Archive for Cooking

Wild Ride coming…

Posted in Competition BBQ, Important News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2012 by Big JT

Well, after firing up the CTO for the first time in about 3-4 months it seems that I have been bitten with the bbq bug again (not that it ever went away). I cooked quite a bit of food for the Superbowl and I am starting to get some requests for brisket and ribs for Valentines Day dinners.

In March I am heading out to Kansas City with a few BBQ friends and we are going to try and hit up a few local bbq places as well as stop into Ambrosi Brothers knife shop. Speaking of knives I just received my new slicer via FedEx today. It is a Glestian 12″ Beef Slicer, i ordered it from http://www.knifemerchant.com and I am really excited to use it. I also purchased a digital camcorder today so that in the next few weeks I can start adding videos and cook demos to the website.

Shortly after returning from Kansas we will be on the road to the first stop on the competition trail for 2012. We will be in Benton, Ky cooking at their Tater Day BBQ Competition. We have cooked here the past two years and I will probably keep cooking it since it was the first professional competition i cooked. We actually won 5th place Chicken.

The bbq forums are buzzing with excitement about the upcoming BBQ Pitmasters Season 3 casting call, I did shoot and submit a video and I will have it up on this site soon. I highly doubt that I will be chosen, but if i am it will be a Wild ride for sure.

I am heavily anticipating the call from Jamie Geer about my new Jambo pit. I was told it would possibly be ready for pick up by April so I wont be cooking on it in Benton, but I am having a friend help me out down there. Shane Draper from Drapers BBQ will be cooking with me down in Benton and providing me use of his cookers for the weekend. I hope we do well and believe me I wouldn’t be able to cook down there if it hadn’t been for him stepping up to help me out.  Shane is also helping out the team this year as a sponsor. This year we will be using his Smokin’ Sauce in competitions. The sauce is great, it is a very original sauce and has some many subtle flavorings that help bring out the flavor of rubs and the meat. I have used it with my competitions rubs from Simply Marvelous and they pair up nicely.

Looking forward to the next few months and looking forward to seeing all the BBQ crew when we hit the competition trail. Hang on its gonna be a wild ride!

2 Weeks, 2 competitions…

Posted in Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by Big JT

Well, it may not be the Iron Man stretch that Rob from 2 Worthless Nuts had with 8 Competitions in 8 weeks but it was tiring… and worth it.  So lets start back last weekend at Jeffersonville , In. I arrived early evening on Thursday and was set up down on the river bank… AGAIN… oh well, after getting camp set up i ventured up the hill to visit some friends, ended up spending most of the evening talking with Moonswiners, Hot Racks and BBQ Stacks, Perry Brothers, Burbon Barrel and 2 Worthless Nuts. Friday Lisa’s parents, Sister, and Brother-in-law arrived to set up their camp for the backyard event. Before the cooks meeting Lisa and I went to a restaurant called Cluckers that served hotwings and such.  After cooks meeting it was time for Lisa to get everything ready for the Dessert turn in, She made Strawberry Mousse Shooters with a double fudge brownie and chocolate covered strawberries. Fast forward through the night complete with thunder storms and weather to the morning. Saturday morning Shane Draper from www.drapersbbq.com drove 3.5 hours up to meet and hang out during turn ins. He also hooked me up with some of his sauce and rub to try out. Now time for awards.  We weren’t really expecting much but it started out good with  Pop’s Belly BBQ  taking GC of the backyard division, then Lisa hit it big with a 1st place dessert win. Then I got to…. sit in my chair and not get any calls… that is until Brisket (not my best category) and ended up tieing for 2nd but losing a tie breaker to get 3rd in brisket! I think we ended up 14th overall which is 10 spots better than last year.

 

On to this past weekend in Franklin, In… nice to be back in Franklin after spending my college days there soaking up … well never mind what i did in college. I arrived late on Friday afternoon and after a grueling 20 minute drive I was ready for a nap, but this was no time to nap, shortly after I arrived fellow BBQ nut and co-cook for a weekend Kempis arrived and we set up camp and then attended the cooks meeting. For a 1st year competition they seemed to have everything covered.  After the cooks meeting I returned to camp and met up with Lisa and my Mom and we ate dinner at the Willard.  After dinner we made our rounds and visited with Buttrubbers BBQ, Bronze Star BBQ, Yellow River BBQ, Here for the Beer BBQ, and  Porky from Porky’s House of BBQ.  It was time to get down to business started to trim the brisket and my fillet knife slipped and sliced my ring finger open… I probably should have got a couple stitches… but this is BBQ BABY! I taped it up, double gloved it, and got back to work.  I got everything trimmed and ready for the 4am wake up call.

Once the meat hit the heat, we were able to eat biscuits and gravy along with some coffee provided by the organizer, this was awesome because i was hungry… Turn ins went ok, well except for ribs, but we wont talk about it. I wasn’t too happy with my turn ins except for brisket, i thought brisket was better than last weekend at Jeffersonville.

At awards Lisa started it off with a 7th place Dessert call ( we then found out it was open to everyone not just comp cooks), Kempis took a 2nd place anything butt call with his smoked beans, I ended up with a 2nd place chicken, 1st place pork, 19th place ribs, and a 9th place brisket for a 5th place overall finish (my best since Liberty last year with a 7th overall) Overall i was pretty happy and not looking forward to the 4 weeks in between competitions now… oh well i guess its practice time…Next stop, New Palestine…

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BBQ 101!

Posted in Around the house, backyard, Important News with tags , , , , , on April 21, 2011 by Big JT

Well, it seems that the first BBQ 101 class received rave reviews, we are tentatively  scheduled to hold another class on June 11, 2011 at Eastside Community Center.  We here at Smoke Break BBQ want to say thank you to all who helped make this class a success. Here are some pictures to show you what you missed!

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1st competition completed, looking forward to Liberty

Posted in Competition BBQ with tags , , , on April 6, 2011 by Big JT

Smoke Break BBQ competed in their first 2011 competition last weekend, despite the 4 hour drive and the chilly weather it was a great time meeting new people and mingling with teams. Our highest finish was TC’s Brisket which placed 6th out of 43 teams. Other finishes were Chicken 17th, Ribs 38th (we tanked ribs), and Pork 22nd. I thought that my chicken and pork were the best i have turned out in a long time. Here are our turn in boxes from the event.

Next competition for Smoke Break BBQ will be Liberty, In on May 1,2.

Don’t forget to sign up for the BBQ 101 class we still have open seats available.

New addition to the family…

Posted in Around the house, backyard, Competition BBQ, Important News with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by Big JT

Well, after returning from my morning work out I hear a knock on the door. I went to go see who it was and found a package. Opened it up and it contained a NEW SUPERFAST ORANGE THERMAPEN !!!

What a great way to start the day…. Im not sure which one will be faster the Orange or the Green, now all i need is the silicone boot for it.

If your interested in purchasing a Super Fast Thermapen go to www.thermoworks.com

Beginners Mistakes….

Posted in Around the house, backyard with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2011 by Big JT

Well, it seems like just yesterday when I bought my Char-Griller and started my quest to make ribs better than Texas Roadhouse’s “Blue Ribbon” Ribs. Little did i know that that purchase would lead me down the road of 7 bbq pits,hundreds of pounds of meat, and several thousand dollars spent.  I learned quite a bit from different BBQ Forums and just plain trial and error.  Here are some tips for the beginners and some of the more experienced BBQ cooks out there.

Most common mistakes made by beginners…
1. Getting in too big of a hurry. Barbecue takes time and patience. You can’t rush it. Figure 1 to 1 1/2 hours per pound for most meats. If you’re tending a wood-burning smoker, figure on adding fuel every 30-45 minutes.

2. It helps to be a semi-good cook in the kitchen before you get into barbecue. If you can’t boil water, let someone else do the barbecuing. I’ll bet that almost all the old hats here on the BBQ List were pretty decent cooks in the kitchen before they learned to grill and barbecue.

3. Opening the lid to peek too often. This lets out the heat and the smoker will be below temperature. Open the lid only when necessary to mop or move or turn the meat. The meat’s not going anywhere, so you don’t need to keep checking up on it.

4. Trying to do a brisket or spare ribs the first time you use your smoker. Start off on the road to “Perfect Q” with the simplest meat to smoke–a whole chicken or a pork picnic roast. They’re cheap and hard to ruin. Don’t fill up the smoker with meat until you’ve had some successes. Start with just one item.

5. Using lighter fluid to start your charcoal briquettes. This can give you some really awful odors and tastes in your smoked meat. Use a chimney starter for charcoal. If you must use a charcoal lighter fluid, let the coals burn for at least 30 minutes before you put on the meat.

6. In a wood burning smoker, making the fire too big and closing the inlets and exhaust dampers to control the flame. This is a no-no. Open that exhaust damper all the way. Regulate the oxygen intake with the inlet damper. Be careful how you close that inlet damper–your fire can smolder and give you some nasty-tasting smoke. Best advice–keep your fire low and your dampers open. Remember, a bad-smelling smoke=bad-tasting meat.

7. Using green wood. You must use seasoned wood to get good results when you begin barbecuing. The old pros can use a mix of green and seasoned wood, but beginners should not use the green stuff until they know about fire and temperature control. Using green wood without knowing what you’re doing is the surest way to ruin the meat. You’ll get creosote and that will make bitter meat that cannot be saved.

8. Trying to adjust too many things at once. Don’t adjust everything on the smoker at once. Change one thing, see what happens, then change another.

9. Changing things too much at once. Make small changes to the smoker. Open or close the intake vent a little bit, not a lot. If you are continually making big changes, you will continually overshoot the correct temperature point. Your temperature curve will look like a giant sawtooth. Make the changes in small increments.

10. Putting cold meat into the smoker. This can lead to the condensation of creosote on the surface of the meat if you don’t have a clean-burning fire. Beginners should allow the meat to warm up on the counter, but for no more than an hour, before you put it in the smoker. Experienced smokers can put the cold meat directly into the smoker. Some say this helps smoke penetration.

11. Don’t invite the family, the in-laws, and the preacher and his wife over the first day you get that new smoker. Practice some, get to know your smoker on a personal basis. Do a pork picnic shoulder, some chickens, then some ribs and finally when everything’s coming together, do a brisket. Then invite the whole gang over and wow ’em good.

12. A small hot fire is better than a large cool fire, meaning a smaller cleaner fire is better than a large one starving for air.

Now I didn’t come up with all that on my own, it’s just bits and pieces i have collected from various places, but it is sound advice for any BBQ’er Backyard or Competition…

BIG JT