smoke BBQ the emphasis is on indirect grilling and hot smoking in a charcoal or wood fired barbecue smoker. Discover the simple barbecue method and easy barbecue recipes which make grilling whole chicken - or rather: smoking whole chicken - very easy."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Fork to be Reckoned With

I received an entry today for the bbq essay contest. It's not too late to send in your entry. First prize receives two bottles of The BBQ Guy's genuine prize winning "Original Spice Rub" and "Southern BBQ Rub".

A Fork to be Reckoned With
by Adam Byrd

Next time you are eating at your favorite barbeque joint, take a moment while licking your fingers to observe your fellow barbeque patrons. How are they eating their food? Are they using forks and knives, or are they using their natural abilities? Ever seen a person eat ribs with a fork?

Believe it or not, using a fork to eat a meal was once considered extremely taboo. The 13th and 14th century Turks had been using forks for generations, but were not adopted into Western culture until the 14th century by the Italian elite. Before then, the fork was considered a symbol of Satan, being that the devil himself uses a pitchfork to torture all the sinners’ souls. Even so, people would also say, “Why would I use a fork, when God hath given me hands?” Forks did not appear on dinner tables until the 14th century when the Italian rich began collecting cutlery in silver and gold.

Civilization has come a long way since then, and while we have become more civilized and cultured, there are still some foods that are better eaten with the hands. You could dress up barbeque on white plates, sprinkle sesame seeds on it, and call it haute cuisine. But it is still barbeque, and a rib by any other name would taste just as sweet. Consider the different barbeque foods and how many of them are best eaten with the hands. Pulled pork sandwiches, chicken wings, drumsticks, ribs, and brisket are all hand food. Barbeque brisket slices may not be the best hand food out there, certainly no match for the mighty rib, but if the brisket is done right, the slices are so thin and tender, they can be folded in half and popped right in the mouth. Clean as a whistle.

There is something primal about barbeque, something caveman-like. Eating meat is a carnivorous activity, one in which a person’s incisors and bicuspids are used to tear meat away from the bone. I have heard rib eaters rave about how sweet and tender the meat is, or how finger-licking good the sauce is, but the real treat is the act of gnawing on that bone.

While eating barbeque with a fork may not be considered satanic in modern times, depending on your location, it might be considered taboo. So don’t worry about offending your fellow diner by tearing, slurping, and smacking your lips. Embrace your inner lion and use your paws to eat that meat. If anyone questions your motives, just tell them the devil ain’t got nothin’ on you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

BBQ Pork Butts

Tomorrow I'm going to cook up some pork butts, put them in vacuum sealed bags, and freeze for the Thanksgiving holiday gatherings. Pork butts are inexpensive and add something different to family gatherings.

I'm going to try some apple wood instead of usual hickory wood for smoke flavor.

I like inject the butts with about 6 oz of apple juice mixed with about 3 oz of honey, season them with bbq rub, and let them marinate overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. I cook them at 225 to an internal temperature of 194 degrees.

I wrap them in towels and let them rest for a couple hours inside an ice cooler prior to pulling them. The rest period is very important when cooking pork butts. If you've ever tried pulling them when they are fresh from the smoker, I think you'll find the results less desireable than if you let them rest awhile first.

At bbq contests we hold our pork butts for 4 1/2 - 5 hours and they're still so hot (165 degrees or so) when we pull them it almost burns out hands.

BBQ Secrets revealed

BBQ Blues

The weather has turned colder and things in the bbq world have begun to slow down for the season. If you get the "bbq blues" check out the typoGenerator.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Win the Ultimate Family Reunion from Kingsford

Kingsford Charcoal is sponsoring a Summer Cookout Celebration contest. The best 5 winners receive $10,000 to put toward family reunion expenses for next summer.

Write a 250 word essay and submit it by the deadline--11/30/06--for contest consideration. For complete contest rules visit the Kingsford rules page.

The next 500 winners will receive a Kingsford cookout carryall, a $45 value.

The essays will be judged by sincerity (40$), whether the essay is compelling (40%), and overall relevance to theme (20%).

BBQ Secrets

Rock Cornish Game Hen

I read a post on The BBQ Forum about Beer Can Chicken last night and someone responded about using the beer can method for Rock Cornish Game Hen. The light bulb immediately clicked "on".

I've cooked Cornish Hen in my Dutch Oven and I've butterflyed them on the WSM, but I've not tried the beer can method yet. It sounded like a perfect weekend project.

I stopped by the butcher shop and picked up two frozen hens (2.25 lbs each). While they thawed, I spent some time searching for a good beer can recipe on the Internet. I came across a post about Rock Cornish Game Hen on The Zeinreich Web that details a nice method for brining them and then cooking them on the grill. I attempted to search the USDA website cited on Zeinreich for more historical information about how the meat was developed and could not find the specific information, but has an article explaining that Donald Tyson created the Rock Cornish Game Hen after cross-breeding White Rock and Cornish chickens.

It's interesting that Rock Cornish Game Hens are an actual cross breed. I always assumed that Cornish Hens were just young chickens. It turns out that is partly right, but apparently the "Cornish" really does represent something other than a shrewd marketing method.

Beer Can Chicken Recipe from the Surreal Gourmet on Food Network

1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of your favorite dry spice rub
1 can beer

Remove neck and giblets from chicken and discard. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with salt, pepper and dry rub. Set aside.

Open beer can and empty so can is half full. Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can. Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod. Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees F in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

I used olive oil in place of the vegetable oil and it's worth noting that since the Cornish Hens are closer to 2 pounds than the 4 pounds referenced in the recipe, it will require less rub and other seasonings than specified above.
I decided not to use the recipe from Food Network and ended up brushing the birds with olive oil and seasoning with poultry seasoning we had on hand from Zehnder's and from Lawry's (both are very good). I perched the birds on cans of Budweiser Select (1/2 full) and placed them in a 9 x 11 cake pan.

I cheated and cooked these in the oven, rather than the smoker. The birds cooked for 50 minutes at 350 degrees and were removed them when the temperature in the breast was 175 degrees.

We served them up with some buttered corn and cubed slices of pineapple.


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Dutch Oven Cooking


If you or your children have been involved in scouting, then you've probably seen a Dutch oven. But, for those who've never seen one it's best described as a "cast iron" pot.

Lewis and Clark used them to prepare food during their expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase. Cowboys used them on cattle drives and they are popular with campers to prepare a tasty meal around an open campfire after a day of hiking, canoeing, or swimming.

Choosing an Oven

There are many brands of Dutch ovens manufactured by Camp Chef, Lodge, and MACA and many others. You can purchase Dutch ovens at most large sporting goods stores and I've seen them at garage sales and flea markets.

Many aspiring Dutch oven cooks have been introduced to cast iron cooking by a close relative. If you ask around amongst your family members you might find out that your father, uncle or grandfather has one stashed away someplace just waiting to be re-discovered.

Lodge is probably the most well-recognized brand name in cast iron cooking equipment. A Lodge pot costs more than most, but with Lodge you are not only purchasing a cooking utensil; you're getting a family heirloom. As an example, it's not uncommon for Lodge cast iron pots and skillets to be handed down from generation to generation, spanning many, many decades. During a recent visit to my mother's house, she showed me a Lodge skillet that is more than 100 years old that she received from my grandmother.

I recommend purchasing a Dutch oven with legs on the bottom. The legs will elevate the oven just enough that you can cook by placing charcoal briquettes directly underneath the oven without the pot becoming unstable or "wobbly". Cast iron ovens come in varying sizes ranging from 8" (2 quart capacity) to 16" (12 quart capacity) and in depths ranging from 3" to 5" depending on whether you choose a "deep" oven; typically deeper than 4"; or a standard size oven in the 3" - 4" range.

The depth will determine the type and quantity of food you can cook in the oven. A deeper oven provides room for larger cuts of meat or poultry such as rib roasts, whole chickens, and hams. As a reference point, I have cooked two cornish hens in my 10" Lodge. The birds did touch the lid slightly, but not enough to keep it from closing tightly. My 12" will accomodate a whole chicken and up to four cornish hens.

The MacScouter and Byron's Dutch Oven Cooking were used in researching this article.

Congratulations to Firehouse BBQ!

Firehouse BBQ, our friends from Florida during our days cooking with the Florida Barbecue Association, claimed victory in yesterday's KCBS event in Key Largo, FL.

Top Five Finishers include:

Grand Champion - Firehouse BBQ
Reserve - Fast Eddy
Third - Home BBQ.Com
Fourth - Wild Bunch Butt Burners
Fifth - Bill and the Dixie Chicks

We've cooked against all those teams at various events in Florida and Tennessee and they're all great teams.

Congratulations to Craig, Tom and Ribdog for the victory and to Kevin, Clara, Bill, and Nina for the good showing!

BBQ secrets

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote for Your Favorite BBQ Book!

In the spirit of democracy I've decided to hold an election of sorts here on the BBQ Blog -- for your favorite bbq book.

Meet the candidates:

Dr. BBQ's Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook, by Ray Lampe

Slow Smoked Sucess, by Lee Bentch

John Willingham's World Championship Bar-B-Q, by John Willingham

I've read all three and have them in my personal collection of bbq reference materials.

And, as with any election....write-in candidates are welcome. Cast your vote by clicking on the comments button below.

Vote early, vote often. May the best candidate win!


The Cook's Kitchen

Matt Fischer over at The Hampton Smoker, is launching a new web community called The Cook's Kitchen and has invited me to contribute. I'm happy to do it. The Cook's Kitchen is part of the Well Fed Network . The site will focus on cooking, tools and utensils used for cooking and experiences. Read the first post from Matt.

I'll start out focusing on Dutch Oven cooking and once barbecue contest season approaches write about barbecue as well.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my cooking experiences and enthusiasm with others.

Thanks Matt and everyone who reads about my cooking adventures (and mis-adventures) here at BBQ Blog .


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Friday, November 03, 2006

Late-in-the-Season Barbecue Cookoffs

In many parts of the country it's getting pretty chilly to compete in barbecue contests, but not in Central Texas.

I've been checking out the home page for the Central Texas Barbecue Association this evening and the 2006 Calendar of Events contains contact information about 8 contests scheduled for November including events sanctioned by IBCA and LSBS in Texas with the last one for the season wrapping up on December 3rd in Angleton, TX.

The Florida Barbecue Association is sanctioning a contest on December 8th in Starke, FL.

The Lone Star Barbeuce Society is another barbecue sanctioning organization that still has a few events remaining on their 2006 calendar with events in Crowell and Rowlett, TX scheduled for November 10th and 17th, respectively.

I'm definitely jealous.

Since the snow has started flying in my neck of the woods this week, I guess I'll have to get my bbq contest fix via the Internet until next spring.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Recipe Contests

If you hurry there's still time to enter the Treasured Recipes Contest for a chance to win $10,000. The entry deadline is November 8.

I spend a lot of time planning, practicing and participating in bbq contests for a chance to win $1,200 - $1,500 and hopefully a couple of trophies if I win. I don't do it solely for the chance of winning, but winning certainly helps offset the cost of cookers, charcoal, meat, gasoline, hotels, auto insurance, the trailer to haul our equipment in, and on and on and on.

It appears that my efforts to qualify for the American Royal and Jack Daniels invitational bbq contests these past four or five years have been misguided. I just read about a lady that won $1,000,000 (that's not a typo) in a recipe contest. Let me say it again in case you missed it....SHE WON ONE MILLION a Pillsbury recipe contest.

Anna Ginsberg's recipe for Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing earned her the top prize for 2006. Congratulations Anna!

In the Build a Better Burger contest sponsored by Sutter's Home, Camilla Salsbury, earned $50,000 for their version of 'heaven on a bun'.

As a barbecue contest competitor, I'm thrilled to hear my name called at a contest, whether it's for honorable mention, for a ribbon, for a trophy, or if we're fortunate....a small check. And, if I'm fortunate to hear my name in more than one category, I really begin to think I've accomplished something. I think I might faint if I won $1,000,000.

Linda might not like this, because between barbecue, MBA courses, work, my various internet websites, blogs, and attempts to write the great american novel; I don't really have much free time. But, these "contests" are just too good to pass up. I'm going to have to add them to my list of competitive endeavors next year. You never now, maybe I'll be one of the lucky finalists!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Next Food Network Star Competition

Last year, Guy Fieri, a restauranteur, entrepreneur, and sometime bbq contest competitor from California earned top honors in Food Network's 2nd annual search for their next superstar. Guy was awarded his own television show on Food Network. Not only has he achieved celebrity status with Food Network viewers, but as a result of the publicity he received, his restaurants have never been busier. His Johnny Garlic's and Tex Wasabi restaurant concepts are a huge success.

Well, now it's your turn!

Food Network recently published details of their 3rd season of competition on their web site. Applications are now available and they're downloadable.

Applicants are judged in three areas: cooking knowledge, personality, and teaching skills. Applications must be received by 11/6/06 and time is running out. Don't delay! Send your applications and VHS/DVD video to Food Network this week and, if chosen, you just might receive a chance to compete against 8 other finalists to win your very own six-episode series on Food Network.