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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 30, 2007

BBQ Judging

Here's an interesting article from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise about judging the KCBS sanctioned I Love Barbecue Festival being held as you read this in Lake Placid, NY

'Meat has its own mentality' at Placid barbecue fest

By ANDY BATES, For the Enterprise

Posted on: Saturday, June 30, 2007

What I really want to do is lick my fingers, but that’s against the rules. As it turns out, there’s quite a few rules in the world of barbeque judging, so I just pluck my sample of chicken, stare at the juice, sauce and spices on my fingers and wait for the next sample to come along.

This is just training.

The main event comes Sunday when the 36 teams competing in the second annual I Love Barbeque Festival in Lake Placid turn in their meat for judging.

In most cases, they’ll have spent more than 24 hours preparing their fare, and when all is said and done, the judges will be walking away with more than 2 pounds of chicken, ribs, pork shoulder and beef brisket in their bellies.

It may sound like a dream to some — or unusual punishment to others.

But for five hours on Friday, me and about 35 other judges-to-be gathered at the village beach house to learn the nuances of judging top-notch barbeque.

And it isn’t easy.

As our instructor Jerry Mullane says, “Meat has its own mentality.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Mullane and his wife Linda, from south New Jersey, have been instructing courses in barbeque judging for the Kansas City Barbeque Society, which sanctions the ILBBQF, since 1996.

He told the group there’s obviously a few perks to the job. One, you get to eat, and not just when you’re at the judges’ table. When you wear your judge badge and walk around talking to teams, they’re usually more than willing to give you test run at the goods.

The only catch? You can’t fraternize with the teams on the day of the competition, you can’t talk to the people at your table while sampling, and you can’t lick your fingers.

But judging a barbeque competition is about more than gobbling up everything they put in front of you.

The way it works is you sit at a table with five other people, and you each get to judge six samples from six different teams for each category. The teams are numbered and then given another number by the KCBS so the judges have no way of knowing which team is which.

The grading scale goes from two to nine, with nine being excellent, two being unedible. Six is the starting point, and you add points for each category of taste, texture and appearance if you like the sample, or take points away if you don’t.

“If it’s a two,” Mullane said, “you shouldn’t have been able to swallow it.”

The key is to judge each piece on its own merit, Mullane said. If everything that touches your mouth is fantastic, go ahead and give it a nine — don’t feel like you need to use every number.

But, while you may think everything tastes great, you also have to know how the meat should be cooked. For example, the brisket should have some elasticity when you pull it apart. If it breaks apart or crumbles too easily, then you know it’s been overcooked and should score its texture accordingly.

The pork shoulder you should be able to press between your tongue and the roof of your mouth and let the flavor pass down your palate. If it dissolves or turns into mush, the team has overcooked it.

If the whole length of rib meat pulls away from the bone, not just where you bite, then the ribs are overcooked.

Of course, every judge is different, Mullane said, and that’s what makes the competition so unique.

“They have to please six palates at a time, and they never know which palates they’re going to get,” he said, adding that teams will smoke 72 thighs, or 30 pounds of ribs, just to find the six individual pieces that are just right.

Teams can only garnish their meat with green leaf lettuce, parley or cilantro, and under no circumstances can they pool sauce or glob it over the top.

“The whole point is you want to be able to taste the meat,” he said.

By the time me and my classmates had pledged their oaths, that’s exactly what we had done.

And it figures to be something we do a lot of this weekend.

Contact Andy Bates at 523-4401 or abates@lakeplacidnews.com

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer is finally here

It's really becoming summer. I know that statement makes no sense, but to me the end of June has always been the real start of summer. I guess it harks back to being a school kid. Here in NY, schools run from the day after labor day until the third week of June. Summer starts now. The ocean is finally warm enough for swimming, school's out, the nights are warm enough to stay out all night and the grills are smoking.

I'm not going to tell you what I'm going to do this weekend, because if I do, I usually wind up not doing it. Does that sentence make sense? But I do have plans for the weekend. Talk to you later.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New York Is Barbeque Country III

Well lookey here...

New York is taking over the barbecue world! Cheap Tickets has just proclaimed New York City the top barbecue destination in the world. Here's the list. How these cities were picked, I have no idea
  1. New York City
  2. New Orleans
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. St. Louis
  5. Dallas
  6. Kansas City, Mo.
  7. Cincinnati
  8. Charleston, S.C.
  9. Little Rock, Ark.
  10. Memphis, Tenn.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

This Pig Can Fly

From your buddy BrooklynQ aka WhiteTrash BBQ: This is appearing in today's Boston Herald and was written by Kerry J. Byrne. It's a nice plug for fellow Get Your Grill On author, KCBS Certified Barbecue Judge and friend Garry Goldblatt and his outstanding website, PigTrip.net.

This Pig Can Fly

Barbecue aficionado Gary Goldblatt has logged a lot of miles - and calories - since launching PigTrip.net last summer.

The Web site offers Goldblatt’s review of virtually every barbecue joint in the Northeast, 111 locations to date, with about four added each month. If a restaurant’s not on his site yet, it probably will be soon.

The site began as a “labor of love” because “I couldn’t find a comprehensive guide to local barbecue,” said Goldblatt, a technical writer by day and Kansas City Barbecue Society certified judge. In addition to reviews, PigTrip.net offers a barbecue blog, news and Goldblatt’s “ramblings” about the best and worst of Northeastern barbecue.

Where’s the region’s best BBQ? Goldblatt, a Framingham resident and lifelong Boston sports fan, laments that it’s found not here in the Hub, but at Rub in New York City.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

BBQ Events: Bluesaque

I had a great time on Saturday judging the grilling contest at Bluesaque in East Hartford CT. This was a first year contest and from what I could see it was very well run. Congrats to Vito and all the organizers. I hope this becomes an annual event. It was a lot of fun, the weather perfect, the music smoking, the Hooter's girls hot and the Harley's shining.

At Bluesaque, there were 15 teams scheduled to compete in the KCBS barbecue contest on Sunday but only 7 teams competed in the NEBS grilling contest on Saturday. I arrived at 11:00 am on Saturday; just in time for the judges meeting. I was surprised to find out that there were 5 grilling categories and each turn-in would be a hour apart.

That's OK. One of the things I enjoy about a grilling contest is that you never know what to expect. The KCBS barbecue contests are always beef brisket, chicken, pork ribs and pork shoulder. A grilling contest can be whatever the organizer wants it to be. At Bluesaque the categories were pizza, beef steak, pork chops, fish kabob and a side dish.

The pizza entrys were a mixed lot from a Domino's clone to typical tomato sauce and cheese pizza to a black bottomed pie to a fig pizza. When you judge a contest you must judge each entry on its own merits. There's no comparison between the submissions. That being said, my favorite was easily the fig pie. I really expected to hate it, as it looked awful in the box, but it was extremely tasty on the plate.

Up next was beef steak. Out of the six samples we were to judge, 2 were great, 1 really good, 1 average and two that I couldn't believe were grilled. The last two were tasteless and tough with one easily passing for boiled meat.

Next were the pork chops. I'm not a fan of pork chops as we had them all the time when I was growing up. I've had enough pork chops to last me a couple of lifetimes, but I have to admit that I was surprised by how good these pork chops were. There wasn't a bad chop in the category.

After that was fish kabobs. The rules for the fish kabob category was pretty loose. One competitor had purchased pre-cooked salmon for his entry, but this was discovered in the meat inspection. In an act of mercy by the contest rep, (As the contest rep explained it to the judges. Normally this entry would have been disqualified) the competitor was allowed to use the pre-seasoned and pre-breaded Gorton fish sticks. Was this fair to the other cooks? I'll let you decide. Fortunately they placed close to where they belonged; at almost the bottom of the heap.

And lastly was the side dish category. This was a complete crap shoot. The entrys varied from macaroni and cheese to baked beans (tasted liked they were dumped right out of a can), to beans and corn bread, to grilled tomatoes with a cheesy pasta sauce, to some sort of chopped salad (which I and a couple of the other judges couldn't identify until after the judging was complete) and a couple of others that I just don't remember now.

Judging a grilling contest is tough. (Yeah I can hear the violins being played now) It's much harder than judging a KCBS event. As a judge for the KCBS events you know what you're going to get. At a grilling event, everything is up for grabs. For example, I had no idea how to judge the chopped salad entry in the side dish category. It was tasty, but was it an outstanding representation of what it was supposed to be? I'll have more thoughts about grilling contests in a future post.

The overall winners were Purple Turtle Caterers in first place with The Anchormen in close second. Interesting. Purple Turtle took first place in the inaugural Grillin' On The Bay contest in 2006 with The Anchormen taking the title in 2007. Is a rivalry being born?

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Weekend Plans

A mad genius called Mr. Cutlets aka Josh Ozersky aka the brains behind New York Magazine's online food site recently commented to my buddy Matt aka The Hampton Smoker that Matt is the only barbecue blogger who actually cooks. I'm beginning to agree with him as another weekend is approaching where I won't be able to touch my grills. But all is not lost.

This weekend I'll be up in East Hartford Connecticut judging at the KCBS and NEBS sanctioned barbeque contest, Bluesaque. On Saturday, I'll be judging the grilling contest and listening to some great bands like The Mambo Sons, Electric Lady, Tinted Blue, Jeff Pitchell and Magic Red & the Voodoo Tribe. C'mon out to Gengras Harley-Davidson (10am, 221 Governor St.)and check out some great food and outstanding blues.

Sunday it's up to Albany for my nephew's high school graduation. It's going to be a busy weekend.

And to the bastard that stole my tomato plant - screw you!

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Top Chef? NOT

When the hell will these "food elites" recognize that they don't know shit about barbecue?

On last night's episode the challenge was to create a "champagne barbecue" or as it's latter referred to an "upscale barbecue." Of course it was also called by one of the sponsor's name, "the Kingsford barbecue challenge."

The blatant commercials in this show just crack me up. I wonder how GE feels since the chef's dissed the stoves and torches on this episode? How's that product placement working for you GE? But let's save all that for another post.

The "chefs" were given two hours to prepare and two hours to cook. The prep time seems adequate, but the cook time is far from it, at least for traditional barbeque foods. Ok - interesting challenge here can you find foods that can cook "low and slow" in the time allowed? We'll never know because no one created barbeque.

Barbecue is by definition meat slow cooked over a wood fire. That's it. Now, I'll admit that I can allow some wiggle room in the definition. You can barbecue seafood. You can use charcoal. You can even barbecue vegetables. But the essence of barbecue is "low and slow." Hell, even guest judge Chef Van Aken admitted as much during the final critique.

Ultimately, Sandee was sent home because as Padma puts it "since she did not actually grill anything," since she poached her lobster the night before.

On another reality cooking show, one "chef" was ridiculed because she mistakenly called her flank steak, skirt steak during her presentation. The way the "judges" reacted you would have thought she called out the wrong name when making love. Why is it OK to call grilled food, barbeque?

These "judges" confuse grilling with barbecue and throw around the terms interchangeably. This was not a "barbecue" contest, it was a grilling contest. I would hope that these "foodies" would know the difference. Here on "Top" Chef cooking methods are identified incorrectly and no one seems to care.

The really sad part of all this is that Sandee was sent home for not "serving something that wasn’t actually grilled or barbecued."

This was supposed to be a "barbecue" contest, and by that definition all the "chefs" failed miserably and everyone the "chefs," "judges" and the rest of the production staff ALL need to go home.


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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hump Day - Grill Assembly

I have no idea why I find this amusing, but I do.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Vegetarian Barbeque

I hear the screams. Relax guys and girls, I'm not about to give up my meat eating ways. I enjoy being on top of the food chain.

Being in New York City, I run into all kinds and there are a lot of vegetarians living in the concrete jungle. As much as I don't comprehend their lifestyle, many veg heads don't understand or approve of mine.

I'll never understand why so many vegetarians work so hard to create meat substitutes. I'm talking about things like the faux chicken fingers, burgers, meat balls etc. I remember one visit to an animal rescue center upstate that included a vegetarian lunch. The chef was so proud of her "meatless chicken salad." She swore up and down that once you tried it you'd never go back to chicken. I tried it and well, whatever it was it was no substitute for chicken salad. It didn't taste like it, it didn't smell like it and it didn't look like it. I'm not saying it wasn't tasty, because it was pretty good. But I think my mind and palate would have approved more if she called it what it really was.

If it's a chopped nut and wheat berry salad- say so. Don't try to pass vegetables off as something else. You'll never find a carnivore trying to pass pulled pork shoulder off as spaghetti squash.

Let's stop the vegetarian bashing; this is a blog about barbecue. Towards that end I want to point out The Vegetarian Barbeque. It's a website based in Australia, who almost gets the concept of vegetables are vegetables and meat is meat. It's got some great vegetarian recipes, most of which don't try to pass off tofu as meat. Enjoy.

Photo courtesy of The Vegetarian Barbeque

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day Eating

Happy Monday folks. I hope you all had as good a Father's Day weekend as I did.

I got probably one of the best presents I could have hoped for, I got to cook! I actually fired up the grill on both Saturday and Sunday. My other presents included a replacement charcoal grill and a new hinged cooking grate for my Weber Kettle, so this boy was one happy father.

The weekend started off with my daughter's graduation from the 8th grade. She was awarded medals in four subjects, a silver cord for a GPA between 89 and 95, an award from the State Controller and an award from the Borough President. I am so proud of her and all her hard work.

After graduation we went to dinner at Matteo's Restaurant of Howard Beach, Queens. While the food is nothing to rave about, it's good- not great and a bit pricey; their service and attention to the patron is outstanding.

We did have one special dish, I don't remember what it was called, but it was an appetizer of shrimp and clams in a tomato, cream and garlic sauce served in a toasted bread bowl.

The waiter served the clams and the shrimp and asked us not touch the bread bowl until he returned. As we ate the sauce seeped into the bread, which the waiter then cut up like pizza and served to us. Incredible.

On Saturday, I grilled up some rib eye steaks which were rubbed with and altered version of Dizzy Dust and topped with a chimichurri sauce. (Anyone have a killer recipe for chimichurri? This one was lacking something.)

On Sunday, it was grilled sea scallops wrapped in prosciutto. Traditionally these are made with bacon. I greatly prefer prosciutto over bacon when wrapping seafood for the grill. Prosciutto doesn't require any additional cooking. If you used bacon, by the time your bacon was cooked the seafood would be over done.

I marinate the sea scallops in a mixture of lime-aide, olive oil, minced garlic, bay leaf, minced jalapeno pepper, salt and lemon zest before wrapping them in prosciutto. Skewer them with a stalk of fresh rosemary and you're good to grill.

These were really great. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed the meal.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Father's Day Recommendations

OK boys and girls, Sunday is Father's Day. Does dear old dad like to grill or barbecue? Still don't know what to get him? Well, I have a few recommendations for the outdoor cook.
  • A Weber Charcoal Chimney Starter. It's only about $10 and will allow dad to light the fire without charcoal lighter. He'll notice a huge improvement in taste of his finished product.
  • A year's subscription to The National BBQ News. This newsletter covers the barbecue circuit, has some great recipes and is one of my must reads.
  • Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces: 175 Make-Your-Own Sauces, Marinades, Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, Mops, and Salsas. A cookbook? Yup a cookbook for Dad. This is one of my fall back books and I can't recommend it enough. It's so much more than a cookbook, it actually teaches you how to create your own recipes.
  • Looking for a gas grill? Take a look at the Charbroil TEC Series. I truly believe you can't find a better gas grill for the price. I've written two reviews about the grill, which you can check out here and here.
  • Looking for a charcoal grill? Take a look at the famous Weber Kettle. It's a classic and worth every penny. Be sure and buy Dad the larger 22 1/2" model. It's a much more versatile piece of equipment than the smaller version.
  • Believe it or not, I'd be thrilled if my kids bought me some real charcoal or hard wood for cooking. The instant light stuff, well, it's another four letter word that can't be used on a family blog. The real stuff is cheaper and better. Don't know which charcoal to buy? Take a look at The Naked Whiz. He reviews and tests all the brands.
  • If you're looking to really impress the old man and your pockets are deep, why not consider purchasing him A Big Green Egg, Primo or a Kamado? They are a unique Japanese inspired ceramic grill that can do everything from cold smoke to grill pizzas. Not too many Dads have one and he'll be the envy of the neighborhood.
And finally, just be good to Dad on Father's Day. He needs a break, even if he denies it.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What Makes A Good BBQ Joint?

I was reading an article by Remus Powers, Ph. B. in the Bullsheet (The Kansas City Barbeque Society's monthly newsletter) last night and it mentioned that there are rules to determine if a barbecue restaurant or joint is worth a visit. These rules were originally published in the book Real Barbecue - The Only Book You'll Ever Need by Vince Staten and Greg Johnson.

From what I can tell, these rules were written for the barbecue places in the country. I'm wondering if the rules need some revisions as barbeque enters the metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago and Boston.

Rule One: The place should bear the name of the owner. The theory is that if the owner has his or her name on the place, he/she has a personal stake in serving good Que.

Rule Two: The parking lot of the joint should be crowded and have both expensive and cheap cars and trucks. A mix of vehicles shows that the food appeals to all income levels.

Rule Three: There should be a woodpile visible. If it's neat and tidy, it's a warning sign that it's simply there for show. If it's messy, you can bet it's a working woodpile which means that the wood is actually bing used. No woodpile - don't even bother going in.

Rule Four: Barbecue should be the specialty of the house. If the place claims that another dish is - keep going.

Rule Five: Dust and flies. Contrary to what the NYC DOH preaches, a good barbecue joint needs some dust and flies. If the place is too clean - who's paying attention to the pit. No flies? What do they know that you don't?

That's a lot of rules and this post is getting too long. In a future post, I'll apply these rules to the New York barbecue scene and see how we compare. I'm wondering if my friend Gary over at PigTrip would like to chime in?

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lockhart: The BBQ Capital of Texas

This was in the Baltimore Sun a little while back. It's a good piece about a great barbecue town in Texas. I was there and hit all of these places with the exception of the Chisholm Trail. While the text is from the paper, the pictures are all mine.

Destination Texas
Small town boasts big barbecue reputation

By John Nowlan --Special to the Sun

LOCKHART, Texas -- David Brent, the chief deputy sheriff of Caldwell County, has to be politically correct when making his rounds, especially when it comes to lunchtime. With four top barbecue joints all within his district, he prefers to eat rather than talk.

The Lone Star State is widely known for its outstanding smokehouses, which produce some of the most succulent, slow-cooked meats on the planet. But this quiet town of 12,000, a 30-minute drive south of the state capital, has a special status. It's the Barbecue Capital of Texas and has been since 1999, when the legislature in Austin passed a bill giving Lockhart the official seal of taste approval.

Brent agrees as he chows down on deep-smoked beef brisket (black on the outside, fall-apart tender on the inside), homemade sausage and pork chops laid out on a couple of sheets of butcher paper and accompanied by soda crackers and a tall glass of Dr. Pepper. Today he's filling up at Smitty's Market, an old-fashioned dining hall adjacent to the soot-covered, open-fire smokehouse and century-old meat market.

"I can't say which of the four barbecue pits in Lockhart is best," he says, "because I gotta be careful in my job and can't play favorites. But really, I've been raised on this stuff and I love 'em all."

There's lots to love in Lockhart if you're not a vegetarian.

The Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Q, at the south end of town, smokes its meats on a rotisserie while flaming oak logs crackle beneath. In a back room, workers stuff fresh-ground beef and pork sausage into casings, hand tie them and lay them out to be hung in the smoke. Unlike Smitty's, the Chisholm Trail offers side dishes such as pinto beans, fried okra and squash.

At the other end of town, Kreuz Market, a century-old grocery store and meat market that evolved into a barbecue restaurant, serves its slow-cooked brisket and sausage in a large red-brick-and-tin building filled with antiques and early business machines.

Kreuz is the most traditional of the four barbecue places in Lockhart and refuses to provide barbecue sauce ("it just covers up the true flavor") or forks ("for 100 years, folks here just used their hands and a knife. There's no need to change"). A few side dishes have been added recently, including beans, German potato salad, sauerkraut and a new jalapeno cheese sausage.

Black's Barbecue, in the center of town, also started off with a "no sauce" policy, but co-owner Edgar Black soon changed his mind after "a lot of people from the North came down and asked for it."

The rich, red-orange sweet sauce with a hint of lemon and cumin is made fresh each day by his wife, Norma. It accompanies a brisket that is indirectly smoked over post oak for 24 hours and seasoned with salt and pepper to become, as Gourmet magazine writes, "the best BBQ in the heart of Texas, and therefore the best on earth."

Nothing's too fancy in any of these four Lockhart restaurants, yet the amazing aromas and tastes manage to attract about 5,000 meat-loving patrons a week.

If Lockhart is the epicenter of Texas barbecue, the Salt Lick in Driftwood, just outside Austin, is the best known. Now expanding beyond Texas (it has a branch in Las Vegas and sells its sauce in New York), the Salt Lick is famous for its huge portions of mesquite-smoked beef brisket, sausage and pork ribs accompanied by beans, potato salad, coleslaw, bread, pickles and onion topped off with homemade peach or blackberry cobbler - all you can eat within a 3 1/2 -hour time limit for just $15.95. Cash only.

Unlike Lockhart's barbecue joints that sell lots of beer, the Salt Lick is in a dry county, so patrons are welcome to bring their own. And they do, parading in with large picnic coolers brimming with Bud Light or the local favorite, Shiner Bock.

Barbecue aficionados often have to wait an hour or more to be seated at the long picnic tables at the Salt Lick. But most feel it's worth the wait, with after-dinner comments such as, "They had to roll me away from the table."

Texas is a dangerous place for weight watchers.

And vegetarians.
If you go

Lockhart, Texas, is about 30 miles south of Austin. Several airlines offer connecting flights to Austin from BWI Marshall Airport. Round-trip airfare starts at $209.

Black's Barbecue // 215 N. Main St. 512-398-2712 or http://www.buyblacksbbq.com. Owned by the same family since 1932. Serves smoked hardwood meats and sausage and made-from-scratch barbecue sauce.

Chisholm Trail BBQ // 1323 S. Colorado St. 512-398-6027. Serves barbecued meats with lots of sides, including beans, coleslaw and fried okra.

Kreuz Market // 619 N. Colorado St. 512-398-2361 or http://www.kreuzmarket.com. Serves diners on plain brown butcher paper, doesn't offer many sides and eschews barbecue sauce and forks.

Smitty's Market // 208 S. Commerce St. 512-398-9344 or http://www.smittysmarket.com. Serves brisket, chops and chicken smoked to perfection.

The Salt Lick // 18300 FM 1826, Driftwood. 512-858-4959 or http://www.saltlickbbq.com. Known for its huge portions of mesquite-smoked beef brisket, sausage and pork ribs.

Lockhart Chamber of Commerce // 205 S. Main St. 512-398-2818 or http://www.lockhart-tx.org.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

BBQ Burnout

Yup, it happened. I experienced barbeque burnout after the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. It's an interesting phenomenon experienced by many of pit masters, cooks and cooks helpers out on the barbecue circuit. After spending a weekend around barbecued meat, your body and mind simply craves something different.

Last night my body was craving Turkish food. Turkish? Isn't that primarily grilled meats? Well, yes it can be, but there's some fantastic vegetarian options at my favorite local Turkish restaurant Anatolian Gyro.

Anatolian Gyro Restaurant in Brooklyn

Anatolian Gyro is not much to look at; being your standard nondescript store front Brooklyn restaurant, but their food is excellent. The menu is not extensive, but what they do, they do very well. My game plan was to pick up some hummus and/or some Baba Ghanoush, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and order the mixed appetizer plate. For $11.50 I got a plate of all the cold appetizers that Anatolian Gyro offers.

Hummus (mashed chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, spices), Eggplant Salad (Char grilled eggplant pureed with garlic, herbs, tomatoes and parsley), Piyaz (White beans, red peppers, parsley, onions, vinegar and oil), Baba Ghanoush (Grilled eggplant pureed with tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice), Tabule (Mixture of cracked wheat, scallions, parsley, tomato and lemon juice), Mixed Eggplant (Fried small pieces of eggplant mixed with garlic and tomato sauce), Stuffed Grape Leaves (Grape leaves delicately filled with rice and herbs), Beet Salad (Carrots, beets, dill served with herbs), Pan Fried Eggplant (Fried eggplant served with yogurt sauce), and finally Russian Salad (Boiled potatoes, eggs, carrots, pickles, green peas mixed with mayonnaise).

I tell you, this was a great meal. The plate was overflowing and I was unable to finish it all. I had never tried the Piyaz, Russian Salad and Beet Salads before. They were eyeopeners. The Piyaz especially made me pause. Outstanding. I'll be ordering each of these from now on.

So when the heat is on this summer, or like me you experience your own version of barbecue burnout, check out your local Turkish restaraunt. Or better yet, come on out to the Bay and stop in at Anatolian Gyro. Tell them WhiteTrash sent you.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

BBQ Events: The Big Apple BBQ Block Party

One word for this year's event: GO!

They've fixed the crowd problems. Oh sure the lines are long, but the wait is worth it. The Bubba pass, if it's still available, gets you behind the tables and into the rarefied world of the express line. There's more than enough food. The bands are great.

It's a unique experience, you'll never be able to taste so much world class barbecue in one place at one time. This year, it's worth the trip.

Be sure to check out Ubon's pulled pork, Hill Country's beef ribs and my new friend Chiles from the Proclamation Stew Crew and their outstanding Brunswick Stew.

Photo of WhiteTrash BBQ cutting beef ribs courtesy of my friend Matt over at The Hampton Smoker.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

How to Pig Out at the Big Apple BBQ

Here's the game plan. There's no need to rewrite it, just read it on Grub Street.

OK. I should be there already. I'll be in the Hill Country booth. See you later.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Save the World

Well, not the entire world, but the food vendors of Red Hook.

For all you non NY'rs, Redhook Brooklyn comes alive on the weekend at the ball fields. Sports fans and foodies descend on the fields for some great games, good times and most importantly great food. The purveyors of this food are a bunch of Latin Americans, mostly immigrants who serve some of the best Latino food in New York.

The city of New York in all its wisdom has decided that the community would be better served if the food vendors were denied their temporary food permits and the spaces put out for seasonal bids. This could open the ball fields up to a vendor like McDonald's or the Shake Shake replacing the little guys. That would be a great disservice to the community. As another blog put it "This place is a culinary treasure and needs to be preserved."

So join in. Fight the power! Save the Soccer Tacos! (The text below is copied from the excellent site - Save the Soccer Tacos! - The first protest site to save the Red Hook Food vendors.)

Act Now To Help The Red Hook Ball Field Vendors!

As New York mag reported on 6/5, the awesomeness that is Red Hook soccer tacos is now in peril:

The city, eager as ever for the fat stacks that only a bidding war by commercial concessions can offer, has given the vendors notice that their Temporary Use Agreement, the permit given to them by the Department of Parks and Recreation, won’t be renewed. The city wants to open the parks up for concession bids, which will almost certainly mean an end to the makeshift food stalls that have been operating there for over ten years.


If you heart the vendors at the ball fields, now is the time to act. Send messages to both New York Commissioner of Parks Adrian Benepe and Red Hook Councilwoman Sara M. Gonzalez. We've even written up a handy message (with help from Serious Eats) you can use -- use your cut 'n paste skillz below! Add your name and send as-is, or for a more effective plea, personalize it with what the ball fields mean to you.

Please do it right now!


Contact him either using this form or via email at adrian.benepe@parks.nyc.gov:

Dear Commissioner Benepe,

Please extend the Temporary Use Agreement to the vendors at the Red Hook ball fields. They are a unique resource in the city, are one of the best things about summer in Brooklyn, and they are irreplaceable.

The vendors bring value to Red Hook by bringing people out to eat who might otherwise not visit the neighborhood, and they create an experience and a range of real, honest food that typical park vendors could not possibly replicate.

I'm asking you to please grant them an extension for this year and to look for a way to make the use agreement permanent.

This is a cultural institution worth saving!



Email her at gonzalez@council.nyc.ny.us:
Dear Councilwoman,

I am writing to let you know that if the vendors at the Red Hook Ballfields lose their license, or are forced out of business in any way (increase in fees, etc.), you can be certain the New York City Food Community will make it our mission to make sure that those who were responsible will not be re-elected to office.

Thanks for your time,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Restaurant Review: Bobbique

70 West Main Street
Patchogue, NY

Around 3:00 pm yesterday, I got the chance to visit Bobbique way out on Long Island in Patchogue. I've heard about this place for awhile, with the exception of my friend Gary over at Pigtrip, I've never met anyone who actually ate there. They do advertise in the National Barbeque News, so I was very interested to check them out. (Sorry, no camera this trip.)

Bobbique is located right on the main drag of Patchogue, a town that's glory days are long past. Bobbique is a nice looking place with high tables, lots of brick and exposed pipes. Since it was 3:00 pm on a Wednesday afternoon, the place was deserted, so much so that when I arrived the waitress/hostess was out front smoking and I had to ask if the restaurant was open. This woman has the most unusual skin and hair color I've ever seen. She was almost completely a shade of dark mocha. Everything was monochrome, her skin, her hair, he lips, even her eyes. In the sunlight on the street, her coloring just seemed totally unnatural. But in the restaurant's lighting she was attractive.

The restaurant is laid out with the bar running on the left and the "restaurant" seating on the right. You order your food from a counter on the right, pick a seat and your food is brought to you. Maybe I was still stunned by the hostess's unusual coloring, but I found the ordering arrangement and menu a bit confusing. I finally decided on the two meat platter; ribs, sliced brisket (you can order it sliced or chopped), beans and potato salad. Traditional fries and sweet potato fries are also available, but not on the menu and they must be a money maker for the restaurant because the hostess kept pushing them. She asked me five times if i was sure that I didn't want fries with my meal. With a diet coke (free refills) my lunch came to $17.40.

After I ordered my meal, I noticed a sign for happy hour(3-7) specials. They included wings for 50 cents each. I tried to order a couple, but was told that the wings were only available at the bar. C'mon - I was the ONLY person in the restaurant.

Bobbique has the largest selection of beers I've seen in a NY barbecue restaurant, but it was the middle of the afternoon after all so I settled on my usual diet coke. The waitress brought over my drink and placed it to the left of me with a lecture that I was sitting at a table composed of two separate tables and that they didn't line up completely. "Watch yourself or you'll have your soda in your lap." she said as she left the soda. She reminded me again when she brought a free refill.

Another waitress brought my meal which arrived on a metal tray lined with red and white checked paper. On the tray were 3 decent sized St. Louis cut ribs, a nicely arranged deli-sliced TINY pile of brisket flat on a lettuce leaf, and two very small portions of potato salad and baked beans. Completing the dinner was a 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch by 1 inch piece of cornbread.

Bobbique on UrbanspoonSo how was the food - OK. The ribs were charred and over cooked. The brisket was OK and lightly sauced but a bit dry. The cornbread was OK, the potato salad forgettable and the beans likewise. I was disappointed that I could not detect any smoke flavor in any of the meats.

Would I go back? Only if I was in the neighborhood. I finished my meal unsatisfied and still a bit hungry. I think next time I'm out there with a craving for the Que, I'll probably hit the local Chili's.

Photo of Bobbique courtesy of Pigtrip

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

BBQ Legends: Garry Roark

Here's a story from The Clarion Ledger of Mississippi about Garry Roark. You'll have the opportunity to meet Gary at the Big Apple BBQ Block party over the weekend.

Trafficking barbecue in the Big Apple: Pitmaster relishes opportunity

Yazoo City pitmaster Garry Roark has been bottling Ubon's "The Champion's Choice" barbecue sauce since the late 1980s and has had the restaurant Ubon's in Yazoo City for three years. Meanwhile though, his tasty flavors are spreading much farther afield than the closest Boston butt. And that's partly how he learned his never-say-never lesson.

"I said a few years ago, really, I would never drive in New York. ... I always wanted to go but I said, I'm not going to drive. And my first experience was pulling 16-foot barbecue trailer in all that traffic.

"I tell you what, you talk about country come to town - man! It scared the puddin' outta me."

This week, he'll do it again, for the third time taking Mississippi barbecue to New York.

He's part of the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party Saturday and Sunday at Madison Square Park. More than 120,000 New Yorkers queue up for 'cue.

The party offers a taste of America's barbecue from more than a dozen of the country's top pitmasters. Among others, they hail from Texas, the Carolinas, New York, Memphis, Boston, Decatur, Ala., and of course, Yazoo City.

Roark's 3,500 pounds of pulled pork and 1,500 pounds of cole slaw will convert scores to Mississippi barbecue. As Roark says, "We cook some hawg."


Third time may be a charm in some circles but to hear tell, that first trip to the festival had some kind of halo on it.

At the cooks' meeting that night at Blue Smoke in New York, during the team introductions Roark shared his first impressions, too: "I come from a town that doesn't have but 13,000 people in it. And I said, I saw more cars than that on the way in this morning."

He told a reporter the next day and that and a picture in his signature straw hat went into papers across the country, including this one.

There was no shortage of support from the "home team" either. The first one in line for barbecue was a boy from Yazoo City. Folks in line would holler out "I'm from Wesson" and "I'm from Vicksburg," Roark's daughter, Leslie Roark Scott said.

"The first year we went, we felt like we were rock stars," Scott said. The glow followed them to dinner at a restaurant in Greenwich Village where they were so wrapped up in their own cool quotient it wasn't until the entree they noticed Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker at the next table.


"You know, in your hometown, you're not treated like a celebrity. You're just an ol' boy from around the corner," Roark said.

"Go to New York," Scott said, "and they're asking for Dad's autograph."

Not only that. If traveling in the area, say within 50 or 100 miles, they've detoured to Yazoo City to say hi. And place an order, of course.

Photo of Garry at the Big Apple Block Party courtesy of Gothamist.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

BBQ Events: The Big Apple BBQ Block Party

What are you doing this weekend? Me, I'm helping out the fine folks over at Hill Country BBQ as they make their debut on the New York barbecue scene at the 5th Annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party.

The Big Apple BBQ Block Party will be on June 9 and 10 from Noon to 6:00 pm each day. You'll be able to feast on barbecue from some of the greatest Pit Masters in the United States. Bryan Bracewell, Rob Richter, Gary Roark, Chris Lilly, Mike Mills, Joe Duncan and a bunch of the other masters of the Que will be cooking for your enjoyment.

This is an incredible event held each year to raise money to benefit the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

This event is a lot like Times Square on New Year's Eve. It will be packed. A word to the wise - get there EARLY! You can pre-purchase your food tickets on-line, but be prepared to wait for the food. You'll be glad you did.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

BBQ and Wine

Here's something I really don't know anything about - what wine to drink with BBQ. I'm a dyed in the wool beer drinker with Bass Ale, John Courage (which is no longer available in the United States damn it!) and Porkslap Ale being my current favorites, but every once in a while I get asked to recommend a wine to drink with the Que. I usually refer people over to my buddy Lenn and Lenndevours, or the fine folks over at Wine Sediments, but here's a list of five of the best wines for your BBQ from the Wall Street Journal.

- Malbec from Argentina: What´s a more popular summertime food than barbecued meat? And with barbecued meat -- ribs, burgers, steaks, you name it -- there are few tastier wines than Malbec. It`s a red wine that tastes like ripe blackberries bursting with fruit, with some smoke and black pepper. Just a few good names to look for are Alamos (Bodega Catena Zapata), Altos Las Hormigas, Bodega Norton, Catena, Finca Flichman and Navarro Correas.

- Beaujolais: One of the many great things about Beaujolais is that it pairs with just about any kind of food. Beaujolais also can be served at all temperatures.

- Riesling: It`s light, delightful, mouth-watering and oh-so-easy to drink. Germany is the classic home of Riesling -- look for Riesling Kabinett on the label and you`ll be fine -- but more good Riesling is being made in the U.S., too, especially in northern states such as Michigan and New York. Riesling also is somewhat trendy at the moment, so serving this wine at your gathering will show your good taste.

- Sauvignon Blanc from Chile: It`s hard to beat the value of Chilean wine. We recently bought a case of Concha y Toro "Casillero Del Diablo" Sauvignon Blanc that cost just $6.63 a bottle (with a case discount). Among many other good names are Anakena, La Playa, Miguel Torres, Morande and Santa Rita.

- Vinho Verde: This wine from Portugal is especially good on sunny days because it`s so refreshing. Vinho Verde is almost colorless, with some spritz that adds to the fun of it. It`s a food-friendly wine, good with three-cheese pizza and seafood prepared any way. Among good names to look for are Arca Nova, Casal Garcia, Famega, Gazela and Portal do Fidalgo. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

BBQ Restaurant: Pig Daddy's

My friends Jerry and Linda Mullane run a BBQ restaurant, Pig Daddy's in Drexel Hill, PA. While my opinion may be a little biased, I think their food is a lot better than this reviewer. Be sure to check them out.

Serious barbecue for devout followers

By LARI ROBLING, For the Daily News

THERE ARE THOSE who will order up some ribs for Father's Day because it fits the theme. And there are those who treat barbecue like a religion - a year-round devotion. Linda and Jerry Mullane and their son, Chris, fall into that category.

After Chris broke his leg and the traveling soccer team was put on hold, they suddenly had their weekends free and were looking for something to fill the time. So the family answered an ad to train as volunteer judges in barbecue competitions. Chris' leg mended, but the 'cue became a calling.

Linda and Jerry Mullane are now on the board and are certified judging instructors of the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Just over two years ago, they opened Pig Daddy's BBQ in Drexel Hill.

Jerry Mullane is at the helm of Cindy LaPork (every cook gives his smoker a name), which is loaded with cherry or hickory wood. There's no temperature control, so he has to keep the smoke and heat constant. And when they say Pig Daddy's 'cue is long and slow, that can mean up to 14 hours for the brisket.

Bear in mind that the Mullanes are on the competition circuit. So, when they serve their 'cue, it's nearly "naked," which doesn't hide the quality of the meat in a barbecue sauce.

Linda Mullane explains: "It's a personal preference, but we like the meat to stand out and just use a small amount of homemade finishing sauce at the end. You can order extra sauce if you want more."

The meats cost $9.50 per pound, and you can figure on one-third to one-half pound per person. Platters will get you two sides, or you can order individual half-pints ($2) and full-pints ($4). Get there early on a weekend or you will miss out on the Dinosaur Bones - big beef ribs.

The Texas-style beef brisket rules with its smoky but beefy flavor and perfect texture. This is great 'cue.

I opted for the Carolina-style pulled pork sandwich over the Kansas City-style because I love the vinegary punch of Carolina pulled pork- although the debate over adding mustard to the sauce can be argued with as much conviction as the Sermon on the Mount.

The pulled pork was as smoky, tender and juicy as it should be. However, I prefer to have my pull on plain, old white store-bought sandwich bread to really do the sop job. A Kaiser roll is too East Coast for my tastes.

The pork spare ribs ($10 half-rack, $19 full) were excellent, accented with a terrific rub and time in the smoker.

I think I'd opt for extra sauce - just personal preference.

I also enjoyed the Texas Tommy ($6.95) that fits a Texas-size appetite. "P-Daddy" double-smokes a foot-long sausage and douses it in their own Hawg Wild Chili and Cheez Whiz, proving once and for all that there is a reason for Cheez Whiz in this world: It glues the chili beans on the steak roll. This is a delicious pig-out.

Pig Daddy's is good barbecue, obviously cooked long and slow the way only a self-respecting barbecuer can do it. Their dry rubs and sauces are clearly made in-house. And I like their choice of apple and hickory woods, which adds smoke but doesn't overwhelm the meat.

As far as the sides are concerned, there's a decent coleslaw, but I'd like a little more vinegar to offset the richness of the meat I'm eating. Skip the mac and cheese, which is too gunky on the palate to work with this food. You need a creamy mac and cheese with very little thickener to pair with a heavy barbecue.

Also skip the sweet potatoes, which are too much like canned pie filling.

The collard greens are unremarkable, and even most of a bottle of hot sauce at home didn't help.

I will give credit where credit is due, however. The baked beans are redolent with smoked pork and, even though they start with a canned product, these beans are a close second to my grandmother's made from scratch.

Their Mexican and Tex-Mex offerings are good enough, but I think the menu should be pared down. I'd rather see fewer extraneous choices and more attention paid to bringing the sides up to the quality of the barbecued meats. After all, if you are going to the altar of barbecue, you don't want someone preaching outside the faith.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

It was 40 years ago today

that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. It's still a great album.


It was forty years ago today The Beatles released their groundbreaking album "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" to the world.

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