Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Smokey Bones Chain Sold to Sun Capital Partners

The chain of 73 restaurants operated by Darden Restaurants based in Orlando, FL has been sold to Sun Capital Partners according to this article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The article goes on to explain that the new owners plan to add more beer and adult frozen drinks to the menu.

I've got a suggestion for the new owners, how about focusing on improving the quality of the barbecue?

If adding drinks to the menu would fix their ills, don't you think Darden would have figured that out already?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Open Hearth Cooking in Mugnaini Pizza Oven

Mugnaini manufacturers a popular wood fired pizza oven that can be used for a variety of open hearth cooking techniques. According to the manufacturer, these ovens are listed with UL and NSF.

With models ranging in size from 9 sq. ft. to 28 sq. ft. (big enough for fourteen 12" pizzas), there is an oven that's just right for your back yard, kitchen, or restaurant.

Based on my online research, you can purchase a very nice oven for the back yard that costs in the range of $3,000 plus installation costs.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pork, Brisket and Chicken Leg Quarters

Sometimes I forget how much I like cooking barbecue in Florida, but days like this bring everything back into focus. This picture was taken Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in my front driveway.

It was a glorious day for 'queing. December in Florida is really nice.

I injected two pork butts with apple juice with some clover honey mixed into it and rubbed them up with Smokin' Guns' Mild.

I trimmed the fat cap from the 13 lb. packer brisket purchased at the local butcher shop and rubbed it down with The BBQ Guy's Southern BBQ Rub.

I applied Smokin' Guns' Mild to some leg quarters and marinaded them in some Newman's Own salad dressing for three hours before cooking.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Instant Read Pocket Thermometer

Thermopen by Thermoworks is a useful tool for serious bbq enthusiasts. The Polder and Taylor pocket thermometers will work, but they are not true "instant read" thermometers.

The Thermopen will display the temperature reading within 3 or 4 seconds. My Taylor digital thermometer takes up to 15 seconds to register a "final" reading.
When a bbq smoker is involved, holding the door open for 15 or 20 seconds to take a temperature reading causes the cooker to cool off fast and work harder to catch up. At a bbq cook-off, this could be the difference between winning and merely a top 10 finish.
Treat your bbq cook to the best temperature instrument on the market.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

BBQ Gift Ideas

During the month or so before the holidays every year, I receive a lot of e-mails about bbq gifts. My family sends them to me, my wife asks me about them, and I receive several inquiries from visitors to this website.

This year I thought I'd put together a series of posts that provide bbq gift ideas that range in size from small to large and in price from cheap to expensive.

Let's start off with perhaps the most popular question I've received this year, "What do I get the barbecuer that already has everything?"

My response: Lodge cast iron of course.

This 4-quart Lodge cast iron dutch oven is large enough for baking, but still small enough for chili, stew, or even frying fish. The "camp oven" is my preferred style, because it allows you to put the charcoal on the lid for roasting. You can buy this oven on ebay, from Amazon, or if you live near South Pittsburg, TN -- you buy directly from the Lodge outlet store.

Accessories that will go nicely with the dutch oven include a lid lifter and lid stand. There is also a nice video by Johnny Nix that will help you barbecuer learn more about the versatility of Lodge cast iron.

If you're the type of person that likes to "see it before you buy it", Lodge products are also available at most popular outdoor stores, such as Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's.