Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Help Fight Breast Cancer

(I saw this on the news last night and wanted to pass it along.)

Colonel Littleton's has developed a hat for breast cancer awareness after the wife of an operations manager was diagnosed with the disease. Read more about Cindy.

"This Colonel Cap with the pink ribbon insignia on the back is dedicated to Cindy and all women worldwide who are fighting the good fight to regain their health. It is a constant reminder to all of us of the victory to be gained in overcoming obstacles, the joy to be found in the gift of each day, the power of love and the indomitable triumph of the God-given spirit."

Proceeds from the sale of the cap go to the Maury Regional Healthcare Foundation at Maury Regional Hospital in Columbia, Tennessee, where Cindy is employed. Among other good works, the Foundation provides mammograms for individuals who do not have financial resources or insurance.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to Make Pig Candy

If you're looking for something sort of bbq oriented to make for a Christmas treat, try Pig Candy.  You can make it in the oven or in a bbq smoker. A vertical smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain, Backwoods, Stumps, or Superior smoker would would work well. If you don't have a smoker, or it's too cold to get outside, Pig Candy also can be made in the oven.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to Cook an Eye of Round Beef Roast

Linda and I are visiting family in Tennessee this weekend and this afternoon my mother-in-law is cooking a beef roast for supper. I thought I'd use the Sony Handycam to document the process.

Before beginning, it's best to pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. That way, everything is ready for cooking once the preparations below have been completed.

Mother-in-Law's Eye of Round Roast

1. Start with a 2 1/2 - 3 lb. eye of round roast. Ours was purchased from Wal-Mart and weighed 2.73 lbs. Total cost = $9.50.

2. In a roasting pan the roast was seasoned with Adolph's unseasoned meat tenderizer and a little salt and pepper.

3. We added three cans of Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup and an equal amount of water. Mother-in-law secret...."Golden" is better than "plain".

4. In the same pan, we added 3 - 4 cups of potatoes chopped in small pieces and 1 1/2 cups of carrots.

5. Before putting the roast in oven, we added enough additional water to fill the pan 1/3 full.

6. It's best to use a digital meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperatures. For well-done roast, cook to 165 degrees.

7. Before serving, keep the pan closed and let it rest on the oven top for 10 - 15 minutes. This allows the juices to re-absorb back into the roast and helps avoid a "dry" result.

Temperature Scale:

130°F to 140°F = medium rare
145°F to 150°F = medium
155°F to 165°F = well done

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Brisket Movie - How to BBQ Brisket Pictorial

I've been playing around with Windows Movie Maker tonight and came up with this little "movie" about preparing a bbq brisket.

More background:

I use Certified Angus Brisket weighing about 13 pounds and a cooker temperature ranging from 200 - 250 degrees. I start them cooking fat side up and flip them to fat side down after 3 hours. I wrap the brisket in aluminum foil after it reaches 165 degrees internal temperature, or after 5 hours (whichever comes first). I cook my brisket to 198 degrees and let it rest in an Igloo cooler for at least 1 hour prior to slicing and serving.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BBQ Pitmasters - Third Episode

A little birdie told me that it's finallly Tuffy's night to shine on the show. Spreadsheets anyone?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Butterball Indoor Turkey Fryer Test

The folks at Masterbuilt provided a Butterball Indoor Turkey Fryer for testing. I didn't have a turkey, but the user's manual that accompanied the unit had a steamed chicken dish that included ingredients we had in the refrigerator.  I know it's not bbq, but sometimes we've got to eat healthy, right?

This unit works well as a steamer. The chicken was tender and the vegetables were perfectly cooked. I promise you'll be seeing more of this unit in the future here on the bbq blog. I'll be testing it as a deep fryer soon.

Sorry if the video editing makes you dizzy. I was also testing my new Sony Handycam CX-100 tonight for the first time. I promise I'll get better with practice.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December BBQ Pictures from Florida

Here are some pictures from yesterday's Christmas gift cook. For those from colder was in the mid-70's and sunshine.  It sure beats the 19 degrees when I was in Missouri last week.

Pork butts in McCullough insulated 2 x 2 vertical smoker

Brisket on WSM

Pulled pork butt steaming hot

Sliced brisket prior to sauce

Friday, December 11, 2009

BBQ for Christmas

Tonight I am sitting in for The BBQ Guy because he is busy on a very important duty assigned by his wife (me) and Santa. Last year we started giving barbecue and our favorite bbq sauce, Blues Hog, to those hard to buy for folks on our list.

While we were competing we purchased a vacuum sealer from Cabela’s to reduce the amount of waste we had during practice sessions, this is the perfect way to seal and freeze the bbq gifts. So what do I put under the tree? I take a picture of the final product and put the photo along with the barbecue sauce in a box under the tree.

The toughest part for us was sneaking the cooler into my mom’s house and hiding the Que in the freezer. It was a hit last year with my brother- in- law and father , so this year I expanded our list to include nephew, brother –in-law, father, and two more friends.

So as I type in the Lazy Boy the BBQ Guy is busy as a beaver in the kitchen preparing four pork butts, two packer briskets, and three racks of ribs for a long day with the smokers tomorrow .

There is more than 60 lbs of meat in the picture that will go on the smoker bright and early tomorrow.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

BBQ Pitmasters

Tuffy, Trigg and Mixon are names familar to bbq contest competitors and spectators. These three men have been winning KCBS, FBA, and Memphis in May bbq contests far and wide and everything in between for years. They are just three of the competitors being featured in a new series from TLC titled BBQ Pitmasters. The series starts tonight at 10 p.m.

See the trailer here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

BBQ Contest Observation

I've been following a discussion over over on The BBQ Forum with quite a bit of interest. There were accusations made about the fairness and consistency of the selection of teams for an upcoming invitational bbq contest. The issue has been rectified, but it brings a few things to my mind that I have to get off my chest.

The internet has become such a large part of daily life that rather than pick up the telephone and call someone directly, or even communicate one-on-one via e-mail with direct questions people sometimes choose to post their grievances on a public discussion board.

I'm not against the internet or discussion boards, but I think the parties being accused should have been approached "off line" first and given a chance to provide a solution before accusations were made about a conspiracy and stirring the pot. In the future I hope that before complaints about bbq sanctioning organizations are posted on discussion boards, that those with authority to make changes are contacted first and given a chance to correct the issue(s). If a satisfactory answer is not given or an alternative provided, perhaps it's o.k. to air the issue publicly. Maybe it's just me, but I suspect there are others who feel the same way.

The same logic goes for product purchases. If I purchase a defective product from a retailer or directly from the manufacturer, I try to contact the manager or owner for a resolution. In 99% of the cases, a solution is given.

These types of petty squables only hurt (not help) the sport in the long run. I'm a pretty big NASCAR fan and I can't really imagine Jimmy Johnson or Dale Earnhardt, Jr. making their complaints known to NASCAR through an internet website. I'll bet they pick up the phone and go straight the source - someone who can actually address issues and solve problems.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Deep Fried Turkey

During the past five or so years, I've been using Shake's Honey Brine for deep fried turkey and don't think I'll ever cook a turkey in the oven again. If you don't have a spare refrigerator or room in your current refrigerator to brine the whole bird, you can also inject the honey brine the night before and obtain similar results.

Advantages of Deep Frying
  • cook your turkey in less than an hour (3 1/2 minutes per pound)
  • nice crisp bark on the outside and juicy meat on the inside
  • you don't have to spend all day in the kitchen
  • more time to visit with friends and family

Once you've had a deep fried turkey, you'll never want to eat an old fashioned roasted turkey again, especially if you're doing the cooking. However, there are some pre-cautions you should take when using this cooking method.

Safety Pre-Cautions

  • keep small children and pets away from the fryer
  • set up on a firm surface to prevent tipping
  • don't leave the fryer unattended
  • don't allow the grease to boil over, it will ignite
  • keep a fire extinguisher close by
  • wear gloves and long sleeves to prevent grease burns
  • pre-measure the fill point with water before putting in the oil
  • follow the manufacturer's instsructions for use
This article from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) outlines some additional safety considerations.
If you're thinking of purchasing a turkey fryer, Bayou Classic makes a nice 30-quart unit.

You can use your turkey fryer all-year round for fried fish, low country boils, making gumbo, cooking corn on the cob, chili, etc. The possibilities are only limited by by your own imagination. When cooking for large groups of guests, you can take the cooking outside and leave more room in the house to entertain.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Orion BBQ Cooker

I had a close up look at the Orion cookers a few years ago. They looked interesting, but weren't really my cup of tea so to speak. My opinion might be changing.

I was checking out Old Dave's bbq blog and things on the Po Farm are getting interesting. Check out Old Dave's review of the 70 minute spare ribs cooked on the Orion cooker. Nope...that's not a mis-print. He really did cook some pretty good looking spare ribs in 70 minutes. I'm sure the Blues Hog and honey helped things along pretty well, but Dave posted some very nice looking pictures.

I've already got 3 smokers...why not four? The more the merrier right?

Turkey Fryer Fire

Please don't let this happen to you. If you choose to use a turkey fryer, please be careful. I've fried two turkeys this year so far and I will be frying another one on Thanksgiving. This video is a good example of what can happen if you are not careful. provides some turkey fryer safety tips on their website to help reduce the chance of a turkey fryer fire.

My biggest tips include:

1. pick a location away from the house or garage

2. concrete is preferred versus a wooden deck

3. don't leave the turkey fryer unattended

4. use a thermometer to measure the oil temperature

5. turn off the fire before adding oil and before s-l-o-w-l-y adding the turkey

6. wear protective gloves

7. wear long sleeves and pants

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Good One on Facebook

O.k., I'll admit it...I'm not a Facebook user. I say that with a certain amount of shame because these days it seems like everyone I meet is on Facebook. I was surfing the web today looking at several bbq smoker sites (Stumps, Superior, and The Good One as examples). And low and behold I discovered that The Good One Smokers has a Facebook page.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Coleman Natural Foods

Is Coleman Natural meat the secret to the success of the Mr. Bobo's Traveling BBQ All-Stars? It could be a contributing factor for sure, but I'm sure they have a lot of other secrets that didn't make it into their bbq blog. Congratulations to Mr. Bobo's for 1st place in the Brisket category at the Jack Daniels World Championship BBQ contest. What a wonderful accomplishment!

Here's a description of the Coleman Natural products from their website:

Coleman is committed to providing premium products that nourish the health
and well-being of your family. We never add anything to our products that nature
did not create: no nitrates/nitrites or other chemical preservatives and no MSG.
We never use fillers. Coleman’s passion for natural and organic extends to the
ecosystem, focusing on sustainable land, water, and soil conservation for future

Jack Daniels World Championship BBQ Contest

Shigs in Pit competition bbq team broadcasted the awards ceremony live via Way to go guys! I had the opportunity to attend a few years ago, but couldn't make it back this year. The Stickcam made it "the next best thing to being there". I hope this can be done more in the future. Isn't technology amazing?

You can read more about the Jack Daniels Invitational here.

2009 Results

Grand Champion - I Que

Reserve Grand Champion - Jack's Old South


1st place - The Heat is On


1st place - Four Men and a Pig


1st place - Swamp Boys


1st place - Mr. Bobo's Traveling BBQ

For a listing of the complete Jack Daniel's results, click here

Community Supported Agriculture

I was invited to attend a new member orientation at Gamble Creek Farm in Parrish, Florida this morning. We joined the farm membership program to ensure that we have a reliable source of locally grown vegetables.

The farm has a large variety of hydroponically grown vegetables with weekly harvests beginning within the next couple of weeks. It was eye opening to see the large quantity of strawberries, egg plant, lettuce, okra, squash, and so many others that are available.

There is also a sister farm - Geraldson Community Farm - located closer to Bradenton, Florida.

If you are concerned about the way your food is grown, then check out your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms. Local provides a search function to help you locate a farm nearby your home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Superior Smokers

I recently discovered a new bbq smoker manufacturer - Superior Smokers. I don't own one and haven't seen one up close, but based on research conducted via their website here's a run down of the basics:

  • insulated
  • vertical design
  • gravity feed charcoal chute
  • grease pan collector
  • heat deflector
  • D-ring tie downs

I believe Munchees Smokehouse uses one and is currently performing pretty well in FBA competitions.

Monday, September 07, 2009

BBQ Pork with Bad Byron's Butt Rub

Sunday I cooked some pork for sandwiches later in the week. I forgot to take a picture after we pulled these, but here is a picture from early in the cooking process.
I injected these the night prior to cooking with a mixture of apple juice (4 cups), bbq rub (4 tblsp), and 3/4 cup of honey. I applied a liberal coating of rub and refrigerated overnight.

BBQ Sauce and Rub

I usually don't like Mesquite flavored bbq sauce (middle), but this Pendleton sauce is pretty good. Papa Jake's (right) is good on steaks and I had some yesterday on some buffalo burgers. The mesquite flavor complimented the steaks well.
I haven't tried the other Pendleton sauce in this picture (left), but I cooked 12 lbs of pork butts and have at least 9 lbs of pulled pork vacuum sealed in the freezer for sandwiches later this week.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hot Rod BBQ Grill

The photograph of this "grill" was taken at the NHRA O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals in Madison, IL a few years ago.

BBQ and drag racing....what a great country we live in.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Grilled Steak

Tonight I grilled a New York strip steak and a rib-eye from Carlton Farms.

The steaks arrived via UPS delivery last Saturday. They spent the week in the freezer and thawed in the refrigerator yesterday. Today I rubbed them with Papa Jake's Best in the Northeast Gourmet BBQ Spice (also from Carlton Farms).

A good rule of thumb for applying rubs to steaks is to marinate them 1 - 1 1/2 hours per pound, depending on the rub you're using. If your rub is hot, then the longer you marinate the hotter things will probably get. If you have a salty rub, then the salty flavor will probably be stronger the longer you marinate. Papa Jake's ingredients include salt, cracked black pepper, dried garlic, allspice, and mace.

The Carlton rib-eye was perfectly marbled, which made it extremely easy to grill. The New York strip was loaded with flavor. The rib-eye I received was a little larger, but according to their website the steaks are approximately 16 ounces.

I mean it when I say this....these were the best steaks I've ever eaten!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Allegro Vintage Marinade, Raspberry Chipotle

I grilled some pork chops tonight using Raspberry Chipotle Marinade from Allegro. Linda picked it up at Winn Dixie earlier this summer.

It's no longer available on the manufacturer's website - perhaps it's a seasonal item - but I'd buy some more if I could. It gives pork chops a hint of heat accompanied by a hint of fruit for a wonderful combination.

I marinaded the pork chops for 4 hours and grilled them for 20 minutes to an internal temperature of 163-164 degrees.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Barbecue Brisket Weekend

Finished product. I cooked a 13 lb brisket for 8 hours with apple wood and sauced lightly with Blues Hog BBQ Sauce.

Weber Smokey Mountain cooking at 225 degrees.

Stem thermometer through the lid to monitor the temperatures.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oregon Bounty Contest is hosting a contest. You can check their website beginning 8/24/09 for all the details.

-Entries are open 8/24 – 9/18
-Judging will take place the week of 9/21
-Winners will be notified the week of 9/28

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Best of the Butts

The town of Bell Buckle in Tennessee is hosting the Best of the Butts bbq competition on Saturday, September 5. The contest is sponsored by George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey. Awards start at 2 p.m.

What a wonderful excuse to visit Bell Buckle, a historic community a few miles north of Manchester, Tennessee and conveniently located off Interstate 24.

From the press release:

Contestants check in on Friday, September 4th from Noon until 6 PM. A mandatory cook.s meeting will follow at 6:30 PM. The Cook-off grounds will be open to the public at no charge beginning Saturday, September 5th at 9:00 a.m. We will have official judging on the BBQ determining tenderness/texture, taste, and appearance. Winners will be announced on the
stage at 2:00 PM and $600 in cash prizes will be awarded. A People.s Choice Award will be given to the contestant deemed best by taste testers that would like to try their culinary skills on the pork butt competition.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Win a Free WSM is hosting a Low and Slow BBQ Contest with the chance to win a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. Runners-up (maximum of 10) will win a signed copy of Low and Slow by Gary Wiviott.

From the contest rules on the website:

"We're looking for recipes, techniques, and even ways to build your own BBQ. Just make sure to take plenty of mouth-watering photos and provide helpful text so others can follow in your footsteps. Impress us and you'll win a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and a signed copy of Low & Slow BBQ to ensure that your BBQ reign continues."

Visit the website to submit your entry today.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Food Inc Movie

I've posted about it before, but Linda and I drove down to Lakewood Ranch today and watched Food Inc. at the theatre. Three things in the movie impacted us greatly:

  1. Barbara Kowalcyk's story about her son Kevin and her attempts to get Kevin's Law through congress
  2. The plight of soybean farmers that want to save back soybeans for seed
  3. Working conditions at packing plants and the plight of the labor force that works in them
Here are some links for your further exploration:

If you make the effort to watch the movie (it's in limited release), I predict that you'll never look at America's food system the same way again.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Big Texan Steak Ranch - 72 ounce steak

We were in Amarillo in June and stopped by the Big Texan for supper. I find it hard to believe, but our waitress said 1 out every 6 people that attempt to eat the 72 ounce free steak actually succeed. The day before we were there, several people accomplished it including one from Kissimme, FL.
The steak was better than I expected. Not as good as my own personal "budget" steak restaurant favorite - Demo's in Murfreesboro, TN, but still good. They really know how to feed large numbers of people. However, I feel for the waiters and waitress that have to take care of the guests seated upstairs.

Here's a view from our grill side table.
Besides The Cadillac Ranch, this restaurant has got to be the most popular tourist attraction in the area. (Palo Duro Canyon was my favorite.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Martin's BBQ - Big Apple Block Party

Pat Martin, proprietor of Martin's BBQ in Nolensville, TN near Nashville, was interviewed on the Leonard Lopate radio show during his visit to the Big Apple Barbeque Block Party in June.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mr. Powdrell's Original Barbeque Restaurant

During a recent visit to Albequerque on our summer vacation, we stopped by for supper at Mr. Powdrell's Barbeque (recommended by several of my readers). It's not quite the kind of hard core barbecue joint I was expecting, since it serves some non-traditional bbq menu items too, but it was well worth the trip. The baked beans were very good. I kind of wish I had the recipe.

They have a separate entrance for carry out orders (the round building). The entrance to the main dining room, is on the left hand side.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Top Ten BBQ Restaurants - rated the nations top 10 bbq restaurants:

City Market - Luling Tx
Daisy May's BBQ - New York, Ny
Everett & Jones Barbeque - Oakland, Ca
Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue- Kansas City, Ks
Fox Bros BBQ - Atlanta, Ga
Full Moon Bar-B-Que - Hoover, Al
Montgomer Inn at the Boathouse - Cincinnati, Oh
Smoque BBQ - Chicago, Il
Urban Bar-B-Cue - Rockville, Md
Zeke's Smokehouse - Montrose, Ca

I'm not sure I agree that a bbq restaurant in Oakland, Montrose, , New York, or Rockville can be a legitimate "Top 10 Best" barbecue restaurant in the entire country. I'd imagine that the states of Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, or Missouri have many, many restaurants that could legitimately be in this Top 10. Tennessee and Texas might have enough good restaurants to fill up an entire Top 10 list of their very own. It sounds like more of a marketing gimmick than a legitimate "Best of" bbq list. But, hey....what do I know. I've never eaten at any of these locations. Maybe they really are better than all the rest (I really, really doubt it).

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Cruisers Cafe 66 - Williams Arizona

We spent a few days in Williams, Arizona on vacation recently. Located on Interstate 40, the town of Williams is the homebase for many exploratory trips to the Grand Canyon.

After a day of sight seeing we stopped by Cruisers Bar & Grill on Historic Route 66 for supper. Cruisers was built in an old historic gas station located in downtown Williams. The decor and atmosphere were pretty cool. I didn't have ribs, but my father-in-law and mother-in-law gave them good reviews.

The ribs.

A view of the front patio.

The decor.

The grill.
A picture of the classic hot rod on the roof of the cover over what used to be gasoline pumps.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Memphis Championship Barbecue - Las Vegas

We spent several days in Las Vegas last week on vacation. On the way to the hotel from the airport we stopped by Memphis Championship Barbecue for lunch. We arrived at the location closest to the airport a few minutes before the restaurant opened at 11 a.m. on a Thursday and including us, there were four customers in line for 'que.

I had brisket and baby back ribs. Both were good. I loved the atmosphere. If you're in Las Vegas, I recommend stopping by one of the several locations in the area.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Food Inc Movie

No matter what your politics are, this is an important movie. Read more on the Food Inc. website. If you would rather hear a radio clip about the movie, National Public Radio recently hosted a feature piece on the movie with the creators. Listen here. It's not just the producer that impacts our food system. It's impacted by those that process the food too.

I've written on this blog a few times about labeling food properly. I'll go on record again that I believe imported food should be prominently labeled as such. I also believe the genetically modified food should labeled. The "food production system" needs to worry a little less about cheap and easy, and worry a little more about nutrition and health. After all, isn't that the real reason we eat it in the first place?

Looking at pictures of pigs from 20 years ago and comparing them to pictures of pigs raised today, it's easy to see that the genetics of hog farming have changed. It's also been documented that pork today doesn't taste like it did 20 years ago. It's much less flavorful. This has enabled a resurgence in heritage pork breeds and free range growing methods.

I urge you to support your local farmers. Buy local if you can and buy direct from the producer when possible. More money goes to the farmer and it's easier on the environment. Did you know that almost 50% of food costs are related to transportation expenses of moving it from farm to grocery store? Talk about saving fossil fuels.

It's a little more difficult and it might cost a little more to buy locally, but it's worth it. If everyone did this, we'd probably all be healthier too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How to BBQ Brisket

Brisket has become one of my favorite foods to barbecue. A pencil width slice of properly cooked brisket lightly coated with some Blues Hog BBQ Sauce is hard to beat.

I prefer to cook briskets in my Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). I receive quite a few e-mails asking for help with barbecue brisket and thought I'd share some questions I received today.

Do you cook brisket with direct or indirect heat?
I use indirect heat and cook the brisket slowly at a temperature of 225-250 degrees.

Do you cook with fat cap up or fat cap down?
I begin cooking the brisket fat cap up for the first cooking segment. I don't flip until the brisket reaches 130 degrees or so. That's the point when the bark starts to harden a little bit. Then I flip it to fat side down. I used to skip this part but wanted a little more bark and found that this method will promote more bark formation.

Do you use foil?
I wrap in foil when the internal brisket temp is 165 degrees or if it's been cooking for at least 5 hours. Most of my briskets are completely done in 8 hours or so. I cook to an internal temp of 196-198 degrees and hold them in an Igloo cooler for a few hours to "rest" before slicing.

I hope this helps.

How to bbq ribs

Linda took some pictures as I prepared 8 slabs of ribs for the neighbors birthday party.

First, I trimmed the extra meat at the "knuckle" to create a St. Louis cut.

Then I removed the membrane. Some people leave it on, but it makes the ribs tough to chew.

Next, I sprinkle the ribs with the "secret" dry rub. In this case, I used my "Southern Rub" that I originally developed for brisket.

And finally, I cooked them in my red bbq smoker for 5 1/2 hours.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Weber Smokey Mountain Pulled Pork

Championship BBQ.TV has a nice "how to bbq" video for preparing pork butts for smoking in the Weber Smokey Mountain.

When you place the bbq rub on the pork butt, I wouldn't waste too much time putting rub on the bottom side (fat side) of the butts. Most of the fat will render out when cooking, so there's little use in putting rub on the fat cap.

The video is a testament to the capabilities of the WSM and how it will perform in cold weather.

When I prepare pork butts I prefer to wrap the pork in aluminum foil when the butts reach an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees. This will reduce the amount of dark black coloring on the outside of the pork butts.

I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Top 10 BBQ Blogs

Wendy Taylor, of, asked me to contribute my list of Top 10 BBQ Blogs. Sixapart is well known for creating the popular Typepad Blogging software.

Here's my list of favorites (in no particular order):

Ulika Food Blog
Written by a professional bbq contest competitor, this bbq blog is a reliable source of information for the bbq community in Nashville, TN. The blog includes articles about bbq restaurants and compeitions in the area with lots and lots of pictures.

Martin's BBQ Blog
If you've ever thought about starting a restaurant, or specifically a bbq themed restaurant, Pat Martin's experiences chronicled on his blog might make you think twice, or three or four times. He has documented the entire experience from start-up to full operation on his blog.

Fat Johnny's Front Porch
Wonderful food pictures, recipes and good music. Need I say more?

White Trash BBQ
I visited this blog initially for the catchy name, but I keep going back for the recipes and insight into the New York bbq scene. The site features reviews and news about New York restaurants - not just bbq ones.

Q Haven BBQ Blog
A documentary for New England BBQ contests, this site is also filled with tasty bbq recipes and pictures. There is a fair amount of KCBS bbq competition results too.

Bucky's Barbecue and Bread
This site is a wonderful source of recipes with a fair amount of bbq recipes and pictures sprinkled in. I've met the author several times on the bbq contest trail. As we say in the south, he's good people.

BBQ Blog
This blog is an extension of the world reknowned BBQ Forum created by Ray Basso. Contributors include serious bbq enthusiasts from all areas of the country giving their own unique view of bbq.

Old Dave's Po-Farm
Dave cook's just about anything in a bbq smoker. He provides pictures, recipes, and an overall bbq philosophy that is refreshing and rewarding. Pizza, corn bread, pork butt, ribs, and chicken. You can tell he loves to cook.

Cowgirl's Country Life
This cowgirl knows how to cook. Tons of pictures, recipes, and country cooking - bbq and otherwise.

All Things Barbecue
This is the blog for one of the winningest teams on the professional Kansas City Barbecue Society cooking circuit. If you're into bbq contests, this site is for definitely for you. Not too heavy on bbq recipes, but very large on bbq contest information, pictures, and all the contest happenings.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Gateway City BBQ Festival

Gateway City BBQ Festival
St. Louis MO
July 3-4, 2009

The Gateway City Barbeque Festival will take place July 3-4, 2009 at the Old Rock House in downtown St. Louis. Entries are now being acccepted, but are limited to 20 spaces, so first come first serve. Be sure to sign up before the June 25, 2009.

Grand Champion Takes Home $500

Pork (shoulder/butt)1st - $300
2nd- $200
3rd- $100
4th -$50
5th- Case of beer

Rib1st - $300
2nd- $200
3rd- $100
4th -$50
5th- Case of beer

Pork Steak
1st - $300
2nd-$ 200
3rd- $100
4th - $50
5th- Case of beer

Peoples Choice Award- 2 Cardinal Tickets and one night free hotel stay

For information and an applicationEmail:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Advantages of Grass Fed Beef?

I grew up on a small farm and we sometimes slaughtered cattle for our family to consume. As far as I knew at the time, all beef was "grass fed". As I got older and traveled to different areas of the country, I learned that the majority of beef we purchase from a supermarket is not grass-fed but rather grain fed - on feed lots.

According to this article published on, we should all consider eating more grass fed beef. "Grass-fed beef, bison, and lamb have less total fat, cholesterol, and calories than grain-fed. And grass-fed is a good source of potentially-cancer-blocking conjugated lineolic acid." Not to mention that grazing is usually better for the environment versus feed lots.

Click here to find places to purchase grass fed beef.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

BBQ Road Trip

I am planning a road trip from Las Vegas to Albuquerque to Amarillo next month. It's a driving vacation that includes a visit to the Grand Canyon. I'm looking for ideas for bbq restaurants we should check out along the route.

A Google search brings up quite a few, but I'd like to weed out the contenders from the pretenders before we leave for the trip.

Amarillo, TX

A. Dyer's Bar-B-Que - (806) 358-7104
B. Cattle Call Express - - (806) 331-1227
C. Desperado's BBQ & Steaks - (806) 372-3030
D. Texas Roadhouse - Amarillo - - (806) 352-7427
E. Big Daddy's BBQ - (806) 383-9731
F. Jerry's Famous Pit Bar-B-Que - (806) 376-9932
H. Wesley's Bean Pot & BBQ - (806) 381-2893
I. Hickory Stick Barbecue - (806) 373-3322

Albuquerque, NM

A. Rudy's Country Store & Bar-BQ - - (505) 884-4000
B. Quarters BBQ - - (505) 843-7505
C. County Line BBQ - - (505) 856-7477
D. Robbs Ribbs
E. Powdrell's Barbeque House Mr - (505) 345-8086
F. Golden Pride BBQ Chicken - - (505) 294-5767

Any suggestions?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Good Morning America Best Barbecue Challenge

Good Morning America Weekend’s Best Bites series continues tomorrow with the Best Barbecue Challenge. Viewer selected finalists are Dinosaur BBQ (Syracuse, NY), Cousin’s BBQ (Ft. Worth, TX), Woody’s Smoke Shack (Des Moines, IA), and Archibald’s BBQ (Northport, AL).

Voting begins after our segment on the finalists airs tomorrow morning on ABC (8am ET – check local listings elsewhere).

Click here to vote.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michigan BBQ Rib Contest Seeks Competitors

Novi, Michigan - Hot and tasty summer family fun is on the menu for the first annual West Oakland Rib Cook Off and Family Fest, Sunday August 9 at the Rock Financial Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave in Novi , MI. The all day event will feature as many as fifty BBQ Rib teams, live music, local restaurant tastings, family activities including a furry creature petting zoo, and much more!

“Experience West Oakland ”, a committee of the Novi Chamber of Commerce, was recently granted a sanction from the Memphis Barbeque Network for their inaugural event, which will offer BBQ competitors the chance to compete for Prize Packages totaling $10,000. A panel of 40 professional and amateur judges will determine the contest results. The Grand Prize Winner will be invited to compete in the “ Memphis in May” Barbeque Network Finals, May 2010. More information on the sanctioning body can be found at

Registration information for interested contestants can be found at

For more information, please call 248.486.3424.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Truth In Advertising - Part 2

When visiting restaurants I often chuckle when I see bbq on the menu. As an example, Saturday night we tried out a local restaurant in a nearby town that has a very popular buffet. Two people can eat all they want for less than $20. You pay as you enter and then you don't have to worry about finding a waitress later when you're ready to leave. However, the bbq ribs were not bbq at all. They were most likely oven cooked, or worse...boiled. Then they brushed some bbq sauce on them and called them "bbq ribs". The meat wouldn't even stay on the bones long enough to bite into it. Not my kind of bbq ribs at all, but very popular at this restaurant. has another example of the truth in advertising issues I'm beginning to despise. Maybe I'm just getting old and my cynical side is taking control, but it's borderline ridiculous.

Kentucky Fried Chicken is advertising a new "grilled" chicken product this week. I've seen the ads every time I've sat down to watch a little TV this weekend. El Pollo Loco, a chain that also serves chicken, has taken exception with the KFC advertising campaign and makes an interesting observation - How can they call it grilled chicken, if they don't cook it over a flame?

Suffice it to say that El Pollo Loco's new advertising slogan - "See the fire, taste the flavor." - is no accident and is likely in direct response to KFC's attempt to cash-in with a "me too" product.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Antibiotics-free chicken?

I never purchase Tyson's chicken anymore. The last few times I did 5 or 6 years ago, it didn't turn out well for bbq. Well, based on this article it will likely be a lot longer than 5 or 6 years. (It might have to freeze you know where first.) While the label might be "legal", it's still not right. In my opinion, right is right, and wrong is wrong. You can't have it both ways.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

BBQ Contest on GMA

Good Morning America recently announced a bbq contest.

You can enter an essay of 300 words or less explaining why you like a particular bbq restaurant. Good Morning America will visit the restaurant and feature the restaurant on the air.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Grilled Bison Burgers

Tonight I grilled some bison burgers for supper. If you've never eaten bison, you're missing out.
Bison has a flavor signature that differs from beef, in that it has just a hint of sweetness. I also think it's a slightly heavier taste than traditional beef. I have no scientific proof, but my gut tells me that since bison has much less fat and grease than a hamburger, you taste more of the actual meat.
If you try some, please don't over cook it. Since it has less fat than hamburger, you don't need to cook it as much.

I took these pictures during a trip to Mount Rushmore two years ago.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dade City Florida Jack Daniels Qualifier

I received this announcement from the Florida Barbecue Association today.

When: April 3-4, 2009
What: Orange Blossom Special BBQ Fest
Where: Dade City, FL (FBA)

This contest is a State Championship and a Jack Daniels Qualifier.

Who: East Pasco Habitat for Humanity - 15000 Citrus Country Drive - Suite 420 - Dade City, FL 33523(352)-567-1444 or e-mail: for information

The contest is looking for a few more competitors.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

BBQ Contest Strategies

We've been competing in bbq contests for almost 5 years now and have had some small successes here and there. When I decided to start competing in Florida Barbecue Association events, I started out cooking with another team. I mainly did the dishes and served as a "go fer", but I learned about the equipment I would need and I also learned just how hard it is to win a bbq contest.

I learned that organization and planning ahead are key to turning in good bbq samples. Any time that I cook bbq I try to do it the same way I would if I was at a contest. It's kind of become second nature now, but I try to use the same sauce, spices and meats. If I do decide to change something with the hopes of improving the product, I try to only change one thing at a time, so I can better track the effects.

I make a schedule for everything that we do when we compete. I try to arrive at the contest sight at the same time, prep the meat at the same times. Get some sleep at the same times, start my fires, begin cooking, etc. at the same basic times. That way it becomes systematic and I can track the results accurately.

I started cooking on a Weber Smokey Mountain water smoker because it was very affordable and since it was an upright style, when I decided to look at bigger models for competing, I naturally gravitated toward the upright-style smokers such as the Backwoods Smoker.

I use a Party model to cook my chicken and I cook the briskets in the WSM. I cook ribs and butts in my other upright--the 2 x 2 McCullough smoker made for me by James McCullough of New Smyrna, FL. James is a great guy and has been cooking bbq and making smokers for more than 20 years. He also makes large trailer mounted rotisseries that are used by competitors and caters around central Florida.

I think the upright smokers allow me to concentrate on the bbq product more and less on maintaining heat and adding wood. My uprights are basically trouble free. They are very efficient and require only about 25-30 lbs of charcoal to cook a contest.

I purchased a very good bbq video set last winter: Inside The World of Championship Barbecue, and BBQ Secrets: The Master Guide To Extraordinary Barbecue Cookin’.

I watched the videos and took notes and tried to relate what I was doing to the video advice and made a couple of adjustments that have really helped our results.

Inside The World of Championship Barbecue takes you inside a major championship competition. Filmed at the American Royal Barbecue in Kansas City, you will gain solid tips from among the top barbecue cooks in this sport. Loaded with valuable information covering the entire (KCBS style) competition process, this movie is intended to help new competitors chart a winning course to victory.

In BBQ Secrets: The Master Guide To Extraordinary Barbecue Cookin’, 3 world champion barbecue competition cooks, and restaurateur’s, share their unique approaches to barbecue cooking. Learn how to apply the authentic “low and slow” methods to making pork ribs, shoulder, chicken, whole hog, beef brisket, and more. Master the art of making spice rubs and marinades, and how to use different woods for proper flavoring. This award-winning DVD offers a wealth of expert knowledge not readily available from other sources, and includes the champion’s own private recipes.

The video set comes with a recipe booklet that has a lot of the recipes featured in the video. I got some good ideas from the recipe book. One in particular has more than paid for the cost of the videos.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

BBQ Themed Aprons

I wish we'd have known about Irene Shurson's when we were putting together our bbq team shirts and aprons for our competition effort a few years ago.

Here are two sample pictures:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mike's Smokehouse BBQ & Grill in Tampa

Linda and I ate lunch at Mike's Bar-B-Que in Tampa recently. It's located at 7117 N US Highway 301 near I-4. The restaurant has seating for 30-35 inside and room for another 20-25 on an outside patio.
Mike Andrews used to have a 2nd location in Brandon, but that restaurant is now closed. The St. Petersburg Times featured an article titled "The Ripple Effect", which included a few paragraphs about Mike's. According to the newspaper article, the restaurant that used to employ 28 now has 5 employees.
I urge you to support your local restaurant owners. After reading the newspaper article, I think I'll be going back to Mike's again soon. If you're in the area, stop by for lunch.
I had the pulled pork plate with fried okra and hushpuppies. The okra is breaded on the premises and the hushpuppies were good. The place was packed for Saturday lunch. I'm glad to see it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BBQ Food Safety

Nothing can ruin a fantastic day of barbecuing faster than someone getting sick after eating food you prepared. Whether you are grilling in the back yard, catering for a group of friends and family, or preparing bbq food in a restaurant for hundreds of customers each day, you need to follow safe food preparation techniques.

Keeping it cold

When shopping for food, purchase meat and poultry just before you leave the store. Food in the grocery store is stored at temperatures of below 40 degrees and needs to maintained below 40 degrees whenever possible. Food should be referigerated after the drive home as soon as possible. Allowing the temperature of the food to rise above 40 degrees for any length of time increases the possibility of bacteria growth.

Vacuum seal bulk purchases

I often purchase food in bulk to save money. Meat that is not going to be consumed within a couple of days should be frozen. I like to vacuum seal large quantities into smaller packages. For example, if we buy a package of 16 pork chops, I split the chops into packets of 4, vacuum seal them, mark the package with the date, and then place it in the freezer until we are ready to prepare them.

Avoid cross-contamination

As meat begins to thaw, juices can sometimes escape the packaging and cross-contamination can occur. Vacuum sealing is another way to help prevent cross-contamination between meat and poultry when storing or transporting food. When handling chicken, thoroughly wash your hands and any knives and utensils with hot, soapy water before using the utensils to cut other meat.

Marinate Properly

Always marinade meat and poultry in the refrigerator. Contrary to some advice I've read recently on a very popular bbq forum, never, never, allow meat to marinade at room temperature. Meat should be marinated in the refrigerator. When removing marinated food from the refrigerator, place it directly on the smoker or grill for cooking.

Cooking temps

Pre-heat your cooker to ensure that you attain a 140 degree internal meat temperature within 4 hours. Do not allow meat to remain in the danger zone (i.e. greater than 40 degrees and less than 140 degrees) for more than 4 hours.

For more food safety tips and information, there's a nice article on the USDA website that should help.

Frisco BBQ Challenge

BBQ contest announcement:

When: June 19 and 20, 2009
Where: Frisco, Colorado
Entry fee: $200
Prizes: $15,000
Sanctioning and Rules: KCBS

This long running contest (16 years) is a state qualifier for the Great American BBQ, American Royal, and Jack Daniels World Invitational Championship.


I received a notice today regarding a CASI chili contest in High Springs, FL and wanted to share it for anyone that might be interested.

WHEN: Saturday March 28th 2009
WHERE: O’Leno State Park, High Springs, FL
The park is located 6 miles north of High Springs on Hwy 41.

Entry fee is $20 per team.
CASI rules apply.
You can find the rules at WWW.CHILI.ORG

I've been threatening to compete in a chili contest for a few years, but for some reason I've never made it a priority. Who knows, maybe this is THE year to do it. It sounds like fun.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

BBQ on the Internet

The more I learn about bbq, the more I feel compelled to share it with others. What better medium than the internet? All I need is a key board and an internet connection.
As this website approaches 700 posts, I feel the need to say thank you to everyone who reads or visits this blog. Whether you are a long-time reader, casual observer, or you arrived here via a link from another bbq website for the first time - thanks for making my blog one of the most popular blogs about bbq on the internet.

I started this blog to share my experiences competing in bbq contests. We don't compete as often as we'd like to anymore, but until we can get back to it with more regularity, I've enjoyed sharing more general information that ranges from grilling, southern cooking, favorite products, bbq books, and equipment, etc.

I'm toying with the idea of hosting an "online bbq contest" later this spring. The traditional categories of taste, tenderness, and appearance would revert to appearance alone, since they haven't quite figured out how to teleport bbq samples over the phone lines. Instead of four entries, we'd keep it simple and limit it to one - your choice. Judging would include a documentation of the process and recipes used to prepare the entry. Winners would be determined by a reader vote.


1. cook one bbq entry -- chicken, ribs, pork butt, or brisket

2. submit the recipe and pictures documenting the process of preparing the entry

3. entries will be posted here on the blog and readers will vote for the winning entry

What do you think? Anyone want to join me?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BBQ Contest at Auburn University

If you are an amateur or professional bbq team and you live within driving distance of Auburn, AL, there's a bbq contest March 27 and 28 that you might be interested in.

Here's some more information about Boda Getta BBQ:

Participating Teams



BBQ Photos

Thin Blue Smoke BBQ Novel

I offer my congratulations to Doug Worgul. His novel, Thin Blue Smoke, is now available at For those that read The BBQ Forum, you may remember that Mr. Worgul posted his progress on the first draft of the novel online for everyone to read. If my memory is correct, I believe the original working title was Smoke Meat.

Start a Catering Business

Have you ever wondered how to turn your interest in cooking into a part-time and eventually a full-time business?

I'm sure you'll find "Starting a Catering Business" business kit very useful. The kit contains many of the nuts and bolts involved in starting and running a professional and profitable catering business. From health regulations to sample forms and contracts to use when signing up customers, this kit contains a lot of valuable "insider" information.
You will benefit from this kit if you are:
-considering starting your own home-based catering business
-already worked for a catering service before and now are ready to start your own catering business
-ready to take your knowledge and experience of working with food and people and applying it to your own business
-thinking of making an income while working from home and being your own boss
This kit was designed to guide you with the information you will need to start and run a successful catering business. It offers many pointers that even experienced caterers will find useful.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ted's Montana Grill - Eco Friendly Restaurants

I just finished reading Call Me Ted, the autobiography about Ted Turner. Besides being the man behind the successful launches of TBS, TNT, CNN, and Headline News on cable television, he is also the owner of the Atlanta Braves and remains the largest private land owner in the U.S.

A few years ago, Ted Turner got into the restaurant business as one of the co-founders/owners of Ted's Montana Grill.

The closest location to me is in Bonita Springs, FL, so I haven't eaten there yet, but it's worth noting that Ted's has helped launch an awareness in the restaurant industry that is helping restauranteurs focus more on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Ted's uses paper straws and bio-degradable materials for their plates, to go boxes, etc. providing a lesson for us all.

You may or may not be a reader of books, but if you are....Call Me Ted is a worthy read. Not knowing much about him before reading the book, it changed my impressions 100%.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Honey for Barbecue

More and more bbq enthusiasts are using honey in their barbecue sauces and in various glazes they use to "finish" their barbecue meats just before serving.

All honey is not created equal. Honey in the grocery store and honey purchased from a local producer are potentially very different. Commercial honey production and importation is difficult to regulate.

There are regulations administered by EPA regarding chemical usage and pollution and also regulations enforced by the FDA that regulate contamination of honey by illegal or unapproved chemicals, along with various state agencies that administer their own food safety programs. In my personal opinion, purchasing honey from a commercial producer incurs more risk that from a local producer.

Know your beekeeper--

If possible, perform a visual inspection of the honey bee-hives and make note of their location, proximity to industrial manufacturing plants, proximity to fresh water, etc.

It stands to reason that honey from a local producer whose hives are located in a rural area near fresh water streams, with fresh vegetation and lots of blossoms is of higher quality than honey from hives located near a chemical plant that spills various polutants into the atmosphere.

At the same time all local producers are not created equal either. Are the hives located next to a crop that is routinely sprayed with insecticides? Does your beekeeper observe commonsense when preparing honey for bottling? How is his or her cleanliness during this process? Under what conditions is this process performed?

These are just some considerations that should be made when making the decision to purchase honey from a local producer versus an unknown entity overseas.

I don't know about you, but I feel more comfortable dealing with a local source.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

J & R Manufacturing

Like many bbq enthusiasts, I've spent the last few years dreaming, thinking, and researching different types of equipment to use in a future bbq restaurant. I've always thought Ole Hickory to be the gold standard as far as bbq restaurant equipment goes, but the more I explore the offerings from J & R Manufacturing, the more I think I might change my mind.

They make three types of bbq smoker ovens:

The Little Red Smokehouse
The Oyler Pit
The Smokemaster Convection Oven

The pits are wood fired with electric assist available to add consistency, predictability, and to reduce costs. According to their website, the electric assist also will not taint the taste of food like a gas assist pit will.

The pits are NSF and UL listed. And, they also have an impressive listing of professional chefs and bbq restaurants that use their wood fired pits.

I've not seen one up close yet, but I want to. I see that Jimbo's Pit Barbecue in Lakeland, FL uses one. I might have to make a road trip soon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eat BBQ and Get College Credit

Some students at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama have figured out a way to get college credit for eating bbq. The Southern BBQ Boys are going to spend 17 days eating bbq and studying pork bbq in the southeast.

Their creativity has generated a lot of media coverage for the project. They are documenting everything via videos published on their bbq blog. Fox 5 in Atlanta, Birmingham Weekly, Lexington Dispatch, and Tennesean have featured the boys in recent stories/articles.

Monday, January 19, 2009

BBQ Tour: Columbus, GA que restaurants

We traveled to Columbus, GA this weekend. Sunday afternoon we made up our own informal tour of bbq joints in the area.

We stopped by Chester's BBQ, Hog Rock BBQ , Fat Freddy's, and Thorton's BBQ to name a few. I'm not quite sure where the folks of Columbus eat bbq on Sundays, because most of the joints were not open for business, but that turned out perfectly to snap a few pictures.

Chester's Bar-B-Q with locations on Veteran's Parkway and Northstar drive has a storied business history in Columbus dating back to 1939. The restaurant is previous People's Choice Award winner as the favorite bbq joint in town. (See more pictures here.)

Here's a view of the front door at Fat Freddie's Bar-B-Q on Hamilton Road.

Hog Rock BBQ, on the 280 by-pass in Phenix City, AL, across the river from Columbus gets my vote for the best bbq logo and paint scheme.

Mike & Ed's on Crawford Road in Phenix City looked busy on Saturday afternoon, but they were closed when we stopped by on Sunday.

Next to Kansas City or Memphis, I've never seen more bbq restaurants in a single community. I'd be willing to wager that Columbus, GA might hold the record for Most BBQ Restaurants Per Capita compared to most any medium to large sized city in America.