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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, August 31, 2010

Is It 2012 Already?


"In addition to the chain's famous mini burgers, customers have entree options that include chicken, turkey, pork, sausage and beef, each of which can be drowned in your choice of five sauces. Sides include mashed potatoes, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, baked beans and corn bread."

You can read the dirty little details here...


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And Now For Something Completely Different: The Mind Kitchen

I mentioned earlier that I was a guest on one of New York's most incredibly hip and underground radio shows, The Mind Kitchen. Well, it's finally available on line.

On this episode of Mind Kitchen Matt Timms sits down Robert Fernandez of Grillin' on the Bay BBQ Contest, painter and fine artist Matthew Langland and John Hoppin, musician and bigwig at Heritage Foods USA. Don't miss this special Iron Maiden-laden, prize-packed episode of the greatest game show ever to take place entirely within your mind. This episode was sponsored by Barterhouse: one of NYC's best importers of wine.

This was a real blast. (Do the kids still say blast?) I had a great time dishing up one of the most, shall we say exotic, meals in my repertoire. Have a listen here.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

BBQ Contests: The Hudson Valley Ribfest

I LOVE the Hudson Valley Ribfest. It's by far my favorite event. It's far enough from NYC to feel like I'm cooking deep in the country. The views are fantastic. The sites are level and on grass. The bathrooms are indoors. The bands are far away enough that you don't have to hear them if you don't want to. The team that puts together this event works their ass off for you. They feed you a pancake breakfast. The weather is always exciting. And they have a fantastic pool for the teas to use. I really can't ask for more.

But as much as I love this event, I hated getting to New Paltz this year. The team was long in coming together with people joining and others dropping off the face of the earth, financial issues, transportation problems and just about anything else that could rear it's ugly head did in the week before the contest. When we did finally coalesce we were battle scarred.

But as they say out, of adversity arises greatness and boy did that come true with this contest. The team that finally did emerge; Kevin Lincoln, the founder of the New York BBQ Lover's Meetup Group, Matt Fisher, assistant pit master at RUB, Michael Rosen, a great old friend who has worked with me on more projects than anyone else in my life and myself, worked like a well oiled machine.

Unfortunately, we didn't cook so well. Let me rephrase that, the judges didn't think we cooked so well. We came in 51st out of 72 teams. It was a dismal showing on paper, but it was an encouraging showing none the less. The four of us have never cooked together before. Mike and I have cooked together outside of competitions for years, and cooked together once before at New Paltz when I joined his team Smokey Mikes 4 years ago. Kevin joined my old friend Pete and I for half of the event two years ago. Matt and I have never cooked competitively together before. Sure I've lent Matt a helping hand at various events over the years, but this was the first contest we cooked together.

And as amazing as it may seem, we achieved the perfect mix of ego, temperament and disposition. We laughed, we prodded, we joked, we directed and we talked, all while maintaining a festive and cordial atmosphere. We were there to compete, but we were also there for a good time. We achieved both.

Thank you guys. I can't wait until we team together again.

Next up, the food, the sponsors and the results.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

BBQ Restaurants: Fatty Cue

I finally had a chance to stop into Brooklyn's newest barbecue craze restaurant; Fatty Cue in Williamsburgh a couple of weeks back. I've been holding off writing this as I wanted to return and do a full blown review, but damn, this place is expensive! We spent about $50 (including tax and tip) on 3 items that could have passed for tapas. So rather than waiting for my wallet to fill up so that I can return, I thought I'd share some thoughts with you now.

We started with an Amuse Bouche that that chef sent out. It was smoked bay scallops with red curry, Thai basil and vermouth. Beautiful and tasty, and I wanted more, but this was barbecue?

We then had the Celery Salad (yuzu, Tianjin preserved cabbage, sesame oil - $6 for a small bowl that may have equated to 4 stalks of celery), the Heritage Pork Ribs (smoked fish/palm syrup, Indonesian long pepper - $14 for 4 of the largest, flatest and almost meatless ribs I've ever seen. I'm very surprised how meaty they look in the photograph. Trust me, they weren't.) and the Fazio Farm Red Curry Duck (sweet pickled daikon, smoked red curry - $19 for a piece of duck breast and two duck legs cut in half. I wonder what they do with the top half of the drumstick.)

The food is outstandingly flavorful. It was pretty amazing stuff. Each dish surpassed each other in flavor. The duck easily is the best duck in the city. The food is hard to pin down, but...

It's not barbecue. At least not how I know it. Barbeque is an American style of cooking tough and cheap meats over wood. Fatty Cue serves an Asian inspired menu that happens to use a smoker in some of its dishes. I can't imagine that I'll ever be jonesing for bbq and have Fatty Cue come to mind, but it certainly will when I'm flush and jonesing for some Asian food.

Enjoy the pictures. And check out Fatty Cue. It's worth the trip. You won't be transported across the Mason-Dixon, but you'll find yourself somewhere deep in Southeast Asia sucking up some great little dishes.

Fatty 'Cue on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Singing Our Own Praises

I have to say that sometimes recognition comes when it's most needed. And boy is this some recognition! It's been a fantastic week here at WhiteTrash BBQ.

Serious Eats does a great roundup of some of the best barbecue events in the country, including my own Grillin' On The Bay. It's great and gratifying to see GOTB listed in such Augustan company. (Two minor corrections, GOTB is sanctioned by The New England BBQ Society, not KCBS and Serious Eats didn't list NEBS in its list of sanctioning bodies) Take a look at the article here...

And Culinary Arts College and Chef Cindy Cullen named WhiteTrash BBQ one of Best Barbeque Southern Food Blogs. I am truly honored. You can check out the other Best Barbeque Southern Food Blogs here....

Next post - what's it like cooking at the Hudson Valley Ribfest 2010.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

If you know the story of the making of this album, you understand how I feel right now. But out adversity of comes succcess. Let's hope so.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BBQ Events: The Hudson Valley Ribfest

4 days to go until the Hudson Valley Ribfest. WhiteTrash BBQ returns to the competition arena in yet another new configuration. I feel like Wings. See you there.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BBQ Contests: Battle of The BBQ Brethren

Wow. Already it begins. For the record. I didn't like the video that Newsday produced for the contest. I loved the event. It was well run and from what I hear it raised a good amount of money for PAL. Congrats to the Brethren for a job well done.

Monday, August 09, 2010

BBQ Contests: Battle of the BBQ Brethren

This was probably the worst video I've ever seen for a BBQ contest. I was there and I don't get the feel of the event at all. A more complete post is coming, but the video does tease the event and plugs a forum nicely.

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BBQ Deals: Charbroil Friends and Family

Here's the deal of the week, sorry it's a little late.

Friends and Family Char-Broil Promo
Charbroil.com is excited to announce that we are having a Friends & Family VIP Sale!

When: August 1- August 16th.

* FREE Regular Ground Shipping for all orders $100 or more. (Oversize handling fee will still apply. Local pick up orders not available)
Sale: 25% OFF

It is still not too late to purchase that new infrared grill you’ve been wanting and it is a perfect time to pick up the ultimate Tailgating grill, the Grill2Go ICE®. Or start Thanksgiving early with The Big Easy® Infrared Oil-less Turkey Fryer, or The Big Easy® Smoker,Roaster,Grill.

Take advantage of 25% OFF all regular priced Grills, Cookers, Fireplaces, and Accessories from www.Charbroil.com. (Replacement parts not included)

Enter Promotion Code CBFF81 when placing your order to receive your discount.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Death and Taxes

I recently switched over to Google's Chrome as my primary browser. While it works just fine it did a lousy job of importing my favorites so I haven't been haunting my usual internet haunts. Last night I launched Firefox and visited some old friends and found some pretty disturbing news.

1. My friend BD, or Buffalo Dick passed away suddenly. Now I've never met Dick, or Richard as he was christened, never spoke to him on the phone, but we regularly corresponded via the internet. His blog OPINIONS AND RECTUMS,WE ALL GOT ONE! was always one of my favorite reads full of great stories, cooking tips and yes opinions. He will be missed.

2. Butch Lupinetti of Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ has also passed away. Butch was one of the larger than life characters you meet on the competitive barbeque circuit. He was a little man in stature, but he came with a huge heart and a hearty laugh. I don't think I ever saw anything but a smile on his face.

Butch was one of the first folks to welcome me into competitive barbecue as he attended my certified judging class held at Jack's Firehouse in Philadelphia and greeted me with a kiss and a hug after I walked as part of The BBQ Brethren team at my first event Guitarbeque. As far as I know Butch never maintained a blog which is a real shame. All the stories he could have told, but he can still be seen on Throwdown reruns.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Corporate BBQ?

Holy Shit! George Soros owns Dinosaur BBQ? Wow. I had no idea.

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Cooking a Whole Animal

I have no problems with animals being raised and slaughtered for food. I would like to believe that every animal leads a good life and is slaughtered as humanely as possible, but I know that's not true and for this post it really doesn't matter. I'm not going to get into that here, so PETA people move on. I know that once this pig was in my hands it was treated with respect.

With all that said, I didn't expect to feel anything when I cooked this pig. In a very strange way, I feel responsible for this animal's demise. I asked for a whole pig and it was delivered. I don't believe that this pig was killed on my order, but it just as well may have been. Frankly, the thought bothers me.

Why don't I feel the same connection to the animal parts I pick up "wrapped and cut" in the supermarket of from the butcher? I've never really connected those spare ribs with an animal. I understand where they come from, but the retail meat been so sanitized that the connection back to nature has been lost.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, pigs are the third most consumed animal in the country after chicken and beef. I'm talking retail pounds of flesh consumed per capita. I have no idea how many actual chickens, cows and pigs are slaughtered each year, but in terms of actual pounds of flesh the average American consumed 51 pounds of pig meat in 2007 down from 65 pounds of swine per person in 1950. Pork was the most consumed form of animal flesh in the United States until 1965 was it was overtaken by beef.

So if pig meat is so popular why the squeamishness about cooking or eating a whole animal?

Ever since childhood we've been taught that pigs are cute. Do you remember Charlotte's Web? Babe? Gub Gub? Lester? Little Pig Robinson? And let's not forget the Queen of cuteness- Piglet? I could go on and on. We as a society have an obsession with pigs. Look around any curio shop, kitchen store or thrift shop. How many cute little piggies do you see? Hell, even in my own kitchen we have a ceramic pig dressed in a chef's coat holding a black board. How many barbeque teams feature a comical pig as their mascot or in its logo? Take a quick gander through Suicide Food and see how often a pig is used to represent a good time or a feast.

When I first saw the pig, purchased for me from the fine folks at RUB BBQ as Matt ushered me into their walk-in, it appeared to be sleeping on the shelf amongst all the other meat cuts. Even seeing her lying amongst ribs and pork butts, I didn't make the connection between the familiar cuts of meat and an actual animal. Only when Matt took the pig off the shelf and handed her to me exposing her gutted belly did it begin to register that a life had been given up. Matt and I both felt this and acknowledged it to each other.

Matt placed the pig into my outstretched arms where it hung like a sleeping child. This was getting tough. "Was this "piglet"? "I thought, "I'm going to cook "this"?" Why has this thought never bothered me before? I've cooked whole animals in the past, including pigs. I guess that since this was the first time doing it on my own, I assumed a higher level of responsibility. In other cooks I was the accomplice, here I was the protagonist. Oh, of course, I could blame Ned as this pig was for his birthday party, but once the idea of eating a whole hog was breached, I immediately offered to do the deed. Little did I know that this pig would have an effect on me.

We quickly placed the pig in a cooler, covered her with ice and put it in the trunk of my car. I sped to Brooklyn and Matt returned to the bowels of RUB where he prepared the hundreds of pounds of offerings of flesh served in the restaurant that day.

Driving to Ned's I put the thought of "a pig" out of my mind. With the animal in the trunk of my car, the sweet little pig was just "meat" again and I could focus on preparing it for the party.

She stayed "meat" until it came time to prepare her for cooking. As Kevin Lincoln and I were preparing the pig, one of Ned's female guests arrived and freaked out by the site of the pig laying on the table. With as much macho we could muster, we immediately ridiculed here for her squeamishness. But to be completely honest, Kevin and I both felt something for the animal. This was not a moment to take lightly.

I'm not going to get into the actual preparation as this post is already much too long, but in laying her out on the cooking rack, cleaning and seasoning, naming her as is tradition and placing her on the fire, this slab of meat became an animal once again. It was with some trepidation that I closed the lid for the first few hours of cooking.

Somewhere in the magic of the smoke, this pig became meat again. As the smoke worked on the pig, it also performed a sort of magic on my mind and soul. It changed my attitude towards the animal from pity to respect. When she was finally removed from the fire and I put the first strike of the knife blade into its side, this pig was meat and nothing more. But I did offer a silent prayer of thanks for its sacrifice.

So, from now on when I'm cooking a rack of ribs or a pork shoulder or any cut of meat, I'll remember that this meat is really from an animal that was slaughtered so that I could eat and offer a little prayer in thanks. I recommend you do the same.

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

BBQ Contests: Long Island

Busy next weekend? No? Well here's somewhere for you to go...

The Suffolk County Police Athletic League presents:

The 4th annual KCBS Sanctioned New York State BBQ Championship

2010 Battle of the BBQ Brethren
Holtsville, NY August 7-8 2010
Sponsored by R.U.B BBQ NYC

Live music all weekend -- Activities and rides for children

Everything from roasted corn to true BBQ will be available for purchase at the event. Arrive with an appetite and leave satisfied as you and your family enjoy a wide array of delicious foods.

Farmers Market
There will be a farmers market as you pull into the event site. Enjoy the seasonal fruits and vegetables that Long Island has to offer.

8/7 - Peoples Choice Rib Contest
Attendees can purchase tickets from the PAL for a dollar each that can be redeemed at competitors sites for slow smoked, delicious, competition quality ribs.
All proceeds fund the PAL's outreach to special needs children.

8/8 - 2010 NY State Championship
Competitors vie to see who will be the reigning Grand Champion and be eligible to represent NY in the national, invitational contest.

So go on down and hang out for a while!!

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