Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mail Order BBQ Brisket

I just about dropped my laptop in the floor tonight while visiting Taste of Texas They'll mail you "5 lbs, give or take" of smoked brisket for $79.95. The website says the brisket will feed up to 15 people for $5 each.

I've been going about this bbq thing wrong for all these years...I've been giving it away.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Grill It! With Bobby Flay on the Food Network

I received this press release today. I don't share all the e-mail I get like this, but I thought someone might be interested in trying out for this series on Food Network.

Are you a Master Griller? Are all barbeques held at your house? If you're a serious griller (charcoal or gas) and have the skills to prove it, then live out your culinary fantasy on Bobby Flay's new half hour GRILL IT! series on the Food Network.

To apply, please create a 3-minute VHS Tape or DVD in which you cook us your favorite dish. Tell us how you created the recipe and the ingredients you use. All applicants must have a terrific personality and must illustrate why you'd make a fantastic candidate for GRILL IT! with Bobby Flay! Unlike "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" there's no winners or losers, instead Grill IT! shows people how to grill with a well-stocked kitchen.All applicants must live in the U.S and be 18 and over (although quick-witted teenagers with parents' permission can apply).

To be considered, please mail your submission tape, original recipe and photo of yourself to the address below no later than March 15th.

110 Leroy Street
New York City, NY 10014

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What Your Cooker Says About You

I make my living working for a car company, so a news item published on today caught my eye. It was an article titled "What Your Car Says to the Opposite Sex". That gave me an idea for writing a blog post about what our bbq cookers say about us.

When I moved to Tennessee 16 years ago, my first exposure to low and slow cooked bbq was at an all night pig roast near Fairview. They burned wood down to the coals all day and then cooked the pig all night and served it for a family reunion. The "cooker" consisted of several concrete blocks holding a wire frame that held old mattresses on antique bed frames. The cooker was born from was what they had available at the time.

A few years later, I purchased a Weber Smokey Mountain, WSM for short, at a local hardware store for $179. I added a larger water pan to increase the capacity to two gallons for extended cooking times and started cooking my own bbq pork and brisket in the back yard.

The WSM holds temperature very well, you can use charcoal instead of wood coals, and the end result is very consistent. The cooker was relatively cheap, easy to use, and I still use it today. I could have purchased a bigger, fancier, and more expensive cooker, but I'm a "back to basics" kind of guy. The WSM is all that you really need to prepare better bbq in your backyard than you'll ever eat in a restaurant.

I don't own a pellet cooker or an offset smoker, so I won't comment on what those cookers say about their owners. But, if you own either type of cooker, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Brisket Basket

I had lunch at The Brisket Basket today, in St. Petersburg, FL.

The restaurant is an old drive-in restaurant with standing room only inside, where you place your order, with seating at picnic tables outside. Or, you always just eat in lunch in your car or truck.

I had the Homerun Slider Sampler Platter, which includes pulled brisket, chopped brisket, brisket meatloaf, and a brisket burger. (I liked the meatloaf and burger the best.) The entree comes with your choice of sides, which includes french fries, German potato salad, legumes, green chile hominy, hotsie totsie slaw, or a Caesar side salad.

The company just opened it's second location and preparing to begin franchising this fresh, new concept.

Florida Barbecue Association

The competition at Florida Barbecue Association events is heating up this year.

I’ve noticed a trend during the course of the past few weeks as some well-known KCBS teams have traveled to Florida to compete in a few winter bbq contests. Music City Pig Pals, J-Mack Cookers, Bill & the Dixie Chicks, Smokin’ Triggers, Lotta Bull BBQ, and Jacks Old South have competed head-to-head this winter at contests sanctioned by the FBA and KCBS at events in Lakeland, FL, Sebring, FL, Winter Haven, FL and Felda, FL. The FBA teams are holding their own, and in many cases placing ahead of the KCBS teams that are known on a national level., the perennial FBA powerhouse, has been successful in KCBS events for several years and earned previous births in the American Royal Invitational and Jack Daniels Invitational. If the first few events of the year are any indication, has plenty of competition this year and there is a lot of parity among the Florida teams with the category and event wins spread among more than just a few teams.

And on a separate note….the FBA recently sanctioned a contest in Panama City, Panama with great success.

Three cheers for the FBA!

BBQ Sausage

We prepared barbecue sausage on the Weber Smokey Mountain yesterday. It's a cheap, easy, and tasty lunch.
1. Start with sausage links, red pepper, green pepper, and onions.
2. Cook the vegetables and sausage for 1 hour at 220 degrees.
3. Remove the vegetables and continue cooking sausage for an additional 45 minutes.
4. Slice vegetables into strips and keep warm.
5. Cook sausage to an internal temperature of 175 degrees.
6. Serve on a sausage bun with your favorite mustard.
BBQ lunch doesn't get any easier than this.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roadside Barbecue

For some barbecue hobbyists, setting up a roadside barbecue stand sounds like a winner; however, it's not as simple as it sounds. There are rules and regulations that must be followed to protect the public interest.

When I checked into this in Florida a few years ago, I was told that I needed a commercial kitchen to clean and sanitize equipment, a commissary to store supplies, and approval from the local county health department before putting any plans in place to open a business. There were forms to fill out and fees to be paid and there's the question of liability insurance. In Florida, mobile food establishments are regulated by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. Here's a link the pages of their website that explain the requirements for mobile food businesses. And here's another link regarding the availability of rest rooms for take-out or carry-out businesses.

As Nancy Krohngold from Sarasota, FL discovered recently, it's not a good idea to go out on your own and open a barbecue stand without following those guidelines. This article on the says that Florida, "officials told her the law requires stands like Krohngold's to be inside a building with nearby bathrooms and sinks for cooking and cleaning."

It's not meant to crush the entrepreneurial spirit, as Krohngold contends, but more to protect those who eat her food and to protect her if someone gets ill while eating it.

Some people have attempted to start personal chef businesses that prepare bbq. According to the guide to catering on the Division of Hotels and Restaurants web page, that is acceptable in Florida if the following guidelines are met:

1. Personal chefs include individuals contracted to prepare and serve food at a private party or for a single household utilizing privately owned, onsite equipment
2. Personal chefs must not prepare food prior to the event

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Florida State Fair BBQ

Linda and I visited the Florida State Fair today in Tampa. The Iowa Pork Producers had a booth near the livestock barns that was selling several different pork sandwiches and lunch items including pork chops, pork burgers, and pork loin to go along with pork bbq sandwiches.

We made a special point to eat at their booth. As bbq enthusiasts we like to try pork bbq from various concession vendors whenever we get the chance. In this case I wish we'd skipped the bbq pork and had pork loin or pork burger instead.

The bbq pork sandwich was a big dissapointment. It was too mushy, too saucy, and it reminded me of the type of food that comes from a can. I've got a suggestion for the Iowa Pork Producers -- either take bbq off the menu, or learn how to prepare it better.

Red White and Que

MMA Creative and Altura Productions are teaming up to launch a new television barbecue challenge to benefit the troops overseas.

From the MMA Creative website:

"The show will feature two national champion bbq teams, in cooperation with two teams comprised of American troops, in a duel for the taste buds. The show will be produced on site at an undisclosed military base overseas, and it will follow competition judging standards created by the Kansas City Barbeque Society."

It sounds interesting. I'm looking forward to watching and learning more about this new barbecue promotion.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Spicewine Smokers

I've been looking at the Spicewine Smokers manufactured by Spicewine Ironworks in Columbia, MO for about a year and a half. Jay Curry and his crew build insulated upright bbq smokers in a variety of styles and colors. (I took this picture in Grand Rapids, MI a couple of years ago. The smoker belongs to Big Creek BBQ from Pleasant Hill, MO.)

The small smoker weighs 500 lbs with a 4 gallon water pan and three 16.6 x 12 inch cooking shelves. The large smoker weighs 800 lbs with an 8 gallon water pan and three 34 x 25 inch cooking grates. Extra grates can be added based on the customer's requirements.

Spicewine Smokers also makes single and dual axle trailer models and will custom build almost anything the customer can dream up.

If you're thinking about purchasing a new bbq smoker, you'll probably enjoy this pod cast interview that features Jay discussing the Spicewine products.
Here's a newspaper article about their products in the Columbia Tribune. However, I must point out that the article does contain an error about their only being two manufacturers of insulated bbq smokers. I know of at least four others besides Spicewine -- Stumps, Backwoods, McCullough, and Dominizer -- and there must be others besides those.
I also found a photo album that shows some close-ups of the cooking chamber.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Home of BBQ

Eric Devlin, publisher of, is holding a contest to win free bbq sauce. At various times, Eric says he also will be giving away t-shirts and other items for readers who enter the contests on the website.

There is no money involved at all. Entrants pay no money and even the shipping is free (Eric is paying for it).

Eric's site also features recipes, book reviews, bbq sauce reviews, and articles about the various facets of the barbecue culture. He even has a "rant" section that includes bbq editorials.