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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weekend Recap

Well folks, the weekend is over and I have recovered from working and cooking enough to share how everything went. I have to say it was a beautiful weekend, weather wise, and I had a ball talking BBQ with a lot of people that have the same passion as I do for making great BBQ. The weekend really got started on Thursday when I met up with Arthur Aguirre and Al Bowman, who were teaming up to cook as a team under the banner of Baumann Meat. I met them Thursday afternoon to load in at the St Louis Home Fires BBQ Bash. I helped them unload their gear and start to set up. These guys weren't only going to cook in the competition but also going to sell their BBQ. They were hoping to sell enough to help to pay for their trip to the American Royal this weekend.  They are cooking both the open and invitational; the American Royal is the Super Bowl of competition BBQ. I also unloaded my stuff, the plan is pass out samples of Mojobricks to introduce them to more folks in St Louis and make them a staple to everyone that BBQ's in St Louis.


Saturday morning I'm up early and out the door arriving at the site at 8AM and already there was a lot of smoke in the air. Teams were starting their pits and getting their meat prepped. The teams that are selling are setting up to handle the mass of people that attend this event. Last year estimates of 40,000 people attended the event and with the weather being perfect there were sure to be that many if not more this weekend. I start by talking to the teams I know. I made sure to stop by and talk to Bill and Anne Grenko of "Lock Stock and 2 Smokin Barrels" and then go around to visit all the teams and offer them a sample of Mojobricks. With about 100 teams this takes the rest of the morning and I was ready for some lunch. With no shortage of  booths selling I knew I wasn't going to go hungry, but my loyalty to Art and Al means I head back to their booth for a pulled pork sandwich. Great choice; they fixed me up with a huge sandwich and even shared a beer with me.

Now the crowd was really packing in and I was getting a lot of folks wanting to learn about Mojobricks so many in fact that by 4PM I was out of samples. So my day was over and it was time to get ready to go home and start to prepare for the Dan Donnelly Back Pack Rib Contest at the Pacific Eagles club in Pacific MO. on Sunday.

Sunday morning and I'm up early and finish loading the truck. I have done enough contests now that I have loading for a contest down pretty well. Still some work but since I will only be turning in ribs I feel pretty confident about handling this contest solo. Stopped at the store and got ice and some beer and arrive at the site at a little after 8AM.  Start to set up the site and and fire up the ugly drum. This contest is a little different in that included in the entry fee they supply 2 slabs of ribs. Good deal and I had picked up another slab to cook and take home for supper.

Since this wasn't a sanctioned contest  I decided to change up a few things and see how they would be received. I used a different rub and sauce combo. The cook went well and I was following my set time line that has been working for me. While I was there had some friends stop by and visit. They have never been to a contest and wanted to see what it was I was so wrapped up in. They were wanting to see everything that went into cooking a contest. I had fun answering their questions and showing them what it is I do to compete in a contest.

After they left it was time to get ready for turn in. The ribs were doing nicely and I was happy with how they were turning out. I sliced the first slab and had nice ribs not so tender that it was falling off the bone but tender and  had nice bite though. I used a cherry rub and I liked the flavor that it gave the ribs. Time to turn them in and see what the judges thought.

Time to hear who the winners were and they called the top 3 ; I did not hear my name. So the question was answered, the judges did not like the flavor I had in my ribs. I saw the finish list and out of 27 teams it looked like I was in the middle of the pack, at least I wasn't " Dead ass last".  Had a good time and the ribs were good at supper even if the judges didn't like them.

So that was my BBQ weekend. It was full and I was tired Sunday evening and slept like a baby with the sweet smell of BBQ still in my nose.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's a Fun Time in BBQ

Well folks this time of year is a fun time in BBQ in St Louis, MO, and I'm having a ball. You see when the weather gets cool it is time for the St. Louis Home Fires BBQ Bash. This year the Bash is next weekend, Sept 29 /30. The bash is the biggest BBQ event and contest of the year here in St Louis with upwards of 100 teams competing. There are teams that work all year on preparation for this event. They may only compete in this one event but they spent the summer in the backyard trying different recipes and techinques all with the goal of winning "THE BASH." Other teams will spend their time entering contests in the spring and summer getting feed back from judges and adjusting their cooks all in trying to win "THE BASH." Then there teams that treat this as a fun time to get together and have fun with family and friends enjoy the event, win or lose. They just want to have fun at "THE BASH."

It is also the time of year that the Grillin' Fools have their "Grillin' Fools Backyard Bash." This is the 3rd year for this event and many backyard pit masters look forward to this event. This event is aimed at the true backyard pit master only small grills allowed no big trailer pits can be used. All aimed at staying true to the backyard cook. The other plus is all the enter fees go to the Wounded Warriors fund.

Then there's the Pacific, MO, Eagles  Rib Challenge. This is a yearly contest event that benefits the Backpack program in Pacific. This ensures that every child in Pacific that needs a backpack for school gets one. The event was started by Dan Donnelly and is held along with the Pork Steak contest in Feb. and has continued to grow, this year having 30 teams competing.

So yesterday was the kick off for me. The Grillin' Fools contest was held and I was there not as pit master but to visit the teams I know and passing out samples of Mojobricks . It was a great time visiting with pit masters just having fun and supporting a  great event and raising funds for the Wounded Warriors. By the way the Grand Championship went to Bill Grenko of " Lock, Stock and 2 Smokin Barrels" a user of Mojobricks. Also 1st place in Ribs went to Big Al Bowman of  "Canadian Bakin" fame and also a user of Mojobricks.

So next weekend I will be at the St Louis Home Fires BBQ Bash and I will be working the event passing out  some samples of Mojobricks, talking to the teams and trying to learn any secrets that might help me in my quest to be a better pit master. Then on Sunday I will be at the Pacific Eagles Rib cook off cooking some ribs and supporting  the Backpack program.

I'm having a lot of fun in BBQ right now and hope if you get a chance you will attend one or all of these events. If you aren't in the St Louis area, I'll bet there is a BBQ event close to you that is supporting a charity in your area that you could attend. You will get some great BBQ and maybe learn a trick that will make you a better pit master and support a worthy charity.

 So come on out. The sweet smell of BBQ is in the air.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Is BBQ a Sport?

Well folks, today I'm going to go on a little rant and give my opinion about whether BBQ is a sport or not. Those of you that know me aren't surprised that I have a opinion and I'm willing to share it with you. I'm not shy about sharing my opinions, sometimes to my detriment. So here's my opinion about some calling competitive BBQ a sport. It's Not!!

Come on people, look at my picture. Do I look like an athlete? Of course not, I'm an overweight 60 year old man that likes to cook BBQ. Competitive BBQ is an activity that is enjoyed by people of all ages, genders and abilities. That may be what makes competitive BBQ so great. You don't have to be a athlete to be in  competitive BBQ.  The only thing you need is the guts to go out and cook BBQ and have a independent group of people judge your product. You can be a man ,woman, young or old. You can have  thousands of dollars in a trailer pit or a homemade ugly drum smoker and you can still be part of competitive BBQ.

So there you have my opinion, Competitive BBQ is not a sport. It's an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone.  So if you ever wanted find out how your BBQ stacks up against others that have the same passion for good BBQ, don't think you need to start working out. All you need to do is practice on the grill, learn a few simple rules and get out there and turn your food in to be judged. It is addictive and you will meet some really great folks that are willing to share their knowledge and help you along the way. I found that since I started competing I have become a better pit master and my food is better.

So come on out, the smoke is fine and there's always room for another pit.

Monday, September 10, 2012

BBQ for Charity

Well folks, sometimes you BBQ for fun and sometimes you BBQ in competition. Well this past weekend I helped with a BBQ for charity. I truly have to say it was one of my most satisfying experiences. You see I really like it when you see a group of people coming together to raise funds to help people that need help. The St Louis BBQ Society is a group of people whose goal is to promote BBQ in St Louis Mo. They are doing a great job at that with sanctioning BBQ contests and training judges so the playing field is as level as possible for all competitors.

But they also expand their purpose by raising funds and donating to charities in the area. What a great day Saturday was; the weather was perfect! I arrived at the site to help set up and there were already 6 to 8 people there and working. I knew a few and after a few quick introductions to the ones I didn't know everyone went to work. Frank, with "A PIGS WORST NIGHTMARE", was the leader of this group and everyone followed  his lead doing what was necessary to get set up and start cooking. Soon the pits were in place and the fires were started. Next  the meat was prepared; the chicken cut up and seasoned. Once that was completed  a group got started seasoning the baby back ribs and pork steaks. It wasn't long until the sweet smell of smoke was in the air. Frank had the pork butts for pulled pork ready because he had started them Friday night. A couple of guys started pulling them  for the pulled pork sandwiches.What was really nice to see is when you get around cooks and especially competitive cooks together, egos could be a problem. Not here; everyone just went to work and worked to make sure we were going to produce some good BBQ that would represent the St Louis BBQ Society well. That I truly believe we did.

Soon there were cars pulling up and folks ordering; we made some deliveries to those that preordered. I'm not sure how much was raised, but it looked like a good fund raiser was in the works. I wasn't able to stay until the end, I had a family commitment., but you can be sure I'll be at the next one helping where I'm needed and hoping that it means someone in need is going to benefit. I love to cook BBQ just the thought that doing what I love to do could help someone makes it a little more fun.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

STL Home Fires Throw Down Victory

Well folks, it has been a very good month for "The Man, The Grill, The Magic" after our Grand Championship at Clarksville Mo.  We went to St Louis Home Fires  to meet Big Al Bowman of "Canadian Bakin" fame in a throw down competition. This is an event that Frank Schmer, the owner of St Louis Home Fires in Ballwin MO, has been doing on the last Tuesday of every month that pits two pit master against each other grilling 3 categories. The pit master presents each  of their versions to an audience of appox. 40 to 50 attendees. After all 3 dishes have been tasted each one is voted on by a show of hands. The pit master winning at least 2 of the 3 is named that months "Throw Down" winner. Every month  the audience choose 3 items of what will be cooked for the next month. This month  the categories were broccoli, fajitas and watermelon.

I arrived at the store at 4:30 to prepare as we start serving the dishes starting at 7PM. My son Bill  assisted me at this cook and I'll talk more about him later. First on the menu is going to be broccoli. For this I went real simple taking broccoli flowers and drizzled some olive oil with some Drapers AP Rub and some Mrs Dash Spicy seasoning. Onto the grill they go with some MOJOBRICKS for that good smoke flavor. I finished with Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lime to brighten up the flavor at the end.

Big Al has arrived and naturally the smack talk began. Al is much younger than me so he fakes concern that the event may be too hard on an old man. I tell him he's good but as long as I"m around he will remain # 2. This is going to be a fun night. Al's broccoli entry is BACON wrapped. Damn!!!, why didn't I think of BACON.

The next entry was fajitas.  I did chicken fajitas with roasted avocado, sauted green peppers and onion, and a pico salsa.  This was wrapped in a flour tortilla.  I went to C&C Butcher Shop for the chicken, they specialize in marinated meats.  I asked them for a fajita seasoned chicken breast that would knock it out of the park.  I took the chicken breast and grilled them on my grill grates using Mojo hickory for some extra flavor.  Once the chicken got to 160 degrees we used the Meatrakes to shred them and add the meat to the onion and green pepper mixture.

Big Al did a seasoned rib eye steak served on a tortilla chip; made more like and appetizer.  Beef versus chicken!

 7 pm arrived and Frank calls Al and me into the store so he could introduce each of us to the audience and tell the folks how the evening will unfold. Al spoke first and if talking to a group bothered him it didn't show; he came off as a very nice young man. Damn, I was was hoping he would freeze up and mess up his intro. It was my turn and this is where I should have a advantage; I'm a salesman. I'm used to talking to people, I have spoken in front large groups before. I introduce myself and my son Bill with a short bio. I didn't get any advantage here Big Al held his own.

We both told the audience how we prepared our broccoli so they would know what to expect. We decided earlier that Al would serve first,so he started plating and serving , while Bill and I started to plate our entry. This got a little intense because you have to plate about 35 to 40 plates at the same time. A big thanks for Bill and Anne Grenko help serving the entries

Both Big Al and I go back and tell the folks how we prepared the fajita entry.  Again Al spoke first. I was glad because the fajita takes some time to put together. With the help of Bill and Anne everything went without a hitch. Two down, now it was time for the watermelon.

Remember I said my son helped me with this contest. When I told him the categories I said we had to do something special with the watermelon as it could be the deciding dish. Bill went on the internet and started to search watermelon recipes. I came up with a grilled watermelon with Agave syrup and a raspberry blush white Balsamic vinegar. He came up with a "WATERMELON SLIDERS"  Sliced watermelon brushed with extra virgin olive oil with minced onion and salt and pepper. Grilled for about 4 minutes on each side and finished with a slice of melted mozzarella cheese. Served on a bun and eaten as a sandwich.  We got together the Sunday before the Throw Down and fixed both dishes as a practice cook and decided which one we would do. The sliders won out.

Al did a grilled watermelon finished with a bourbon sauce. When I told the audience what we were going to serve them I could see the shock on their faces and I could tell they weren't sure if we were sane or not. I asked them to keep a open mind and I felt they would be surprised.

Al served his melon while Bill grilled up our melon and topped with the cheese. After he put each slice on the  bun I topped them off and sent them to be judged.

Now  as Big Al, Bill and  myself waited outside as the voting took place. There is no money to be won here just bragging rights, but when you put yourself out there to be judged, you want to win. This is the hardest part of any contest waiting for the results. Finally Frank called us both inside to announce the results.

First is Broccoli and the winner is Big Al. Damn!! Bacon why didn't I think of bacon.

Next fajitas and the winner is Don Parr !!! Yeah!!! Chicken, topped beef.

The score tied one category for each of us, coming down to Watermelon. All I'm thinking is did the gamble pay off or should we have done a more traditional dish.

Frank says the winner in watermelon and the August Throw Down Champion is  DON PARR!!!!  Yeah!!! It paid off.  Bill's recipe was the deciding dish. Frank shook my hand and I turn to see Al with his outstretched hand to congratulate me.  I put my arm around my son's neck!  We both enjoyed the win and doing this together.

The next Throw Down is going to be in October and Big Al has asked for a rematch, so we will face each other again. This time cooking ribs, apples as a dish not a dessert, and pumpkin. Already looking forward to it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Overlook Farms LUV-LUV BBQ Contest

Well folks, I had to take a couple of days before I wrote about my cook in Clarksville Mo. at the Overlook Farms Luv- Luv BBQ contest. I can now take one thing off my BBQ bucket list. I won a Grand Championship. To say that excites me is a understatement. I have won categories and have gotten calls and got a few trophies and some checks,but never I have been judged the best overall Pit Master at any contest. To make this win even better I was able to do this with my wife Debbie there helping me out, makes it even more special to share the win with her.

This contest I had to cook 3 categories, chicken thighs, chicken wings, and pork ribs. I decided to cook the thighs like I did at the Route 66 contest where I finished second. If you remember I turned in skinless chicken and was sure I blew it and was surprised with my finished. So I took what I learned from my mistake and ran with it. Friday night I trimmed the thighs cutting off the knuckles and squaring them up to fit in a muffin pan. The muffin pan is a way to insure that all the thighs are same size. Start by seasoning the thighs under the skin with Draper's AP Rub. Than placing the thighs skin side down in the muffin pan in the kettle set up with a indirect fire for the first 45 minutes. Turn them over and finish cooking skin side up. After thighs reach 160 degrees place in a aluminium pan remove the skin and finish in a bath of Draper's Smokin Sauce.

Next the chicken wings. I have a Buffalo wing recipe that I cook and we like them a lot. I just didn't feel they would score that well in a contest where a lot of teams are doing the same thing. So I called Tracy at Jac's Tailgaters for a special recipe to cook something no one else in the area can match. Boy did he give me a recipe that hit it out of the park. Jac's Tailgaters is a product I'm bringing into the St Louis market place. I will share this recipe once I have some product on some shelves in the St Louis area. I will say it is a Bayou Mustard sauce with his Cajun smokin rub and finished with a Peach Glaze. WOW these were Great!!

Next Pork Ribs. I did my standard spare ribs trimmed St Louis style. I have been doing these for a while and feel its my strength. I sometime miss my time line at contest and over think them, but I guess  having Debbie there and her calming effect to just trust the method that has proven to produce great ribs. I did just that and I truly believe I turned in the best ribs I have every done at a contest. They were perfect.

Turn in at this contest was a little different in that you turned in everything at the same time. So at 3 PM turned in all 3 boxes of what I really believed was some very good BBQ. After turn in not much left to do but to start loading up and wait for the results. At 5PM the judges have picked a winner,got down to the Grand Champion and  I hear, "The Man, The Grill, The Magic" That's me, I clenched my fist and shout YES YES!! went up and picked up the trophy and a envelope with $500.00 and came back to my smiling wife. Lots of fellow cooks came up to shake hands and congratulate me.

So a Great day spent with my wonderful wife, and I get to take one thing off my BBQ bucket list. I'm a Happy Man.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Competing just for Fun

Well folks, my next two competitive events are non sanctioned cooks, and one doesn't even have a cash prize for winning just bragging rights. The first one is this Saturday in Clarksville Mo the Overlook Farms LUV-LUV BBQ contest and festival. Going to be cooking the dreaded chicken twice. Thighs and wings. The thighs I'll do like I do at a sanctioned contest. The wings I'm excited about because I'll be using a recipe being given to me from Tracy at Jac's Tailgaters. A new product I'm bring to St Louis and a new recipe hoping to WOW some folks with Jac's sauce with that Cajun Kick. Tracy assure me that this is a kick ass recipe. The third category is Pork Ribs that is what I consider my strength, so I'll be going with my standard cook for those.

The biggest change for this cook is I'm bringing my secret weapon. My wife Debbie is coming along to oversee the cook and make sure I do it right. Debbie does not have the same passion I have for competitive BBQ. She has been very supportive and is the one person I know that will tell me the truth when I practice  and need to know, if I made a improvement or should I stay with what I was doing. Sometimes the truth hurts but she gives it to me straight. She's just not into sitting outside on a parking lot or a field watching  smoke rise up from the pit. So I'm excited that she going this time and hoping there is other things going on at  Overlook Farms that she will enjoy.

The other event I'm doing is St Louis Home Fires  Throw Down on August  28. This is a event that Frank has been doing at his store that pits 2 Pit Master against each other cooking  3 items and presenting them to the people that attend and they vote as to who is that months Throw Down Champ. This month categories are going to be, Broccoli,  Fajitas, and Watermelon. Everything is cooked on the grill then you present them to the crowd after telling them how you prepared each item. I'll be going against Alan Bowman  who I know and admire as a very talented Pit Master. I'll have my work  cut out for me, but I m looking forward to the test.

So I got some thing going on this month and I'll be passing along how each one turns out.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pot Luck MOINKS

Well folks, the wife called me yesterday and said they were having a goodbye pot luck lunch for a couple of co workers that were leaving. I said I'll pick up a cake, to that she answered " No I already ordered the cake, I need you to cook something."  also saying she wanted to be impressed.

No pressure right, I asked what is normally served at these, answered with, standard fare chips dips and the last time someone brought chicken strips. Alright then it's time for me to make some MOINKS!!  Moinks for those of you that don't know are frozen beef meatballs wrapped with bacon and seasoned up and grilled until they are a tasty morsel.

So off to the store for a bag of frozen meatballs and a pound of bacon. The pot luck lunch is going to be a 11:45 AM. So got up this morning and at 9AM I got the kettle set up with a indirect fire and a cube of Mojo Hickory. While the fire was getting ready I started to prepare the Moinks. This is easy, take a half strip of bacon and wrap around each meatball and hold the bacon with a toothpick. After wrapping all the meatballs seasoned them with some brown sugar and a light dusting of cayenne pepper.

I used my GrillGrates for this, the grates work great keeping the Moinks up off the grill and makes turning easy.  Cooking Moinks is not hard, you just cook them until the bacon is crispy and then I like to put them in a aluminum pan with some Drapers Smokin sauce that  I added some honey to sweeten the sauce. I then moved the cooked Moinks into the pan of sauce to simmer.

At 11:15 took these to wife for the pot luck lunch. When she smelled the finished product she knew I did good. After the lunch she emailed me that they were a hit and there wasn't any left to bring home. I'm a little sad because I didn't try one before taking them to her. I just trusted the aroma I was getting while cooking them that they were going to taste great. Sounds like I was right.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Shrimp on the Barbie

Well folks, this one will be short and quick but if you give it a try I promise a good meal in less than a half hour. The local super market had shrimp skewers on sale for a dollar a piece. These are frozen  and I picked up 10 of them with a box of Uncle Ben's wild rice. I now have everything for a quick meal that both the wife and I like.

Got home and fired up the gas grill, and get it up to medium high temp. Came inside and layed the frozen skewers out and season them up with some Cajun seasoning. I only seasoned them on one side since Debbie doesn't like them too spicy. If they were just for me I would have seasoned them on both sides.  After the grill gets up to temp I lay the skewers on my Grill Grates. Grill Grates are great for this they are made of high quality air craft aluminium and will leave some nice charred grill marks on the shrimp.

Now is the time to make the wild rice just follow the instructions on the box. As the rice is cooking keep turning the skewers. As these are frozen it takes a little time you want to to cook the shrimp until they turn white being careful not to overcook. Overcooked shrimp is rubbery.

Once the rice and shrimp are done plate up the rice and place 3 to 4 skewers on top with a small salad on the side and you have a delicious dinner and all done in a half hour.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

This bears repeating

Well folks, I try not to repeat myself but I really believe this is important. As I have told you I only have two rules about BBQ.#1 Don't make anyone sick, and #2 Make it taste good. That's it, but with the extreme heat we have been having rule #1  is very important. You have to keep the hot food hot and the cold food cold. That means below 40 degrees for the cold food and above 140 degrees for the hot food. In this heat it won't take long for your cold food to get above 40 degrees and left out for a couple of hours and bad things can happen.

I can't think of anything worst then having something I prepared make someone sick. The football season is getting ready to start and tailgate parties will soon be happening. So along with keeping the work area clean and the hands washed please be aware of your food temperatures.  It looks like this heat is going to stay with us for a while and when you're preparing food outside you need to stay aware and be extra careful.

That's it for today, enjoy yourself and BBQ something  tasty this weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Radio is FUN!!

Well folks, I did something for the first time last night and I had a ball. Shane Draper of Draper's BBQ has a internet radio show called Gettin Sauced. The show airs every Wednesday night at 7 PM. I have been listening to it for awhile now and I enjoy hearing  about what is going on in the world of BBQ. He always has some quests and they talk about what they do in BBQ and share some info.  It's a fun 2 hours and I get to learn how others are enjoying the BBQ world.

So for whatever reason Shane asked me to come on his show and he would interview me about what I do in BBQ and the BBQ community here in St. Louis.  I wasn't sure, but he said come on, "it will be fun" so I agreed  to call in and let him interview me.

So he told me I would be on in the second hour and to call in a couple of minutes before 8PM. Well I listen to the first hour with Jason Baker of Green Mountain Grills and I learned about pellet grills and how they are growing  in popularity.  Jason was great and had set the bar high for me to follow. So a little before 8 I called the show. I'm not a tech guy but I used my g mail  phone. Thinking I would use my headphones to hear better and it would be hands free. Sounded like a plan to me.

WRONG!! using the g mail phone caused a feedback problem. Shane couldn't hear me. Tried calling in twice, both times not good. So I grabbed my cell phone and called again. We got a connection that we both could hear each other. Bad start to my intro into the radio world.

It took me a couple of minutes to settle down from the phone not working , but Shane was a pro and took everything in stride. Throwing  me softball questions and letting me relax. After a few minutes I forgot that I was being interviewed and it felt like I was just talking BBQ with a friend. Which is really what I was doing.

The next thing I know the hour was up and Shane was thanking me for coming on and inviting me to get down to Kentucky to cook a contest with him. That is something I'm looking forward to doing and shake the hand of a very nice young man that guided me though my first radio interview. After the show my son and daughter in-law called and said I did good, my wife said I didn't do anything to bring shame to the family name. I got on facebook and couple of BBQ buddies that were listening, messaged me and said I did a good job.

So that's a short recap of my first experience in media. Bottom line. I liked it and hope to get the chance to do it again.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Busy

Well folks, it's been real hot here in St Louis, Mo. but I've been busy with adding new products to my line up  to bring into the St Louis market place. There's a saying that if you can make a living doing what you love, you never have to go to work. Well I love BBQ and I'm finding that the people  involved with BBQ are some of the nicest you will ever meet.

So I have been working to add new and great products to my line up that are looking to enter the St Louis market, and are looking for someone to knock on a few doors and show business's what they have to offer. This spring I started with Mojobricks and a few weeks ago I added Draper's Smokin Sauce and rubs. Now I'm excited to say I've picked some other great products that I will be talking about.

First one I'll tell you about is MeatRake. You can find out more by visiting their web site www.meatrake.com. Lets just say if you like pulled pork and beef you should have this in your drawer. Makes pulling pork and beef a snap and no more burnt hands.

Next is GrillGrate. their web site is www.grillgrate.com. All I can say is WOW!!! This product makes flare ups on the grill a thing of the past. A must have for any gas grill and they work outstanding on your charcoal pit. The other added bonus they offer is outstanding grill marks on those steaks, burgers and brats. Makes every pit master look like a pro.

The next product I'm bringing to St Louis is Jac's Tailgaters. their web site is www.jacstailgaters.com. I will start bring Jac's to the market starting next month. You are really going to love this line up, they have a wide product line of Sauces, Dips and Marinates and Soup and Chili mixes. Jac's Tailgaters are from Louisiana so you can expect a Cajun kick when you give them a try.

The last one for now, is some time next month I'll will also be representing  Hot Box portable grills. Web site is www.hotboxgrills.com This is a start up company that is making a portable grill that will be in demand for every tailgater and Camper that wants a quality grill that is portable, easy to set up and will last for years.

The last thing I'll tell you about is Shane at Drapers Smokin sauce and rubs has a radio blog . Gettin Sauced that airs every Wednesday at 7 PM and he has asked me to be a guest this Wednesday. So if you want to listen in and hear what is going on in the world of BBQ and find out more about what I'm trying to do. come check it out. Just goggle gettinsaucedblogradio and you can listen in Wednesday at 7PM  I should be on during the first hour sometime around 7:15.


Friday, July 13, 2012

New products

Well folks, I have been working to establish myself as a outlet for retailers to find outstanding BBQ products in the St Louis marketplace. I started by bringing Mojobricks to St Louis and then I added Draper's Smokin Sauce and rubs. Both of these products are great and offer a fine value. I have found that  I really enjoy the BBQ world and the people involved with it, so I have been on the look out for additional products to introduce to St Louis.

I didn't want to just add anything, I wanted to find products that work and are a great value. Products that I use myself and can recommend with confidence. Well I have found MeatRake and Grill Grates. Both of these products are unique, in that they work,and do what they say they will do. While offering great value. These product are used by professional cooks and pit masters. But also are useful to the backyard cook.


The MeatRake is a fantastic tool to quickly pull pork, beef and chicken to make sandwiches and not burn your fingers. Grill Grates are grates that you put on top of your grill and along with making those great grill marks that you get at fine steak houses, they prevent flare ups that can ruin a meal. I found that they are a must have when using my gas grill to cook brats and chicken thighs that can flare up in a hurry and  have ruin a meal. You can learn more by visiting their web sites www.meatrake.com and www.grillgrate.com.


I will be telling you more about both of these products and where you can find them as I find retailers to start carrying them along with Mojobricks and Draper's Smokin sauce and rubs. Just know that as I add products you can have confidence that I have used them and found them to do what they say they will do and offer great value

Friday, July 6, 2012

What's cooking

Well folks, it's 4th of July week and the heat has been on high here in St Louis Mo. We have had 10 straight day of 100 degree plus temps. Many of them were record breakers. So when it get this hot it's hard to get outside and fire up the grill or smoker. That would be for most of you, but not for me. I have gotten bit with this competition bug and the only way to get better is to fire up the grill and the smokers and cook up some meat.

There seem to always be a new rub or sauce recipe to try. Got to try foiling meat versus not foiling. Then there's injections have to try them at home to see if they are any good or do they make the meat too salty. You don't want to go to a contest and find out that the injection you used is making the meat too salty or maybe the rub you used just doesn't taste good. You have to always try to get better and be willing to try different things, but experiment at home not at a contest.

So while I did try some new things, I also cooked up some standard fare such as pork steaks and I even grilled some hot dogs that were great for a change of pace. A hot dog fresh off the grill and dressed up with relish and onions and a little mustard can be as good as a steak sometimes. Then add some cold watermelon and a cold beer and it just doesn't get any better than that. That's a real All American meal to celebrate America's birthday.

So I hope this week found you all well, and I hope you enjoyed the holiday.

 When I find a new rub, sauce or injection that makes my BBQ better you can be sure I'll pass it along.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Route 66 BBQ contest recap part 2

Well folks: yesterday I told you about my experience at the Route 66 BBQ contest and how my cook went. So today I'll tell you about some of the other pit masters that were there. First I'll talk about John Craig with Triple F Farms. John and his team was next to me and I have to tell you about his smokers. John takes 4 drawer file cabinets and turns them into smokers. He uses the bottom drawer for air and to catch ash, the second drawer is where he puts his charcoal and smoking wood. The next 2 drawers is for the meat. Top drawer will be the cooler of the two. These take some fire watching but produced some very good BBQ.

Next on the other side was Bob and Kevin from G&H Smokers. These guys had only done backyard contest before and for some reason they thought I was some sort of a expert and looked to me for advice. I had no problem telling them what I knew but I kept telling them this is my first sanction contest also, so don't rely to much on what I say. Nice guys and gave me breakfast Saturday morning. I was glad when they got a call in chicken, so guess my advice didn't hurt them too much.

Next team I have to tell you about is Bill Grenko of Lock Stocked and 2 Smokin Barrels. Bill is the guy I have been talking to for advice. The reason I talk to Bill is because in his last two contest he has won  2 Grand Champions.
That's back to back Grand Championships.  I kind of think if I want to get better I should be asking someone that has a proven  winning record. Bill and his wife Anne are very nice and for whatever reason Bill is very free with giving me advice. Just Talking to him for a few minutes  has made me a better pit master.

Next but certainly not last is Alan Bowman with Canadian Bakin BBQ. I met Al from my BBQ buddy Arthur of Major League Grilling. Alan and his wife Karen came to this contest with their 2 kids Chaser who is 3 and his sister Brie who is 5.  Chaser is his nick name but it fits. He doesn't know a stranger and is on the go  all the time. Unlike his sister who was just a quiet shy little girl. What makes this teams story so special is they came to the contest in a mini van stocked with stuff for the kids, cooler full of supplies leaving just enough room for ONE PIT!! That's right Al cooked all 4 meats and Karen cooked the dessert using one pit. It was a 18.5 inch Weber Smokey Mountain. Just by comparison I used 3 pits.

Now I have seen pictures of Al's food and there was no doubt in my mind that he could cook, but watching him this past weekend puts me in awe. Not only did he cook all this on one pit,but he's got the kids helping, they are helping season the meat and are very much part of the team. Not only is Al a outstanding Pit Master but Karen and Al may be better parents. Now the payoff for all this is not only did they have a great family weekend cooking together. Canadian Bakin won Grand Champion!!! They did all this on one 18.5 " pit with 2 small kids in tow and out cooked every other Pit Master there, some with thousand of dollars invested in pits. Just show's you it's not necessary to spend a ton of money on pits to cook great BBQ.

By the way Lock Stock and 2 Smokin Barrels  finished in second as the Reserved Grand Champion. The man can cook also.

So that's the kind of people you will meet at a BBQ contest. So if you ever thought you couldn't enter a contest because you don't have a big enough pit or because you got kids. You ought to try it some time. You will meet some great folks and a lot of them will be glad to help you and offer advice if you ask.

But I do have to warn you. It is habit forming.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Route 66 BBQ contest recap

Well folks, it's been 2 days and the Route 66 BBQ contest is history, and the results are in the books. This was the first time that I did a sanctioned 2 day contest. What a experience, when Saturday afternoon came around I was sure I would never do another one. My brother in-law got called into work and I had to do this  contest by myself. The only thing I can say is I was one tired old man, and was ready to turn competition BBQ over to the younger pit masters. Thankfully the weather wasn't too hot and I had a shade tree keeping my site out of the sun. It was a lifesaver. Got to the contest site at 9:30 Friday morning and was fresh and ready to take on the world. I had the truck loaded Thursday and all I had to do before leaving was to load the coolers; so in the morning I'm thinking this isn't going to be a problem. Started to set up the site and talk to the teams as they arrived and of course talk a little smack to the guys I've competed against before. It's all going as planned.

Friday some of us got together for a pot luck. I made my Rattlesnake Tails and we had Jambalaya, bacon wrapped little smokie's and cheese sausage poppers. Everything was delicious and had a good time drinking a couple of beers and talking a little more smack. But Dessert turn in was at 7:30 and everyone went to their site and started to get ready for the first turn in of the contest. I did a Peach and Cherry Cobbler real easy and not to much work to prepare. Came out on time and turned in. The result to be announced Saturday afternoon at the awards.

Now time to get the big meats on the pits, that being Beef Brisket and Pork Butts. I had 2 pork butts and one Certified Angus Brisket. Got both the ugly drums fired up with charcoal and Mojobricks cherry and hickory and up to temp. Got the meat seasoned and started to smoke these two entrees. Now it starts to hit me, I'm not fresh any more. I'm hot and tired. A shower and a bed would look good right now. Well there's no shower and all I got is the front seat of the truck,and a zero gravity lounge chair. The drums aren't settling in on a temp and I have to keep adjusting the air intake. At about 1:30 AM I can finally lay down for a couple hours of sleep.

4:30 AM back up to check the drums. The drum with my brisket had dropped to 200 degrees. I had to get it back up to 250 degrees and now. I probed the brisket and it still needed more time it hadn't gotten by the stall yet but I have plenty of time. All is going as planned so I sat down and relaxed until 6:30, don't feel bad for only having 3 hours of sleep and the weather was nice and cool.

In the morning Bob and Kevin with K& D smokers fixed eggs and sausage sandwich's and was nice enough to share. This is a piece of cake who needs a brother in-law I can do this.

8 AM start to get chicken prepped, it's the first turn in of the day at 12 noon. As some of you know "I HATE CHICKEN" it is the toughest category for me and it takes a lot of prep and work and in the early morning still. I yelled so everyone could hear "I HATE CHICKEN"! So I get the kettle fired up and started to prep ribs for the 12:30 turn in. The brisket and butts are ready to be pulled and wrapped to go in the cooler and rest. I separated  the point from the flat of the brisket to make burnt ends. Everything looking good a little tired but still going strong.

PANIC!!!  I go to turn the chicken and the skin is a mess. This is why "I HATE CHICKEN", The skin the judges like bite though skin and I don't even have 6 pieces to turn in that has any skin. I am so screwed!! Where is my brother in- law. I need someone to keep me calm and get my focus but it's just me cussing up a blue streak in my head but not wanting anyone to see my panic. I try to remain calm on the outside. Thinking what am I going to do, I decide to just turn in skinless chicken. I get a aluminum pan throw the thighs in with some Draper's Smokin sauce and hope for the best.

11:30 AM time to get ready for chicken turn in. I check the thighs they really look good I'm brushing them to even out the sauce and I got some nice looking chicken. I put 9 pieces of my skinless chicken in the box and hope for the best.

After turning in the chicken box I have to get the ribs ready; no time to think just go to auto pilot and get the box ready. The ribs look great but because of the chicken screw up I didn't watch my time line like I should have. They needed more time in the foil to get tender.Look great but a little too tough. Into the box, spritz with some apple juice to make them shine and off to turn in to the judges. Two categories down two to go.

Pork Butt is next and sad to say that after chicken and ribs I lose my focus and build a box that doesn't look too great. I didn't know it at the time, this is where the second set of eyes can save me from a mistake. After building the box and turn in to the judges it time for the last category Beef Brisket.

I start to slice the brisket and I'm liking what I see. It'sgot a nice smoke ring from the Mojobricks. I taste it and I think, OH YEAH!! I got this. Built my box with 6 slices and fill in the front with burnt ends. The burnt ends are like butter. I'm starting to count the money. Who needs help, I'm "THE MAN, THE GRILL, THE MAGIC". I turn in what I believe is the best brisket every turned in at a BBQ contest. Time for a beer.

Get back to the site, open my first beer of the day and sit down and reflect on the day. Then it hits me I'm hot, I'm tired and I've got to load everything back into the truck.Where the Hell is my Brother in- law. He should have called in sick. Start loading the truck and the guys with Triple F Farms and K&D Smokers feel sorry for a old man and help me out loading the truck. This is what I like about BBQ contests everyone is really very nice and will help any way they can. Only way to say it is they are just good people.

Time for awards. Dessert is the first call, I get second place. This is a good start for the day. Next is chicken, Damn "I HATE CHICKEN" start calling names of the top 10 call all the way up to 3rd and I'm thinking skinless chicken killed me. But wait, SECOND PLACE in chicken is "THE MAN, THE GRILL, THE MAGIC"! I got second place, a trophy and a check. I'm  beside myself ,can't believe what just happened. Happy Happy. Next is ribs I know these were tough, still got a 9th then pork butt 10th (I told you the box sucked). Now the Brisket calling top 10 and in 9th place is my brisket. I'm a little stunned but still very happy I got a second place in chicken and dessert. Overall a good showing for a one man show.

So after some reflection. I'm sure I'll do another 2 day contest, but just not by myself.





Friday, June 15, 2012

The Texas Crutch

Well folks, sorry I've been a little lax about posting on the blog. I have been a little busy and really couldn't think of anything to write about. I have a contest next weekend and have started to get my game plan in place. This will be my first time cooking all four meats and  I am a little worried about getting everything done and meeting the turn in times. This is where the Texas crutch comes into play and it allows you speed up the cook of your bigger cuts of meat and can get ribs tender when you need to speed up the cook.

I know, you want to know what the hell I'm talking about and what is this Texas crutch and where do you get one. Chance's are you already have it in your kitchen, it's aluminum foil. That's right, the way to speed up the cook and get a brisket or pork butt done when time is getting short, is to wrap the meat tightly with aluminum foil with a little liquid  and return it to the fire. The liquid  will help steam the meat to tenderize and get the meat up to temp. faster.

This also work with ribs. About a 1/2 hour wrapped  in foil will get the ribs to pull back from the bone and really gets them tender. In a contest you have to be careful not  leave them in the foil too long, because left too long and they will be falling off the bone. At home everyone will love them but at a contest falling off the bone ribs will kill your scores.

Now why is it called the Texas crutch, I really don't know. I would guess it came about because some pit master in Texas was having trouble getting his brisket tender and was running out of time before turn in, and out of ideas, tried wrapping his brisket with some some aluminum foil and some beef broth. It worked  and that became the Texas crutch that many  pit masters use today.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Calling All BBQ Nerds"

Well folks, today I'm giving a shout out to all the BBQ nerds out there. You know who you are. You watch BBQ shows on cable network. You know who Myron Mixon and Johnny Trigg are,you follow the BBQ Brethren forum  and some other sites on the internet.You stop in the BBQ section at any store that carries any BBQ equipment. You have more than 2 pits and are looking at another one right now, but aren't sure if the wife will approve of another pit on the patio or the deck. You also have a drawer full of rubs and spices, 3 or 4 different sauces, and a few you haven't had a chance to try yet.

Do you see yourself, I know I've just described myself. The way I explain my passion for BBQ is to compare it to fishing or golf. I know guys that have a garage full of golf clubs and gadgets, or guys that have 3 or more tackle boxes full of lures and 6 to 10 rods and reels. That's not counting the boat or the green fees. The best part of my passion is I get to share some good eating with family and friends. The wife is on board because she's doesn't have to cook and what I'm cooking is pretty damn good.

Now where the nerd part comes into play is competition BBQ. I've got to be honest, I can spend 2 to 3 hours on the internet reading forums looking for a trick that will make my competition BBQ better. Just one trick that will get me a call or get me a little closer to a Grand Championship. OH Yeah!!! I'm a BBQ Nerd. If you are to, I urge you to embrace it. It's not a bad thing and if you have trick or a recipe that will help me please pass it along.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Exciting News

Well folks: today I'll pass on some exciting news about what I've been doing. It should be pretty clear to everyone by now that BBQ has become a passion with me. With me cooking contest and writing this blog and those that follow me on facebook know I always post what I'm cooking each night for dinner. I have become the distributor for MOJO smoking bricks and have introduced them into the St Louis Market, with some success.

Well I'm happy to say I am now representing Drapers Smokin Sauce and their line of rubs. Drapers is a small sauce company in Kentucky  that has a 3 generation history in BBQ. Their smokin sauce and AP Rub are made to work together and are great in combination on pork, chicken and beef.  Shane Draper  the owner has now added MOO'd Enhancer to his line up. MOO'd Enhancer is made to bring your beef BBQ up to the next level.

 Up until now the only way you were able to purchase this product was from their web site and you still can. But my goal is to get this product on store shelves in the St Louis area so everyone in St Louis can enjoy this superior product. Towards that goal I'm am very happy to say starting next week Draper's fine products will be available at St Louis Home Fires located at 15053 Manchester Rd. Ballwin Mo.

So if you want to learn more about Drapers and a little history about how this company came about go to www.drapersbbq.com  while you are there tell Shane I told you about him and his products. Then next week stop by St Louis Home Fires and try some of  his product. Let me know what you think. Of course while your BBQing don't forget to use MOJO Bricks for that added smoke flavor.

As more stores start to stock this product I'll be telling you where it is being sold.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Well folks: today is Memorial Day in the United States. It is a day to remember those that gave all for our country. It is also a day to thank those that have served or are serving in the military. I served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era, and I was lucky and served my time during that war in country. I served in Texas and South Dakota. My service to country was making sure the A/C and refrigeration stayed on in the PX. Other than that I spent most of my time trying to find a girl that would give me the time of day.

But I went to  high school and have since met many a man that did serve in that war. Some of the guys I went to school with came back wounded, and a few never made it back. I have a friend that has a Purple Heart that still today, after 40 plus years will want to dive under a table if a loud bang is behind him. I admire these guys for doing what the country needed them to do at that time, and sometimes feel a little guilty about my service and that I didn't do more.

So I'm going to BBQ some Pork Steaks today and I'll drink a few beers. What I'm asking you to do as you enjoy this extra day off of work, is to take a minute and remember those that gave so much  and especially those that gave all.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Muddy Watter's contest review

Well folks: today I'll talk about my effort at the Muddy Watters BBQ contest this past Saturday. I'll start by saying there were some very good teams there to compete against and overall I wasn't disappointed in my overall finish. That being said there are things I learned and I now know I still have work to do, if I want to be a Grand Champion.

The toughest part of this contest was the heat, Saturday the heat got up to the 90's and we were set up on black top.  By the end of the day I was worn out and my legs and feet were screaming at me. Thankfully I had my brother in law Greg as my team mate to help load back up, he was a real life saver. Speaking of Greg he has really become a great team mate. Greg has been with me in enough contest now to know what I do and he is great at watching pit temps, and keeping me on my time line. There are teams that are a one man show, I've done one contest by myself, but when Greg is with me I'm a better Pit Master, can't say enough how much I appreciate him helping me in this endeavor of competition BBQ.

I started to prepare for this contest on Thursday buying my meat and making up my time lines. This contest was a one day affair, with the first turn in at 4PM. That first entry was Ribs, to be followed by Chicken at 4:30 and then beef turn in at 5PM. So Thursday evening I started to trim by meat, That means turning my spare ribs into St Louis Style Ribs and pulling the membrane. Next was my beef,  for this contest you could do anything beef. Normally a contest is beef Brisket but I decided to do beef short ribs. When these are done right they make a outstanding presentation. The beef pulls back from the bone and you end up with what looks like a beef popcicle. Last I trimmed my chicken, I did chicken thighs and competition chicken is a SOB of a category. It is without a doubt the one category almost every competitive Pit Master hates. Lets just say "I HATE CHICKEN"

Friday afternoon was spent loading up the truck with the pits and everything I need to cook a contest. I have a check list that I use when loading and its a life saver. Without it I would forget something and finding out I forgot my sauce is not what I ever want to do. I have to have my check list, its as important as my pits. Called Greg and told him to be at the house at 7:15 to load the coolers and head out.

(Just a side note even with the check list I still forgot to take a camera. So sorry no pictures.)

Saturday my feet hit the floor at 6AM and I'm excited to get started. Greg shows up right on time we load up the coolers and head out. Arrive at the contest site at 8AM and start setting up. Got the meat inspected this is to insure that we haven't marinated or seasoned the meat at home. Trimming is alright but everything else has to be done at the contest site. Got the okay from the meat inspector and fired up the pits. Next started to set up the site. This is a fun time, get to see some teams we've competed against at other contest and meet some new teams. Competitive BBQ is pretty relaxed even though everyone wants to win, everyone is there if you need a hand setting up. That's what I really like about competing in BBQ the people are GREAT!!

My Beef Short Ribs are going to take the most time so I start by seasoning them and getting the UGLY DRUM up to Temp. and on the pit they go. Followed by the Pork Spare Ribs. Then the Hated Chicken. This is the time to watch the the pits and maintain temps. and follow your time line for turning and spritzing and seasoning each entry. Also a great time to catch back up with the teams you haven't seen in a while.

Now it's 3PM and first turn in is in a hour, Crunch Time. ribs are first so making adjustment making sure they are done but not overdone. I smoked 3 slabs glad I did, one slab was overdone. Falling off the bone. Delicious but not what you want at a contest. The other 2 slabs were spot on sauced and made my turn in box. At 3:57 PM sent Greg with the Rib Box to the turn in table one down.  Now to Chicken. I'm happy with the looks of my chicken had Greg taste one of thighs and said the were good. So start to build my box, you need 6 pieces in a box because there are 6 judges, but I've been told a full box scores better, so I had room for 9 thighs and that's how many I put into the box. I'm happy with the box Greg said they tasted good, so at 4:26 off  Greg goes to turn in the Hated Chicken. Now the beef. I'm so happy with these they look great, probed tender and I couldn't be happier.  Win or lose I'm happy with the product I'm putting into the box. So at 4:55 sent Greg with the last turn in box.

Nothing else to do but start to load up to go home and wait for awards. This is when the heat really got me, I didn't want a beer, I wanted water and lots of it and I could use a nice shower. After loading up and drinking a lot of water we went in to hear how we did. The first call are for Ribs they are calling out the top 10. At 5th place I hear " The Man, The Grill, The Magic" not bad in this contest with these teams 5th is not bad. Next is CHICKEN!! again calling the top 10, I didn't hear my name I finished out of the top 10 and was afraid I finished Dead Ass Last, Come to find out I was 11th, I still HATE CHICKEN. Now to Beef again top 10 called and I finished 5th in Beef. Not bad was hoping for better but not bad. Then called out the overall finish and again I get 5th overall even with my chicken failure.

So overall not a bad day for "The Man, The Grill, The Magic." Still have to learn how to do competition Chicken. Actually my chicken is very tasty, just not what the judges are looking for, I'll keep trying.

Next contest is in June, The Route 66 BBQ Challenge at the Meramec Community Fair. Can't wait.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

If you go to a Contest

Well folks: today I'll talk about attending a BBQ contest as a spectator. I'll be honest, going to watch to a BBQ contest as a spectator, is a lot like watching paint dry. NASCAR is left turns with a few car wrecks, Golf has a few long putts being made, Football has touchdowns ,and Baseball has Home Runs. BBQ has Smoke. That being said you can go to a BBQ contest and have a good time.  Most contest are held along with some sort of festival, be it a car show or a community fair, a lot of times they are held with some sort of music theme. So there are things to do and see beside watching people sitting next to a smoker and you smelling smoke.

Now if you go there are a few things you need to know. Find out when turn ins are, most KCBS events turn ins start at noon Saturday. That is when the teams are putting their boxes together to turn into the judges. This is crunch time for the teams, starting at about 11AM teams get their game face on. They are building their turn in boxes and making final adjustment to their pits if any of their meats are under or over cooking. Getting the sauce just right and making sure there isn't anything out of place that will hurt their scores. This is not when you need to be asking them your questions. You may get a pretty rude response. It would be like asking a Pro golfer for putting tips as he's lining up his putt to win a Championship. The time to ask questions is Friday. The teams will have their site set up and will be relaxing with a cold beer. Now is when you can talk to them and ask your question.

Now you will be surprised by how open and willing these Pit Masters are in giving folks there smoking methods. You can ask them just about anything short of their secret rub recipe. Of course some teams will be willing to sell you their rub or sauce. You can ask them about what temps. they smoke at, to how long it takes to cook their ribs. Ask about their pits and smokers, this is how I learned how to make my Ugly Drum Smoker. These people have a passion about BBQ and love to share it with others. Some contest have a people choice category, this is when you can taste some of Pit Masters food and vote for the one you think is the best.

Now about samples from the Pit Masters, unless there is a people choice category the teams can't give out samples. Don't get mad when they say they can't, the local health dept. won't allow it. If they get caught they risk being banned from the contest and fined by the health dept. Most of the time there is a food booth  the organizers are running to make money and they don't want the teams giving out free samples while they are trying to raise money for their event or charity.

So go to a contest, talk to the teams on Friday. You will meet some real nice people and pick up some tips that will make your BBQ better,and you just might get the bug to start your own team and compete. Here's my warning, it is habit forming and a lot of fun.


Friday, May 11, 2012

My BBQ Bucket List

Well folks; today I'll talk about my BBQ bucket list. These are the things I hope to do before I move on to whatever there is on the other side. I have done a lot of different things in my life already. I have drove a stock car, flown in a helicopter and also flown in a open cockpit bi wing airplane, and there are still a lot of things I hope to do and see before I'm gone. But as far as my newest passion of BBQ there is a lot for me to achieve, I like goals, gives me something to shoot for and a reason to get up everyday.

Now in the world of competitive BBQ there are many goals for me to achieve and shoot for. Number one but in no real order is I would hope to win a Grand Championship what a thrill that would be for me. To be judged the best on any one day against other Pit Masters that have the same passion for BBQ as I do would be a feeling I hope to experience someday. Next would be to score a 180 in any category. A 180 is a perfect score in BBQ  like a 300 game in bowling or a hole in one in golf. To BBQ a entry and have it be judged perfect would be another great feeling. I know I have to keep working  on my skills before either one of these can become a reality.

Next on the list is to go to the biggest contest's in the BBQ world. On that list is the American Royal in Kansas City, Mo. This is a huge contest with 100's of team from all over the country. Getting a call at this contest is like winning a playoff game in any other sport, and something that can never be taken away from you. The other big contest is the "Jack" this a contest at Jack Daniels distillery in Tennessee. Everyone wants to cook at the "JACK"  Then next is not so much do I want to cook in this but I hope to go and see "Memphis in May" This is a contest that is like the Indy 500 or the Kentucky Derby. This is a event that teams spend all year getting ready to cook. They have big time sponsors and it's as much a party as a BBQ contest. It's still a BBQ competition  and a win here make's you a very special  BBQ Pit Master. Winning here is how a lot of careers are made, it marks you the Best of the Best.

So as you can see I have some big time goals on my BBQ bucket list. I'm not sure how many I'll achieve. I hope to at least attend the big contests and I'll be doing my best to get my personal goals and all the practice is still some good eating while I work to get that 180 score and the Grand Championship.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Well folks; today I'll give you the step by step recipe on how I made stuffed peppers in the Ugly Drum Smoker.  I love the UDS its a cooking machine that's cheap and easy to make and it doesn't require a lot of charcoal. The drum is almost a set it and leave it cooker, just takes a little practice because each drum cooks a little different, but once you get it dialed in, nothing but goodness will come out of these smokers. For this recipe  I got the heat up to about 280 degrees with 1 cube of MOJO Hickory for smoke flavor.

Now for these peppers I used 1 red  2 yellow and 3 green peppers. Cut off the tops and remove the cores and  seeds, rinse them out and place them in a aluminum pan. Then for the stuffing I used 1 lb. of ground beef and 1 lb. Italian sausage. I browned the meat with a half cup diced onion and 1Tablespoon of minced garlic. After the meat has browned add 1 can dice tomato. I used a Italian blend with Basel and garlic. After this has cooked for about 5 minutes add 2 cups cooked white rice, then add 1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese letting the cheese melt while stirring to mix. After cheese has melted its time to stuff the peppers. Remove the mixture from the heat and spoon the mixture into the peppers filling to the top.  Then top the peppers with a tablespoon of spaghetti sauce and then top them with some more cheddar cheese. Put 1 cup of the red sauce into the bottom of the pan with a 1/4 cup of water.

Now place the pan on the UDS  that's settled in at 290 degrees and just a thin blue line of smoke coming from the chimney. Close the lid and let the Magic begin. After a hour I checked the peppers they were tender, and the cheese had melted to what looked like pure goodness.

I served these with mash potato's and used the sauce from the bottom of the pan as gravy. To say these were good is a under statement. They had just a hint of smoke flavor that I love. I preferred the red and yellow peppers because the had more sweetness then the green peppers, but overall this was a hit. The wife said it was a definite do again. So when you don't want BBQ here is a way that you can still fire up the  smoker and make some very good eating.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If it was easy everyone would do it

Well folks: today I'll talk a little about competition BBQ. I'm a rookie and just learning my way in competitive BBQ, but saw something last week that told me this isn't easy. I have been in about 6 contest all non sanctioned but some them have had as many as 28 to 30 teams.  Some of those teams are what I would consider PRO they have the thousand dollar smokers and compete in some KCBS contest. I have done alright in these contest won categories and seemed to always place and get my name called. In other words I'm starting to think I'm not half bad at this BBQ stuff. So I'm stepping up and going to some sanctioned contest and compete against some better teams.

Then this last week I saw just how tough this competitive BBQ stuff can be. First I'll tell you a little about the judging. There are 4 divisions Beef Brisket,Pork Butt, Ribs, and Chicken. There are 6 judges doing a blind taste. They are judging Appearance, Tenderness, Texture, and Taste. scoring on a scale with 9 being perfect. So there is a possible 36 that each judge can score each entry.  The low score is thrown out so a perfect entry  is scored 180. Getting a 180 score is like bowling a 300 game or hitting a hole in one in golf. Something to shoot for but very seldom achieved.

Now back to my story.  There is a team from Washington Mo B&B BBQ and Catering. The Pit Master is Jeff Brinker. I've met Jeff and have been following him as he competes just to see how he does. Well after winning a Grand Championship at the Washington Mo contest on April 21. He went to Rodger AK the following week to compete again. He knocked it out of the park, He scored a 180 in Chicken but he didn't stop there he scored a 180 in Pork Butt. That's 2 180 scores in the same contest. That's like bowling 2, 300 games on the same night or getting 2 holes in ones in the same round.

So you have to believe he won another Grand Championship right,,,,, well you would be wrong he finished 4th!!!  That's right scored 180 in 2 categories  and finished 4th. So if anyone thinks this is easy and its just some people spending  a weekend cooking what you do in the back yard. I'm here to tell you it's not easy. Jeff can attest to that, and I'm starting to wonder what I've signed myself up for. I'll keep you posted on how I do, just don't expect any 180 scores from me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do you know what a Fatty is?

Well folks; today I'm going to talk about some terms that people like myself use and seem to think everyone knows what the heck we are talking about.

 The first one is a FATTY, that is a sausage roll that is seasoned and smoked on the grill until it  reaches a internal temperature of 180 degrees.  This is then slice and is great as a sandwich by itself.or you can add some fried egg and  cheese on toast or a English muffin and you have breakfast bliss.

Next there is ATB's or Atomic Buffalo Turds. these are Jalapeno peppers slice in half filled with cream cheese and I like adding a little smokey sausage then wrapping with a half slice of Bacon. Season these with some of your favorite BBQ seasoning and grill until the bacon is crisp.

How about MOINKS, these are frozen beef meatballs wrapped with a half slice of bacon and seasoned with some brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Grill these till the bacon is crisp than finish with some dipping sauce.

UGLY DRUM SMOKER, or the UDS, this is a 55 gallon Drum made into a smoker. These are getting very poplar and can be made for less than a $100.00. Very good for doing a low and slow smoke and they hold temperature  for a long period time.  All you have to is Goggle this term and you will find all sorts of plans on how to make one.

STICK BURNERS, this is a offset smoker that has a fire box that is filled with wood and and used to smoke meat again very poplar for the low and slow smokes.People that use these  are very good at controlling the fire and maintaining the temperature. Not for beginners.

MINION METHOD, this is term on starting a charcoal fire that is used to do a low and slow cook.This is where you just add a few hot coals to a pile of unlit coals.Allowing the lit coals to start the unlit coals slowly allowing for a longer burn.

There are more I am sure, if you find one I haven't covered just message me and I'll do my best to tell you what it means. Most important is no matter what you call it, just keep grilling and smoking.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Propane versus Charcoal

Well folks; today I will enter the debate between propane and charcoal. There are a lot of people making BBQ that believe you can't make true BBQ on a propane grill.  The users of  the propane are just as sure that they can cook great BBQ on their gas grill. I'm of the belief that true BBQ come from meat smoked over a bed of hot coals with wood added for that smoke flavor.

Now that's not to say I haven't fired up my gas grill and made some steaks or burgers that were quite good and everyone went home happy and full. It's just that to get the true BBQ flavor I'm looking for I found that I can only achieve it when cooking with charcoal. I have never been able to get that great smoke flavor using a gas grill.

 Let me tell you I have tried, because to be honest it is very easy to just to turn on the gas and quickly light the gas burners to heat up the grill and get ready to cook. With charcoal you have to clean up the leftover ash from the last cook add fresh charcoal and light a chimney and wait for them to ash over before you can get the meat on the grill.

 A special note..... NEVER USE LIGHTER FLUID!!!! only light your charcoal with a chimney, it's not hard and you will not be taking a chance of your food tasting like lighter fluid. I'm also not a fan of that Match light stuff either. Don't use it, never will.

So the bottom line for me is if you're looking to make real BBQ, the only way to make it is over a charcoal fire using some MOJO Bricks for that nice smoked flavor. You gas grill lovers are welcome to your opinion and I'm sure you have made some very good food on a gas grill. It's just not BBQ. That may be why KCBS does not allow propane at any of their contest. Gas Grill is for grilling. BBQ requires a bed of coals and some wood.

Now there are some that also believe that even using charcoal isn't true BBQ. They believe that True BBQ can only be done using wood logs. So the debate goes on. The best part is no matter what method you use if the finished product is good food, you have met your goal.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Simple for Lunch

Well folks; sometimes I like something simple and easy for lunch. Smoking doesn't always have to involve a lot of preparation and a long time on the the smoker. So today I did Bologna on the kettle, it's a easy and very tasty take on a classic lunch meat.

To do this, all you need is a chunk of bologna sliced in 1/4" slices. After sliced coat the meat in a light coat of yellow mustard. The mustard will act as a binder to hold your rub. For the rub I used Drapers AP,  this is fast becoming my go to rub works on everything even vegetables.

Now you have the bologna all seasoned it is time to set up the grill. I set the kettle up for a indirect cook and used some MOJO Cherry for a nice flavor.  Placing the slices on the cool side and closed the lid. You need to turn the slices about every 10 minutes until they achieve a nice golden color and are heated though.

This is a Pit Masters take on fried Bologna that I like better. The smoke flavor just adds something that a smoker of meat has a hard time resisting.  Try it, you may find a new way to prepare a classic lunch meat.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Products I use Part 2

Well folks; today I'll talk about the other products I use to create BBQ. l'll talk about the rubs I'm using this is a always expanding list because you never know when you will find that perfect combo of flavors that just works perfect with your BBQ. The rub that I'm really fond of right now is Drapers AP rub. This is a all purpose rub that works well with pork,beef and chicken. I have even used it on vegetables. Next on the list will be Plow Boys Yardbird rub this is good on both chicken and pork. They also make Bovine Bold that is for beef. Both of these rubs are popular with a lot of competition BBQ teams. The last one I'll talk about is Dizzy Pig Rubs, I've used Dizzy Dust  and have had good results, the other rub of theirs that I have been using is Pineapple Head,this is a sweet rub that goes well with vegetables and any where that you want to add a little sweetness. Dizzy Pig has different flavors of rubs to try. It's kind of fun sometimes to experiment with different rubs you never know it may make for some good eating.

Now let talk sauces, again Drapers BBQ sauce is becoming a favorite, this sauce is from a small company in Kentucky that has been getting great results at BBQ contest around the south. I'm going to see how it will be received  here in  the St Louis Area. Another sauce that is popular in this area is Blues Hog. I have gotten good results  using the original mixed with their Tennessee Red. The Original is a sweet sauce when I mix it with the Tennessee Red that has a spicy pepper flavor it seems to be what the judges have been liking in this area. Next is Sweet Baby Ray's a lot of guys like this and it is a backyard BBQ'rs go to sauce. For a mass produced sauce it's not a bad choice. Then last but not least,a St Louis staple, Maull's I grew up with this sauce from childhood. My Dad used it,so this sauce will always have a spot on my shelf. Good enough for my Dad it good enough for me to keep using.

Now lets talk wood,as most you may know, I am a distributor of the MOJO Bricks. I got involved with this company, after using their product and finding that it does everything that  they said it will do. It really does burn hotter, longer,and with a more intense smoke. So for me it MOJO Bricks for smoke flavor that makes award winning BBQ.

As for Charcoal, I only use Kingsford in the blue bag. I have tried other brands nothing can replace the quality I get from Kingsford.

As for thermometer I won a Thermapen, I'm glad I won it because it is not the cheapest thing in my bag of goody's but it is my favorite gadget. I really don't know how I got along without it. Buy one they last for years and you will use it more than you know. You will grill perfect steaks and not have to worry about over or under cooking chicken again.

The last thing I'll talk about is Grill Grates. Like the Thermapen, I won a set of these. These are grates that you place on top of your grill. They work great and they will give your steaks and chops those nice grill marks that you get when you order a fine steak at a steakhouse. They also work great on a gas grill,don't ask me how but they prevent flare ups that sometimes can be a problem on gas grills.

That's it, next time we talk I'll be cooking something.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Review Of Products I Use

Well folks; today I decided to talk about the products I use. I will give a review on each one and tell you why I like them. This is not going to be  a slam of any of these products because after years of using different products these are the ones that have found a spot in my arsenal.

The first one I'll talk about is the Weber Kettle, this is the pit that I started to use when I first got serious about BBQ. What better statement I can make about Weber Kettles is this is my second in almost 30 years. The first one I gave to my son or I'm sure I would still be using it. I have the  the Platinum model it has a side table that is very handy. This kettle can be used as a grill or you can control the heat for the low and slow smoking. As far as I'm concerned if you only have room for one pit get a Weber they last for years.

Next, is my gas grill. I have a Jenn Air that my wife got me for Fathers day 6 years ago. It's not the cheapest grill on the market but after 6 years it still is working and I haven't had to spend a dime on it. It works great for when I just want to grill some steaks or brats. It has it's place but I'm really a Charcoal guy.

Next is the Ugly Drum,this has a special place in my heart because I made it with my own hands. The Ugly drum smokers are a super piece of equipment, that can be made in a afternoon for under a $100.00. It is fuel efficient and has a simple learning curve. I love my Ugly Drum

Tomorrow we will cover the rest of my stuff from rubs, sauces, grill grates, tongs and the brand of charcoal I use.

Monday, April 16, 2012

3 Months and Counting

Well folks, it's been almost 3 months and I'm still writing this blog. What I find amazing is in that time you all have viewed what I have had to say about BBQ 1287 times. That will probably go over 1300 views tonight. I have a hard time thinking that this has had that much readership, when all I have done is write a few paragraphs about something I love to do and click publish. I also pass it along on my Facebook page but that's it and I have a following in just 3 short months. I feel like I have to say Thanks for reading and I hope I have passed on a few tips that has helped you make something tasty.

The other thing that is amazing is this has been read in over 12 countries. From China and Mexico to England and even Iran. The country that has view this blog the most beside the USA is..........Russia!!! with 111 views. Who knew that Russians love BBQ. I guess I'll have to come up with a recipe using Vodka in honor of my Russian followers.

Please keep reading and if there is something you want me to write about or a question you want to ask,please drop me a note and I'll do my best to answer it for you.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why do people compete in BBQ

Well folks, today I think I'll talk about why some people compete in BBQ. I will tell you, it isn't for the money.  There are some folks making money on the BBQ circuit, and some guys are getting well known in the BBQ circles, but most people competing are losing money. Guys like Myron Mixon, Johnny Trigg,Dave Anderson, along with Chris Lilly, are doing quite well for themselves. It's not from the money they make at contests, but by winning in competitions they are able to promote their BBQ restaurants and cook books.
Myron and Johnny both have classes, and charge upwards of $700.00 for them to teach people their competition secrets.

Most of us compete for different reasons. For me it was a chance to find out if I really was any good.  When I had friends and family over for my BBQ everyone would say how much they loved my BBQ. While it was nice to hear, I always wondered if they meant it or were they just being polite. I mean what are they going to say, they are eating for free and drinking my beer. Who's going to tell you that the stuff you're putting on the plate sucks? I thought my BBQ was pretty good but was it really great. I had to find out.

When you go to a contest and put your BBQ in a blind box to be judged against other Pit Masters that are just as sure as you that they are making the Best BBQ in the land.  There is nothing quite as nerve racking as waiting to hear if your name is going to get called at the end of the day. I will say when you get that call and you go up to get the trophy and the check it's not the money that's putting the smile on your face,it's the fact that today, you were judged by people that didn't know you or your BBQ;  they are saying that what you put on the plate was the best they had today. There is no better feeling a Pit Master can feel than to know that on this day his BBQ was the best.

Now, another thing I have found out about competing in BBQ contests is that they are some of the nicest people in the world. What really surprised me was how willing other Pit Masters are to share some of their secrets and help you become a better Pit Master. They aren't going to tell you everything they are doing, but they will help get you going in the right direction to making better competition BBQ. They are also willing to offer a beer to help on those days when you don't get your name called.

So all I can say, is for me, it's worth the money to enter and to pay for all the meat and supplies it takes to do a BBQ contest. I just want to see how I rate against the BEST.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Competition Chicken

Well Folks: Today I will talk about competition chicken, and why so many Pit Masters hate chicken. When you grill chicken in the backyard, chicken is not that hard,and is a favorite at many backyard get together's and  picnics. But when we talk about competition chicken its a whole different bird. Not getting the chicken done  the way the judges are looking for, has ruin many a teams day at a contest. I have seen lots of teams finish in the top 5 or 10 in Brisket, Pork Butt and Ribs only to tank in chicken and lose a Grand Championship because they missed in chicken.

Now you may be asking WHY? That is because competition chicken  has to be moist, all the pieces have to be uniform in size, and the skin has to be bite though.  So this is why most teams cook thighs. Thighs are the most forgiving against overcooking and drying out. Now for the hard part getting 6 thighs the same size and uniform to put in your turn in box. This is where prep comes in, when I cook chicken I trim at least 12 thighs, I  feel better cooking 18 thighs.That way I have a better chance of finding 6 thighs that are uniform to put in the box.

Then the last part, Bite Though Skin. This is the hardest part for me to achieve. I know you all have bitten into a chicken thigh and the skin was like rubber and came off in one piece, if you are at home you give this to the dog and keep  eating the chicken. This happens in a contest, and your scores are going in the tank, and any chance you had at a Grand Championship just went to the dogs. No matter how great you did in the other categories.There are different ways to get bite though skin, but the only one that I have found that works for me is to scrape the skin. That is when you remove the skin from the thigh, and with a sharp knife you scrape the fat from the skin until you get a piece of skin that is almost see though. Then you  wrap the skin back around the thigh. This is a time consuming job, not to mention disgusting. But it is the only way I have been able to get bite though skin every time.

Now you know why every Pit Master hates chicken. To get chicken that will give you the best chance at winning, it requires a lot of prep. Chicken takes the most time to get ready to cook, and if you don't do it right it is very unforgiving.

Now most of you don't every have to worry about skin being bite though, and all the piece being uniform.You just want it to taste good. If only it was that easy at a contest. This is why all Pit Masters "Hates Chicken"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

Well folks: I've been busy with work and haven't been keeping  you updated like I should. I said we would talk about fish and we will, just not right now. Since we last talked I have signed up for 2 contest, one in May and the other one in June. With that commitment I have to start  working on my contest BBQ. That means PRACTICE!!!

The first contest is on May 19, and it is a little different in that the beef category is open, and it is a one day event. Starting at 11AM  ending at 6PM. That means there isn't enough time for Brisket,which is what is normally cooked in a contest.Normally you put your brisket on the smoker Friday  night low and slow and you have time to get the brisket nice and tender. This one you can turn in anything beef. You just have to WOW the judges with your choice. I know some guys will be doing Steaks everything from Prime Rib to T Bones and Rib Eyes. Some will be doing Tenderloins guys like to stuff them,all trying to WOW the judges.

I have decided I'm going to do Beef Short Ribs. I get them as a rack of 4 to 5 bones. When these are done right they have Great eye appeal.  As these cook the beef pulls back from the bone leaving a tasty piece of beef , with a nice bone handle.


That is why I'm calling this post Practice, Practice, Practice. I have to do these a few time so I can get my time line down. I want these to be tender and perfect at turn in time. I am trying different seasoning to get the most flavor, without over powering the natural flavor of the beef.

So if any of my fellow competitors are reading this, you now know what I'll be turning in for the beef category. Just know that I have been working to get these to perfection,so get your game face on, because I'm in it to win it.

Next on the practice schedule, what every Pit Master hates... Chicken.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sometimes Simple is Best

Well Folks:Today is Sunday,and we have enjoyed some great weather here in St Louis, Mo. When the weather is this good it's impossible for me not to be grilling something. Today I didn't want to grill or smoke anything that took a lot of prep, or that required a lot of time. Sometime just being outside and enjoying sunshine and drinking a cold beer, is a perfect ending to a weekend.

So this afternoon I'm just going to grill up some Brats and serving them up with Potato Salad and some grilled corn on the cob. This will be a simple meal that anyone can do, and that everyone enjoys. So this is my advice to you, go out enjoy your weekend. Grill up something, it doesn't have to be hard, "Sometimes Simple Is Best"

Don

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trash Can Potato's

Well Folks: Today let's do potato's a little different, but still using the grill to make a potato dish that we like quite a bit. These are called Trash Can Potato's. I use a aluminum pie pan when I make these, but you can do this with sheets of aluminum foil. To make this side dish you will need.

Aluminum Foil, Heavy Duty is  best
3 to 4 medium size Yukon Gold Potato's sliced
1 Medium size onion sliced
2 Tbs Basil
1/2  Stick Butter
6 - 7  Button Mushrooms sliced in half

After peeling and slicing the potato's and onion layer them either on a sheet of aluminum foil or in a pie pan. Add the Basil and put the mushrooms around the top of the potato's. Now top everything with pads of the butter. You want to wrap everything tightly and place on the grill. Place on the cool side of the grill that has been set up for a indirect fire.

After about a hour check the potato's to see if they are tender, sometime depending of how hot your fire is,it may take a little longer than a hour. These are real good as a change up from potato salad and baked potato's and they go well with any BBQ dish that you are grilling up.

Next. Lets talk Fish

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Feeding a Crowd

Well Folks: Today lets talk about grilling for a crowd. It's one thing to grill up some ribs for the family, it's another thing to grill for a large group. I'm not a professional caterer, so I have limited knowledge about grilling for a huge event. I have cooked for about 75 people, and many times for groups of 25 to 35.

The first time you cook for a group of people that isn't family it can be a little scary. I'm here to tell you with a little extra planning you can do just fine. Getting a good count of how many people will be there is most important. You'll want to know how  many are adults and how many are children. After you know the count you have to know what you are going to grill. I like it when I get to choose, but some times you can't do that and you will have to grill what is requested. Once you know how many and what you are grilling, the next thing you have to do is make sure you have enough grill space. You will need to have enough grill space to grill each meat choice, this is why I like to choose, because one of the easiest meat to grill for a crowd is Pulled Pork. Pulled Pork can be done before the event and is a great self serve meat.  Ribs are tougher, as far as I'm concerned because to me these need to be smoked and served when the meal is served. You can do ribs before hand and heat later, I just think they are the best coming right off the smoker and onto the plate. Same with Pork Steaks you can do them ahead of time and reheat but again right off the smoker is when they taste the best, if you ask me. Chicken quarters are also poplar, and are easy to cook and serve.

Now after making sure you have enough grill space. To get a idea of how much meat you need is next hard decision you have to make. A good rule of thumb is a 1/3 lb person of pulled pork if only serving one meat if you are are doing 2 meat 1/4 lb per person.. That's when you have at least 2 sides. When serving ribs, 2 bones per person with 2 meats, 3 bones per person when serving by its self. Chicken quarters  1 per person when only serving chicken and split and serve one piece when doing another meat.   Sides serve about 3oz per person of each side.

These are just some general guide lines. Don't jump out there and try to grill a company picnic for the first time and try to feed 100 people. Start out doing a cook for family and friends with 12 to 20 people to get your feet wet, and build up your confidence. That's really all most of you will every want to grill for,but once you start grilling for the family and friends, and you grill up some great BBQ. You will find that you will be asked to grill more often, and there will be more people each time.  It's a lot of work so don't be afraid to say no. If you decide to grill for a large group, make sure you have help, and you are prepared to cover the cost of all the rubs, sauce and  charcoal. All those expenses add up in a hurry and if it's a family get together you may find out, you won't enjoy the gathering, and all you did was work.

Now if you become the Pit Master that everyone wants to grill at their gathering, it is nice to hear all the positive feed back,. Just remember it's a lot of work, but if you are like me, and love to BBQ, it can be pretty rewarding.

Next, Trash Can Potato's

Monday, March 26, 2012

Baked Beans

Well Folks: What goes better with a plate of BBQ than Baked Beans? These aren't very hard to do and there are a lot of recipes on how to make this side dish staple. Today, I will tell you how I make my Baked Beans. You are more than welcome to adjust to meet you and and your families taste. That's whats fun about BBQ, making food that you like, and adjusting the taste to make each dish your own.

For this recipe you will need;

1  large can Bush's Original Bake Beans
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 Cup yellow mustard
2/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup BBQ sauce
1 Cup diced cooked rib ends

In a Aluminum baking pan pour in the beans, add the other ingredients and mix well. This is where I use the trimmings that I have been getting when I trim my spare ribs into St Louis Style. What I don't eat as Pit Masters rewards, I save for my bake beans. If you don't have rib trimmings you can use some thick sliced Bacon. Bacon is always a favorite of mine and I use Bacon as much as I can, Bacon makes everything taste Great.

Cover the pan and place on the grill for at least a hour, if you don't have space on the grill these can go into a 325 degree oven. After a hour the beans should be done, but you can hold in a 200 degree oven until time to serve.

These beans are a nice side dish, that goes with any BBQ meat from Pulled Pork, Pork Steaks and Ribs to Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and Beef Brisket. Heck these make a pretty good stand alone meal. Give them a try and add your own special flavor profile to make them your own family tradition.

Next, how to feed a crowd.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kettle Fried Chicken aka KFC

Well Folks: I said I was going to tell you how to do fried chicken on the grill, and today is the day. I have been doing some research on how to do this on the BBQ Brethren Forum. After reading a lot of posts, I finally came up with a way to do some finger licking chicken. This really isn't to hard to do, and it definitely takes fried chicken to a flavor profile you haven't had before. I promise when you do this for your friends and family, they will think you have lost your mind until they taste the first piece. Then they won't want chicken done any other way. So let's make some KFC, to make this you will need.

1 Whole Chicken cut up into pieces
1 cup Milk
1 Egg
1 Bag Chicken Breading ( I used Andy's Spicy Chicken Breading)
can of cooking spray ( I used Pam for baking)

Take the chicken and rinse it in cold water and pat dry. Take the cup of milk and the egg mix together. Take the breading and place in another pan. Place the chicken in the milk and egg mixture to coat. Next dredge the chicken in the breading. Now place the chicken in the milk mixture again and dredge again in the breading.  After coating all the chicken twice set aside for 30 minutes.

Now while the chicken is resting, it's time to set up the kettle for indirect cooking. You want a nice fire started and the grill temp up toward 375 to 400 degrees. I used some MOJO Hickory and Cherry for smoke a half a cube of each is plenty.

After the fire has gotten started and the grill is up to temp. time to put the chicken on the grill. I placed the larger breast pieces closest to the coals, and then place the legs and wings further from the hot coals.  Spray the chicken with a light coat of the cooking spray, then close the lid. After about 30 minutes turn the chicken and add  another light coat of cooking spray. Continue to cook the chicken for another 15 minutes, now turn the chicken for the last time and spray the chicken with cooking spray any where the coating looks dry.

After the chicken has been on the grill for 45 minutes, check the smaller pieces for temperature. You are looking for 165 degrees the wings and legs will get done first, and you can remove and cover to hold until the other pieces get done. Keep a eye on the chicken and add a light coating of cooking spray any where the breading looks to be drying out.

After all the chicken has reached 165 degrees you have a fine bucket of KFC. I urge you to try this and I'll bet you will find this to be some of the best Fried Chicken you've every eaten.

Next, Baked Beans