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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"