Monday, August 27, 2007

BBQ Ribs

Here's some ribs from a test cook we did on Saturday. The ribs were made with two different types of rubs and two types of bbq sauces.

Our favorite included Ole Ray's Apple and Cinnamon sauce with Blues Hog bbq rub. The sweetness of the Ole Ray's sauce combines nicely with the Blues Hog rub.

The ribs were cooked for 3 hours meat side up, wrapped in a honey and dark brown sugar mixture with a little apple juice and then foiled for an hour. I unfoiled and applied finishing sauce for the last 15 minutes. They came out tender and juicy just like I like them.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

BBQ Pork Ribs and Boston Butts

For stock car racing fans there are very few NASCAR races that compare to the night race at Bristol and for southern bbq fanatics there isn't anything that comes close to good old fashioned bbq pulled pork and ribs. And when you combine the had better watch out because things just might get out of hand! I'm in the middle of preparing some pulled pork and bbq ribs for tonight's festivities.
It's also a good time to test some new competition recipes and validate some of the old standbys. We'll be eating well this week. Ummm...leftovers!

Electronic Temperature Controllers

I have mixed feelings about electronic temperature controllers used in conjunction with bbq cookers. I do not currently own any type of thermostat control device used in conjunction with any of my smokers, but I do understand why some folks like them.

I personally know someone that owns a Backwoods Smoker, a WSM, an original FE pellet cooker, a Dominizer, a Stumps, and a Caldera knock down design "box" smoker. All are good smokers and all cook excellent bbq, but some are newer designs than others and some have more little tricks and gadgets involved than others.

I tried to convince myself that I need to give in and purchase an electronic temperature controller too, but reached the conclusion that it's something I just don't need. My cookers will hold a steady temperature for hours and hours on end without a thermostat to control them.

As far as I can tell, there are only three reasons you absolutely have to buy a thermostat controller for your bbq cooker.

1. You like to play with the newest and most trendy "gadget" available.
2. You have a lot of extra money burning a hole in your blue jeans.
2. You own a bbq cooker that is so poorly designed it won't hold a steady temperature without an electronic thermostat.

Competition BBQ Secrets

Citrus BBQ Sauce

Since we live in Florida and for a little something different, I made a citrus bbq sauce recipe based on the recipe located on the back of the Dixie Crystals dark brown sugar box.

Tangy Orange Barbecue Sauce
1 regular can orange juice concentrate
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup dark brown sugar
6 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tsp hot sauce
2 tsp salt
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves crushed garlic
Simmer in covered sauce pan for 20 minutes. Be careful not to scorch.

(The basic recipe comes from R. and D. Herring in Richmond, TX, but I did not follow it exactly as written.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Where to buy knives

For a bbq afficianado, high quality knives are a necessity. They are safer to use and stay sharper for longer time periods. As an example, the last thing you want when slicing St. Louis spareribs is for the handle to break, or a slip that causes unnecessary injury.

The Knife Merchant online is an excellent source for your next knife purchase.

They carry a wide variety of knives including Global, Kyocera, Wusthof, Forschner, Messermeister, Shun, and many others.

I recently did a search for standard meat cleavers on their web site. Click here to read the results.

BBQ Tri Tip Bottom Sirloin Beef Roast

I decided to barbecue something different yesterday and since I've never cooked Tri Tip Beef before, I picked up a 2 1/2 pound Tri Tip Beef Roast at the local meat market. Tri Tip is also known as "Bottom Sirloin".
Santa Maria Tri Tip is really more a particular style of grilling than an exact recipe, but if you do a quick Google search for Tri Tip Recipes, you'll find at least a hundred web sites that detail the Santa Maria style for cooking this particular cut of beef. Most recipes recommend using a a bbq grill with an adjustable grate and oak wood for flavor. I decided to use my Weber Smokey Mountain.
I prepared a simple beef rub and liberally seasoned the meat.
Tri Tip Rub
2 tbsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp garlic salt
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp black pepper
I prepared a 225 degree fire and added some apple chunks for seasoning.
I placed the tri tip roast on the lower grate in the WSM. The tri tip was cooked for 15 minutes on either side to help seal the juices. I inserted a temperature probe and cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, which took about 45 minutes.
BBQ Tip: Tri tips are not a well marbled as a brisket or pork butt, so you'll get better results if you cook this cut quicker than you would typically cook using the WSM. I opened the bottom air vents and let the cooker temperature rise to 300 degrees.
If you want a medium rare tri tip, you may want to pull the meat off the grill a little earlier because the meat continued to cook while resting. By the time I sliced it open, the tri tip was closer to medium well than medium rare, which is what I actually wanted anyway.
I sauced my tri tip with Ole Ray's Apple Cinnamon Barbecue Sauce.
If you try this recipe, you'll want to flip the meat periodically to ensure it doesn't burn on either side. I flipped it about every 20 minutes in the WSM and it came out perfectly.

Friday, August 10, 2007

National BBQ Rankings

I don't know about you, but I always enjoyed reading the box scores for sporting events. I like seeing who did what...who is hot and who is not...etc. I love statistics and trying to find the hidden meaning in them.

I've always wondered why the Team of the Year standings weren't published at for sanctioned barbecue events. The Florida Barbeque Association has provided event by event scores and Team of the Year standings on their web site for years. In fact, they usually have them posted within 24-48 hours of the event conclusion.

Some loyal barbecue fans over at the National BBQ Rankings web site have started a valuable service for bbq fans. launched recently to provide an online source for KCBS Team of the Year standings on a week by week basis. I applaud the effort. Now we'll be able to follow along throughout the year and see what teams are on the rise and which ones are on the decline for KCBS Team of the Year.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Peck's Chicken

Linda and I ate lunch at a restuarant called Peck's Flame Broiled Chicken yesterday for lunch. It's a nice looking "bbq style" restaurant near our house. They have seating outside for about 15 people and inside seating accomodates up to 30 people. I had ribs and Linda had chicken.

While there, I noticed a brochure advertising a "ground floor" opportunity to start a Peck's Fame Broiled Chicken restaurant. The brochure advertised a "variety of investment options" including "management/ownership and geography territory exclusive right packages".

The restuarant near our house is apparently the 2nd location in existence, so this is truly a ground floor / start-up opportunity.

For anyone looking for a restaurant start-up opportunity, you might want to learn more about Peck's Flame Broiled Chicken.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Griller Grouper Sandwich

While this definitely fits more in the "grilling" category than the type of traditional hard core barbecue that I usually cook, I do enjoy a grilled grouper sandwich from time to time. As luck would have it though, when I order a grouper sandwich at a local restaurant I might not always be getting the "real" deal.

It seems that some restaurants who were charging premium prices for grouper were actually serving a fake grouper. But, that may have been a blessing in disguise because some published reports claim that due to the level of mercury contamination in grouper, it's not healthy to eat it more than a couple times per month.

To read more about the "great grouper controversy", visit the St. Petersburg Times newspaper.

It turns out all this fake grouper has improved the overall quantity of "real" grouper stocks at your favorite fishing spots.

BBQ Blues

Hey bbq friends and neighbors. I'm sitting out on my patio this a.m. surfing the web on my new Dell Latitude D830 laptop (like it a lot). I had a medical procedure a while back and I'm still not up to cooking barbecue this weekend.

I've been visiting my usual bbq favorite sites including The BBQ Forum, White Trash BBQ, Florida Barbeque Association, and Kansas City Barbeque Society and thought I'd listen to a little blues music. I ran across an online radio station I wanted to share call Blues Man . In the past few minutes I've listened to classic by blues heavy weights like Billie Holiday, John Lee Hooker, and Johnny Winter. They throw in some little known/unknown artists too like Big Mike Welch (not too bad at that).

If that's not you particular flavor for blues, then here's another option....Pandora Radio . I typed in Stevie Ray Vaughn in the search box and it searched for stations that play that type of music. Within seconds I was listening to Lonnie Mack singing "From Nashville to Memphis" and next Albert Lee playing "That's Alright Mama: From Country Fever to Black Crow". I really like this service from Pandora Radio. I guarantee I'll be a regular user.

Do you have some favorite bbq music online stations you'd like to share?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cheaters, Cheaters Everywhere

Point shaving in college basketball. Unethical NBA referees. Steroids in Major League baseball, track and field, the Tour de France, Boston Marathon, triathlons, and on and on and on. Cheaters are everywhere these days.

Whatever happened to good old fashioned compeition? You know....the kind where the best team wins.

Recently I was asked if I've ever witnessed cheating at bbq contests.

I don't necessarily think it's common place, but I'm sure it does occur. I've seen some things that are questionable at several contests ranging from a team using a crock pot to heat their bbq sauce before dipping their chicken in it a few minutes before turn-in to a team showing up to a KCBS sanctioned event at 6 a.m., cooking all four categories and finishing in the top-5 overall.

I've also witnessed some questionable meat inspectors who didn't actually inspect the meat being cooked before it was prepped. I've seen meat sitting out at room temperature from 10 p.m. at night, when the team went back to their motel to sleep, until they returned to put it on the cooker at 5 a.m. (they were awarded Reserve Grand Champion at the event).

The bottom line.....whether it's bbq, baseball, basketball, football, cycling, track and field, or whatever; some people will go to great lengths to win-at-all-costs. My take on it....if you need the money that bad, you can have it. I prefer to win the old fashioned a result of my own personal efforts and dedication.

But the biggest thing that irks me in particular at a bbq contest are quiet hours violations. At one contest the team next to us stayed up all night playing their loud music and drinking so much they were too drunk to cook. Just before their wives came the next morning they started being real nice to Linda (hoping she wouldn't mention it to their wives).