Monday, October 29, 2007

BBQ Hall of Fame

Ray Basso, well-known publisher of and several other bbq websites, designed another website that features bbq -- The Barbecue Hall of Fame.

From the website:

"The Barbeque Hall of Fame is a project to designed to preserve the contributions of some of the most important people in barbeque. In order to be listed in this web page, all nominees have to go through a process before being accepted to the BBQHOF."

This project is sponsored by and is just getting started, but one of the first honorees is Arthur Bryant, Kansas City BBQ restauranteur. Arthur Bryant is honored in the businessess category and in the cooks category.

ProQ Water Smoker

There's a new bullet smoker in town folks. It's called the ProQ and is brought to you by Pro BBQ LTD.

I haven't seen one up close yet, but based on the pictures and brochure on the website they look promising. Their modular construction offers the flexibility to grill, roast, and smoke with the same basic unit.

The basic unit comes with a bottom section for the charcoal grate, middle section for the cooking grates, and top lid. You can add additional capacity by adding the optional "stacker" section.

Models available include the Amigo, Buckaroo, and Frontier, with the Stacker option to add additional capacity.

Atlanta BBQ Club

Some guys in Atlanta have organized a bbq club that celebrates the barbecue artform. Membership has it's perks too. For $25 members receive discounts at popular bbq restaurants, a bbq map that identifies bbq restaurants in the Atlanta area, invitations to a once per month "meating", and tips about cooking bbq; among many others.

Now why didn't I think of that?

The website features links to Thompson Brothers BBQ, Hambones, and Fat Matts Rib Shack in the greater Atlanta area.

Bloody BBQ Chicken

It's almost painful to type the title to this article and I realize it's not very appetizing, but this topic is gaining more and more press in bbq circles.

We've had a good amount of success cooking bbq chicken in FBA and KCBS sanctioned contests. We've always cooked our chicken thighs "low and slow" to an internal temperature of 170 degrees. To this point we've never had an issue with the judges and I hate to jinx it by talking about it, but it's a topic worth exploring.

There's a discussion at that talks about removing the veins in chicken thighs to help reduce the effect from "clotting" that even can cause blood to appear in chicken cooked to a conservatively high 180 degrees.

It sounds like I need to start paying more attention to my chicken thighs and try to "devein" them before my next cook. It can't hurt.

Competition BBQ Secrets

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Veranda Smoker Cover

If you own a "bullet" smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain, as known as a WSM, the Veranda Smoker Cover is a nice addition to your bbq collection.

Although the WSM is very hardy and can be left outside for short periods, prolonged exposure will corrode the air vents and the door latch mechanism. A smoker cover like this one available on, will protect your bbq investment.

BBQ Contest in Panama?

The Florida BBQ Association is scheduled to sanction a bbq contest in the country of Panama next year. I checked the list of contests on their website, and it's not yet listed, but Chuck Ray of the FBA confirmed theses plans during a recent judges meeting at Pig in the Park.

The FBA currently has more than 300 members and is adding 6 new contests to their schedule in 2008. They've sponsored contests in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee during the past seven years and now they've scheduled their first international event.

Panama Canal anyone?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hot Chili Pepper

There's a new hot pepper on the scene. Previously, the Red Savina was considered the hottest chili pepper on the planet, but researchers at New Mexico State have crowned a new "world's hottest pepper" -- the Bhut Jolokia, twice as hot as the Red Savina.

To determine the level of heat in peppers, scientists measure the amount of capsaicin.

Competition BBQ Secrets

Pig in the Park - Florida Barbeque Association

I spent the day at Pig in the Park in Kissimmee, FL. This bbq contest sanctioned by the Florida Barbeque Association, was held at the Osceola Heritage Park. The event had 25 professional and 8 backyard cook teams.

The event also featured a monster truck show, a motorcycle daredevil demonstration, a classic car show, local vendors, and displays from non-profit organizations.

I haven't judged an FBA event for a 2 1/2 years and I'm surprised at the dramatic increase in the overall quality of the judges' samples.

I took these pictures of these nice looking concession trailers just prior to leaving the event.
Congratulations to Swamp Boys -- Grand Champions.

Competition BBQ Secrets

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jon El's BBQ - Boonville Missouri

Linda and I visited my parents, sisters, and brothers in Boonville, MO last week. There's a new bbq restaurant that opened this year on Route B near the I-70 overpass and we stopped by for lunch on Thursday.

It's kind of funny now that I've become a bbq afficianado, because growing up in Missouri I never ate bbq in a restaurant. I didn't know there was such a thing.

The location is great and decor is about what you'd expect from a small town restaurant or cafe. The restaurant has seating for about 30 people and plenty of parking.

I had beef brisket and several in our group had the bbq pork. For $7.95 the portion sizes are good. The marcaroni and cheese and the french fries were popular side items, but the bbq was dissapointing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How to BBQ

For those new to cooking barbecue, or new to competing; I've posted these how-to BBQ tips over at and thought I'd share them here as well.
How to keep BBQ hot if you're not quite ready to eat it...
use an ice chest/ice cooler. Put some hot water in an empty ice chest, close the lid and let it set for 3 or 4 minutes. Drain the hot water and you've got yourself a portable BBQ warmer. We've kept pork butts warm this way for 6 or 7 hours.

How to keep your hands clean when cooking BBQ...
use powder free latex gloves. They come in packs of 100 at the local Sam's and will keep your hands clean. You'll maintain good sanitary practices too.
How to keep your spouse interested in the BBQ hobby...
get him/her involved in it with you. It's a lot of fun. You meet nice people and it's something you can do together.

How to keep your BBQ expenses in line with your budget...
research all your purchases thoroughly. Make sure your purchase will do what you want it to do BEFORE you purchase it. For example, if you want to learn to cook whole hogs, you probably need to consider a big cooker or if you want to cook 10-15 racks spare ribs every weekend you're going to need something bigger than a WSM.

How to continually improve your BBQ recipes...keep records of your cooking efforts including cook times, prepping techniques used and especially measurements for sauces or rubs and spices used. When you tweak the recipe for taste, only change one thing at a time--change the cook time, change the rub, change the sauce, but try to avoid completely changing everything all at once. Small changes to your technique and recipes will help you focus on the effects better and you'll be able to fine tune the product quality more efficiently.

Competition BBQ Secrets

Sarasota Ribfest

Linda and I attended the ribfest in Sarasota yesterday and learned a lot about how not to organize a bbq festival.

It was the first "ribfest" we've attended in person and we were excited about the experience. The ones I've read about and seen on television were boisterous affairs and well promoted with large crowds of spectators. Unfortunately, we left festival sorely dissapointed.

The event was held at the old Sarasota fairgrounds and admission was $7 per person. We paid our money and entered the event. They only had three vendors cooking bbq to go along with a beverage vendor, a hot tub distributor, and someone giving camel rides. The bbq was terrible, but you could eat it in an air conditioned building while listening to live entertainment.

Competition BBQ Secrets

We watched many, many dissapointed faces enter the event, hopeful for a real "ribfest", but almost angry to find a hodge podge festival that appeared "slapped" together at the last minute.

Next year, if there is another year for this event, they need to add 10-15 more rib vendors and promote the event better on television, in the newspaper, and on radio. It was so poorly attended that at one point I counted more police at the event than people eating bbq.

I applaud the air conditioned facility, but give a big thumbs down for the event overall. We should have saved the $35 we spent at the event and $25 we spent for gasoline and stayed home.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

BBQ Restaurant Menu

If a fellow was to purchase a bbq restaurant and the menu included Philly cheese steaks and traditional hamburgers, I'm thinking the first step to improving the business foot print and credibility would be to get rid of the Philly cheese steaks and hamburgers from the menu.

Do you agree?

Also, I'm thinking that if the restaurant is closed on Sundays, the second step to improve profits would be to open on Sundays.

Am I on the right track here?

The business was established in early 2007 and is apparently not meeting the owner's expectations. I've not eaten at the restaurant yet at this point, but I'm thinking that part of the problem is that they serve a lot of non-bbq items. The owner is also talking about adding breakfast to the menu.

From my personal viewpoint, a bbq restaurant should serve bbq and only bbq. I can see hotdogs for the children's menu or possibly fried chicken, but not Philly cheese steaks.

If a guy just had to have hamburgers on the menu, I'd prefer a "bbq hamburger" and not the traditional McDonald's variety burger.

Here's some more details about the business I'm referring to:

Asking Price: $62,000 (cash, no terms offered)
Gross Revenue: $172,784 (annualized)
Cash Flow: $31,460
Inventory: $2,000 (Included in Asking Price)
FF&E: $15,000 (Included in Asking Price)
Rent: $1,700 per month and 1,100 sq feet with parking

Competition BBQ Secrets

Sunday, October 07, 2007

American Royal Invitational

Congratulations to Great Grills of Fire and Jiggy Piggy for their respective, grand champion and reserve grand champion, victories this weekend at the Invitational American Royal bbq contest in Kansas City. For anyone that is not familar with the Royal, it's the grand daddy of them all for bbq contests.

Congratulations are also in order for Lutz's Famous BBQ for Chicken, Smokin Triggers for Ribs, Pork Me Purple for Pork, and Grillas BBQ Team for Brisket.

I also applaud the recent redesign of the KCBS website at

Click here for results from the open event held on Sunday.

Competition BBQ Secrets

Memphis BBQ Network

A group of contest judges and long-time bbq enthusiasts have banded together to form a new bbq sanctioning body known as Memphis Barbecue Network.

A recent edition of the Barbecue News announced that the Memphis in May organization is changing their methods of operation and strategy for bbq contest promotion. A letter was mailed to cook teams announcing the changes.

I don't compete in MIM contests, but I found it unusual that they chose to announce the changes without specifically explaining how they plan to "expand the scope" of their organization. I also wonder if the changes they announced has anything to do with the changes the KCBS announced earlier this year.

Sunshine State Chili Pod

I received an e-mail this afternoon announcing the Sunshine State Chili Pod. I thought I'd include some contact information here for anyone interested. It's chili contest information, but I consider chili cook-offs close cousins of bbq cook-offs.
Here's some history of the organization from the website:

"The Sunshine State Pod was seeded in 2001 by a vote of the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) Great Peppers. We are the sponsoring body for CASI cook-offs within the state of Florida. The pod was started up by Bill Garbutt, Tom Ince, Myrna Ince, and Ken Rodd. The Pod's mission is to promote chili and raise money for charitable organizations thru chili cook-offs."

For information contact Candi at The website provides more information and pictures about chili cook-offs in Florida with pictures and a membership form.