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WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Life outside the burn unit

My wife is home. She's healing slowly. The kids are healing slowly. And, I guess, I'm healing slowly. Tonight, I went to a party with a bunch of friends out on Long Island. My kids spent the night with their grandparents, and I'm here at my friend's house unable to sleep. I'm feeling very guilty about not being with my wife.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Update on my wife

Johanna was released from the hospital. She still has some areas where she might need a skin graft. We still don't know, but it appears that her body is trying to heal them itself. We'll know in 4 weeks if she needs to get them.

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, notes, emails and anything and everything else you did. It is greatly appreciated.

Judges Needed!

The Long Island Grill Kings KCBS sanctioned BBQ contest is looking for certified Barbecue judges. If you are a CBJ and interested in a great contest, please contact Dean.

We are seeking KCBS Certified Judges for our 3rd Annual Grill Kings Long Island BBQ Cook-Off to be held Saturday July 23rd and Sunday July 24th 2005 at beautiful Heckscher State Park, East Islip NY.

To Register to be a Judge:
Or visit their website at:

Sunday, June 19, 2005


How important is presentation when serving food? People say that you eat with your eyes first, so presentation is important. Other's say presentation isn't important; it's the appearance of the food and the taste! I wonder how come the aroma never seems to come into the argument.

In the BBQ competition world, there are two major sanctioning bodies. First is The Kansas City Barbeque Society and then there's Memphis In May. (There are other groups, but these two are the biggest)

Both contests consist of a blind judging element, where only the meat is to be judged, but presentation still plays an important role. If you're cooking in a KCBS contest, your meat may be garnished with lettuce and/or parsley. There are many competitors who feel that the garnish should be removed from the equation. I'm not one of them.

In a MIM contest, your meat is presented without garnish of any type. However, at both contests the meat as presented in the white Styrofoam judging container is judged on "appearance." On a side note, Memphis In May judging also contains a judge’s visit to your cook site where you are judged on whatever dog and pony show you can put on for them.

I cook in the KCBS circuit, and when I start competing this summer, I'll be putting up some pictures of the entries. Until then, well you'll just have to wait. But, here's a link to a blog that has hundreds of pictures of food. Enjoy!

If you are interested in the rules for a Kansas City Barbeque Society contest, click this link to BBQ Dan.

If you are interested in the rules for a Memphis In May contest, click this link to The BBQ Judge.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Front Street Smoke House

A friend and competitor has just opened his first barbecue restaurant, the Front Street Smoke House. It's located at 1 South Front Street, Elizabeth, New Jersey 07202. The phone number 1-908-354-1818. Right now the kitchen is only open for lunch, but the bar is in full swing.

I haven't been to the restaurant yet, but I'm sure it's great barbeque. Bruce Kain, who is the pit master, is an award winning cook. His team, Zak's Barbecue has won many titles over the years. I know you'll enjoy it.

On a more personal note, my wife is slowly improving. She may be out of the hospital by the end of next week. Lester is also healing slowly. Thank you for all the prayers, notes and good thoughts.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


I'm tired tonight. With my wife in the hospital I have a new appreciation for the life of a single parent. It just doesn't stop.

Johanna is doing OK, she's slowly healing. Today was her one week anniversary in the hospital, so the kids and I surprised her with a package of six different flavored "moose-ettes" from Mother Moose Bakery of Staten Island, NY (no website that I can find.) Moose-ettes are cupcake sized little packages of chocolate, tiramisu, key lime, etc flavored moose, mooses? meese? mooseum!. They were just the thing for my wife's sweet tooth. She needed the pick me up as the doctor's told us to expect that she'll be in the hospital for two more weeks. URGHH!

In case you're wondering, my friend Lester is improving too. They removed the bandages from one arm which is a great sign that he is healing. He had a miserable day and night yesterday, but was sleeping peacefully tonight.

To keep this blog on the BBQ track, because this is a blog about barbeque after all - here's a barbecue related story that I heard in the burn unit tonight. My wife's burn unit neighbor fell on to her charcoal grill and burned her arm. She said that she tripped and hit the grill taking the charcoal and dinner with her. She'll be alright in a couple of weeks.

Fire is dangerous folks. Please keep that in mind whenever you are cooking, be it indoors or out. Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts. I really believe that they are helping.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Update on my wife.

Thank you all for your prayers, phone calls, emails etc. They have been truly helpful during this trying period. I apologize to any of you, whom I have not gotten to. This has been an extremely hectic time for all of us.

We have had mixed news since the original diagnosis on Friday. Johanna is only burnt on 5% of her body which is a very significant reduction in the amount of physical trauma she is suffering. The burns still range from 1st degree on her hands and wrists, to 3rd degree on her neck, shoulders and back. For some strange reason the inner side of her left thumb also has a third degree burn. Her back, stomach, the underside of her chin and the rest of her arms suffered 2nd degree burns. Her kidneys are doing great. Her blood pressure has been fantastic.

One good thing is she was wearing a bra when she was cooking. The bra protected the goodies while the rest of her chest was burned. The moral of this story.. Always wearing a bra when cooking!

We still don't know about surgery and skin grafts, but it looks like there are only two patches on her shoulders that need to be watched. Most of the boils, puss pockets, etc have either broken or been reabsorbed back into the body.

Early Sunday night Johanna was given the OK to leave the burn unit and walk the halls of the hospital and visit the outdoor garden. This really lifted her spirits. She was tired, so we planned a walk around the grounds for the next morning, but it was not to be. Later that night she was found to have a fever and an infection has set in. She's back to being confined to the burn unit.

According to her doctor she is now beginning to experience the emotional trauma of a burn. Her mind and body have gotten over the shock of the physical and now the brain begins the what if, why me stage. This phase will most likely be the phase that haunts her for a long time. My son on Sunday said that her burns on her neck looked cool - "like a flame tattoo." That cheered her some. We snuck my daughter in to see her too, but she was kicked out of the burn unit because she’s under 16.

She's going to be in the hospital for at least another week. If she needs the skin grafts, it will be another 10 days on top of that.

The burn center is a very hard place to be. Everyone here is damaged physically and emotionally. Most of the residents are little kids who are burned in accidents. There are a lot of orthodox Jewish children who are burned by the Sabbath candles.

Two rooms down from my wife is an 18 month old boy, Lester. His father put him in the kitchen sink and set him on fire. Somehow the mother was also involved. The bastard “father” is in jail and the “mother” is wanted by the police. There are police guarding this poor kid to see if the mother tries to make contact. Only the grandmother has visited Lester and she can't be there all the time. Johanna and I spend time with him when we can. Lester is so badly burnt that you can't even enter his room without full mask, gowns, shoes and gloves routine. I can't imagine what is going through this poor kid's mind. He's constantly in pain and screams most of the day and night. I know that there's a special place in hell for his “father and mother.”

The other group that comes and goes are the severe burns. They rarely last the night. The burn center has 10 beds, and we've seen 3 people die in the unit.

We are extremely grateful that my wife’s situation isn't worse. If her hair had caught fire or she had been home alone, she probably would have died. We've seen first hand what fire can do to human flesh and it’s not pretty. God works in mysterious ways. While this has been a terrible experience for all of us, and the end isn't in sight yet, it is bringing my family closer together. My kids have risen to the challenge and are picking up some of the slack around the house. We will be a stronger family when this is done.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Gonna be quiet for a little while

My wife had an accident Thursday. She was cooking dinner and reached over one pot to stir another and her shirt caught on fire.

She has burns on her hands, fingers, chest, neck, back, arms, stomach and ears. Luckily her face was spared. She is extremely lucky that her hair did not catch fire.

Her burns range from 1st to 3rd degree. She has burns on about 10% of her body. She will be OK in the long run, but right now we don’t know the full extent of the damage. The doctors really haven’t said much yet, but they expect her to be hospitalized for at least one week. Apparently it takes 24 hours for the burns to fully develop. The major concerns right now are kidney function and infection. Burns of this degree are extremely painful.

So when this is resolved, I’ll be back. But it’s going to be a while before I’m Q’ing again.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Happy Birthday WhiteTrash BBQ

On June 8th, this blog will be one year old. My how time flies. It's hard to believe that I've been doing this for a year. It's been an interesting year, filled with a lot of sadness and some joy. But, we're all still here and a new year dawns.

Here's my first blog entry...

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

This Blog is being created to document my feelings, thoughts and creation process in creating the future World Championship BBQ team. White Trash BBQ. I will be creating the best BBQ in the world which will be available exclusively at my restaurant.

So, what's happened? Have I stayed true to my mission? Have I documented the creation process of the "future World Championship BBQ team?" Nope. Haven't done that.

I have talked a lot about barbecue. I have learned a lot about the competition process and the barbeque circuit. I have made a lot of new friends through this blog. But I haven't stayed true to the mission of this blog.

Well, back to the beginning. From now on, back to the mission -- "creating the future World Championship BBQ team. White Trash BBQ."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Book Review - Smoke and Spice

Smoke and Spice

By: Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
The Harvard Common Press

A lot of people who are just starting out in barbecue or smoking, ask me to recommend a book to get them started. Smoke and Spice is that book. This book covers everything you need to know to get going in the world of barbeque. But don't let that turn you off. Even you are an experienced Q'r, you'll find inspiration in its recipes and stories. The recipes are easy to read, understand and follow. The results are great. This book will raise the bar on your cooking.

The Jamisons recipes for pork butt was the recipe that got me hooked on BBQ. Try it out here. The Renowned Mr. Brown

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