The Smoking Car #4 - BigMista - The Survival Gourmet
Well, it's that time again; we're riding The Smoking Car all the way out to California and who's that sitting next to us? Why, it's our good buddy BigMista - The Survival Gourmet. Mista's one of the Los Angeles area's best caterers and has just formed his own competitive barbeque team with a few other bloggers, but let's listen as BigMista tells us his barbeque story....
I thought Barbecue had always been a part of my life.
I can remember eating burnt hot dogs cooked on a grill and loving them because they were slathered with BBQ sauce and they were “crunchy”. I can remember going to the park with my family and getting to light my first fire in the old brick pit that they had there. I can remember friends and family coming to our house for backyard barbecues every year in spite of the “mashed potato salad incident.” (That’s a story for another time.) I can remember the best BBQ in Galveston, TX coming from Mom’s. It was only available on the weekend from 5pm until Mom ran out. (I later found out that Mom’s was a house of “ill-repute”. It was still good barbeque, though.)
When I moved to California, I started throwing my own backyard barbecues. Everybody loved my ribs. I made a great barbeque sauce and the meat was tender. Basically, I would marinate the ribs in Malt Liquor overnight and then stick the ribs in the oven, marinade and all, and cook them for a couple of hours. After that, I would put them on the grill to “get some smoke” and finish them by dunking them in my world famous BBQ sauce. People raved about my barbecue. Then again, I was in Southern California and there wasn’t really anything to compare it to except Tony Roma’s boiled…oops, I mean BBQ ribs.
I was convinced that I knew everything about Barbecue. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I was actually put on the path to BBQ Nirvana by Alton Brown of Good Eats. Go figure. I watched him Q a pork roast inside a flower pot and I knew right then that I needed to learn the real deal about barbecue.
So I started doing some research on the internet. I found out that what I had been doing was grilling and that real bbq is cooked low and slow in a smoker. I went out to Lowe’s and bought a Chargriller smoker. My wife helped me put it together (Gotta love that woman) and we put it out on my balcony. I was ready to start smoking and I probably would have made 1000 mistakes on my first cook, but during my research, I bumped into a guy named Bill from Chicago in a Yahoo Group. He invited me to a place where I could learn more about Q and be surrounded by BBQ enthusiasts who actually share their secrets and enjoy nurturing newbie BBQ chefs. That place is www.bbq-brethren.com.
The guys there walked me through my first cook step-by-step. Some even called me to check on my progress. My first cook was a success and I have been turning out good Q ever since. The guys on this site are a permanent part of my BBQ journey and a permanent part of my family now. I can call on them for anything and know that they will be there for me. They have taught me why you need sugar in a rub. They taught me about brines and injections. They taught me about foiling meat to get it past the sticking point. They accepted me without reservation and gave me all of their secrets (ok most of their secrets). Barbecue builds that kind of camaraderie.
Ok I know I kind of went on a tangent there. Moving on.
I have been perfecting my technique, rub and sauce. I can get sweet blue smoke at will and I have acquired the patience to cook low and slow (beer helps!). I think I am ready to start competing this year. BBQ is my hobby right now. Soon it will be a way of life.
This is my BBQ story.
Well there he goes. We’ll talk to you soon Mista. Be sure and check out BigMista's blog - The Survival Gourmet for some of the best recipes on the net and news of his new competitive barbeque team.