A reflection on a year in BBQ 2012
One of the hallmarks of a happy and successful existence is the feeling that you wish you had more time. There have been several years where I was fully glad to turn the page and see what the New Year offers me. This year more than any other, I'm sad to see her leave. I have done much this year and have made strides in both my personal journey as well as my professional life. There was much traveling to new countries in 2012, a promotion, new friends, deeper bonds with family. Since this blog is about BBQ I'm listing out my year in BBQ.
- This year alone I have smoked 31 Whole Hogs. Most of which are over 200lbs with the smallest pig being 125lbs. I couldn't begin to count how many chickens, pork butts, or sausages I've smoked.
- Being too cheap to head down to Memphis to see the country's Biggest swine cooking competition. I threw a Memphis in May Party for my friends in NYC. Many who have never been to the South to taste real BBQ.
- I ate through 11 Barbecue Joints in 3 days during my research & development travels through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. BBQ Roadtrips rule!
- I cooked with my teacher, North Carolina pitmaster Ed Mitchell at this year's Big Apple BBQ Festival. Talking BBQ with a master of hog - Aubrey Mitchell long through the night, stoking the fires at 3AM.
- I enjoyed an almost 2 hour long conversation with North Carolina BBQ patriarch Charles Stamey. As a Carolina BBQ stylist, this was akin to seeing the grandmaster up the mountain. A cherished memory.
- Had the honor of cooking through the summer with New York's top BBQ blogger and Competition Team Head - Josh Bousel.
- Previously the Arrogant Swine was just a photo page for some of my cooks. Even though wordpress uses a blog platform, I didn't really use it as a until my buddy Angel forced me to start posting my thoughts and in the span of 4 months we have hit over 8,060 views.
- Made some great Smoking friends with Chris & Julian of the Island Smoke Ring BBQ Competition team. Lots of meats and cigars smoked!
- It wouldn't be the proper start to the Fall unless I did my annual Carolina Whole Hog Event.
- It was my distinct honor to cook with Josh Bowen & John Zervoulakos - Pitmasters of John Brown Smokehouse, where we combined their deep Kansas City flavors with my whole hog pit to cook a 200lb Gloucestershire Old Spot pig. The finest heritage breed I have ever smoked. Not only was John Brown named #1 BBQ Joint 2012 by the Village Voice, I was named their resident Whole Hog expert, a title I wear proudly.
- I cooked at this year's Georgia State BBQ Championship better known as the Big Pig Jig with Team Bubba Grills, where we took on over a 120 competitors and came in First Place in the uber-stacked category of ribs.
- After YEARS of envy at Big Bob Gibson's dual cooker trailer. I got my own 16 foot 1,000lb meat capacity trailer. 2 multi-tiered cookers capable of smoking 2 hogs and still have enough room to knock out enough chicken to feed a football team.
- Finally 2012 I had the chance to break bread with some of the biggest names in the New York City BBQ scene including Robbie Richter, Daniel Delaney, and Matt Fisher.
I'm sad to see 2012 go. It had its ups and downs but overall it was a winning year. I hope for more like it. There's unresolved goals I hope to meet. I thank all my readers to sharing the journey with me.