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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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BBQ Judges Needed.....

This just in....

Hey there you crazy barbeque lovin’ folks;

The 3rd Annual Hudson Valley Rib Fest has taken off beyond all imagination and is now in need of more certified judges for their event on the weekend of August 18th & 19th. Currently there are more than 60 teams that have signed up and some are coming from over 1,500 miles away. There will be nationally recognized teams as well as a presence from the Food Network so the samples will be the best ever.

The event takes place at the Ulster County Fairgrounds which is located in beautiful New Paltz, NY and really easy to get to from the New York State Thruway.

If you have been looking to judge and event that hosts some seriously famous barbeque, then you need to sign up now. Here’s the link: judges@hudsonvalleyribfest.org.

Hope to see you all there!

Mike Lee

For more info, please visit: http://www.hudsonvalleyribfest.org

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Monday, July 30, 2007

BBQ Events: Harpoon 2007

Here's all the pictures I have from the legendary Harpoon - New England BBQ Championship of 2007. Theses pictures are primarily of the awards ceremony for the KCBS sanctioned barbeque event, but the batteries died out just before I could get a picture of the Grand Champions - Lunchmeat.

Here's the results of the KCBS event:

Giggling Pigs
Uncle Jed's BBQ
Q Ball
I Smell Smoke!!!

Bastey Boys
Lunch Meat
I Que
Flaming Hogs

Bad Bones BBQ
I Smell Smoke!!!
BBQ Guru

Pokey Smokers
I Smell Smoke!!!
Bad Bones BBQ Crew
Champlain Pit Crew
Howling Hogs


Grand Champion: Lunchmeat
Reserve: The Anchormen
I Smell Smoke!!!
I Que
Purple Turtle

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Sunday, July 29, 2007


I just got home from the Harpoon BBQ contest in Vermont. What great time. I'll fill you in on the details later. Good night. I'm going to bed.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Restaurant Review: Townline BBQ

Here's Joan Reminick of Newsday's review of Townline BBQ. I haven't been out here yet, so I don't know if I agree with Joan's review, but a buddy of mine Rob Devine is the pit master. If you're on the east end of Long Island be sure to check it out.

Townline BBQ
Townline Road and Montauk Highway
Sagaponack, NY

It was midday at Townline BBQ, the long-awaited Hamptons 'cue oasis that should have opened in early June but didn't until this past Monday. Not a big lunch crowd. Yet. But chef Joseph Realmuto, backed by the owners of the celebrated Nick & Toni's in East Hampton, are sure to draw a glam following.

I surveyed the order-at-the-counter place. Lots of wood, lots of hard, shiny surfaces, a few picnic tables outdoors framing the Sagaponack fields stretching far into the distance. A dog was lazing under one of the outdoor tables where two women contentedly polished off a pile of ribs and a sandwich.

It wasn't long before the flying saucer-like contraption I got when I ordered started to flash and vibrate. And then, four of us were elbow-deep in ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chicken. We had a pile of paper towels, put to good use.

An upbeat Johnny Cash album I'd never heard before was on the sound system. It went surprisingly well in the laid-back ambiance of a joint more South Carolina than Sagaponack.

Pork ribs, smoky and satisfying, would have been even better if they'd been hot rather than lukewarm. The same held true for the meaty beef ribs, two of which could easily make a meal. A pulled pork sandwich was pure pleasure on a potato bun, piled with tangy cole slaw. Fine, too, was a sandwich made with brisket (which we ordered fatty rather than lean), the thick slices contrasting well with the house-made spicy bread and butter pickles on top of them.

I was let down, however, by the barbecued chicken, a pallid bird in both taste and color. Nor was I especially fond of the "Texas link," dry barbecued beef and pork sausage. Baked beans, however, were ideal, tasting of the barbecue pit and not too sweet. And the crisp, thin, perfectly salted fries were impossible to stop eating.

The surprise of the meal was dessert. Banana pudding, served in a plastic cup with vanilla wafers wedged in all around, was creamy and lush, capped with a cloud of freshly whipped cream. The same topping crowned an icebox cake -- chocolate pudding and graham crumbs. What stole the show, however, was a warm and flaky fried cherry pie, brought to our table by one of the restaurant's owners, Mark Smith. It took longer than everything else, he said, because it had been fried to order.

Reviewed by Joan Reminick, 7/25/07.

Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Cuisine: Barbecue
Price Range: Inexpensive (Under $15), Moderate ($15-$25)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

I remember when I had that haircut. Hell, I remember when I had hair.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

BBQ Events: Harpoon!

In two days, the wife and me are heading up to the wilds of Vermont so that I can lend my judging expertise to The Harpoon Championship of New England Barbecue. This contest is KCBS and NEBS sanctioned and is the Vermont State Championship.

I've heard nothing but good things about this contest and many claim that this IS the premier event in the Northeast. If you're anywhere near this contest, be sure to stop by. Me? I can't wait.

Here's some information about the contest taken directly from their website:
What is Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue all about?
  • A celebration of the best of Summer—Fresh beer, great BBQ, & live music
  • The Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont offers an ideal setting for the event
  • 40 BBQ Teams from all over will be competing for prize money & trophies
  • A select few teams will be selling their award winning BBQ to the public
  • Great live music provided by the hottest local bands from Vermont
  • Come sit back, relax and enjoy the summer with friends at Harpoon Brewery
  • Brewery tours offered through out the weekend
Event Date:
  • Saturday, July 28th, 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM (Entrance closes at 6:30 pm)
  • Sunday, July 29th, 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM (Entrance closes at 3:30 pm)
  • Schedule of Events
Where to Come:
More Details (subject to change):
  • Schedule of Events
  • Door charge is $6.00 per person and does not include beer or food Children under 12 are admitted free, but must be accompanied by a parent
  • Cash bars serving a selection of Vermont-brewed fresh Harpoon and UFO beer for $4.25 a pint
  • Various BBQ teams will be selling a wide variety of hot delicious BBQ
  • The event will be held rain or shine. Tickets not sold in advance
Competition BBQ Teams:
  • At this time the event is currently sold out for 2007.
See you there?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pimping My Life Away.....

Every once in a blue moon, which seems to have been shining brightly this July, a vendor, manufacturer, or publisher will offer me an item to review. My standard response is to thank them for the offer and tell them that I'll accept it and write about it, but my opinion will be my opinion. If I like it, I'll say it. If I don't, well that goes up too. Most vendors are OK with that, but there's been a few who shied away.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from the American Lamb Board offering me a package of lamb to try out. I accepted and the results were posted here. Well, it seems that Tana Butler over at I Heart Farms has some issues with the American Lamb Board and all the bloggers who accepted their offer.

Ms Butler's blog is dedicated to the small farmer and "people who are smart support sustainable agriculture, and do not support the pinheads and reptiles who make policies that hasten the destruction of our fragile environment."

So what's the problem with The American Lamb Board?
  1. Ms Butler is appalled that the American Lamb Board is in it for the money. From her blog, "Remember that ".org" in the web address? How disingenuous is that? From Wikipedia:

    In the US and the UK, the .org TLD is mostly associated with non-profit organizations (in the latter '.uk' is usually but not always added after the '.org'). In addition to its wide use in the charitable field, it is often used by the open-source movement, as opposed to the .com domains used mostly by companies.

    This isn't NPR we're talking about, folks. The American Lamb Board folks are all about the profit: they have an advertising budget that is nearly $1.5 million! Non-profit, my ass." - Gee it's a trade organization. What a surprise. Just because they have a large advertising budget doesn't make them non-profit. I wonder what that advertising budget of PBS or The Red Cross is.
  2. That the lamb was not produced "cleanly, humanely, and sustainably." I don't remember seeing anything in the package claiming it was. One blogger (Stephencooks) stated that his lamb came from Superior Farms who's website states, "Superior Farms lamb is raised naturally, which means it is minimally processed with no artificial ingredients. They now raise Pure lamb, which is grown with no antibiotics or hormones. The company also supports many small farmers who are excellent stewards for the environment." Sounds good to me. Mine wasn't labeled, but I'm not sure who produced the meat. The only claim I saw was that the lamb was American.
  3. And finally the true crux of the matter - Ms Butler doesn't like lamb. Again, from her blog, "I'm not saying what these people cooked and wrote about on their various blogs wasn't very tasty indeed. (As for me, with rare exceptions, lamb tastes very dead to me. I've only had it a few times that it was good, and that was because it was very fresh, very clean, pastured lamb. But eat lamb, if that's what you like!)".
I support Ms Butler in her effort to promote the small farmer and meat that is produced "cleanly, humanely, and sustainably," but it's wrong to condemn the bloggers and the American Lamb Board for shilling their product.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Searching For Inspiration

I'm going to be competing at the Hudson Valley Ribfest in August and one of the categories this year is apples. Apples? WTF do you do with apples? Anybody got a suggestion?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007


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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

BBQ Foods: Vegetables

No, no, no. This is not another post for vegetarian barbeque, not that there's anything wrong with that. This is a garden update.

We've been eating the cherry tomatoes for a while now, but yesterday we picked the first cucumber.

This little fella was the first to be gobbled up by the family. Me? I hate cucumbers. They have one of those overpowering flavors that pollute everything they touch.

The rest of the tomatoes are doing nicely. There's spaghetti squash on the way and a lot more cucumbers. The herbs are doing very well too.

Not to mention the flowers. They're in full bloom and looking great. The grass and the coleus? Well that's another story.

How's your garden doing?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

BBQ Equipment: The HedgeHawg

It's been a good week here at WhiteTrash BBQ. Not only did the lamb find it's way to my grill, but my friends over at Charbroil sent a huge care package of barbeque tools and accessories for me to try out. There were so many toys in the package that this boy's gonna be busy for a long long time.

The first piece of equipment I used was the HedgeHawg. I first saw this little brush last October at Charbroil's product roll out in Bryant Park and I didn't think much of it. I was told that it was designed for a woman's hand and I openly questioned how often a woman cleans a grill. I won't tell you what happened after that, but it wasn't pretty.

I used the HedgeHawg to clean the grates of the grill before cooking the lamb on Saturday. I tell you, this little brush can clean! Most grill brushes that I've used in the past don't last more than one or two uses, but after the first use and a rinse under some running water this brush still seemed brand new.

One great feature is that the pads of this brush are replaceable with either steel bristles or nylon scrubber pads. A big drawback to the HedgeHawg is that it does not have a long handle so it can not be used on a hot grill or over a live fire, but Charbroil has an answer to that which I will reveal in another post.

So do yourself and your grill a favor, go buy a HedgeHawg. They're available at Target and Grill Lovers. Suggested retail price is $7.99.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

BBQ Meals: American Lamb

You're looking at part of Saturday's dinner. As I mentioned earlier the American Lamb Board sent me and a few other food bloggers a leg of lamb and some spices to try out over the weekend.

Included in the box was a recipe card using the spices which were also in the box, so I decided to cook the leg of lamb using their recipe for mustard and rosemary grilled butterflied leg of lamb. (The box included dried spices, but the recipes called for fresh and did not include the most expensive herb, cardaman.)

It's an interesting recipe using Dijon mustard, rosemary and apple juice concentrate. (I'd post the recipe, but I can't find the card right now and it's not on their website.) I've never used apple juice concentrate in a recipe before, so I was intrigued.

I marinated the lamb for about 6 hours and grilled it on the Charbroil Tec gas grill. This was the first time I've grilled a leg of lamb; usually I smoke them. I checked a couple of books on cooking times and techniques and they all said that a butterflied leg of lamb should take about 15 minutes per side on medium heat. I cooked my leg for about an hour. I assume the difference in time is because I was looking for a well-done finish.

So how was it? The lamb was fantastic! The seasonings were right on. The flavor was rich, full and buttery without any of the "gamey" taste you sometimes get with lamb. The meat was juicy and very tender. My family likes their lamb well done, which can be tricky, but this meat cooked up beautifully.

I was really skeptical at first but there is a very noticeable difference in the flavor and tenderness of the American lamb vs. the imported lamb we usually buy. The American lamb won hands down and I'll be looking for it in the markets from now on. I want to thank Rachelle Lacroix for thinking of me, turning me on to American lamb, and giving me another reason to buy American.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

BBQ Meat: American Lamb

Sorry to all the newsreaders out there who just got a blank post. Here comes the real one.

I got an email the other day from Rachelle Lacroix from the American Lamb Board inquiring if I would be interested in trying out some American lamb. "Hell yeah," I said. "We love lamb at my house. Send it on over."

In her note she included an interesting fact, "The American Lamb Board found in its January 2007 study of 500 consumers that 1 out of 3 Americans have never cooked lamb at home." Wow, that's ashame, because lamb is a great, tasty and easy to prepare meat. We cook it all the time in the winter and spring, but rarely on the grill.

But, American lamb? I rarely see American lamb in stores. My local supermarkets don't carry it and my warehouse club only carries lamb from New Zealand. On the first season of Top Chef they made a big deal about serving Colorado lamb. I don't know if I've ever had American lamb.

What makes American lamb so special?

According to their website:
  • Freshness – No Frequent Flyer Miles. American Lamb travels up to 10,000 fewer miles than its foreign competition. That’s an advantage that speaks for itself.
  • Flavor – Mild, Buttery. How does American Lamb get this great mild, buttery flavor? It’s how we raise them. American Lamb are fed a combination of mixed grains and mixed grasses; this feed contributes to a milder flavor and less gamey texture than imported lamb that are fed a diet of mixed grasses only.
  • Value – Bigger, Meatier. American Lamb yield more meat on the bone than imported lamb. A 2002 study reported that the eye of an American Lamb rib chop provides 38% more meat than Australia and New Zealand rib chops. Also, the cost of American Lamb is comparable to that of other premium meats. (Source: Genho, M.R. 2002 Enhancing the retail market for American Lamb. M.S. Thesis, CSU)
  • Availability. Several value cuts of American Lamb are available year round. These include leg, shoulder, ground lamb, shanks and ribs.
  • Ease of Preparation – Easy and Delicious. American Lamb, because of its mild flavor, lends itself to a variety of flavorings and cooking methods. Also, it does not require complicated recipes to prepare a delicious dish.
  • Overall Meat Quality – Bred for Meat, Not Wool. American Lamb are bred primarily for quality meat. Imported lamb are bred primarily for quality wool. American lamb reflects this difference in its overall superior quality to that of imported lamb.
So on Thursday I was delivered a neat little cooler containing a 6 to 8 lb boneless leg of lamb, a set of skewers, a package of dried rosemary, a package of dried oregano, an instant read thermometer and some recipes.

And today? I'm out to the backyard to grill up a butterflied leg of lamb with mustard and rosemary using the recipe in the kit. I'll post the results soon.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak

This came into my in box this morning. Tri-tip is a great cut of meat and certainly one of the classics for outdoor cooking. If you can find it, try it. You'll like it.

While I don't agree that "many people" consider the Santa Maria Valley of California "the barbeque capital of the world," it certainly has a considerable influence. This article comes to us from CBS and The Early Show.

"BBQ Capital" Boasts Little-Known Edge

(CBS) When you think of barbecue, places such as Texas, Kansas City, Memphis and North Carolina probably come to mind.

But Northern California's Santa Maria Valley is thought of by many as the "barbeque capital of the world."

It features tri-tip beef, a little-known cut that's full of flavor.

On The Early Show Thursday, resident chef Bobby Flay gave viewers a taste of tri-tip and Santa Maria.

Flay used the original cowboy grilling method and tri-tip beef to bring old world tradition and smoky flavors to his grill on our plaza.

He says tri-tip used to be a very local to Northern California, but is becoming popular with chefs across the country.

Where did it originate? The Santa Maria Valley is a feast for the senses, with lush rolling hills and fragrant fields of strawberries.

But cruise down Broadway on any given weekend, and it's the mouth-watering smell of barbecue that will greet you.

Santa Maria-style barbecue is the authentic taste experience of Santa Maria. The sumptuous feast of barbecued sirloin, salsa, Pinquito beans, toasted French bread, and green salad has been described by Sunset Magazine as the "best barbecue in the world," and the California's Visitor's Guide raves it's the "No. 1 food not to miss while visiting California." It's the featured cuisine at all festive occasions, both public and private, and so thoroughly ingrained in local culture that it's truly a way of life.

Santa Maria Barbecue has its roots in the mid-19th century, when the rancheros gathered to help each other brand their calves each spring. The host would prepare a Spanish-style barbecue as a thank you for his vaqueros (America's first cowboys), family and friends. Under the oaks of the serene, little coastal valley, they would enjoy a traditional feast that included beef barbecued over a red oak fire, served with Pinquito beans, bread, salsa and homemade desserts.

Today's Santa Maria-style barbecue grew out of this tradition, and achieved its "style" some 60 years ago, when locals began stringing their beef on skewers and cooking it over the hot coals of a red oak fire. The meat, either top block sirloin or the triangular-shaped bottom sirloin known as tri-tip, is rolled in a mixture of salt, pepper and garlic salt just prior to cooking. It's then barbecued over red oak coals, giving the meat a hearty, smoky flavor.

The traditional Santa Maria barbecue menu features, of course, the barbecued sirloin, trimmed, sliced, and laid out in metal pans, so the diner may select the desired doneness. The only condiment for this tender and flavorful meat is a fresh salsa. With it is served grilled French bread dipped in sweet melted butter, perfect for soaking up every last bit of the flavorful meat juices. Also served on the side are a tossed green salad and slow-cooked Pinquito beans. For the most authentic Santa Maria barbecue experience, select a robust Santa Maria Valley wine to accompany your meal. The tasty feast is finished with coffee and a simple dessert.

Once a well-kept local secret, word of Santa Maria-style barbecue has spread around the world, enticing travelers to come by the thousands, seeking a taste of this local specialty, and it's not difficult to find. On a typical Saturday, you'll see clouds of fragrant smoke billowing through the air, leading you to numerous barbecues throughout the city. They range from outdoor feasts along Broadway that are sponsored by schools and local charities, to restaurants offering a more formal dining experience, to backyard cookouts in which families enjoy their own recipes that have been passed down through the generations.

It's no wonder Santa Maria is often called the "Barbecue Capital of the World"!


TRI-TIP BEEF (aka bottom sirloin): The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin primal cut. It's a small, triangular muscle, usually one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half pounds per side of beef. In the United States, this cut was typically used for ground beef or sliced into steaks until the late 1950s, when it became a local specialty in Santa Maria, rubbed with salt, pepper, and spices and cooked whole on a rotisserie or grilled. (The tri-tip is still often labeled "Santa Maria steak")

Tri-tip is now available in most of the U.S., though it remains a relatively overlooked cut. Most popular in central California, it's begun to enjoy increasing popularity elsewhere for its full flavor, lower fat content, and comparatively lower cost.

Tri-tip is a very good cut of meat. However, usually, by the time you've trimmed the excess fat, you'll find it's more expensive than top sirloin. Tri-tip is mostly used for family barbecues and fund-raising events, since the cuts are small.

Tri-tip has become a popular cut for producing Texas Red Chili Con Carne on the competitive chili cooking circuit.

This cut is very versatile in how it can be prepared. While the preferred method is slow-smoking, tri-tip can also be marinated or seasoned with a dry rub, and cooked over high heat on a grill, on a rotisserie, or in an oven. After cooking, the meat is sliced across the grain before serving.

Tri-tip may be more difficult to find in some areas of the country, but because it comes from the loin portion of the cow, any sirloin or tenderloin cut will make a suitable alternative.

RELISH: A relish is a cooked or pickled, chopped vegetable or fruit food item, typically used as a condiment. The item generally consists of discernable vegetable or fruit pieces in a sauce, although the sauce is subordinate in character to the vegetable or fruit pieces. It might consist of a single type of vegetable or fruit, or a combination, and the fruits or vegetables might be coarsely or finely chopped, but generally, a relish is not as smooth as a sauce-type condiment, such as ketchup. The overall taste sensation might be sweet or savory, hot or mild, but it is generally a strong flavor that adds excitement to or complements the primary food item it is served with.

Chutneys might be considered a type of relish. Crosse & Blackwell says, "Chutney is typically made with fruit; relish is normally made with vegetables."

In the U.S., the most common commercially available relishes are pickle relish. Two variants are hamburger relish (pickle relish in a ketchup base or sauce) and hotdog relish (pickle relish in a mustard base or sauce). Other readily available commercial relishes in the U.S. include corn relish.

Heinz, Vlasic, and Claussen are well known in the U.S. as producers of pickles and relishes.

Pickle relish can be mixed with mayonnaise to make tartar sauce, and piccalilli can be mixed with mayonnaise or crème fraîche to make remoulade.


Santa Maria Style BBQ Tri Tip
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One two-and-a-half pound tri-tip roast, fat trimmed
  • Canola oil
1. Heat the grill to high
2. Combine the salt, garlic salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub both sides of the beef with the rub and drizzle with a few tablespoons of the oil. Place on the grill and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked to medium-rare doneness, about 15 minutes total. Remove from the grill, let rest for 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into thin slices.

Santa Maria Pinquito Bean Relish
  • 1/2-pound slab of bacon, finely diced
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 poblano chile, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
  • Salt and pepper
1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until golden brown and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
2. Add the onion and poblano to the bacon fat in the pan and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beans and cook until warmed through. Fold in the cooked bacon and transfer to a medium bowl.

Tomato Relish
  • 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno chile, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature before serving.

Grilled French Bread
  • 1 loaf French bread, split lengthwise
  • 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place bread on grill, cut side down and cook until lightly golden brown, flip over and continue cooking for 30 seconds longer. Remove from the grill and spread the butter over the cut side and season with salt and pepper.

© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

BBQ Events: No Fire Just Smoke

Are you looking to get your feet wet in competition barbecue but you're not ready to dive into a full blown KCBS sanctioned two day event? Here's a great place to get started, The No Fire Just Smoke contest in Hillsborough, New Jersey. It's only 3 categories, with Ribs, Chicken and Anything But Dessert. And it supports a great cause. See you there?

What: Third Annual Central Jersey Firemen’s BBQ Cook-off
When: Saturday, September 8th
Where: 324 Woods Road Hillsborough, New Jersey

The Hillsborough Volunteer Fire Company #3 is having it’s Third Annual Central Jersey Firemen’s BBQ Cook-off on Saturday, September 8th from 11:30 to 7:00pm at the Woods Road Fire Company on 324 Woods Road in Hillsborough. The competition is open to the public and will feature teams, both professional and amateur, from around New Jersey and Pennsylvania. (What? No New Yorkers? I guess they're scared of us.) Admission is free and we will be selling authentic BBQ, refreshments, along with hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids. We will also have live entertainment and radio station 101.5 FM will be there with Ray the Prize Guy and the yellow van.

Any questions can be directed to bbq@hillsboroughfire3.org

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

BBQ Equipment: Secret Sources

I don't know if I should reveal this secret to the rest of the barbecue world, but my undying loyalty to my readers compels me to do it. OK, here you go. If you're looking to buy a grill or a smoker, one of the best places to shop is craigslist.org.

Last year I purchased my Kamado Smoker from craigslist and my NB Hondo (which was sadly stolen from my yard before I ever got to use it) from craigslist. It's a great place to find the smokers and grills most stores don't carry.

Here's a sample listing from Minneapolis for the legendary Bandera Smoker:

Bandera Smoker for Sale - $75

Reply to: sale-367297317@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-07-05, 5:05PM CDT

For Sale: New Braunfels Bandera Smoker. Offset charcoal/wood/water smoker with large capacity. Fair condition, make anoffer.Call 612-730-7931.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hershey’s Chocolate Barbecue Sauce

Looking for something new? How about Chocolate Barbeque Sauce? I love chocolate in cooking. From sweet desserts to savory moles to chili it just seems to enrich everything it touches.

Hershey’s Chocolate Barbecue Sauce

In a 5 quart sauce pot:
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • ½ cup Olive oil
Cook over medium heat until onions are tender.
  • 4 whole lemons, squeeze in juice only
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
Add items, stir in and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add items, stir in and simmer for 15 minutes. If you don't like chuncky sauce, run it through a blender before serving.

Hold on low heat. Chill in refrigerator for service at a later time. Reheat on low heat.

This was originally created by Charlie Gipe, CEC; who is Hershey's Executive Chef, but I've modifed it just a bit. I hope you enjoy!

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Cooking Whole Hog

Contrary to what my last post may have implied, I had a great weekend. We were out on the North Fork of Long Island enjoying th company of great friends, good food, beer, fire, beaches and farms. I haven't had a more relaxing weekend in a long long time.

In our travels I picked up an interesting little book called Best Barbecue Recipes by Mildred Fischer. It's an interesting book filled with recipes from cooks all over the United States. It also includes a lot of information from various meat producers.

Here's a guide to cooking the whole hog, courtesy of the North Carolina Pork Producers Council via Best Barbecue Recipes.

I: Select your menu:
II: Select a method of preparation: for whole hog or shoulders, etc. using wood, charcoal or gas.

Methods for cooking

Weight of Pig Charcoal Wood Approx Cooking Time
75 lbs 60 lbs 1/3 Cord 6 - 7 Hours
100 lbs 70 lbs 1/3 -1/2 Cord 7 to 8 Hours
125 lbs 80 lbs 1/2 Cord 8 to 9 Hours

  • Cooker Temperature is between 225 degrees and 250 degrees.
  • Cooking time assumes a closed covered cooker.
  • DO NOT exceed 225 degrees for the first 2 hours of cooking.
  • If using an "open" grill allow 1 hour of cooking time per 10 lbs of pork.
  • When using charcoal or wood, distribute more coals under the hams and shoulders and less under the belly, ribs and back fro more uniform cooking. Additional coals started outside of the cooker should be added as needed to maintain proper temperature.
  • If using a gas cooker - read the manufacturers directions.
III: Determine the number of people you plan to serve allowing 1 1/2 pounds of carcass weight per person.
  • 75 lbs dressed pig = approximately 30 lbs cooked, chopped pork.
  • 100 lbs dressed pig = approximately 40 lbs cooked, chopped pork.
  • 125 lbs dressed pig = approximately 50 lbs cooked, chopped pork.
  • 14 lbs uncooked Shoulder = 10 lbs cooked with a cooking time of 6 to 7 hours.
  • 6 - 7 lbs uncooked Boston Butt = 3 lbs cooked with a cooking time of 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
  • 14 lbs uncooked Ham = 6 to 7 lbs cooked with a cooking time of 6 to 7 hours.
Well, folks there you have it. I really question the cooking times and the meat yields. In my humble experience their cooking times and the meat yield are a bit low, but this comes from the experts. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

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Monday Morning

Last night I was walking the dog and a few thoughts were running through my head.

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

"Good guys finish last."

"No good deed goes unpunished."

"Them that's got will get."

"But God bless the child thats got his own."

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

"What's worth doing is worth doing for money."

How was your night?


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Restaurant Review: Bourbon BBQ

First up, attentive readers will notice some housekeeping of the links and sidebars of the blog. I removed a couple of links that pointed to sites that haven't been updated in a while. I'm sorry to see them go, but I'm not going to point you to a dead site.

There's a new BBQ joint in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Now I don't know anything about the place or the owner and I usually don't post reviews until I've been to the joint, but I doubt I'll ever make it out there. This is posted as a heads up for my New Jersey readers.

Starters: Bourbon BBQ in Wyckoff

Friday, July 6, 2007
The Bergen Record

arrowGary Needham working on lunchtime orders at Bourbon BBQ in Wyckoff.

Starters is a first look at recently opened restaurants. It is meant to be a descriptive glimpse, not a critical review, of interesting new venues.

Chef Gary Needham learned the art of barbecue close to home in Louisville, Ky., but perfecting his repertoire took the chef to San Diego, Maine, Jamaica and more than a half-dozen other haunts.

Thirty-six years after starting his career, he brought his training to Bergen County, opening Ridgewood's Silver Oak American Bistro, which serves pastas and seafood in addition to home-cooked Southern favorites. And on Sunday he opened Bourbon BBQ, a new barbecue-only restaurant in Wyckoff.

"Barbecue was always my passion, but you can't come into town and open up a barbecue place when nobody knows your name," said Needham, who also sells his homemade barbecue sauces in Whole Foods and Kilroy's. "So I opened up Silver Oak [Bistro] to establish myself, and after a year and a half, I figured it was time to do this."

Needham's self-serve restaurant boasts all the airs of a roadside Southern smokehouse. Adjacent to the serving counter, the straightforward dining room holds orange bench seats and checkered tablecloths upon which meals are delivered on butcher's paper and in baskets. The restaurant's wooden walls hold vintage R.C. Cola signs. A peek in the kitchen, however, reveals more modern workings.

"We use an all-wood-burning, custom-made smoker," said Needham. "We only use hickory wood, and we can hold 1,500 pounds of meat ... These are the same size smokers the Army uses."

Emerging from this massive smoker are pork shoulder, brisket, barbecued chicken, St. Louis ribs, pulled chicken breast, smoked sausage and wings. For sides, there's fresh coleslaw, potato salad, beans, collard greens, fries and macaroni and cheese. Delta pickles, which brine in Kool-Aid, and desserts are also available.

"Some people say the menu is limited, but it's actually true Southern barbecue," said Needham, who plans to spend his days behind the smoker at Bourbon BBQ and his nights manning the stoves at Silver Oak. "Barbecue is a work of passion ... It's not about the decor or the front of the house, it's about the flavor, and we have plenty of that!"

Bourbon BBQ is at 529 Goffle Road, Wyckoff; 201-444-6661 or bourbonbbq.com. Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Credit cards: AE, D, DC, MC, V.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Life on the Road

This is from the The Norwalk Advocate. It's about my friends Nancee and Greg at Purple Turtle Catering. Enjoy.

Couple on way to courtly cook-off
By Jamie DeLoma
Special Correspondent

July 6, 2007

NORWALK - By the time the smoke cleared last weekend at the I Love Barbeque Festival in Lake Placid, N.Y., Nancee Gell and Greg Hunter knew they were hot.

Beating three dozen teams spanning the continent from Florida to Vancouver, the Norwalk-based Purple Turtle Catering Company emerged with the grand championship crown, a check for $1,500 and the New York state title. They are now eligible to compete in the annual American Royal Barbecue Festival in October in Kansas City, Mo.

"There were a lot of great teams out there, and it's really special to win this festival," Hunter said.

The Norwalk teammates have not always been the barbecue aficionados they are now.

"I grew up eating burned chicken and undercooked steaks," Gell said. "I learned about barbecuing in the mid '70s, but it wasn't until we got involved with the New England Barbecue Society about seven years ago that it has become an obsession."

She said the grilling also helps to relieve the day-to-day anxiety in her job as a security specialist in Stamford.

"It's a tremendous stress reliever," Gell said. "It really lets you focus on your food, creating an artistic and good product and not let you worry about what's going on at the office or have to worry about little Johnny."

She said the competitions, which have been popular in the South and Midwest for decades but only now are growing in the Northeast, encourages participants to bring their families. Gell said she has seen people get married at the contests.

"The competition circuit is really growing leaps and bounds," said Don McCullough, executive vice president of the National Barbecue Association in Austin, Texas. "It really grew in popularity after 9/11 when people didn't want to go on expensive vacations anymore."

He said the competition has grown quickly in the Northeast over the past three or four years.

"Barbecue is coming out of nowhere," McCullough said. "It's becoming a pretty popular pastime."

Jeff Esau of Stamford, who owns Jeff's Cuisine in Norwalk, won the first international barbecue competition in Montego Bay, Jamaica, five years ago.

"Barbecuing is a process," Esau said. "It started here in America. It's an American form of art, just like the jazz and the blues."

Esau, who calls himself a barbecue historian, said the first barbecue restaurant was established in the 1840s in North Carolina. Since then, the style of cooking has grown in popularity with the advent of the Weber grill in the early 1900s and growth in their popularity in the 1950s.

"Barbecuing really took off in the 1970s, and now it's just exploded," he said. "In the South, barbecuing has always been part of life. In the Northeast, people really want to try something different. It's the hottest cuisine out there now."

Competitions are generally by category, usually beef, chicken, fish, pork and ribs and can span from January through November. Many of the contests raise money for charities as well.

Garry Howard, who is now retired and living in Puerto Rico, mentored Gell and Hunter for three years beginning in 2000 before they began competing on their own in 2003 and mentoring others.

"He really gave us a lot," Hunter said. "We are just basically giving back what we got from him."

Since then, the married Norwalk couple won about a half-dozen grilling and barbecuing competitions and finished second or third in several dozen others.

"We travel all around the country going to these contests," she said. "The camaraderie of the grilling, barbecuing community is something that can't even be described. It's like a big fraternity if you will. We get together, cook together, eat together and laugh together. Some weeks, I win; some weeks, you win."

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

BBQ Recipes: Deviled Eggs

This appeared in The Washington Post and is written by Hill Country's own Elizabeth Karmel. Enjoy.

Smoky Chipotle Deviled Eggs

Elizabeth Karmel

Makes 24 deviled eggs


• 1 dozen large eggs
• 1/3 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
• 1-2 canned chipotle chilies with clinging adobo sauce
• 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 teaspoon natural rice vinegar
• 1/8 teaspoon ground Ancho Chile
• 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
• Zest of 1/2 lime
• 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
• Tabasco
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
• Ground Ancho chile for garnish


Place the eggs in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit 20 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until eggs are cool to the touch. Let sit another ten minutes.

Peel eggs carefully, keeping whites in tact. Cut in half lengthwise and remove yolks. Set whites aside on a platter or egg plate. Break yolks up and mash with a fork until all large pieces are broken up and smooth.

Puree mayonnaise, chipotle(s), butter and vinegar in a small food processor. Taste and add another chipotle if the flavor is too faint, add more mayo if it is too strong. Add ancho chile powder, lime juice and zest, garlic powder and Tabasco. Stir well. Taste and season with sea salt. Note: If yolks are not smooth, run entire mixture through the food processor and place in a pastry bag in the refrigerator until cool.

Place in a pastry bag or use a small spoon to fill egg white “boats” with “deviled” egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle with ancho chile powder

You may need to cut a thin sliver off the bottom of the egg whites to make sure that they "sit” level.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Stop Everything.....

I think I hear the President.

Not really, but it's a song reference and the first person who identifies the song title, composer, original performer and title of the album where the song first appeared will get a bottle of barbecue sauce from my personal collection.

By the way, I Qed today. I made St. Louis Style Ribs on my Charbroil Double Door Smoker. I have a lot of thoughts about the experience, but you'll have to wait to hear about it. It's late. I'm tired, and I'm out of town tomorrow.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July tomorrow. Be sure to stop and think about what a remarkable holiday it is. It is the celebration of a nation declaring itself free of tyranny to be governed by the people. Thank God we won!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

BBQ Restaurants

This just in to my mailbox... (Even if it is a bit of old news, it's great news! Congratulations Andrew and Paul)

RUB BBQ Set to Spice Up Las Vegas This Fall With First Location Outside of New York City

RUB to Preview Cuisine at All-Star Charity Tournament on July 5 During the World Series of Poker® at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino®

LAS VEGAS (July 2, 2007) New York City's highly-acclaimed RUB BBQ will add some extra heat to Las Vegas early this fall with its new location inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. This will be the restaurant's second and only venue outside of the New York original.

The 9,000-square-foot RUB BBQ at the Rio will feature championship level barbecue created by Paul Kirk, aka The Kansas City Baron of Barbecue and The Ambassador of Barbecue. The original RUB BBQ in New York opened to much praise and immediate popularity in 2005 and has remained ahead of the growing trend in barbecue restaurants cropping up in major cities across the country.

We're excited to introduce the RUB BBQ concept to Las Vegas and to the West Coast, as the demand for high-quality barbecue continues to grow throughout the country, said Andrew Fischel, owner and creator of RUB BBQ. When we looked at where we would open our next location outside of New York, Las Vegas was a no-brainer. With the sheer amount of visitors the city sees every day, combined with the lack of traditional barbecue on or near The Strip, the Rio was clearly the perfect home for us.

The menu at RUB BBQ will satisfy any level of a barbecue connoisseur's taste buds, with standard dishes such as Barbequed Ribs prepared St. Louis-style, Barbequed Sausage and Pastrami prepared the old-fashioned way, slow-cooked over wood in pits for 14 hours. Specialty menu items include Burnt Ends, smoked twice until crispy and lightly sauced; Szechwan Smoked Duck; and a The Taste of the Baron that includes a tasting of beef, pork, ham, pastrami, turkey, chicken, sausage and is topped off with a quarter rack of ribs. All selections are prepared fresh daily so once they’re gone, they're gone.

Located on the second level of the Masquerade Village inside the Rio, RUB BBQ will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week and will feature live bands on the weekends, from a variety of musical genres.

It is with great pleasure that we welcome the deliciously famous RUB BBQ to the variety of restaurant favorites at the Rio, said Marilyn Winn, president of the Rio All-Suite Hotel Casino. "We truly believe RUB will offer our guests the best in BBQ cuisine with an unforgettable atmosphere."

In addition to frequent appearances by Chef Paul Kirk, Chef Walter "Skip" Steele will be the resident "pitmaster" at the new Las Vegas location. Steele comes to Las Vegas from St. Louis where he co-owned the popular Super Smokers BBQ restaurant chain. Steele has spent years perfecting his barbecue craft and has scores of accolades to show for it including numerous awards from the Illinois State Championship and the Award of Excellence from the National Barbecue Association. Steele has also competed and placed in the famous Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Contest for more than 10 years.

Introducing its cuisine to Las Vegas for the very first time, RUB BBQ will cater the celebrity/VIP room for the World Series of Poker's Ante Up for Africa All-Star Benefit taking place at the Rio on July 5. Ante Up For Africa is being held to raise awareness and funds for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. The event is slated to include some of the biggest names in poker and entertainment including Don Cheadle, Annie Duke, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and many more. The Ante Up For Africa poker tournament kicks off at 4pm. In addition to catering the All-Star Benefit, RUB BBQ will also tempt the palates of media by filling the press room with its signature dishes.

"What better place to introduce our award-winning barbecue to Las Vegas than at the Rio during the World Series of Poker? It just doesn't get any better than this", Fischel said.

RUB BBQ was designed by Nevada-based Cypress Architecture and Design. The 230-seat restaurant, which includes a 30-seat bar area, will be a modern take on the industrial loft look allowing guests to enjoy their barbecue favorites (as well as some mouth-watering RUB originals) in an open, high-energy atmosphere. Wall accents of deep, fiery reds will contrast with the weathered metals and will be set near aged brick and warm rustic wood floors and ceiling beams. Combined these elements will create a sophisticated, yet relaxed environment to experience a taste of Americana.

An exact opening date for RUB BBQ will be announced later this summer.

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BBQ Equipment: Charbroil Double Door Smoker and Grill

I'm back from an OK weekend. I hope you guys had a good one.

First up, I want to congratulate my friends Nancy and Greg from Purple Turtle Caterers for winning the I Love BBQ Festival in Lake Placid, NY this weekend. Great job guys! Congrats also to my buddies over at I Smell Smoke for taking an unusual second place; I Smell Smoke wins so often it must have come as a real shocker!

For me, I wound up having to work on Saturday, but on Sunday I raided my garage and took out and reassembled my Charbroil Double Door Smoker and Grill. (Yeah the name STILL sucks)

The fine folks over at Charbroil sent this offset smoker to us back for the Paul Kirk Pit Master's Class in October, but due to various shipping issues, it came too late for the class. After a brief stop at RUB, the smoker meandered its way to my garage in Brooklyn where it sat until this weekend.

Here's some info from Charbroil on the grill itself:
  • Double door access reduces smoke and heat loss

  • Center Door Stop removes providing full access to cooking chamber

  • Cast iron porcelain-coated cooking grates for even heat distribution

  • 738 sq. in. total cooking surface area in cooking chamber and firebox

  • Removable Ash Drawer simplifies clean-up

  • Firebox door with damper provides access and heat control

  • Removable front shelf and lower storage rack

  • Chrome-plated spring-style handles

  • Cast iron wheels with rubber tread

  • Top-mounted smoke stack tumbles flavorizing smoke within the firebox

  • Heavy-gauge steel construction for years of reliable cooking performance

  • Bonus Veggie Rack and Water Marinade Pan included!

My game plan was to smoke a couple of racks of ribs, but after seasoning the grill with vegetable oil and doing a test burn, I discovered that my ribs were still frozen solid. Damn. I could get around this, but that would mean eating very late. Then the wife called and said we needed to travel to the end of Long Island and retrieve the daughter. Double damn. I was really looking forward to finally using this beast.

Oh well, I did grill up some chicken on the Weber Kettle for dinner. You'll have to wait a few more days for the ribs and the review of the Charbroil Double Door Smoker and Grill. Talk to you later.

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