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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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

BBQ Spice: Bay Leaf

The humble Bay Leaf. The Bay Leaf is one of those spices that seem to have been forgotten. I can't remember the last time I read a new recipe that called for Bay Leaf. That's a shame, because the Bay Leaf adds a depth of flavor to soups, stews, and sauces that can't be found in any other seasoning. I always use it when making spaghetti sauce and stew.

Bay Leaves are the leaves of several species of Laurel trees. According to Wikipedia, "Bay Leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance, and may be used fresh or dried.
The leaf of the bay laurel or "true laurel", Laurus nobilis, is a culinary herb often used to flavor soups, stews, and braises and pâtés in Mediterranean Cuisine. Many people have reportedly smoked dried bay leaves to achieve euphoric effects similar to those of cannabis.
  • California bay leaf
The leaf of the California bay tree (Umbellularia californica), also known as 'California laurel', 'Oregon myrtle', and 'pepperwood', is similar to the Mediterranean bay, but has a stronger flavor.
  • "Indian bay leaf" (also called tej pat, tejpat, or tejpata)
The leaf of the Cinnamomum tejpata (malabathrum) tree, similar in fragrance and taste to cinnamon bark, but milder. In appearance, it is similar to the other bay leaves, but is culinarily quite different, having an aroma and flavor more similar to that of Cassia. It is inaccurately called a bay leaf as it is in a different genus (though the same family) as the bay laurel.

Bay leaves have been said to be poisonous, but this has never been proven."

So why do I bring this up? As you know, for the Memorial Day cook, I cooked 17 pounds of pork butt. I've been using my own variation of Big Bob Gibson's Injection Baste when injecting the pork for a while now, but Sunday I was inspired; add some Bay Leaf. I added two Bay Leaves to the recipe and boiled it together for approximatelyly 2 minutes. I let it cool and then injected the meat.

Man, oh man, is this a keeper. I'm sorry there's no pictures. All 17 lbs of meat were eaten before I could get out the camera.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day

Yesterday was Memorial Day. It's the day the United States sets aside to honor those who laid down their lives in service to this country. My family and I paid a visit to the National Cemetery in Pinelawn NY and paid our respects to our veterans. It's very moving to see every tombstone marked with an American Flag.

These headstones belong to my grandparents, John Cook Hall and Kathryn Veronica Hall. My grandmother was an Irish Catholic and my grandfather a Connecticut Yankee, but from what I hear they made it work.

I never knew my grandfather, but I was very close to my grandmother who lived with us while I was a child. She died of leukemia during the NYC blackout of 1977. My grandfather was working for the US Navy when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage while driving a truck back in 1952. Both are very much missed.

But, back to the great American past time of barbecue, because this is a blog about barbeque after all and I know my grandmother liked to eat, I cooked 17 pounds of Boston butt yesterday. I slathered it with French's yellow mustard and rubbed it with Dizzie Pig's Raging River Rub. I cooked these butts for 22 hours, including time through a torrential rain storm which dumped 2 inches of water on Brooklyn in less than 1/2 hour. How'd they taste? Well, you'll have to come back tomorrow because they're still resting after the cook.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Restaurant Review: Front Street Smoke House

Front Street Smokehouse & Saloon
(908) 354-1818
1 S Front St
Elizabeth, NJ 07202

I first mentioned the Front Street Smoke House in Elizabeth back in June 2005 when Bruce and Nellie opened the bar. It took a little longer for them to open the smoker and I first visited the Front Street Smoke House back in March 2006. But, believe it or not, I still haven't eaten there.

But Jason Perlow of E-Gullet fame has and he was impressed. I knew he would be. Bruce and Nellie Kain are friends of mine and two of the best barbecue cooks I've ever met.

Here's the summary paragraph from Jason's review as posted on his blog "Off The Broiler"...

Overall I would say Front Street is doing really good 'cue. You can talk stylistic choices until you are blue in the face (type of sauce, type of ribs used, duration of smoking process on Chicken vs. the Pork, etc) but at the end of the day, these guys really care about what they are doing and the end product is good. I hope Front Street's success will finally encourage the startup of more BBQ restaurants in Jersey again.

It looks like it's time for a road trip again soon. If you go, tell then WhiteTrash sent you. See you there.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Spanish Barbecue: Pinchitos Morunos

Since the Spanish first discovered barbeque in the new world and brought it back to Europe, and being of Spanish decent, you would think that I'd have a lot of recipes for Spanish style barbecue. Unfortunately that's not the case.

But there is hope. Here's a recipe I found over on Recipe Zaar that I like a lot; Pinchitos Morunos. It's pretty flexible and can be made with just about any type of meat. Enjoy.

Pinchitos Morunos

Serves 3 to 4 as an Appetizer - or as the Spanish would say Una Tapa!

This is a delicious Spanish Tapa! Serve with crusty French bread and a glass of a good red wine and you're in business. These cook in less than 15 minutes but need to be marinated for a minimum of 3 hours for best flavor.
  1. Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic, cilantro, cumin, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper together.
  2. Add olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar and mix well.
  3. Place 4 or 5 pieces of meat on each skewer. (For best results use metal skewers, or wood skewers that have been soaked in water for at least 1/2 hour prior)
  4. Lay skewers in a single layer on a non-reactive dish and top with marinade.
  5. Let meat marinate for 2 to 3 hours minimally or overnight for best flavor. Turn skewers every once in a while to achieve an even coating.
  6. Grill skewers over medium heat until cooked through - about 10 to 15 minutes - turning as needed.
  7. Serve with Lemon Wedges and Fresh Cilantro as garnish.
  8. If necessary, these can be cooked in a conventional oven. Cook skewers at 375, turning once, for 15 minutes or until done.
Pinchitos Morunos photograph courtesy of Recipe Zaar. Mortar and pestle photograph courtesy of Gourmet Sleuth.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

BBQ Recipes

Happy Memorial Day weekend.

I figure a lot of people are looking for recipes and methods for cooking barbecue over the holiday weekend, so here's some quick links to pasts posts about cooking barbecue. Try them out and let me know what you think.

September 2005 - Big Bob Gibson's Pulled Pork
November 2005 - Injected Pulled Pork

July 2004 - Quick Rib recipe

November 2004 - Baby Back Ribs
January 2006 - 3 Racks, 3 Rubs, 3 Ways - Part 3
January 2006 - 3 Racks, 3 Rubs, 3 Ways - Part 2
January 2006 - 3 Racks, 3 Rubs, 3 Ways - Part 1

April 2005 - Golden Chicken - Part 3
April 2005 - Golden Chicken - Part 2
April 2005 - Golden Chicken - Part 1
April 2005 - Remember the Chicken

October 2005 - John Willingham's Championship Brisket
May 2006 - Jim Goode's Plugged Brisket
May 2006 - Jim Goode's BBQ Mop
May 2006 - Jim Goode's Barbecue Beef Rub

Other Barbecue Foods
October 2004 - Smoked Turkey
November 2005 - Atomic Buffalo Turds
April 2006 - Turkey, Duck and Stuffed Mushrooms
April 2006 - Apple Brined Turkey and Wine Marinated Duck

I hope these links help. Now I have got to get cooking!

Friday, May 26, 2006

BBQ Events: Fleet Week and International Weber Smoke Day II

OK boys and girls, don't forget that tomorrow is the Second International Weber Smokey Mountain Smoke Day!

Joel Kiess over at The Virtual Weber Bullet Forum came up with the idea and I'll let him explain it... "It's the one day each year when people from around the world cook in unison to celebrate their enthusiasm for the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and for barbecue in general."

It's not too late, you can register as a participant on the Smoke Day Map. I'm there and as of this writing there are 445 participants registered.

If the weather or the landlord isn't cooperating with the Q, check out the ships and sailors at Fleet Week. Every Memorial Day Weekend, the City of New York throws open its port and welcomes ships from the Navys of the world. I remember going on the submarines and aircraft carriers when I was a kid. It's a thrilling experience.

From the Navy's official site, "Fleet Week New York City 2006 will take place from May 24 to May 31, 2006. Thousands of Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navy ships are scheduled to participate. Hosted nearly every year since 1984, Fleet Week New York is the City's celebration of the sea services."

"This annual event also provides an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness first hand the latest capabilities of today's Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Team."

Fleet Week will include dozens of military demonstrations and displays throughout the week, as well as public visitation of many of the participating ships."

Now if you see a Sailor, Guardsman or Marine on the streets, do your best to make them feel welcome; Invite them home for some barbecue!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Yankee Barbecue

It's that time of year again; the ever lasting debate on Southern vs. Northern barbeque has reared its head once again. Every once in while I get a nasty e-mail from someone claiming to be from the South who states that no "New Yorker, Yankee or Northerner" is capable or will ever be capable to make true barbecue. Ignorance is such bliss.

I do concede that they might be right if they only sample the Q from some of the restaurants here that claim to cook BBQ. But if my Southern friends stay out of the restaurants and check out the Yankkee backyards they'd be singing a different tune.

We've got some great and award winning Barbecue coming from North of the Mason-Dixon. And I sure ain't whistling Dixie! Any of you readers who share my Southern friend's opinion have an open invitation to visit. I'll cook up some real barbecue for you anytime.

From cooking classes to contests, The New England Barbecue Society has events scheduled for just about every weekend this summer. I'm not sure what events I'll be at this year, but check out their calendar here. The Boston Globe has a great article about the most recent barbecue cooking class held in Maynard, Massachusetts by NEBS and The Anchormen. Yankee Barbeque is alive!

Photo of Ray Depot and The Anchormen courtesy of Boston.com

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chocolate Barbecue

Way back on April 28th, Phil - The Grand Poohbah of the BBQ Brethren and Sledneck of the South Shore Smokers and I got together and cooked 350lbs of meat for a KCBS judging class held by the Grill Kings.

When it came time to season the ribs, we were going to use an all purpose rub from Southside Market in Texas. Well, we didn't like it straight out of the bottle, so we decided to doctor it up. We were dumping all sorts of ingredients into it and had just about given the rub up as a lost cause when I came across a jar of chocolate sprinkles. We ground them up and added it to the rub. Hmm, not bad, said we. We kept doctoring the rub and added some Nestle Quick chocolate mix and some other secret ingredients to the rub. Even better! This recipe is a keeper.

So, there we were out on Long Island setting a new trend in barbeque and we didn't even know it. Chocolate Barbecue had arrived! Alright- I'll give you, it wasn't a new idea, but it was new to us. I know about Mole sauces - they were probably the inspiration for this rub.

Now I see that Diva Chocolates out in Clackamas, OR has introduced a line of five chocolate grilling rubs and spice blends, which it claims is ideal for seasoning beef, poultry and pork.

All Diva Chocolates rubs use either roasted cocoa beans or unsweetened cocoa powders, which pair well with the smoky richness of grilled meats.

The Diva Chocolates line includes Mocha Java Steak Rub, Orange Chocolate Chicken Rub, Spicy Cocoa Rib Rub, Kickin' Chocolate Beef Rub and Cocoa Fennel Burger Mix.

I can't wait to try them out. But remember - we did it first!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Brooklyn Food: Key Lime Pie?

Key Lime Pie is a Brooklyn Food?

Over the last couple of weeks, I've made a few excursions into the newly ultra-trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook. According to New York magazine, Red Hook is "definitely a neighborhood in flux: The longtime home of Brooklyn longshoremen and other blue-collars now sees its share of BMWs parked in front of refurbished townhouses. Warehouse spaces, modest one and two bedroom apartments, and townhouses are plentiful and affordable."

"The planned giant waterfront Fairway shopping and condominiums complex on Van Brunt Street, approved last year, is under construction. Prime for future conversions: the blocks south of Commerce Street and east of Van Brunt, as well as Coffey Street between Conover and Ferris, which has cobblestone streets and dock views. Business owners hope to turn Columbia Street into Red Hook's Smith Street; Japanese, Mexican, and Italian restaurants have opened recently."

"Gentrification is coming — witness the steadily climbing prices of the past several years — but the transition is still in its early stage, and mostly confined to the blocks near the water. A good choice for the very long haul if you don't mind a substantial march to the train." The neighborhoodod reminds me a lot of Hoboken when I lived there back in the early 1980's. If I had some extra money, I'd be investing in Red Hook.

But with gentrification coming to Red Hook, there are some benefits. One of which is Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies. Based in a civil war era warehouse on the Red Hook waterfront, Steve began by making 3 pies a week out of his apartment and delivering them to a local restaurant.

Now Steve produces what has been called "the best key lime pie in the country" by the NY Times. Pretty high praise. I'll have to take their word for it, but it is damn good pie.

Steve's expanded the business to many restaurants and caterers in the NYC area. He also sells them retail at the bakery and the rest they say is history. So is Key Lime Pie a Brooklyn food? Hell yeah. Any cuisine Brooklyn embraces becomes its own. Go check it out.

Alphotographshs courtesy of Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Knife Skills

One of my New Year's resolutions was to improve my knife skills. I'm OK, but nowhere near as proficient as I'd like to be. Over on E-Gullet, I found this great on-line course. Check it out here.

It looks like I'm not the only one looking to wield the knife. Check out The BBQ Junkie's video on how to sharpen your knifes. No meat is safe!

Now all I have to do is practice.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

German Barbecue

Down around Austin in central Texas, is the heart of Texas barbeque. Some people will claim, that the area there produces the only real barbecue in the country. I won't argue that point tonight. Tonight let's celebrate a great Texan tradition.

Texas barbeque owes a lot to the Germans and Czech immigrants who took their traditions of sausage and smoked meats and merged them with the traditions of Civil War refugees, both black and white, who left the deep South for a new start in Texas, bringing their recipes and cooking styles to the mix. After more than 100 years of cooking, the result of this culinary congregation is an abundance of world-class barbecue. All located on what was once called "The Chisholm Trail."

Tonight I offer you a German inspired recipe for grilled chicken taken from German Foods.

Dark Beer-Marinated Chicken

This recipe may be halved. Always remember to use separate platters for raw and cooked chicken.

Serves: 4


1/2 cup peanut oil
1 teaspoon German mustard, preferably Düsseldorf-style
1 cup dark German beer
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds chicken parts
Non-stick cooking spray


Whisk together peanut oil and mustard in a large bowl. Whisk in beer and lemon juice until mixture is smooth. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper, basil and thyme. Add chicken pieces and turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 12 hours.

In a charcoal grill, heat about 5 dozen charcoal briquettes until covered with white ash. Meanwhile, drain chicken and discard marinade.

Use large tongs to push hot briquettes to one side of the grill. Away from the grill, spray grill rack evenly with non-stick cooking spray; place on grill. Place chicken parts on grill rack, on the coals side. Cook uncovered until skin is crisp, about 10 minutes, moving and turning as needed with clean tongs to prevent charring.

Move chicken parts to the cool side of the grill; cover and cook until meat is opaque throughout and juices run clear, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve and Enjoy.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night

Sorry for the reference to such an awful band. I hope a lot of you reading this blog are either too old or too young to get it. Believe me you're not missing anything. But now it's stuck in my head.
Yesterday we celebrated my daughter's confirmation. In the Catholic religion this sacrament usually takes place around the child's 12 or 13th birthday. Basically, it's the day when the child accepts entrance into the Church for themselves. At confirmation, they state the baptismal promises themselves instead of having their parents and god-parents do it as happened when they were baptized as an infant. Now it's up to them.

We had about 25 people over after the ceremony so I did a lot of cooking yesterday, but no BBQ. We had home made lasanga with beef, pork and veal and spinach-ginger cheese; spiral sliced smoked ham; steamed asparagus with butter and lemon; a tossed salad of field greens, baby carrots, grape tomatoes and fresh chives; Italian bread; oven roasted potatoes with garlic and fresh rosemary; and green and waxed beans. Good eats.

Except for the cat. Our cat knows one word in English - HAM. She can smell a ham from down the block. At one point she found herself alone in the kitchen with about a half pound chunk of ham. She ate it all. Today's she's been suffering like a drunk on Monday morning. Poor thing.

Tomorrow the Church is holding a "rite of going forth" or "rite of presentation" at the 11:00 mass. (I'm not sure about this because they didn't do it when I was confirmed back in the dark ages) So for the party after that, it's a grilled pork loin. I haven't figured out the rest of the menu yet.

No cooking tonight, just leftovers. Talk to you tomorrow.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Going Whole Hog

Surfing the internet the other day I came across a very interesting blog, Going Whole Hog. The more I explore this passion of barbeque, the more I am becoming interested in the whole food process.

Living in New York City, there is a huge disconnect from the farm to the table. I can't remember the last time I saw a side of beef or a hind quarter of a pig. Oh sure, there's the whole ducks and chickens hanging in the Chinese restaurant windows. And the tanks of fish and lobsters in the stores, but it's not the same as knowing the animal and participating in its life and death.

What does it take to raise the animal and to slaughter it? I don't know if I could slit a pig's throat and hold it down while it breathes its last. Would I be able to clean it? Would I be able to gather its blood for use in sausages? Would I then be able to eat the meat?

From what I've read and been told one finds a new respect and reverence for the meat once you're involved in the process. After slaughter, would I be so quick to dispose of the not so desirable parts of the animal or would I find ways to use them out of respect for the animal's sacrifice?

I'm not talking PETA tactics here folks, but a new found respect for the animal. I don't have any problem with animals being slaughtered for our use. But would I still agree once I participate in the animal's death?

I've cooked whole pigs. But it was delivered to me dead, cleaned and as a piece of meat.

I've gutted fish while they lived and dumped live lobsters into boiling water, but for some reason our four legged friends are different. I see I'm not alone with that - look at the terminology - four legged friends - I've never heard anyone refer to "our friend the tuna."

In Going Whole Hog, they explore the entire cycle of the pig, from the piglet to pork to sausage and barbecue ribs. (You pick your favorite dishes and I'll pick mine, thank you.) It's an amazing story and something I plan to explore further.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

BBQ Caterers : Purple Turtle

One of the most common questions I get on this blog is "Can you recommend a caterer in my area?" I have a few folks that I recommend, but have never announced one publicly. Well, today I want to recommend some good friends of mine, Purple Turtle Catering.

Greg and Nancee have been competing and winning on the Kansas City Barbecue Circuit for 6 years now and have just launched their website. They've been catering in Connecticut and the surrounding areas since 2002.

Purple Turtle took their first Grand Championship of 2006 at the Grillin' On The Bay contest, but have won many others over the years. They're a tough team to beat and two great folks.

So if you're in need of some great barbeque or actually any food for that special occasion, give them a call. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

BBQ - the old ways vs. modern technology

I often wonder what it is about barbecue that attracts me so much. I've found that nothing relaxes me as much as spending time by the cooker.

But what is it? Is it the building and care taking of the fire? Is it the tending of the smoke? Is it splitting wood? Is it staying up all night watching the stars and moon arc across the sky? Is it the prepping and seasoning the meat? Is it the presentation of the cooked food? Is it the satisfaction of watching people enjoy the food I cooked?

One of the recurring themes discussed in barbeque circuits is technology. How many technological marvels can you use and still be considered to be cooking true Q? There are so many gadgets and tools available to the modern cook. From forced air augers that control the oxygen and temperature of your fire, to the pellet poopers that slowly feed compressed wood pellets into the fire all night

If you use charcoal briquettes, is that true Q? Or do you need to be growing and harvesting your own trees, aging the wood and burning it down to charcoal for it to be considered true barbeque? If you wrap your meat in foil during the cook, is that true barbecue? If you use a water pan? If you inject your meat with seasonings? If you cook your barbeque in a cooker instead of an open pit – is that barbeque? The list and the debate is endless. Where do you draw the line?

A lot of people say the line is drawn by what you can afford. I don't believe it's as simple as that. There is something rewarding about using old methods.

Here’s a link to an interesting article on AZcentral.com about how the commercial BBQ joints are facing this dilemma every single day. Will the traditional methods disappear or will they persevere over the modern technology? The wheel’s still in spin.

Photo courtesy of BBQ Film. com, comic courtesy of Gary Larson and The Far Side.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Save the Internet!

Another rare double posting day.

Today is Save The Internet Day. Please take a look at some of the issues that are coming up that will effect how you use the internet daily. Big Brother is gaining strength.

WhiteTrash Charity

Way back at the dawn of the new millennium, Yelena Siwinski, Mary Fran Muldoon and I were looking for a way to celebrate the new life being instilled in our parish, St. Mark. You see, we had just received a new pastor, and after a long period of decline our parish was waking up again.

I had always wanted to host a “Welcome Back” in the fall. My idea was that we would have a block party in the schoolyard each September to welcome back the parents and school children after everyone’s summer vacation.

Well, so much for that idea. Somehow, Family Appreciation Day was born. It was to be held on the first Sunday of May, in conjunction with the Rosary Society’s Annual Fund Raiser. It was to be open to all the community and free.

After many birth pangs, we pulled it off; a large BBQ and block party that attracted over 2,000 people. The Rosarians had never made so much money.

Well, six years later the day has become an annual event. Each year we feed the neighborhood grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, and Italian ices. All of the food is donated by Bassett Caterers, Richard Stockley and Spumoni Gardens. We have a DJ, Irish Step Dancers, Karate Schools, and many Catholic and community groups entertaining. This year we even had a solo perfomance by John Behan on guitar.

Every year attendance goes up. It’s a great day and one tradition I hope continues. Mark your calendars and come on out and join us next year.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Wine and Barbecue - Who Knew?

I don't have much to say today, actually I don't really have anything to say today. And if the subject is wine, I have even less to say. If I need to know anything about wine I usually turn to Lenn Thompson over at Lenndevours, but today, I'll let the folks over at Star Chefs take over....

Wines for a Barbecue

( we offer one double-barreled tip)

By Alexis Beltrami

For most Americans, a holiday barbecue means it's beer time. Teetotalers stick with soda, lemonade, or iced tea. A couple of our Texas chefs favor margaritas; daiquiris don't hurt either. But few people seem to think of wine when they fire up the grill. What a shame! There's something about the outdoor setting, the atavistic pleasure of an open fire, and the masculine image of the grill that, for too many people, says this is no time to be puttin' on airs and foolin' with wine glasses. But wine should never have become associated with pretense in the first place, and wine can be the perfect accompaniment to a barbecue--not so filling as beer, nor so potentially embarrassing as multiple margaritas.

For red wine lovers:

Anything coated in barbecue sauce, with its smoky, spicy, and typically sweet flavors, admittedly poses a challenge for wine pairings. A young, bold, fruity and spicy red wine, such as Zinfandel, American Syrah or Aussie Shiraz, or a French Côtes du Rhone should stand up to the barbecue flavors--Zinfandel, being all-American, is my favorite for Memorial Day or the 4th of July. Chianti and Barbera, with their higher acidity, will also handle tomato-based sauces

Grilled meats, like steak, can work with a wider range of reds, including young Cabernets. And hamburgers should be fine with just about any red wine--just pick your favorite (although I wouldn't suggest opening anything too old or complex--the wine's subtleties will probably be lost). Beaujolais, just slightly chilled, is a popular choice.

There's one hitch with red wines, though: come barbecue season, in most of the U.S., it's too darn hot. In hot weather, red wines lose their aromas, seem flabby on the palate, and aren't refreshing. Moreover, spicy foods cry out for a mouth-cooling beverage, which is one reason beer is so popular.

Two cool solutions:

Crisp, intensely aromatic high-acid white wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc, work very well with grilled flavors. Sauvignon Blanc (sometimes called Fumé Blanc) is great with grilled vegetables and shrimp, and is the best wine with tomatoes. Off-dry (slightly sweet) Rieslings and Gewurztraminers should pair nicely with spicier and sweeter barbecue flavors. Chardonnay, however, is probably not your best bet.

Or, try my current, all-purpose barbecue favorite: dry rosé, a summertime treat. Good rosés combine the crispness and refreshment of white wine (serve chilled) with unusual and intriguing flavors--some of the red fruits typical of red wine, but also notes of tea, orange rind, strawberries and--aptly--watermelon. Look for rosés from the southern Rhone, Languedoc, and Provence in France, Rioja in Spain, or such American examples as Bonny Doon's Vin Gris de Cigare or Zaca Mesa's Z Gris. Too long out of fashion because of their association with cheap, sweet blush wines, rosés are for me perfect summer wines.

As for those blush wines, if they are what you enjoy, don't let anyone stop you. Some say White Zinfandel is the ultimate wine for hot dogs!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

BBQ Around the World

Barbecue is really an American thing. By that, I mean the traditional barbeque cooking method of taking a tough piece of meat and cooking it long and slow over a wood fire. But grilling, that's another story. Just about every culture and country has it's recipes for meat, seafood or vegetables cooked over wood or charcoal.

Here's a recipe I found at The World Wide Gourmet for Kabab-e kubideh or Chopped Meat Kabobs. This recipe comes from Iran, but I'm more familiar with the Turksh versions of this which I can find in about 10 different places around Sheepshead Bay. Enjoy.

Kabab-e kubideh

Traditionally chopped lamb was used to make these brochettes; these days, ground veal is often used, or failing that, beef.

The secret is to chop the meat very finely, so that it adheres well to the skewers. Personally, I put all the ingredients into a food processor to obtain a kind of coarse puree, which makes the whole operation much simpler. For ground beef lovers, this is a very easy way to give the meat a new twist in taste and texture.

Traditionally the meat is taken off the skewer using a pita bread or a piece of flat Iranian bread. It is then sprinkled with sumac, a spice that has no real taste of its own, but which brings out the taste of the brochette wonderfully. The kabobs can be served with Iranian bread or with hot white rice into which you have melted a knob of butter.

Ingredients for 4 people
  • 450 g finely chopped lamb, beef or veal
  • 1 onion, minced
  • Salt, pepper, turmeric
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 beaten egg (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 60 g breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Combine all the ingredients (ideally, it is best to combine all the ingredients and let them stand in the refrigerator for a few hours, but this is not absolutely necessary)
  • divide the mixture into 12 portions
  • using your hands, press each portion around the skewer to form a cigar shape (see photo)
  • place on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
And just a quick word to all you mothers out there. Happy Mother's Day - I hope you have a great one.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Working for the Weekend

It's been a long week. I'm not exactly sure why as there hasn't been anything particularly pressing or disastrous happening. So far 2006 has been a calm and restorative year. I don't have much to add to the world of barbecue today. I just got out of bed at 2:00. I'm feeling like shit and am dog tired.

Last night, I spent working back stage at my daughter's school's presentation of Oliver. I've been working on these plays with The St. Mark Junior Players for over 10 years now. Wow.

My son attended St. Mark from Pre-K through 8th Grade. Now my daughter has almost done the same. She's in 7th grade and has one more year left. I've been heavily involved in both the school, sports and parish activities for almost the whole time. I'm getting burnt out. It's time for some new blood to take over.

Last night's performance marked the exit of my friends Mike and Diane Rosen. They're moving upstate at the end of the school year and they will both be very much missed. Mike was the primary inspiration behind some of the most elaborate stage sets ever devised for an elementary school play. Over the past 10 years, we've built castles, undersea caves, pirate ships and the streets of Dickens’s London together.

Last night we went out to the diner with the folks, and their kids, who work behind the scenes on the play. It was 14 of us in the diner; the 9 adults at one table and the 5 kids in a booth at the other end. The tab for the 9 adults - $93. The tab for the 5 kids - $106. Who has it better?

But before I go, let me point you to a new recipe from 101 Cookbooks: $20 a pound berries. Well, it's not really a recipe as much as a call for help. It looks like impulse shopping got the best of them! Enjoy.

Friday, May 12, 2006

King of Beers Does Barbecue

It looks like everyone's getting into barbeque these days. Budweiser, the self proclaimed "King of Beers" just announced that they're entering the barbecue sauce business. It's an interesting concept. A lot of cooks use whiskey or bourban in their sauces, but I haven't heard of any using beer. Good luck to them.

King of Beers now wants to reign over the barbecue
By Gregory Cancelada

Anheuser-Busch is kicking up the grilling season with a new line of Budweiser sauces, including a baste, two barbecue sauces and a wing sauce, available in July.

Is this sauce for you?

The Budweiser name will soon be on a line of non-alcoholic barbecue sauces that rolls out in July. Anheuser-Busch Cos. hopes the sauces will strengthen the link between Budweiser and a favorite American cooking style, while heightening brand loyalty during the key beer-selling season.

Under a licensing deal announced Monday, Vita Food Products Inc. of Chicago will make and distribute two different barbecue sauces, along with another sauce for chicken wings and a basting sauce.

These Budweiser-branded sauces are a natural fit because barbecues and picnics already are key beer-drinking occasions, said Randall Blackford, director of Budweiser marketing at A-B's domestic brewing subsidiary.

"Now that we have (the sauces), it's kind of like a flash of the blindingly obvious," he said.

With net sales of $47 million last year, Vita is a small food manufacturer that is best known for seafood products, such as salmon spreads and packaged herring. But the company also makes a wide range of barbecue sauces, marinades, condiments and beverage mixes under brand names Oak Hill Farms, Virginia Brand and Scorned Woman.

Though Vita is producing the sauces, the recipes were cooked up by Anheuser-Busch. A culinary team at the brewer's upscale Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., developed the recipes with the help of A-B brewmasters.

Budweiser is a key ingredient in the sauces, but the production process eliminates the alcohol.

Though beer has long been used in grilling marinades or homemade barbecue sauces, distillers have been the ones branding them in recent years.

Five years ago, H.J. Heinz Co. launched a line of Jack Daniel's sauces, the whiskey made by Louisville, Ky., distiller Brown-Forman Corp. Using the Heinz distribution network, they're widely available in supermarkets.

Vita makes a wide array of products under the Jim Beam brand of bourbon whiskey, which is owned by Deerfield, Ill.-based Fortune Brands Inc. The line even includes a Jim Beam pancake syrup.

Combining Budweiser with a barbecue sauce also plays well with the brewer's ongoing efforts to promote the link between beer and food.

A-B believes the brewing industry hasn't done enough to highlight how well beer goes with certain foods, particularly spicy ones. In contrast, the wine industry has done a good job of pairing wine with food.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Best Barbeque?

I recently came across this list of Long Island's Best BBQ as chosen by AOL users. It's a fairly depressing list. Many of these restaurants don't cook real barbeque. I've been to most of these places, and a couple are great but a few of them really suck.

Barbecue, barbeque or BBQ, however you spell it, is the cooking of meat for long periods of time over a low temperture wood or charcoal fire. I know I'm being a purist, but I've taken an oath to celebrate, teach, preserve, and promote barbecue as a culinary technique, sport and art form. There's so much work to do.

Here's the list. Take it for what it's worth. All opinions come from AOL. Check them out and discover the real deals among the phonies.

1. Smokin' Al's Bay Shore
2. Famous Dave's Smithtown
3. Spare Rib Commack
4. R. S. Jones Merrick
5. Spicy's BBQ Riverhead
6. Eldorado Southern BBQ Centereach
7. Turtle Crossing East Hampton
8. Farmer Bar Cutchogue

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

BBQ Events: Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

The 4th Annual Big Apple Barbeque Block Party has been announced for June 10th & 11th this year. This event unites pitmasters from all over the country, shakes off their country boy roots and plops them down on the mean streets around Madison Square park in Manhattan.

There will be a BBQ film, 12 of the nation's top pitmasters, live jazz, blues and bluegrass, book signings and seminars with some of the pitmasters. I met Paul Kirk one year and had a great time talking with him.

You'll get a chance to taste some of the BBQ world's regional specialties like pulled pork, brisket, ribs and sausages cooked by the best. Each pitmaster cooks true to his location and if you don't know the differences in BBQ regions, here's a great chance to learn. One year I ate pig snouts. Yup - pig snouts. OK - I won't do it again, but I had to try it.

Some of the folks scheduled so far are: Southside Market, Paul Kirk/RUB, Mike Mills, Ubon's, Big Bob Gibson, Blue Smoke, Mitchell's, B.E. Scott's, The Salt Lick and Dinosaur Bar-b-que.

This really is a must attend event for any of the tri-state barbecue nuts. But, be warned, the lines for food are outrageous. Get there early or you'll risk missing out on your favorites, because when the food's gone, it's gone.

In an attempt to help speed the lines and make sure everyone eats, the organizers are offering a Bubba Pass for either $125 or $200. (Food costs $7 a plate) The Bubba Pass offers the bearer a chance to use the "express lines" at the food booths. If it works, it will be definitely worth the investment.

Time Out New York is hosting a contest where you will be awarded with a chance to win a Big Apple Barbecue Block Party VIP 4-pack, including:
  • four pitmaster hats
  • four BABBP T-shirts
  • four bottles of Blue Smoke BBQ sauce
  • two $125 Bubba Fast Passes (good for 4 guests), so you can skip the lines and eat for free all weekend long!

See you there! Or if the lines are too long, I'll be hauting the pitmasters by day and eating at Daisy May's or RUB by night.

Photographs and logo courtesy of Time Out New York.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Recipe: Jim Goode's "Plugged Brisket"

Ok, you've got the rub and you've got the mop. Now how do you turn it into barbecue brisket?

Well, here you go. This will complete the Jim Goode Triliogy of brisket recipes. This recipe also comes from the great book, Legends of Texas Barbecue Cook Book by Robb Walsh.

Jim Goode's "Plugged Brisket"

Packer's cut (untrimmed) USDA Select beef brisket, 8 to 10 pounds
3 cloves garlic - peeled
1 cup Jim Goode's Beef Rub
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups Jim Goode's Barbeque Mop

On the lean side fo the brisket, you'll find some pieces of hard fat. Remove some with a knife, cut it into 1/4 slices, then cut the slices into square plugs about one inch long. Make about 12 of these plugs. Cut the garlic cloves into thin slivers.

In a mixing bowl, combine the plugs and garlic slivers with a few tablespoons of the rub and the olive oil, and turn with a spatula to mix well.

With a paring knife, make 1-inch deep slits on the lean side of the brisket at regualr intervals. Widen the hole with your finger and force a fat plug and 2 slivers of garlic into it. Force them deep or they will pop out during the cooking. Repeat to use up all the plugs and slivers. Season the brisket with the remaining dry rub, pressing the spice mix into the meat. Wrap the brisket in plastic wrap or a freezer bag and refrigerate overnight.

Set up your smoker for indirect heat with a water pan. Use wood chips, chunks or logs and keep up a good level of smoke. Maintain a temperature between 210 and 250 degrees. Place the brisket in the smoker, as far from the hear source as possible. Mop every 30 minutes, rotating the brisket to cook it evenly, keeping the fat side up at all times. Add charcoal and or wood every hour or so to keep the fire burning evenly. The meat is done when a thermometer reads 185 degrees at the thick end or when a probe goes through with a little reisitance.

Serves 10 to 12.

(Sorry there's no pictures, blogger is acting up today.)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Recipe: Jim Goode's Barbecue Mop

This recipe is a long one, but it's pretty good. This recipe also comes from the great book, Legends of Texas Barbecue Cook Book by Robb Walsh. Legends of Texas BBQ is a fun book to read. It has lots of recipes and lots of Texas lore.

Jim Goode's Barbeque Mop

This mop is so good, you'll be tempted to eat it like soup. The combination of butter and bacon makes one of the most flavorful, moisturizing marinades you'll ever taste.

4 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup minced garlic
2 tablespoons Jim Goode's Beef Rub
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 pound thin-sliced bacon, finely chopped

Bring the broth to a boil, add the bay leaves and oregano, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, beef rubm dry mustard, salt, black and white peppers and cayenne. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the onion wilts. Add the broth, lemon zest and juice, soy sauce, vinegar and oils. Stir to mix.

Cook the bacon until soft, and add the bacon and drippings to the broth. Simmer until reduced by about one quarter, about an hour. Makes 6 cups.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Recipe: Jim Goode's Beef Rub

Since Good Co. Bar.B.Q. made USA Today's list of BBQ destinations, I thought I'd share one of their recipes with you. This recipe comes from a great book, Legends of Texas Barbecue Cook Book by Robb Walsh.

Jim Goode's Beef Rub

1/4 cup salt.
2 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground savory
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teapsoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, them put the mixture in a shaker bottle. It will keep in an air tight containter for 3 months. Good stuff, pardon the pun. Thanks to the folks over at Roadfood for the picture of Goode's brisket.

And don't forget that Lynette over at Lex Culinaria is hosting an one time summer barbeque challenge -- "between now and May 13, 2006 cook and write a post about a barbeque dish that you think is special." Lynette is looking to build a "virtual recipe book of fantastic barbeque dishes to inspire our backyard and campground cooking all summer long."

Friday, May 05, 2006

NYC BBQ has arrived!

Here's a rare occurance - a second blog entry in the same day. I didn't want this information to wait.

In today's USA Today there is a list of 10 great places to chow down on barbeque. One of which is in NYC: R.U.B. R.U.B is Paul Kirk's NYC restaurant and one of the better barbeque joints in the city. Go check it out this weekend.

10 great places to chow down on barbecue

The toughest thing about declaring the nation's top barbecue joints? Winnowing the list, says Karen Adler, author of nine books on barbecuing, including The BBQ Queens' Big Book of Barbecue and the new Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens, with co-author Judith Fertig (Harvard Common Press, $14.95). Indeed, there is no shortage of smokin' 'cue in this land, and in her travels, Adler has sampled some of the tastiest regional specialties from brisket to short ribs. Because this is National Barbecue Month (proclaimed by the National Barbecue Association, which advises members to "promote the flavor, fun and family ties of good barbecue"), we'll bite. Adler directs USA TODAY's Jayne Clark to some favorite joints.

Dreamland Drive-In Bar-B-Cue
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

This shanty-style roadhouse serves one thing and one thing only: spareribs with a side of white bread. "No fries, no slaw, no pulled pork or brisket. They do one thing, and they do it to perfection. These ribs are fabulous, with a sauce that's in between vinegary and sweet," Adler says. The original locale has spawned six other restaurants in Alabama and Georgia. 205-758-8135; dreamlandbbq.com.

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Decatur, Ala.

The family-owned restaurant is known for its Alabama white sauce, made of thin mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and pepper, and served with hickory-smoked chicken. "It's very different. But people have been raving about it since the 1920s, when they opened," Adler says. 256-350-6969; www.bigbobgibsonbbq.com.

Hickory Hollow BBQ
Ellenton, Fla.

The restaurant, located between St. Petersburg and Sarasota, serves delicious North Carolina-style barbecue (pulled pork with a vinegar-based sauce). But the 25-plus seasonal vegetable dishes, such as corn pudding, collards and black-eyed peas, pack them in, too. 941-722-3932.

New York

The initials stand for Righteous Urban Barbecue, and seven-time world championship barbecuer Paul Kirk serves just that at his year-old restaurant in the city's Chelsea neighborhood. The menu features traditional slow-smoked baby back and spareribs, brisket and pulled pork, along with non-traditional offerings such as Szechwan smoked duck and pastrami that's smoked in-house. "Plus, there are free iced tea refills, which is a real Southern thing," Adler says. 212-524-4300.

Wilber's Barbecue
Goldsboro, N.C.

Wilber's serves eastern North Carolina style barbecue — they smoke the whole hog. "This is one of those places with an old-fashioned wood fire pit," Adler says. "The place is huge and popular." It's known for its pulled pork, served on a plate, or as a sandwich, chopped and dressed with peppery vinegar sauce. "When peaches are in season, there's a farmer selling outside, and people leave and eat ripe peaches for dessert in the parking lot." 919-778-5218.

Goode Co. Bar.B.Q.

"Texas has so many wonderful barbecue places. There have got to be 500, if not a thousand, and so many are good, it's hard to choose," Adler says. In Houston, a good choice is Goode Co. Bar.B.Q., with two locations. "It's a typical Texas barbecue place with rough barnwood interior" serving delicious slow-smoked mesquite barbecue. 713-522-2530; goodecompany.com.

Kreuz Market
Lockhart, Texas

Owner Rick Schmidt inherited the 106-year-old business from his father, but moved in 1999 to a cavernous 600-seat place down the street. With the move, he expanded the menu, adding more side dishes, including German potato salad and sauerkraut. "Kreuz, like several other butcher/barbecue places, serves beef shoulder clod. Most places outside of Texas do not serve this cut," Adler says. "They serve all their meats in brown butcher paper." 512-398-2361; kreuzmarket.com.

The Bar-B-Q Shop

The signature dish at this midtown eatery is the pork sandwich on Texas toast — chopped or pulled pork with a vinegar-based sauce. They also serve ribs, and as is typical in Memphis barbecue joints, customers have a choice of "wet" (slathered in sauce) or "dry" (with additional spice rub sprinkled over them). Owner Frank Vernon moved to a newer place in 1987, "but it's still a joint," Adler says. Look for the two dancing pigs on the sign out front. 901-272-1277; dancingpigs.com.

Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue
Kansas City, Mo.

The original location is in an old rambling house in south Kansas City (with two newer locations downtown and in Overland Park, Kan.). "They do one thing better than anyone else in Kansas City and that's burnt ends. They cut off the crusty ends of the meat (brisket, pork roast and ham) and chop it up nice and sauce it (tomato-based sauce with a little vinegar, but not too sweet) and serve it as their signature sandwich, the Poor Russ." Don't miss the barbecued baked beans, made with leftover meat — brisket, pork and sometimes chicken — flavored with meat juices from the smoker. 816-942-9141; jackstackbbq.com.

BB's Lawnside Bar-B-Q
Kansas City, Mo.

For those who enjoy a side of blues with their brisket, this roadhouse is the place, presenting live music Wednesday through Sunday. Owners Lindsay and Jo Shannon add a dash of New Orleans to the menu with their signature dish, Smokey Jo's Gumbo, made of smoked sausage, chicken, turkey and ham in a tomato-based stock. "It's fabulous," Adler says. "They also serves rib tips, which is sort of a lost art. They're a great appetizer." 816 822-7427; bbslawnsidebbq.com.

Recipe: Dave's World Famous BBQ Basting Sauce

This recipe comes from The Barbecue America Cookbook by Rick Browne and Jack Bettridge. Now, I'm not sure who Dave is, but this sauce makes a pretty good basting sauce for fish.

Dave's World Famous BBQ Basting Sauce
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and add remaining ingredients. Use to baste salmon, albacore or other firm fish while cooking Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Now, why post a recipe without a cook story? Well there's a few reasons, but the top reason is that Lynette over at Lex Culinaria is hosting an one time summer barbeque challenge -- "between now and May 13, 2006 cook and write a post about a barbeque dish that you think is special." Lynette is looking to build a "virtual recipe book of fantastic barbeque dishes to inspire our backyard and campground cooking all summer long."

Silly girl, doesn't she know that barbeque isn't just for summer anymore?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

BBQ Events: International WSM Smoke Day

OK boys and girls, here's a new one on me - International WSM Smoke Day! This is actually the Second International Weber Smokey Mountain Smoke Day which is always held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. This year, that's May 27th. I don’t know how I missed it last year.

Joel Kiess over at The Virtual Weber Bullet Forum came up with the idea and I'll let him explain it... "It's the one day each year when people from around the world cook in unison to celebrate their enthusiasm for the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and for barbecue in general."

You can buy International WSM Smoke Day shirts and memorabilia at Café Press. And if that wasn't exciting enough, you can register as a participant on the Smoke Day Map. What fun!

I'm planning on joining in and I hope you will too. Even if you don't have a Weber Smokey Mountain, just barbeque something on whatever cooker you have to be in solidarity with your fellow barbeque enthusiasts.

And, if the wheels that are in motion stay on the path, I'll be cooking something special that day with my good friend Matt from The Hampton Smoker. Who says dreams don't come true?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

BBQ Supplies: Dizzy Pig Rubs

The rub. The rub is the layer of spices that is applied to the outside of the meat before it is subjected to the heat and magic of the smoke. The rub, some would argue, is the most important ingredient in barbecue. The rub helps seal the meat and creates the bark. The rub creates most of the flavor print of the food. The rub is that certain flavor that says barbeque.

One of the best rub purveyors on the internet is The Dizzy Pig Barbecue Company. Dizzy Pig began a few years back when its founders Chris and Mike met on the internet in a BBQ forum, became friends and decided to sell some rubs and cook some competition BBQ. The rest they say is history.

Dizzy Pig offers a wide variety of rubs, from their original Dizzy Dust to Red Eye Express. Each is different and unique, but all are very very good. They only process their rubs in small batches to ensure that each bottle you get is fresh. It's evident when you open a bottle of say, Swamp Venom and you are hit by the aroma of the fresh herbs and spices. I haven't tried all of them yet, but I really like Dizzy Dust and Raging River.

The Dizzy Pig Barbecue Company
is a proud sponsor of Grillin' on the Bay and we thank them for their generosity. But Chris recently hit some bad luck personally as his house burned down the other day. This hasn't affected the business. Please take a moment and help out a great company and head on over to Dizzy Pig. Get spun - buy some rubs! You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

KCBS Certified Barbeque Judge's Class

The judge's class. I don't really have a lot to say about the class except that the new judges were extremely generous in their scoring, the GrillKings are great hosts and it was a blast. It's always fun to hang out with the other Brethren: Poohbah, JRick, SledNeck, Smoker, Bobequer, Rockaway Beach BBQ, James and the new Brethren whose names escapes me. I haven't laughed that much in a long long time. Too bad the food wasn't that hot.

The class was run by two Master Certified Barbeque Judges, Jerry and Linda Mullane. Great folks who always do an excellent job. But the cherry on this cake was the chance to get to know Greg and Nancee from Purple Turtle Caterers better.

Here's a picture of Jerry Mullane teaching the class. Jerry also taught me when I became a Certified Barbecue Judge. He does these things so often he can probably do it in his sleep. He's a great instructor though, he never seems bored by the material. He also has a great ability to modify the class to fit the needs of the students and the cooks.

On the right, meet Linda Mullane and Nancee of Purple Turtle as they prep some of the boxes for the class. There were a lot of boxes that needed to be prepared. Each category had 27 boxes of food presented to the judges. So, 27 X 4 = 108 boxes. Damn that is a lot of work. Luckily we had a lot of hands for this class otherwise it would never have come off as smoothly as it did.

Linda is the rock behind the man. She keeps Jerry focused and does all the grunt work in putting the class together. They really make a great team. They run a BBQ restaurant outside Philadelphia that I have to try out one day.

Nancee's another old pro at these classes. Purple Turtle cooked for the last judge's class held in New Paltz. Her experience was evident as she worked. One thing I'm learning as I work with some of these pros is that I need to increase my speed when prepping and cooking. Compared to the pros, I move like a slug.

Next up is Greg from Purple Turtle. Greg gives new definition to the "strong silent type" but when he speaks he is incredibly funny. It's worth waiting for his comments. He's also a rarity in the world of barbeque -- A skinny cook!

Here he is prepping some of the chicken boxes for the judges. If you look carefully, you can see that one of the boxes of chicken does not have any lettuce. Garnish as it is called in the KCBS world.

There is currently some heated discussions among the cooks about garnish and there is a strong contingency of cooks looking to remove its use from the competition world. When I was trained as a judge, only one box was presented without garnish. At this class, there was at least one box per category that was presented that way. It looks like the anti-garnish forces are gathering strength.

Personally, I like garnish. To me, if properly used, it greatly enhances the appearance of the meat. When I saw the boxes with out garnish presented to the judges, the meat looked absolutely horrible. The box reminded me of what you would get from a cheap take out restaurant. Food just thrown in the box without any thought to eye appeal.

This judging class taught 55 people . Wow. That's a lot of new judges. It's really an impressive number considering that the class was held on Long Island which is not exactly a bastion of barbeque. It really looks like this sport is taking off in the North East.

One last comment, if you are considering competing in a KCBS sanctioned contest, go and take a judging class. What you learn will be extremely helpful in your quest for the perfect barbeque.

Monday, May 01, 2006

BBQ Overload

Where have I been? Why no posts all weekend?

Well, with the Grand Exalted Mystic Poohbah and SledNeck of the BBQ Brethren cult, over this last weekend, we prepared 350lbs of beef brisket, pork butt, baby back ribs and chicken for the Kansas City BBQ Society's Certified Judges Class sponsored by the Grill Kings. This was the largest cook I've ever done and I was exhausted by it all.

Here's some pictures of the cook.

First the butts in cyrovac. If you look carefully, in the background you can just make out the infamous Sir Shitsalot. The butts are laid out on the table in front of a Klose Backyard Chef. The BYC is one of the finest smokers money can buy. Luckily the Poohbah has some deep pockets and an understanding wife.

Here's the butts cooking on the BYC. We coked the meats over a mix of cherry, apple, oak and hardwood charcoal. You know, the real stuff that's just burned chunks of wood. None of that processed charcoal brickette stuff used in most cooks. (The brickette has it's uses, and astute readers will be saying - "Wait a minute - doesn't WhiteTrash use brickettes all the time?" Well yes I do.) But the BYC is what we like to call a stick burner and is designed to be used with wood. It actually works better with sticks than with brickettes.

Next take a look at the butts just about done. Poohbah decided that he wanted to play with these pork butts a little and actually scored the fat cap into diamond patterns. He figured that the increased surface areas of the pork butts would allow the rub to flavor the meat better. Umm, could be.

On the grill next to the butts, you'll see an infamous fattie. A fattie is nothing more than a Jimmy Dean bulk sausage roll that has been smoked for a few hours. A lot of people, SledNeck included, love the fattie, but I don't understand the attraction. They're OK, but in my humble opinion, un-worthy of the cult status afforded them.

Now here's a picture of some of the briskets after they've been rubbed and seasoned. Rubbed and seasoned you say? Yes, rubbed and seasoned. Poohbah uses both a dry rub and some liquid seasonings when prepping his beef brisket. I'm not at liberty to share the recipe, as it is a competition secret, but it's damn good.

And no, Sir Shitsalot still lives. He's not in the picture because he was off visiting some of his migratory friends who flew in no doubt drawn by the intoxicating aroma of the smoke.

Here's the beef briskets cooking in the MOAB - the Mother of all Banderas. This is a custom made and designed smoker by Dave Klose for the Poohbah. There's a long story behind this smoker, and I'll get into that another night, but for now just know that this is my absolute favorite piece of barbeque equipment I've ever used. The MOAB is also a stick burner and we used the same mix of woods to cook the briskets.

Those briskets weigh between 8 and 14 lbs and will take up to 20 hours to cook. Stubborn pieces of meat briskets are.

In the next picture, you'll see we've loaded baby back ribs into the MOAB. But where's all the brisket? It's there. It's just shrunk in the cooking process. Brisket will shrink as much as 30% when you cook it and these were no exception. With the smaller briskets, we were able to load 27 racks of baby back ribs into MOAB.

The ribs were stripped of their membrane and rubbed with a custom made rub filled with all sorts of exotic spices. I won't get into all of the ingredients, but we began with a bottle of South Side Market's rib rub and mixed it with their all purpose BBQ seasonings. This rendered the rub much too salty for a New York audience, so we modified it to our tastes. Let's just say we were pretty creative in the ingredients and emptied many a cabinet out quick.

And finally a picture of the elusive SledNeck checking out the pork butts as they cook. There's an old saying in the world of barbecue, if you're looking, you ain't cooking. Well, here SledNeck proves them wrong. He's looking and he's cooking. It's all part of the process.

Well, that's all for tonight. I'll post the story of the judges class tomorrow.

As you leave the world of WhiteTrash BBQ, may I suggest you visit two of my loyal friends who were both busy tending the flames this weekend. First, stop by The Hampton Smoker who indulged in an all night cook for a great cause. Then say hello to Lenn at LennDevours who had his first smoke on a Weber Smokey Mountain.

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