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Saturday, September 29, 2012
Starting a Food Buisness and the Cottage Food Law
The cottage food laws do have limitations. There are labeling requirements, limitations on the types of foods that can be produced for sale from a home kitchen, and guidelines for maximum annual revenues that can be earned.
Outside of the cottage food law allowances, many states and county governments offer other resources to help guide a prospective small business owner through the process of operating a food business legally. In Michigan, the state government provides significant resources online. The 64-page Guide to Starting and Operating a Small Business in Michigan provides a checklist that can be used to plan for a start-up. The guide covers taxes, business plans, licenses and regulations, hiring, financing, managment, and insurance considerations and many, many more.
All of this may seem like a lot of red tape and hassle for folks that just want to grow a hobby or personal passion into a source of income. I've seen and known many bbq enthusiasts who do bbq and other types of catering "under the radar" and out of compliance with legal requirements. This may seem like a harmless undertaking, but upon closer examination this is a pretty risky proposition. The personal liability is significant and should not be taken lightly.
There is a lot of information available to help you do it right, if you take the time to look for it. And the best part is that most of it won't cost you any money while you progress through the initial planning stages.
If you are aware of other resources that would be helpful along these lines, feel free to post them in the comments section or send me a separate e-mail so I can share the information with others who may find it useful.
Here's an example from the Small Buisness Administration (SBA):
Small Business Assessment Tool
Friday, September 28, 2012
Music to BBQ By - Charlie Daniels Band
When your bbq party gets a little rowdy, put some CDB on the stereo. Or better yet, if you bbq party is dull, liven it up with some CDB.
I attended a Charlie Daniels concert in Dearborn Michigan in 2004. It's been several years now since I first heard this song on 61-Country, my favorite radio station from the late '70's and early '80's out of Kansas City. We spent hours and hours listening to guys with names like Charlie, Conway, and Kenny.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Red Chili Practice Cook
|Red chili aka chili without beans|
This was my second weekend spent working to develop a contest-worthy-chili recipe. Last week left me a little disappointed, but this week's result turned out closer to my expectations.
I have searched and searched on Google images for what ICS contest chili is supposed to look like with very few results, so I am still unsure whether I am getting closer (or farther) from competitive quality.
Last week I tried to some inexpensive sirloin cuts labeled as "stew meat" on the package. This week I purchased a $15 package labeled as Top Sirloin and the texture and tenderness of the chili was much better.
I feel much more comfortable with the level of heat in the chili too, but that is the area I most unsure about. If a judge is just eating a one bite sample the chili can stand to be a little hotter than if eating an entire bowl (i.e. cup).
Next week I'll be working on a green chili recipe.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
A Trip to the Spice Store
I have never cooked a chili contest sanctioned by the International Chili Society (ICS). To help promote chili cooking, contests, and in support of prospective new contestants like me, the ICS publishes winning recipes on ChiliCookoff.com. Last weekend I cooked Jim Weller's Macktown Chili recipe to establish a base to build from. The plan is to make adjustments here and there to eventually develop my own recipe.
I'm a chili novice and I'm a little fearful of making my entry too hot, if that is possible. Most of the past winning recipes look pretty hot to me, so I am sticking to a recipe that is on the milder side of things. I chose some ground chipotle, some guajillo chili peppers, and ancho chili powder for my recipe. All three are the on milder side of the Scoville heat scale.
Chipotle: 5,000 - 10,000 Scoville heat units
Guajillo: 2,500 - 5,000 Scoville heat units
Ancho: 1,000 - 2,000 Scoville heat units
For a comparison, Cayenne pepper is 30,000 - 50,000 Scoville heat units; and a Scotch Bonnet or Habanero pepper yield between 100,000 - 350,000 Scoville heat units.
I plan to enter the "red" and "green" chili categories. From what I've seen on the web, sometimes the green chili recipes are even a little hotter than the red ones.
I'm not expecting spectacular results in my first event, but I do expect to have a lot of fun preparing and competing. Perhaps best of all...the event I'm cooking is in it's 17th year. The event typically raises a lot of money for local charities. The grand total over the lifespan of the event is more than $265,000 in donations.
Look for a new post tomorrow when I put these new spices to use.
Music to BBQ By
So here's the first installment...
There have been numerous versions of this song recorded and performed through the years (you can see many of them on YouTube), but I have never being one to conform with what others may regard as "popular" or "normal". I like to explore the "not so obvious" and that's why I picked this version to share with you this week.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
The BBQ Guy Tries ICS Chili Cooking
|3 lbs of lean beef|
I've cooked Jim Weller's Macktown Chili recipe as pubished on the International Chili Society (ICS) website a couple of times. Admitting that I know little about cooking chili sans beans and hamburger, Mr. Weller's world championship winning recipe from the year 2000 looked like a good starting point to develop my own novice version of ICS chili.
Brian's Chili Recipe
|I cut the beef into bite sized pieces. I was aiming for 3/8" or "pecan sized".|
|Beef after browing and draining|
- Add 1/4 cup of chopped onions.
- Add 1/4 cup of chopped green peppers
- Add another 8 oz can of Hunt's tomato sauce
- Instead of 1 C water, use 1 C of beef broth/chicken broth mixture
- Use Tabasco sauce instead of Louisiana brand.
Any other suggestions?
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Chicken Thighs in a Skillet with Lawry's Seasoning
We were watching football recently and I had a craving for grilled chicken thighs, but I didn't want to step away from the game long enough to prepare them bbq-style. I headed to the kitchen pantry and looked for some sort of seasoning to use and found some Lawry's Perfect Blend Seasoning and Rub Chicken & Poultry staring back at me.
It's not real bbq, but it's a quick alternative that doesn't taste half bad.