Archive for SImply Marvelous BBQ

Connersville,Decatur, and Ethnic Expo…

Posted in Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2012 by Big JT

I know I havent kept up to date with this, but it is hard to find time to sit down and recap competitions. This has been our busiest year yet in Competition BBQ.  We just competed in our 11th competition so far this year at the Decatur, Al 2012 Riverfest. A few weeks before that we were in Connersville,In for the Thunder in the Park and from the weather forecast that is exactly what we thought it was going to be with the remnants of the hurricane blowing through it was tough to find 25 teams willing to cook the event. We ended up making the 25 team limit. We had a pretty good showing with a 3rd overall and 4 category calls. Congrats to Kevin from Juicy Butts BBQ for his 1st KCBS GC. Connersville was supposed to be the last competition of the season, but we decided to try our hand at a few more before the end of the year.

We set our sights on Decatur,Al for its 2012 Riverfest competition (made famous by BBQ Pitmasters) it was a short 6 hour drive down I-65S then we hung a right at the rocket and found ourselves at the home of Big Bob Gibson… Check in was a breeze as we were greeted by Ken Hess and directed to site 34 which would be home for the weekend. Pretty uneventful night as we ate at Big Bob Gibson’s restaurant and then returned to get started on prepping the meat for the fire. Apparently they had a famous music star there by the name of Lee Brice and there was one hell of a concert Friday night. After a short nap we put the meat on the Jambo Pit and took a walk around and met up with George from Pitmaker at the Kingsford tent. We got an upclose view of the Kingsford Pitmaker Vault trailer… All i can say is I now want a Pit Maker Pit, their quality is great and i think it would fit in to our vending needs.  We were pleased with out turn in boxes and even tried a new pork recipe… On to Rewards… We were just hoping for a to 15 finish in that group of competitors. In the end we received a 4th place chicken, 1st place Pork, and 4th overall (tieing for 3rd but losing the tie breaker) needless to say we were ecstatic with our results. We even recieved a big check from Kingsford for the Kingsford Challenge.

On the way home from Decatur we decided that we can cook one more event for 2012 and that is in White County, Ga at the end of October. We will also be vending at the 2012 Ethnic Expo in Columbus, In for the 2nd year in a row on October 12&13, 2012

To finish off here are some pictures from the last few competitions…

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Busy few months… quick update and then were off again…

Posted in Around the house, Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2012 by Big JT

It has been a busy few months since the last post, we have competed several times, vended at a few places and actually had a weekend off… here are some pictures from the past few months, like they say a picture is worth a thousand words…

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Trip to Texas, Memphis BBQ Co., and the Milk Cow Music Festival…

Posted in Competition BBQ, Important News with tags , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2012 by Big JT

Trip to Texas, Memphis BBQ Co., and the Milk Cow Music Festival…

         I know this was promised to be posted earlier in the week, but I have been lazy and trying to recuperate from the last week and get busy planning the next couple weekends.

       First off, I need to thank the sponsors of Big JT’s Smokin’ BBQ which are, Simply Marvelous BBQ, Mojobricks, and Drapers BBQ. Without the support of these companies we would not be able to do what we do.

       It was a long week; we left for Burleson, Texas at 4:00am on Memorial Day to start the first leg of the trip to pick up the Jambo Pit. We arrived at about 7:30 pm Monday night. During the trip we stopped off at the Memphis BBQ Company to eat lunch and catch up with Pete and Melissa from Yazoos Delta Q. I went to their first class in 2010 and learned all about competition bbq both KCBS and MBN styles. If you get a chance to stop in do yourself a favor and stop by. The food is great and they also have non-bbq items on their menu. Once in Dallas we ate a place called Texas Land and Cattle Company, not really knowing what to expect from the place but it was highly rated and recommended by the hotel staff.  The place was not busy at all and we were seated as soon as we walked in the door. The food was very good and it really wasn’t all that expensive of a place to eat at.

       The next morning we were up early and heading to meet up with Jamie Geer( www.jambopits.com ). We pulled into his driveway and there it was… Once we all made the introductions and small talk Jamie walked us through the inner workings of the pit and also his shop. We saw a J-3 Model in the paint booth being painted New Orleans Saints Gold. After about an hour we were back on our way home with the new pit in tow. It pulled like a dream and we had comments about it at every gas station and rest stop.

     We finally got home after another stop at Memphis BBQ Co. and loaded the Jambo into the garage. After a few hours of sleep I woke up and lit a fire in it. I played with controlling the fire and felt that I had a good handle on it…more on that later…

     So fast forward to Friday, i picked up the completed sign from a local airbrush guy, and he did a pretty good job, mounted it on the Jambo and headed north to Fair Oaks,In Milk Cow BBQ competition. there were several tough teams in the field of 50 and we were just hoping to get everything cooked and turned in since cooking on the new pit.  We woke up around 3am and lit the fire and the pit came up to temp in about 35 minutes, i’m pretty sure i built too big of a fire as we were having issues with the pit wanting to run cool when both intake and exhaust was fully open after realizing this we were able to make some adjustments and get everything on track. I felt pretty good about the entries except for chicken… When it came time for awards I wasn’t expecting much, but was hoping for something. We finally heard our name called for a 2nd place brisket only to be beat out by Able Acres and 1 appearance point. the real suprise came from the overall rankings, we didnt expect an overall call due to only being called up one time. We ended up 10th overall out of 50 teams which i thought was very respectable considering the caliber of teams at the competition. We scored out highest score ever and it would have GC or RGC a few competitions last year but it was only good enough for a 10th place.

Next we are gearing up for one of my favorite competitions at Jeffersonville Smokin’ on the River. We are competing in a rib throwdown against 8-10 other teams on friday and then the normal competition turn ins on saturday.

The next weekend we will be competing and vending at the Franklin Smokin’ on the Square event so it will be a very busy couple of weeks, but hopefully the payoff is a good one.

Drapers BBQ – MOO’d Enhancer Beef Rub…

Posted in backyard, Important News, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2012 by Big JT

2 weeks ago at the Benton,Ky BBQ Competition I received a complimentary 1lb bag of the new MOO’d Enhancer beef rub from Drapers BBQ.I was really looking forward to trying it out on a brisket, but that will have to wait as the selection at the local Sams Club was pretty bad this morning. So instead I bought two rather large T-Bone steaks so I could see how it would hold up to some grilling. The Steaks looked pretty good so I brought them home and went to bed (3rd shifter) About noon I woke up and pulled the steaks out of the fridge and unwrapped them. I then went to my competition bin and got the foil bag of DBQ Moo’d Enhancer. Upon opening the bag for the first time you get hit right in the face with the freshness of the rub and all the different elements to it. I put a light-medium coating of Moo’d Enhancer on both sides of the steaks as I was going to let them come up to room temp while the Weber was warming up.

Once the Weber was up to temp (about a 1 and a holy crap that’s hot count holding your hand over it) I put the steaks on the cool side i had set up to use the Reverse Sear or Finney Method (http://www.ironpigbbq.com/Reverse-Sear.html) I really like this method as it allows you to more precisely determine your finish temp (130-135*) After about 30 Minutes i flipped the steaks over to the sear side of the Weber, and it didn’t take long to get the outside nice and seared.

I bring the steaks back into the house and find out that Lisa had made some tater tots and a Caesar salad to finish off the mega lunch we had going on. I allowed the steaks to rest loosely covered with foil for about 10 minutes, and yes my counter top is lime green… It goes with the velvet wallpaper we have in the house. After about 10 minutes I couldn’t stand the wait anymore as the smell was driving me nuts with anticipation (my mouth is actually watering again as i type this) So i loaded up the plate, I look over to Lisa who is standing at the counter like a shark on blood devouring her first two bites of steak. The next sentence out of her mouth made me realize that we had a winner on her hands and I quote ” You know, i went to the store and bought this (Heinz 57 sauce that she puts on everything) and I don’t think I’m going to use it”  That statement shocked me.  So i dive into the steak and wow… what a flavor explosion the flavor of the rub held up to the grilling and it didn’t overpower the flavor of the steak, it really let the meat be the star, I would really love to try this on some Prime or Wagyu. I actually could have put it on a little heavier and it still would have done great. Now back to Lisa, the final statement she made which really told me that this was one of the best steaks she had was, “Oh my gosh, I am so glad i’m not a vegetarian right now…) Now onto the best part of this meal was the tater tots at the bottom of the pile which had time to marinate in the au jus that came from the steak… absolutely delicious, had all the flavor of the beef and the Moo’d Enhancer. I would definitely give this rub a shot it is great for steaks, or any beef for that matter. I can’t wait to give it a shot on some brisket and try to work it into my competition line up. I have a feeling this rub will take off and it is going to go huge on the competition circuit. Bottom line is that this rub stands up and accentuates the beef flavor that sometimes gets lost when cooking beef over fire. It puts a great crust on your meat when cooking over direct fire, it is a really bold flavored rub that mellows a bit with cooking, and it is a more savory rub as opposed to salt/pepper rub. The flavor is more intense due to all the different spices and flavors hitting you at different times during the tasting.

I also have a great new beef rub from Simply Marvelous that i believe will compliment this rub if used in a layering process. I will be doing a side by side comparison with these two in the near future.

I was also let in on a little secret from Shane @ DBQ about a new product that will be hitting the scene soon I hope. I know it will take a lot of work out of my prep for a competition.

Be sure to check out our BBQ 101 class that we have scheduled for July at the Eastside Community Center.

2012 Benton Kookoff

Posted in Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by Big JT

First competition of the season has come and gone, and while we expected a little better placing, we had a great time.  First off, Thank you to Shane and his crew from Drapers BBQ(www.drapersbbq.com). He went out of his way to help us out so we could travel to the comp light and cook. Between the use of his Toy hauler, cooking on the Tucker Cooker (www.tuckercooker.com) I do have to say the Tucker Cooker is an impressive piece of work and if i hadnt already spent the money on a Jambo, i would say that i would probably pick up a Tucker, hell I think I will just get both… Also, we were told we were having burgers for dinner, and I expected run of the mill burgers… NOT Shane and Co. made up some monster 1lb Bacon and Cheese stuffed burgers cooked on the Grilla pellet cooker that were amazing, I had one and had to go into a food coma for a bit.  We also got a sneak preview of the new Brisket / Beef rub called Moo’d Enhancer which is pretty amazing, and is going through some testing here at home so I can incorporate the rub into our Competition arsenal, it helps bring out  the beef flavor that can get lost in all the other flavors of BBQ. It is a very bold rub, but not overpowering.

As for the cook itself, it couldn’t have gone any better, well that is until turn in time. With our chicken turn in we went outside the box a bit and i’m not sure how the judges really cared for it, scores weren’t too bad but it didn’t place well (29/42). Our ribs were very good, but then again we fell short of the top ten with an (18/42) placing. Pork was our bright spot of the day with a 9th place showing thanks to DBQ Smokin Sauce. Now to brisket… my strongest category from last year where were weren’t out of the top 10 … this brisket that was cooked was the best we have ever done, flavor was outstanding, tenderness was spot on… not sure what was going on in the judges tent but I was for sure the brisket was a top 5 product, but it finished  22nd. So i was a little disappointed in the showing, but we have to stay the course our next competition is in Liberty, Indiana in May. Hopefully we will have the Jambo by then so we can get the smoke rolling with it.

We did get to walk around and meet a bunch of great guys on the BBQ Circuit,  we chatted it up with Chris Chadwick from Grillin and Chillin and Bill Arnold from Blues Hog BBQ plus many more that we see more often on the trail such as Bourbon Barrel BBQ, Pappy Q, and the eventual GC Eat More Butt. A big Congrats goes out to those guys. Also want to thank Mojobricks (www.mojobricks.com) and Simply Marvelous BBQ (www.simplymarvelousbbq.com) for their great products we couldn’t do it without your support!

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!

Holiday cooking Tips…

Posted in Around the house, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by Big JT

If I had one single tip for how to improve your holiday bird cook…..it would be summed up in one single word….BRINE!

There is a science to the brine, but without getting into it here is the simple explanation:  When the bird absorbs the brine. There, the brine begins to denature the meat proteins, causing them to unwind and form a matrix that traps the water. And if the brine includes herbs, garlic,or peppercorns, those flavors are trapped in the meat, too. Instead of seasoning on the surface only, as most cooks do, brining carries the seasonings throughout, and YES you can brine an enhanced bird as well due to osmosis it will help balance out the salt solution between the brine and the bird.

A quick search on your favorite internet search engine will yield a plethera of brine recipes. Over the years, I’ve ended up with a pretty simple brine recipe. I have found that the salt is the real secret to a brine. All the other stuff helps a little, but to keep it easy, I like a nice and simple brine:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup salt (Kosher)
  • 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • About a palmful (I’d guess a TBS or more) of whole peppercorns
  • Sometimes if I feel the spirit, I’ll add a squeeze of honey or maple syrup or squeeze a fresh orange or lemon

Just whip up the brine, place the completely thawed turkey SLOWLY into the brine and if necessary, top off with water to completely submerge. I’ve used a 5 gallon bucket before, but a 16 qt stockpot works well too. You want to make sure not to use an enhanced bird (injected) as it won’t take the brine as easily and may already have salt in it. I brine my turkeys for 18-24 hours…..usually 24 hours, if I’ve not pushed the time limit!

One big tip that I can offer regarding brining is this…..PLAN FOR ENOUGH TIME FOR THE BIRD TO REST!!! The skin on a brined bird will also take on some moisture with the process. Pur right on the smoker, this will make more of a “rubbery” skin when finished. If, on the other hand, you take the bird out of the brine the night before the big cook and place it back in the fridge on a rack (or upside down plate in a pan….just to keep it out off the bottom and out of the water), the refer will “dehydrate” the skin a bit and allow it to tighten back up and go back to “normal”. This will yield a better finish texture to the skin in the long run.

As far as seasoning the bird after the brine, I personally will use Simply Marvelous Sweet Seduction for my turkey cook this Holiday Season.  But if you want to be creative you can just about anything  you want to, or you can tweak this simple Turkey seasoning to your tastes.

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 teaspoons minced onion
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, mix rosemary, thyme, onion, garlic, white wine Worcestershire sauce, coarse salt, pepper, and olive oil. Pulse until well blended. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator at least 10 minutes before rubbing under turkey skin or injecting into meat as desired.

THE COOK

So…. After you take the bird out of the brine and allow it to rest, apply your seasoning of choice to the bird and pop it into the Cooking device of your choice. For me I don’t use the oven very often anymore, so I would turn to my old stand by UDS or if  I am cooking multiple birds I will fire up my CTO and crank the heat up as high as i can get it. I have found that poultry responds better to a higher heat cook rather than a low and slow as poultry will soak up smoke and the skin will be rubbery if cooked at lower temps. When smoking your bird stick with a lighter fruit wood instead of a heavier flavored wood such as hickory or mesquite. If you do not have access or do not want a smoked bird for your Holiday you can turn out a great bird in the oven.

Before you pop the bird into the Smoker or Oven you want to take into consideration that the White meat and Dark meat have different finishing temps.  White Meat is done at a lower temperature than Dark meat. When cooking I like taking the bird to about  170* in the thigh and pull it once it reaches that temp. Residual cooking will take it up a few more degrees but it shouldn’t overcook the white meat (which is done about 10* before that). Some people will put a foil tent over the top of the breast  to help keep from overcooking, but I like taking a zip top bag and filling it with ice and place on the breast of the bird for about 15-20 minutes to help chill it so it wont cook as fast.

Once the bird is cooked let it sit and rest for about 30 minutes before carving. I have included a Turkey carving video for you to get an idea of how to do it.

If you follow these cooking tips you will have a bird that will have your friends and family raving about it all year long.  I also want to thank  and give credit to Kempis for all his help for putting this together.