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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.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What's Going On?

Not much, I must say.

I've gotten a few emails and phone calls chastising me for not updating this blog in a while. I have to be honest, I really don't have anything to say right now.

I'll be back right after the new year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

BBQ Events: RUB BBQ Opens in Vegas!

Congratulations to Paul Kirk and Andrew Fischel of RUB on the opening of Vegas's newest and best barbecue restaurant... RUB!

RUB BBQ Debuts Best Butt in Town At First West Coast Location Today

Restaurant opens today inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino®

LAS VEGAS (Dec. 27, 2007) – Las Vegas heats up on this winter day with the debut of New York City’s highly-acclaimed RUB BBQ with its new location inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino®. This will be the restaurant’s second location and only venue outside of the New York original.

The 9,000-square-foot RUB BBQ at the Rio features championship-level barbecue created by Paul Kirk, aka The Kansas City Baron of Barbecue and The Ambassador of Barbecue. With frequent appearances by Kirk himself, the restaurant will be home to resident “pitmaster” Chef Skip Steele. Steele joins the RUB team from St. Louis where he spent years perfecting his barbecue craft.

RUB BBQ will quickly become Las Vegas’ hottest destination for great barbeque and live entertainment. The restaurant features a stage for local as well as well-known artists to perform offering patrons a truly spiced up evening out.

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 grilling up in major cities across the country. Celebrity frequenters include Chris Rock, Tyra Banks, Dave Chapelle, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martha Stewart.

“We’re excited to introduce the RUB BBQ concept to Las Vegas and to the West Coast,” said Andrew Fischel, owner and creator of RUB BBQ. “With the sheer amount of visitors that Las Vegas 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 cut 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 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.

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.

Located on the second level of the Masquerade Village inside the Rio, RUB BBQ will feature live bands on the weekends, from a variety of musical genres.

Rub BBQ is open for dinner from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; open for lunch and dinner beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday – Sunday.

About RUB BBQ/Chef Paul Kirk
The original RUB BBQ opened in New York in 2005 by Andrew Fischel, an ex-student and now partner of Executive Chef Paul Kirk. Chef Paul is recognized as one of the most accomplished barbecue chefs and pitmasters in the world. He is the recipient of 425 cooking awards, including champion of the American Royal Open (the largest barbecue competition in the world) and seven World Barbecue Championships. In 1990, Chef Paul was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame and has been named numerous times to the Julia Child BBQ Team of Ten. In addition to his competitions and prestigious awards, Chef Paul conducts The Baron’s School of Pitmasters, a truly international school, which has held classes across the United States, Ireland, Canada, South Korea and Switzerland.

About Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino®
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino is a Harrah’s Entertainment resort. The Rio offers guests a unique all- suite hotel experience. Complete with 2,563 all-suite hotel rooms, the property overlooks the famous Las Vegas Strip, one block west on Flamingo Road. The Rio is the home of Vegas’ most popular free show – Masquerade Show in the Sky performing nightly. A sand beach surrounds the edge of the Rio’s tropical lagoon, complete with waterfalls, four nautical-shaped swimming pools, and five Jacuzzi-style spas. The Rio boasts 16 dining outlets, three lounges, two performance theatres (Penn & Teller Theater and the Chippendales Theater), Spa/Health Club/Steam Room/Beauty Salon, 23 retail outlets, five swimming pools, nine luxury Palazzo Suites and three nightclubs.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? I haven't. Actually unless a couple of clients come through, we may be celebrating Christmas in July. It's been a very tough last quarter of the year.

But, here in WhiteTrash BBQ world, I have a few last minute Christmas items to recommend. First up is a very beautiful coffee table cookbook by Food Network's own Masaharu Morimoto, called simply Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking.

I'm not a big fan of coffee table cook books, I prefer books that I can prop up and get dirty in my kitchen as I use them. But this is Masaharu Morimoto's first cookbook and it's a beauty. His recipes and story deserve the oversize treatment.

Every recipe and technique here is wonderfully illustrated. But, alas, I found it's recipes a little bit out of my price range. One of the beauties of Japanese cooking is the simplicity of it's recipes and it's reliance on top notch ingredients. That's all well and good, but I can't afford Waygu beef and many of the other ingredients he regularly calls for.

If you have deep pockets, this is definitely the cook book for you. However, Morimoto's story and approach to cooking is a fascinating read. That alone would make think about buying the book.

Up next is Street Food by Tom Kine. This book is subtitled "exploring the world's most authentic taste" and is an interesting contrast to Morimoto. This book takes us from the ultra rich luxury foods of Morimoto to the foods of the street. Hence, Street Food.

This guide to Street Food takes us around the world exploring what is available to the average person in street carts. It amazes and amuses me as I see the same ingredients as interpreted by the different cultures. It seems that anywhere in the world you can find kabobs, dough nuts, chicken and soups ready for working man's meal. All with a local spin.

I like this book a lot and have made a few of its recipes already. (Sorry no pictures) It's nicely done, beautifully photographed and just the right size for use in the kitchen or outside by the grill.

And speaking of grills, since this is a blog about BBQ after all, my last last minute Christmas gift recommendation is for the griller who has everything, Grill Charms. Yup, Grill Charms. These cute little stainless steel buttons allow the grill master to mark each piece of meat with label for degree of "doneness" (rare, medium, or well done) or degree of spice.

Also coming soon: The Signature "Charmed Life Collection". This collection will have 6 individual and unique designs such as a sailboat, a tropical vacation and other items associated with living a "Charmed Life". Personalize your food prior to cooking to distinguish spices and flavors, to avoid health or allergy issues or any other OPTION you can dream up!

A few of the subsequent collections we have in the works are The Sports Collection and The Pink Collection. (Just to name a few) The Pink Collection will be geared towards the lady grillers of the world.

They're an interesting concept but I caution you, be very careful when using these charms as they do constitute a choking hazard for small children and are hot after use. If you host parties with a lot of drinkers, I wouldn't recommend them either.

But with a little caution and care, and we all know that the best cooks exercise both in every cook, the grill charms add a very unique touch to your cook. Your guests will be impressed.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wintermarket NYC

Sorry for the late notice, but this sounds like a great place to go on Sunday before you head over to the Manhattan Chili Take Down. This evetn alert came to me from NonsenseNYC.


New York's first gathering of all sustainable food purveyors from this region. There will be foragers, beekeepers, bakers, farmers, butchers, cheese mongers, fishmongers, and chefs. The chefs are offering free tastings of dishes made with all sustainable
ingredients and are supplying recipes so you can make the dish at home.

If we can do this in the middle of December, it proves that New Yorkers can eat food produced sustainably from this region (within 500 miles of NYC) year-round!

You can find out a lot more about Wintermarket by clicking here.

New Market Building
South Street, between Beekman Street, in the South Street Seaport,
11am-4pm free to the public although there is a $5 suggested donation


Friday, December 14, 2007

The 2007 Food Blog Awards

Food Blog Awards

Just a quick reminder, today is the last day to vote for your favorite food bloggers over at The Well Fed Network. Take a few minutes and support your favorites. No, WhiteTrash BBQ was not nominated. Snubbed again. Rats.

There's a lot of categories and even more potential winners, but here's a few of the people I'm voting for....

In the Best Food Blog Chef Category: Ideas In Food
In the Best Food Blog Drinks Category: LennDevours
In the Best Food Blog Theme Category: Meat Henge

Happy voting and good luck to all the contestants.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Manhattan Chili Takedown

Looking for something to do this Sunday? Live in the New York City area? Why not make some kick ass chili?

Sunday night 5pm, show up a the Plumm, (246 West 14th Street, Manhattan) with your best bowl of red, or bowl of green, or bowl of white - hell it's the Christmas season, mix it all up - just make chili.

The rules are pretty wide open. This is a no holds barred chili competition, meaning you can put in beans, whatever meat, a veggie chili, whatever. Just bring a huge pot of it (about 2 gallons to fill the Sterno pans they have set up for you) - it's $10 to enter and there's a $50 judged prize and a $100 People's Choice.

All the info is also available at chili-takedown.com - just click on the poster on the main page.

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RIP: Ike Turner

Scan not a friend with a microscopic glass
You know his faults, now let the foibles pass
Life is one long enigma, my friend
So read on, read on, the answer's at the end

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rediscovering an Old Interest

I've played with Dutch oven cooking on and off since I was in the Boy Scouts. I think I'm going to start doing it again this winter. Anyone else have some experieinces they'd like to share?

Photograph courtesy of Utah Mountain Biking.com

Monday, December 10, 2007

Someone Up There: Joe Jackson

We walked out one autumn evening
Someone up there made a fair appear
Coloured light that caught our eyes
And reggae music caught our ears
We laughed as they played all the songs
We wanted least of all to hear
I guess that's when I knew
That we'd be more than just good friends
It happened just by chance

Someone up there - someone up there makes the sun and sea
Someone up there - someone up there brought my girl to me
Someone up there - someone up there makes the wind and rain
Someone up there - someone up there took her back again
And just for once
You can't fight back
No messing with the hand of fate
Oh no

The paper ran an ad
That had you running to the other side of town
Working for a man I never could make out
Who started hanging round
Someone up there got me drinking got me drunk
And made me put him down
The way you looked at me I knew
That we'd be coming to an end
It happened just by chance

Someone up there - someone up there makes the sun and sea
Someone up there - someone up there brought my girl to me
Someone up there - someone up there makes the wind and rain
Someone up there - someone up there took her back again
And just for once
You can't fight back
No messing with the hand of fate
Oh no

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Pitmasters: Big Lou Elrose

What a great way to start the day. This article from today's New York Times came into my inbox. Lou Elrose is a giant of a man and one of the nicest folks on the New York barbeque scene.

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Published: December 9, 2007

Lou Elrose overseeing barbecue at home in Queens. He has moved quickly from running a food cart to being pit master for a start-up barbecue chain.

LOU ELROSE, a retired police officer with a passion for barbecue, is suddenly a hot commodity.

In the past year, Mr. Elrose, who has won barbecue competitions, has gone from selling pulled pork and slow-cooked brisket from a food cart in Ozone Park, Queens, to a job as deputy pit master at Hill Country, a new barbecue restaurant in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.

After only three months, Mr. Elrose, 55, was recruited for another job, as head pit master at Wildwood Barbecue, a restaurant set to open in March a few blocks south of Hill Country. With this new post, Mr. Elrose is commanding his highest salary yet — approaching six figures, he said. He is also eligible for a stock purchase plan.

“Anybody who has anything to do with the meat will be reporting to me,” he said.

It is a good time to be a barbecue expert in New York. The city has long been stuffed with Italian, French and Japanese restaurants, but barbecue spots were in short supply for many years. Now the landscape has changed.

Tim Zagat, co-founder of the Zagat Survey restaurant guides, estimates that there are about 20 notable barbecue restaurants in New York, up from just a few five years ago.

The 2008 Zagat Guide to New York City restaurants, published in October, notes six new spots, including Hill Country, which specializes in Texas-style barbecue; Southern Hospitality, on the Upper East Side, with the pop star Justin Timberlake as a co-owner; and Fette Sau (“fat pig” in German) in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

The trend is prompting demand for well-trained cooks. “Most people think that with barbecue you throw it into a smoker and 16 hours later you have wonderful food,” Mr. Zagat said. “A really good pit master has to be a talented person and technically has to be fairly sophisticated.”

Pit masters create recipes (including those for secret spice rubs for their brisket and ribs), order and butcher meat and preside over pits in the restaurants. While a pit conjures an image of a hole in the ground, in this case it is actually an oven, sometimes burning mild fruitwood like apple or cherry, or other hardwoods.

Some pit masters, including Mr. Elrose, earn their stripes as serious hobbyists who have smokers at home and who travel the thriving national circuit of cooking competitions. Others are classically trained chefs, like Kenny Callaghan, executive chef of Blue Smoke, which was opened in 2002 by the restaurateur Danny Meyer.

Meat experts aren’t the only people in demand in city restaurants. Despite the troubled housing market and recession fears, employment at full-service restaurants in New York City reached a record 98,600 last year and is on track to exceed that this year, said Jim Brown, labor market analyst for the New York State DepartmentricaLabor.

At the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., job postings are plentiful, said Wendy Higgins, assistant director for career development and employer services. “It is a very good market,” she said. The school has not had specific requests to fill pit master jobs, she said.

Mr. Brown said there was some concern that the financial industry’s slowdown would start to affect restaurants. But he said foreign tourists enjoying favorable exchange rates were likely to fill seats vacated by locals. Moreover, the city’s growing population is adding more diners to the mix, he said.

“Employment growth has been quite strong, and skilled staff, especially as you move up the ladder to the higher-end restaurants, has been in short supply for a while,” Mr. Brown said. “For most restaurants, the only way you’re going to get an experienced worker is to lure them from someplace else. We don’t track it in hard numbers, but there certainly has been a pickup in poaching.”

THE creator of Wildwood Barbecue, Stephen Hanson, founder and president of B.R. Guest Restaurants, a New York company with 16 restaurants, acknowledges poaching talent.

“Poaching is just part of New York,” he said. “Everybody always takes the interview.” He said demand has pushed up salaries for pit masters by 50 percent during the last two years.

Mr. Hanson hopes to open five Wildwoods by the end of next year, including locations in Las Vegas and Arizona. All will need pit masters, who will report to him.

Before joining the Police Department, Mr. Elrose worked for Landi’s Pork Store in Brooklyn and owned a deli. He often cooks for his wife and three children.

Some retired police officers contemplate fishing trips, but Mr. Elrose, known as Big Lou, is expecting a busy second act. “Working for Steve Hanson is like being attached to a rocket,” he said. “Every time I see him he says, ‘Lou, you don’t know how big this is going to be.’ Maybe I don’t, but I’m on for the ride.”

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Friday, December 07, 2007


Putting together an event is hard work. That's it. That may be the end of my public documentation about the behind the scenes of Grillin' On The Bay.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

BBQ Sauce Reviews

It's been awhile since I recommend another website, but I have a good one for you today. It's called BBQ Sauce Reviews. The site's been up about 6 months now and I've enjoyed reading their reviews. I don't always agree with them, but it's always a good read.

I was surprised when I first started to read the reviews that the authors took into consideration the taste of the sauce after it had been cooked on the meat. That's something I've always thought was the absolute ONLY way to review a barbecue sauce. Unfortunately, that's not how it's done at the competitions. Usually, barbecue sauce is reviewed only straight out of the jar. And that's a pity. The magic of the heat and the smoke can transform a sauce. Sometimes they shine after the fire, other times they fall apart. I really applaud the reviewers for taking this into account.

From the site .. "Presently the test we conduct consists of applying the sauce to chicken and pork ribs as recommended by the BBQ sauce vendor. When no directions are provided, we rely on traditional methods of applying the sauce towards the end of the cooking cycle so that the flavor of the sauce is activated, yet remains intact."

The only complaints I have about the site is that I don't know what type of fire (wood, charcoal, lump, gas?) was used in each review. I assume that the food is cooked over a gas cooker due to a sly reference to covering the cost of propane. For shame. I know that most people use gas, but that's not real que.

The only other clarification about the reviews is I'd like to know if food is grilled or barbecued? It makes a huge difference in how the sauce reacts to the meat.

I do love that the guys over there come up with all sorts of boutique sauces and they still review the mass market sauces. When you get a chance, stop by BBQ Sauce Reviews. You'll be glad you did.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Barbecue Can Kill

BBQ sauce spills from Heinz plant into Muscatine creek
Associated Press - December 4, 2007 5:24 PM ET

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - Fish received an unexpected marinade when barbecue sauce leaked from a ketchup plant into a creek in Muscatine.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say a malfunction in equipment at an H.J. Heinz Co. plant caused barbecue sauce to be sucked up a vent onto the roof and into roof drains that empty into the creek.

Officials say about 500 gallons of the sauce were spilled before the equipment could be shut down.

The spill caused the water in the creek to turn red for about a half-mile downstream to the Mississippi River. The water had cleared by mid-afternoon.

Paul Brandt, a spokesman for the state agency, says some fish were stressed by depleted oxygen levels and found floating on their sides.

Brandt says the investigation is continuing.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. Al

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Putting on a Show

In my last post I mentioned that the purpose of this blog was to document my experiences and thoughts on the road to championship barbeque. Like life, that road has many twists and turns and the topics on the blog have reflected that. It's been a long strange trip and the end is nowhere in site.

In the next few months I'm going to be deeply involved in putting together Grillin' On The Bay and I'm going to work on documenting that experience for you.

For you and for me. One of the things I've found with this little vanity project of mine, this blog, is that sometimes writing the posts help me focus on the wheat and discard the chaff. It's almost therapeutic at times.

Sometimes I wonder why I ever got involved in competitive barbeque. Sometimes I wonder why I ever got involved with putting together events. Sometimes I think I need my head examined and writing this blog helps me do just that.

I hope that my experiences will prove to be valuable to others when they get the idea to organize a barbecue event. I really hope it keeps me sane.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

BBQ Contests: Grillin' On The Bay 2008

When I first started this blog it was to discuss my life in competition barbecue. I thought it would be about putting together a team, creating recipes, competing, walking the stage, and finally opening my own place. I never dreamed that I'd be organizing contests and events. But, I have.

Little did I know that my journey in barbecue would lead to Grillin' On The Bay, NYC's original barbecue contest. Together with my brother Matt Fisher, we've run a great event for the past two years. Planning for next year's event is underway.

Grillin' On The Bay will be back for 2008. But it won't be the same; it will be so much better!

We've outgrown our original location and will be moving This will truly be grilling ON the bay!

Grillin' On The Bay 2008 will include our traditional NEBS sanctioned grilling contest, and we will be adding a KCBS barbecue contest as well. There will be many other surprises, special guests and a new website.

If you'd like to volunteer to help us out with the event, please send an email to info@grillinonthebay.org. We'd love to have you, we're grateful for the help and you'd be helping to raise money to fight cancer.

Everything is in the planning stages right now but I promise you this, Grillin' On The Bay 2008 will be glorious.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Now this is a great first dance. I know we didn't dance that well at our wedding

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