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North Carolina Banana Pudding

Banana pudding is North Carolina's most iconic dessert. Unfortunately of us Carolina stylists it's also one of the world's dullest looking dessert. It also happens to be the very best way you can end a hog picking meal. When she's at her best it's warm vanilla pudding, flecked with vanilla seeds, coating slices of banana and vanilla wafers topped with a fluffy meringue.

'Nana puddin' suffers due to it's simplicity. Desserts which are simple are often victims to indifference. Take for example strudels, flaky rolled pastries found in Germany & Austria. There's nothing fancy about them. They're basically thin dough wrapping a fruit filling served with side of whipped cream. But when done right, strudels possess a dignity unrivaled by any confection in the world. Too bad cuz most of them suck. Even when I was traveling in Vienna, the strudels weren't just bad, they were awful. Most looked like soggy rags and had a texture that came pretty close to their aesthetics.

The same goes for the humble banana pudding down in tarheel country. Now I haven't had any that tasted bad in my travels. But many of them came with shock that someone who have the audacity to charge me money for what was basically instant pudding mix.

Even in the authoritative North Carolina BBQ book Holy Smokeout of like 5 generations old recipes for banana pudding only one didn't require an instant mix. Even the legendary Mama Dip uses a packaged mix!

Now I'm not one of those folk who believe that you need to make everything from scratch. I think people making their own in-house ketchup just got too much time on their hands. But for something that's so stupidly simple it seems absurdly lazy to just use a prepacked mix. What's even dumber is that this crap is actually quoted as part of people's "secret family recipe". That's equivalent to me holding with pride that my grandma's legendary lasagna was made with Prego pasta sauce.

The second problem we encounter is the meringue itself. Many people don't even bother with the meringue - appalling. Some folk actually substitute the meringue for whipping cream/whipped "topping". The latter being just as sacrilegious as substituting Coors Light for the wine at a Catholic Mass.

Along with serving the dish warm, the meringue is what makes banana pudding a distinctly Southern dessert. To either omit or substitute it we might as well call it Yankee Pudding. In the war of custards the 1865 white flag is waved every time this humble dessert is served either naked or with whipped cream.

I wouldn't go as far as Alton Brown and make the vanilla wafers (recipe below). His rationale being that manufacturers have started cutting corners with the cookies themselves and have started making artificial "nilla wafers" which contain no vanilla. I think they're just fine. And rather than put in that extra effort just spend a bit more money and use REAL VANILLA PODS in the custard itself. It will add both explosive flavor as well beautifully contrast the yellow.

The custard is essentially a traditional Creme Patissierie. Making your own custard is slower than the box mix BUT you get jazz her up a lot more. By boiling the milk with the scrapped vanilla pods you get a deeper layer of flavor that you simply can't do with the mix. You can cheeky with the custard and add either a rum-based banana liqueur like BOLS or just your favorite rum. Rum trading being very historically significant in Southern BBQ history as well.

For the meringue I substituted the traditional baked meringue for an Italian meringue. This gives you the added benefit of not having to pop the pudding into a stove to brown it. Italian meringues are made by beating hot syrups into egg whites which a pinch of constarch. They are silkier, more stable, freeze nicely, just all around more awesome. All it took was a few seconds with my trusty blow torch and we got the effect you see at the shot above.

In tray you see above I also added layers of peanut butter crumble over half the pudding. So half traditional half peanut butter. Peanut butter and banana being such perfect partners.

Banana pudding - Nilla wafers, Custard, Bananas, Meringue. Simple. Better to adorn a beautiful woman with the finest of lipsticks than to mar her face with the entire cheap makeup kit from Walgreens.

Alton Brown's Vanilla Wafers 

Ingredients 7 ounces all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature 3 1/2 ounces vanilla sugar 1 large egg 4 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 tablespoon whole milk

Directions Position 1 oven rack in the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and vanilla sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after 1 minute. Add the egg and incorporate on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl. Add the vanilla extract and milk and blend on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just to incorporate. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before scooping.

Scoop the batter in teaspoon-sized balls and arrange them on 2 parchment paper-lined half sheet pans, approximately 35 cookies per pan. Use the heel of your hand to slightly flatten each ball. Bake, 2 pans at a time, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans to a cooling rack to cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Remember the HOG DAYS OF SUMMER!!

BBQ Jew comments on Stephen Colbert's latest mockery of North Carolina BBQ.

Big Wayner BBQ reviews the Shizzle Jerk Marinade. Make sure to smoke something appropriately Jamaican while using this sauce!

The MEATWAVE brings us a little bit regional grilling. Behold the CORNELL Chicken. I'm always a sucker for food with a story. "Cornell chicken was born in the 1940s when a request was made by the governor of Pennsylvanian to food scientist and Cornell professor Dr. Bob Baker to develop a new chicken recipe. What Dr. Baker came up with was then brought to his home state of New York, where it has been used as a means to cook a lot of chicken quickly at Baker's Chicken Coop at the New York State Fair for over half a century."

BBQ Sauce Reviews takes a look at the "Buttula". "The BBQ Buttula is a spatula designed for moving, flipping, and handling of large chunks of meat such as pork butts, briskets and ribs."

Marie, let's eat reviews Hog Wild Barbecue in Douglasville, GA. This is one of the few places serving a Georgian regional dressing called "Hudson's Sauce". I'm down for some right now!

Texas BBQ Posse comments on the new top 50 BBQ joint list release by Texas Monthly Magazine.

Patrons of the Pit smokes up some sloppy joes on the grill. No you did not read that wrong! " Ever had a hickory smoked Sloppy Joe? If not, well, you’re missing out.  And you probably should finish reading this too , lest your Sloppy Joe’s reign ever smokeless. A sad plight indeed."

Man Up Texas BBQ visits his first lechonera in Puerto Rico. Ah how I love spinning pigs over fires so.....

Cowgirl Country Life documents the epic battle between a Red Angus and a Black Angus steer for burger dominance!


News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Obsessive Compulsive BBQ found a 1906 ad for BBQ sold by the bucket. Colonel Sanders wasn't as pioneering as we thought.

Texas BBQ Posse knows that everyone is tired of hearing about Austin BBQ over and over again. Good thing for us, there's plenty of exciting things happening in Dallas right now which is giving Austin a run for its money.

Blue Ribbon BBQ shares a recipe for a hoppin' John Salad. Celebrate the new year right!

Patrons of the Pit makes some Country Rib BBQ Sandwiches! As you all know country ribs are not actually ribs and have no bones in them. But POP here gives us the greatest idea ever!! "This sandwich is something of an expedient pulled pork affair, for when you’re in the mood for a savory pulled pork sandwich, but you lack the time and fancy to smoke the big Boston butts for half the day long. In some ways, they are better even. A fraction of the time, and because the pieces are small to start with, you get an elevated smoke-to-meat-ratio. Every bite is not unlike the outer, most savory sections of a traditional butt, loaded with seasoning, bark, and smoke. Oh buddy!"

The MEATWAVE shares a recipe for Chorizo stuffed Poblano peppers. Oh man.... Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Memphis Que finds a BBQ pulled pork empanada at a food truck!! "It was basically the classier cousin of the fried barbecue pie I tried recently at the A&R Bar-B-Q on Elvis Presley Boulevard. Having cole slaw inside the crust added a nice extra element of texture and I liked that the sauce was served on the side so that I was able to decide how much to use instead of having a large quantity of it included in the filling the way it was at A&R. It was cheap, convenient and portable comfort food; perfect for a quick snack while strolling through an outdoor festival."

Man Up Texas BBQ shares a video tour of Austin's LA Barbecue's pit. Word has it that there are engineering secrets involved with this pit. Watch closely!

SFA's  Joe York remembers Ricky Parker who passed this week. A massive loss to the whole hog cookery world. "I paused over him and noticed that in his right hand someone had placed a single cigar between his index and bird fingers. His thumb rested, anticipatory, on the business end of the Swisher Sweet and in that moment I couldn’t help but imagine a scene in which Ricky saunters up to St. Peter, looks him up and down and says, “Well, Pete, you got a light for me or what?”"

OUR STATE reports on Sims Country BBQ in Granite Falls, NC. The joint features the best in bluegrass and BBQ. "With a smirk on his face, Keith shares one more story, about a reporter who came to write a piece on the restaurant when it opened.“The lady said, ‘I’m going to give you 10 reasons why you’ll never make it: You’re on a dirt road, you don’t allow any alcoholic beverages,’ and this, that, and the other. And I said, ‘Well, that’s fine. If I won’t make it because of that, I don’t want to make it.’ ”Two years later, Keith says, the same reporter came back for another story and apologized.

Big Wayner BBQ reviews Southern Spicy Sweet Shed Spread by THE SHED. "This sauce works very nicely as a finishing sauce on chicken, and I suspect it would do the same on pork chops and ribs as well.  The sauce thickened up very nicely when used as a finishing sauce, giving the chicken a great color.  The heat was definitely more noticeable when the sauce was used as a dipping sauce, and the heat level toned down a bit when the sauce was used as a finishing sauce.  I could use this as my ketchup replacement for French fries.  It’s that tasty!"

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

BBQ Sauce Review tests out the new Pit Barrel Cooker from the Pit Barrel Cooker Co. "The Pit Barrel Cooker also known as the PBC, is a drum cooker made from a brand new 30 gallon steel drum that has a very durable high-heat all-weather powder coated finish that is rated for 1,000º. The PBC is an American Made product that’s extremely well-made and can be used for low and slow cooking as well as grilling."

No Excuses BBQ definitely knows how to diversify his BBQ menu. This week he cooks up some Bear stew on his Keg. "The finished product was very similar to the beef stews we’ve cooked up in the past, although there was a definite gamier flavor. The meat was very lean, yet tender. And the dinner conversation was punny; it seems my children have picked up the family tradition of mangling the language at every opportunity."

Fed Man Walking gives you a behind the scenes look at the Austin Food & Wine Fest!

The MEATWAVE reviews Big Bob Gibson's White BBQ Sauce. "White sauce is made to do one thing really well, make chicken taste even better. On the grill, I think that's the best way to use white sauce, but off the grill it can accomplish much more. Beyond being a great dip for light meats like chicken and pork, white sauce would probably serve you well as a dressing for backyard side standards like potato or macaroni salad. I really like this sauce, but at the same time that the vinegar and creaminess are attractive, there's also a slight chemically flavor. It's because of this that it's knocked down a place or two—if you take the time to make your own white sauce, you'll get something better than what comes out of the bottle in my opinion."

Texas BBQ Posse thinks turkey is a may be a new permanent addition to the Texas BBQ canon. Maybe not but time will tell!

Full Custom BBQ visits Hammerhead in Louisville, KY. "Hammerheads is a great restaurant with plenty of imagination and mostly spot-on execution. The items I normally judge a joint on are the brisket and pork ribs. Here the brisket was average and the ribs were a bit overcooked. In the end these were the only items on the menu I had any qualms with, and I can't wait to get back to Louisville for another visit to Hammerheads."

BBQ Guy smokes up some meatballs wrapped in bacon, also known as "MOINKs"

DivaQ drops some tips on how to get your grill ready for grilling seasoning. "I BBQ all year round. I understand there are people that put away their BBQ’s at the end of summer –  (We need to talk people – you can BBQ in winter and fall!) You need to perform ongoing maintenance and grill inspection -remember a clean grill is a happy grill."

Man Up Texas BBQ visits Smoke Shack in San Antonio, TX. "Couple of weeks ago, I stopped in for my first visit to Smoke Shack, the San Antonio BBQ trailer that recently won a field-of-32 BBQ tournament for San Antonio. My order: pulled pork, quarter chicken (dark), brisket slider, pulled-chicken slider, two pork ribs."

Patrons of the Pit calls the cheese burger the Pit-master's thumbprint. Tell him how you cook your burger and he'll know the character of the cook. "My eldest brother has long-held to the tactic, when visiting a restaurant for the first time, that the safest, and most efficient stroke you can play there is to try their cheeseburger.  For they are not likely first off to screw it up, but more over, in a gastronomic gumshoe sort of way, you can tell a great deal about the rest of their fare, their cook, and their establishment as a whole, but from the mere details revealed in their humble hamburger. ... Likewise on the grill. It is a pit junkie’s thumb print, the hamburger.  And everybody who has flipped a patty has one. Every finger print is a little different it seems, and like a thumb into an ink pad, it is our most basic impression onto the BBQ arena. Want to get an idea of a pit keeper’s prowess, consider first his cheeseburger."

Big Wayner's BBQ Blog reviews Ubon's Sauce, a 5 generation recipe from Mississippi. "Ubon’s does it all and has done it all for well over 30 years.  Ubon’s Barbeque of Yazoo (and pitmaster Garry Roark) is featured year after year at the Big Apple Barbeque Block Party and has received numerous accolades.  Ubon’s is a regular on the competition circuit (and especially at Memphis in May).  Garry’s daughter Leslie is a partner in the restaurant/catering/sauce business as well as the rib & chicken cook for the competition team.  And having the pleasure of meeting the entire Ubon’s family at Memphis in May last year, I can say with 100% confidence that they are some of the nicest people I know!"

Grilling with Rich share Dave (FAMOUS DAVE'S) Anderson's story on his sauce development as well as his children's suffering from it. "I have endured the wrath of my children when they were younger, still in school, and they would get up early in the morning only to discover a kitchen basically ransacked with my fruit peelings, mashed herbs, seasoning grindings, dirty bowls, sauce splattered kitchen stove…and they had to push everything aside on the kitchen table just to find a place to eat their cereal. They were also mad at me sometimes because they hated going to school smelling like onions, garlic, or smoke!"

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Texas BBQ Posse alerts us to John Lewis of LA Barbecue's uber secret smoker. Lewis already well hailed as one of the top 5 talents in the Austin BBQ scene. While others guard their secret sauce, Lewis guards his pit design.

Marie Let's Eat visits Cabin Creek BBQ in Nicholson, GA. Takeaway is skip the BBQ and stay for the Bruinswick stew. "What I do want to note here is that this is some of the best Brunswick stew that I have ever had. It is astonishing, incredibly rich and meaty and seasoned just perfectly. It is thick and red and will leave you melting into a happy and content puddle. If any of you good people are missing the legendary stew of Harold’s in Atlanta, this might make for a pretty good replacement in your affections. I consider it up there with Turn-Around and Speedi-Pig as worth considering among the best in Georgia."

Grilling with Rich lists the top 10 must have products for the upcoming grilling season!

BBQ Nation shares his recipe for Andouille Sausage Sandwich with Spicy Sriracha Slaw. This sausage bites back!

Embers and Flames reviews the new All Fired Up: Smokin’ Hot BBQ Secrets From The South’s Best Pitmasters by Troy Black and Southern Living.

Big Wayner BBQ Blog reviews Fox Bros BBQ Sauce. "Honestly, I was ready to write this sauce off.  I tried it on chicken in a few different combinations – as a finishing sauce, as a marinade, and as a condiment.  Out of those three, I was happiest with it used as a condiment, and even then it was just okay.  It gave great color when used as a finishing sauce, but I just wasn’t thrilled with the flavors it added."

BBQ Zen's new book. Crossroads of BBQ, is now out! Check out the Austin Chronicle's review!

Obsessive Compulsive Barbecue shares his famous Old Virginia Barbecue sauce. "Here is a delicious version of an old VA BBQ sauce inspired by a 19th century VA BBQ man named Shack. It has no sugar in it, so sweet sauce fans may want to stay away." This sauce is actually really popular on the BBQ Forums. I know I'm a fan.

Memphis Que knows about Tex-Mex but Ten-Mex? Check out his discovery of a pulled pork Taco at a Mexican joint in Memphis.

Cowgirl's Country Life gets offers from both the Food Network AND the Cooking Channel! Sadly for us she isn't taking either.

BBQ Jew shares with us a detailed history of BBQ in Goldsboro, NC by one of his readers. Someone's put a lot of homework in this piece!

The MEATWAVE is ready for Cinco De Mayo with some grilled chorizo! Now he isn't just grilling some chorizo, he's actually MAKING his own. Click on for the recipe.

No Excuses BBQ is too busy for low and slow! So hot and fast was the order of the day with his BBQ brisket. "The result was a flat that was slightly drier than I prefer, but one that still had a nice smoke ring and mesquite flavor. The point was very moist when chopped; my only regret was not having time to turn it into burnt ends."

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

The MEATWAVE notes that "Bacon = awesome. Barbecue = awesome. So bacon barbecue should equal double awesome, right?" Well maybe not. Check out his review of Pigchaser Bacon BBQ Sauce.

Obsessive Compulsive BBQ brings us another fantastic history lesson. The Great Boston BBQ of 1793 - Whole Ox and the French Revolution. Why didn't they teach me this in school?

Chopsticks + Marrow talks about whole hog BBQ coming to Long Island City, NYC. About time the weekly news round up included a story about me no? "Ho knows a thing or two about whole hog and prepared the hog in the classic Carolina style. He and his crew chopped it up with two cleavers in what seemed like a matter of minutes. Bits of crunchy skin and succulent flesh were mixed with vinegar, hot pepper, and little else. Served with a side of slaw, the resulting product was so good I ate two portions."

Texas BBQ Posse visits Opie's Barbecue in Spicewood, TX. "Once inside the door, I knew I was in trouble. The huddled masses had been extremely hungry for Easter lunch. They were out of ribs and brisket, so I settled on pork tenderloin and jalapeño and cheese sausage. ... It' hard to judge a joint on tenderloin and sausage, but I can report both were very good. I took advantage of the warm vinegar-based BBQ sauce to add some flavor to the tenderloin. I'm not a big sauce guy, but this was some of the best I've tasted along the Texas BBQ trail."

Grilling with Rich reviews the SHED BBQ & Blues Joint Junk Free Barbecue Sauce Products. Well wasn't that a mouthful? The Southern Sweet sounds particularly tasty.

Marie Let's Eat visits Shuford's Smokehouse in Chattanooga, TN. "There are certainly some other good places around Hamilton County to get good barbecue, but Shuford’s is my new favorite in the area. This pulled pork is really rich and smoky. So is the sauce, which is a dark, sweet and smoky brew that mixes incredibly well with the meat. I went with baked beans and slaw as my sides and enjoyed them both a lot. I also loved the very cute garnish of a green onion on the plate. Two hundred plus barbecue joints at this blog and I am still being pleasantly surprised by unique little touches like that."

Ulika BBQ cooks a whole hog Asado style for Mule Day. I don't have farking clue what Mule Day is but I'm celebrating it from now on!!

Memphis Que finds a BBQ fried Pie! No not pie in a BBQ joint, fried pies filled with BBQ. "It turns out the pies are available with pork, beef, chicken or turkey filling... when it came out it was way too hot to eat or hold. I had to poke some steam holes in it with a fork and let it cool down. .. At $4.99 before tax the fried barbecue tax compares well to a barbecue sandwich in both price and volume. It is loaded with barbecue sauce as well as meat and ends up being similar to a barbecue-stuffed chimichanga, i.e., similar to a pothead's greatest dream"

No Excuses BBQ discovers his inner french chef and makes a Turkey a la Orange on the smoker! Words of wisdom from the wise chef "run away from all those l’Orange sauce recipes on the Interwebs that suggest using chicken broth as one of the ingredients. Trust me, there are a lot. Also trust me, and don’t use them if you want a sauce that tastes like oranges, not chicken soup with Tang".

Another Pint Please throws some bacon wrapped Jalapeno shrimp poppers on the grill. Nuff said.

Man Up Texas BBQ announces the winner of the San Antonio Barbecue Madness Tournement: Smoke Shack!!

Cowgirl's Country Life realized that this week's New from around the BBQ Blogsphere needs more bacon. And thus she throws in her bacon wrapped beer battered pickles! "One or two of these hot out of the oil make a meal for me.    Yea... I probably should eat healthier meals but once in awhile I crave these things. :)"

Fed Man Walking revisits Sam's Bar-B-Que in Austin, TX. Seems like they're off his top 10 Austin's best list. "And the cutter? He had no interest in slicing from any part of that newly unfoiled brisket besides the part directly in front of his knife. Not the ebony-crusted fatty end, just the pale, flaccid lean side that looked and tasted like cafeteria brisket."

Don O's Texas BBQ is running out of room in his freezer to store all the BBQ brisket he's bringing back from Lockhart!

Patron's of the Pit lives up north. Now up north here, mother nature is a jerk because occassionally after the advent of spring, she'll dump some more snow and cold on us. Patron welcomes back winter with some BBQ Chicken. "Perhaps this is the reason you never hear our state mentioned on the same pages like that of Texas, South Carolina, and Kansas City, when it comes to BBQ. If those blokes had to BBQ in sub-zero temperatures for fifty percent of the year, perhaps we northern wannabes would tally a might higher in their counts."

DivaQ makes a Memphis style pulled pork sandwich. Makes you want to give up always associating Memphis with ribs.

Southern Foodways shares a fantastic podcast on King's BBQ in Petersburg, Virginia. I promise the best thing you'll listen to all week.

Embers and Flames shares a tasty Pit Sauce from the new book Wicked Good Burgers. Baste your burgers today!


News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Blue Ribbon BBQ Blog could just "hog" their amazing Tennessee BBQ sauce made with Jack Daniel's Old #7. They could but they didn't and are sharing the same sauce their customers crave with YOU. Thank them by ordering more ribs, cuz life's too short for half slabs.

Big Wayner's BBQ Blog visits North Carolina legend Wink's King of BBQ & Seafood. " The BBQ was perfectly moist – not too dry and not overly sauced coming out of the kitchen.  It had a fine-to-medium chop and possessed a nice nutty flavor courtesy of the wood used in the smoking process.  It did not need any additional sauce; however additional sauces are available on the table if so desired.  The slaw (a vinegar-based slaw, very much a Carolinas specialty) had just the right amount of tang and crunch.  Again, great balance here."

DivaQ shares a video on how to make Texas style beef ribs. I can tell you from experience, making a good beef rib is very very very hard. Watch with pad and pencil ready!

Bob's Brew & Cue cooks up a weird "min Brisket". "I love the point far more than the flat of the brisket and here was a small grass-fed brisket from my favorite Humboldt County producer. Purchased! Woke up Sunday morning, fired the pit and took a look at my little brisket point, and was surprised to see, it as a full 4 pound packer, well, a weird, tiny, 4 pound packer with the smallest, thinnest excuse for a flat I have ever seen. By the time I got done trimming off the membrane and such, it was probably around 3 pounds."

Marie Let's Eat visits Judge Bean's BBQ in Brentwood,TN. "I’ve yet to have a plate of barbecue in middle Tennessee that really knocked my socks off, but Judge Bean’s has come fairly close. This is very good pulled pork,... Perhaps we might make the argument that it’s better to consider the quality of Texas-themed barbecue by trying their brisket, but I’m a Georgia boy, and barbecue means pork to me. Oh, I enjoy chicken and brisket and beef ribs just fine as occasional changes from the routine, but I think that a place stands or falls on the quality of its pork. This is smoked overnight over hickory and is very tender and just a little dry."

Texas BBQ Posse visits with Pitmaster Travis Mayes at Meshack's Bar-B-Que Shack in Garland, TX. "Travis and Donna Mayes opened the now legendary Meshack's Bar-Be-Que Shack in May 2009. They led the way to a renaissance of Dallas barbecue that has been exhilarating, including the opening of Pecan Lodge andLockhart Smokehouse. New joints continue to open in the D/FW area almost monthly now, some good, some bad."

Zen BBQ shares the story of a church pastor whose day job is being a BBQ pitmaster. I'm sure his ribs must be heavenly. Afterall, he has God on his side. When I attended services at Reverend Hodge’s church one Sunday, I met a guest preacher named Reverend Jimmie Cobbin. After I asked him if he ever cooked barbecue, he smiled and said, ‘Funny you should ask.’ As it turned out, Cobbin operated a barbecue stand in Richmond called Jimmie’s Ribs for several years.”

BBQ Jew tells the curious tale of Guy Parker's BBQ Sauce. "I used to regularly travel to Goldsboro for work and was always curious about the vacant but tidy Guy Parker’s Barbeque Restaurant near the edge of downtown.  I never did figure out the story behind the restaurant until seeing this interesting article.  Between Guy Parker’s and Scott’s, Goldsboro is becoming a barbecue town known as much for its ghosts (and their sauce) as for its existing restaurants."

The MEATWAVE says what's in everyone's mind - skewers suck. They look nice but yeah ultimately they suck. Follow his tips on making Pichos Morunos to make amazing skewers.

Embers and Flame review the new Wicked Good Burgers book by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and Andrea Pyeson. "Wicked Good Burgers won’t teach you have to make a good burger, it won’t even teach you how to make a great burger.  It will teach you to make a perfect burger.  A perfect burger, what’s a perfect burger?  Well, a perfect burger is a burger that makes you smile when you eat it.  I love all kinds of food, cooked all kinds of different ways.  But there is something about a burger, when done correctly,  that can just make you forget almost anything else you’ve ever eaten.  If you don’t understand what I’m saying then you’ve never experienced a perfect burger and you need to buy this book and read it."

Memphis Que visits A&R BBQ's Downtown location in Memphis. After a waitress mistakenly gives his rib tips instead of ribs, she offers to replace them. "Once food has been served to a customer restaurants are required to throw it away if it is sent back, even if it hasn't been touched. In my world view it would be a crime to cause such good-looking rib tips to get tossed in the trash. And speaking of good-looking food; during my visit I also noticed some mouth-wateringly delicious looking smoked sausages coming out of the kitchen. I'll definitely be trying one of them soon."

Grilling with Rich let's BBQ LEGEND Dave Anderson tell you his story in his own words. If you're a student of BBQ or just believe in redemption and the human spirit, read and reread.

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Kevin's BBQ Joints likes to be thorough. So he visits all three locations of Phil's BBQ in San Diego! Lots of tasty photos.

BBQ Jew notes there's plenty of Bruhaha about Texas Monthly having the country's first full time BBQ editor. Sorry Texas but North Carolina's Bob Garner's been writing full time about North Carolina BBQ for a LONG time.

Don O's Texas BBQ is heading to the Houston BBQ Festival and has hits up plenty of BBQ joints on his way down!

Cowgirl's Country Life smokes up some salmon using Harry Soo's Slap Yo Daddy chicken rub and brown sugar. Looked so good it slapped me across the computer screen!

Another Pint Please is facing two problems - a snow storm and a slab of ribs that might need to go in the freezer. "Even with a winter storm warning in effect, I felt obligated to fire up the grill. I had a rack of ribs in the fridge which I refused to freeze.  Fortunately, BBQ takes precedence over inclement weather." We salute you sir!

BBQ Sauce Reviews checks out Texas Sweet Hickory and has only one BAD thing to say about it. "They only sent me one bottle". Nuf said. Go buy this sauce!

THE MEATWAVE doesn't hand our props like candy! So when he awards Rufus Teague Blazin' Hot Barbecue Sauce a stunning 8 out of 10 points that's reason to click in and check it out.

Obsessive Compulsive BBQ digs deep into American history and finds a fun little tidbit. "In the early 19th century, during the administration of president Andrew Jackson, two groves of trees were planted on the Capitol Grounds for barbecues." Read the entire article - WORTH IT!!

Fed Man Walking visits Stiles Switch in Austin, TX. "Stiles Switch is my go-to for BBQ without the BS. They’re open when they say they’re open. They cook enough meat to last the day. Even if the line wanders the 15 yards to the door, pitman and slicer Lance Kirkpatrick keeps it moving without sacrificing an affable sense of ease. I can dodge in, get a half-pound of moist brisket and be out the door in five minutes most days."

Marie let's Eat hits their 200th BBQ review! For the this milestone they hit up Texas style The Rib Ranch in Marietta, GA. "I was happy to tilt my head back and let the smoky taste of the ribs linger while considering all of the silly Texas kitsch and bric-a-brac on the walls, but Marie was keen on dessert and tried a hot fudge brownie, which she loved. I accepted her offer of a bite, expecting the cool taste of cold chocolate syrup instead of piping hot brown goo. That was an unpleasant surprise."

DivaQ smokes up a crispy duck dish. "I think duck doesn’t get used nearly as much as it should be. Its an incredibly rich dark and forgiving meat that lends itself well to many applications.  Plus I have been watching many episodes of Duck Dynasty on A&E lately and well its been making me hungry and Si cracks me up. HEY!"

Texas BBQ Posse shares two little known facts about Slow Bone BBQ, the newest joint in Dallas. I won't give it away but this line is worth quoting (concerning their BBQ Drugs sign) - " I've always believed that good BBQ is like good drugs"

Patron's of the Pit gives you tips on how to clean your pit without getting covered in ash. "Every pit should come with its own built-in Shop Vac we think. For there were times I’d wheel over the garbage can and just invert my grills and ash pans over it. The result naturally resembled something akin to loitering on the flanks of Mount St Helens after a modest eruption."

BBQ Master thinks out of the box. When I think of cabbage & BBQ I'm thinking slaw. But then I'm not a MASTER. She stuffs it with sausage and smokes it on the grill! So much I need to learn.

Memphis Que visits newly opened Razorback BBQ in West Memphis, TN. "After glancing over the menu I asked the two employees present which they thought was better between the ribs and the pulled pork. "I just took the ribs off this morning and they turned out great today," was the answer I got so I ordered a half-slab plate.The hefty portion of ribs was incredibly tender and served in my preferred dry-with-sauce-on-the-side manner. They didn't have a ton of smoke flavor but I liked the dry rub on them. The beans and slaw were both pretty standard with the slaw being creamy but not obnoxiously so."

How to keep your ribs from tasting like HAM

I went to college down in the west Texas town of Lubbock. Growing up in the culturally diverse and blue voting city of New York, I needed a change and Texas provided it in spades. Antagonism ran high in NY vs TX. Texans were no more interested in New York culture than the New Yorkers were interested in ostrich skinned cowboy boots. New Yorkers were godless heathens and Texans were unread right wing nutjobs. To be fair we haven’t really deviate all that far in public sentiment.

As far as BBQ goes now, New Yorkers love Texas BBQ. Specifically Central Texas BBQ. We now eat our meats on butcher paper and people now pay by the pound. As of 2013 we have no less than 5 groups doing Texas style BBQ around and more are on their way! These are not faux Texans either, they’re really going out of their way to reproduce the product and it’s really good.

One strange by product of this is the simplistic salt & pepper rub being used on everything in New York. In Texas, they put salt & coarse ground pepper on their BEEF products but are much freer with the seasonings when it came to pork ribs. Somehow this got translated into ONLY salt rubs for ribs, leading to somewhat unpleasant results.

It’s not that you can’t get great ribs just using salt & pepper. You can indeed get GREAT ribs just doing the duo. The danger is that you get “hammy” ribs. This happens where the salt, smoke and long cooking accidentally “cures” the meat. Now you’ll get some of that in pork butts but it’s not as much of a problem given the large amount of interior meat to mix with it.

Hammy ribs tastes -- just as the name implies – like ham on a long bone. And not complex good ham either, just sodium inflected meat.

There’s several ways you can make sure that you don’t serve ham on a bone.

#1 Salt late!

You should only season your ribs right before you toss them into the smoker. Because of how thin a slab of ribs are, seasoning your pork with a rub and letting it sit overnight will cause it to cure.

#2 Cook hotter

Low and slow is the mantra of BBQ and it’s a good thing. REALLY LOW and REALLY SLOW is just ridiculous and doesn’t produce a superior product. In fact, it doesn’t help the pork ribs render fat very well. So now, not only do you have hammy ribs, you have fatty hammy ribs. No good. You hear of people cooking ribs for 9 hours? = HAM

#3 Avoid Enhanced Pork

Many places sell enhanced pork which have been injected with a brine mixture to give the illusion of juiciness. You know what that produces? Well you guess it. HAM. Don’t get me wrong, I love ham but you’re looking make ribs not ham right?


News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Kevin's BBQ Joints reviews Just Leave the Bones BBQ sauce. "This is hands down one of the most balanced, satisfying sauces you can find. I tried it will pulled pork, brisket, sausage, and even some secret items (to be seen later) and they all matched perfectly with this vinegar based sauce with a slight kick (not too much though). Let’s just say I am incredibly impressed by this Carolina based sauce that goes on thin enough to cover a large surface area, but with enough thickness to not be considered watery."

Patrons of the Pit knows how to impress women - caramel rolls on the charcoal grill! I'm not sure that it works but I sure am impressed! "A few blogs back we showed you how to impress a woman by baking her bread on the grill. Women chimed in from all across the blogosphere, and were impressed left and right, and a good thing had been done"

Full Custom Gospel BBQ is living the dream. Turning BBQ from a hobby to career and is now Texas Monthly Magazine's BBQ Editor. Congrats!!

Grilling with Rich tries out Fox Bros BBQ sauce. Seems like Georgia BBQ sauce is on the rise!! Watch your back Kansas City. "Overall, the barbecue sauce was great and would work perfectly on a great piece of grilled chicken and also any sort of ribs. If this is a definition of what Georgia barbecue sauces taste like, then I better start looking for more Georgia style sauces, because they are amazing!"

Texas BBQ Posse posts their top 10 blog posts of all time! I guarantee you, you don't want to miss their post on butcher paper wrapping. Pure gold.

Man Up Texas BBQ tells you where to get the best BBQ pork sandwich in all of Alabama.  "I don't get many chances to stop at one of my favorite BBQ joints, but when I do, I always pop in for a pork sandwich and iced tea. The pork sandwich at Kendall's B-B-Q in Georgiana, AL, is easily one of my favorites in the state. The pork is supple, and they put a perfect amount of sauce to complement pork and seep into the soft bun."

No Excuses BBQ shows off some photos of his "ugly ribs". I'm not sure what he's looking at, they look sexy to me!

BBQ Geek visits Quick Bite Bu-Ba-Q in Woodstock, GA.. "This day we sampled ribs and pulled pork.  I thoroughly enjoyed my ribs - properly smoked and not overcooked.  But as you can see in the picture, the pulled pork was over-pulled and dry (aka hammered).  The pork was the same for my wife and daughter's pulled pork sandwiches."

BBQ Nation has a grilled Bananas Foster recipe ready to submit for the upcoming Kingford Charcoal One Bite Challenge!

BBQ Sauce Reviews tries out Black Bart's Brisket Rub from Tasty Licks BBQ Company. "I did two different cooks with this rub — a low and slow cook using some beef ribs and a hot and fast cook on the grill with a tri-tip roast.  I was pleased with the results in both, although it was interesting to see how the flavors changed between the two cooks.  The heat level of the rub was definitely more noticeable in the hot and fast cook, while it seemed to blend in more with the other flavors on the low and slow cook.  In both cases, the meat had a beautiful color when finished."

Barbecue Master reviews Cowboy Joe's Pit and Grilling Sauce (Vinegar Sauce). "The darker color was throwing me off, but when I opened the jar, this was what I call a mop. It's thin like a classic North Carolina vinegar sauce but with a sweeter smell. What this means is that you can use it as a marinade, and you can brush it on while grilling where on thick sauces you need to wait until the meat is almost done, or the sugars will burn, and your barbecue meat will be charred on the outside."

The MEATWAVE is here to help you out. Your traditional grilled steak sandwich is dry as leather and tastes like ass. "I was late to jump on the banh mi bandwagon, so much so that the all out craze they had going so many years ago was breathing its last breath when I finally joined. Still, my first taste of one of these Vietnamese sandwiches was a revelation—the contrast between the sweet and salty meat, pickled diakons and carrots, fresh cilantro, and airy, crusty bread was nothing short of spectacular. Whether in or out of food fashion, I still think these are royalty among sandwiches, deserving continued prominence, which is why I'm bringing you this grilled steak banh mi today."

Marie let's Eat reviews Bailey's BBQ in Ringgold, GA. " I had the vinegar slaw, which was awesome, and some really curious Brunswick stew. Packed with lima beans and carrots, this was like vegetable soup with some meat in it, and it was served with oyster crackers, which might be a first. Once in a while, you’ll run into a Georgia barbecue joint that will give you saltines, but I really don’t know that I’ve ever seen oyster crackers served with stew. The sauces are thick red tomato-based, both a mild and a hot. The hot was not particularly lethal, and went very well with the meat. We enjoyed our barbecue very much, took Marie a sandwich that she also enjoyed (no slaw, mild sauce), and thanked our hostess for a satisfactory meal. Not extraordinary, but a fine time kicked back in what is clearly a popular local spot with lots of regular guests."

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Another Pint Please notes that nothing says St. Patrick's Day like Guinness and nothing says dinner like Cajun Rub & Smoked Guinness Beer Can Chicken. I'm not really a fan of the shoving a beer can up poultry ass cooking but that sure looks tasty.

DivaQ had the midnight munchies. So she decided to take some smoked breakfast sausage, stuff them with cheese, jalapenos, cheese and wrap them in pastry. Mind blown?

The Meatwave takes on an old favorite - Stubbs Spicy BBQ Sauce. Stubbs & I have some history in the sense that we both spent a good deal of time in Lubbock Texas. While it's fan base is strong, the MEATWAVE is unimpressed. "I'm trying hard to like this sauce, but I still can't say its up in the higher echelons of greatness. While the heat of this spicy version improved the flavor for me compared to the original, there was a slightly chemical and off-putting aftertaste both out of the jar and after being cooked. That being said, looking back at everything I've reviewed, this deserves more of an average or slightly above average rating for its good balance of flavor, even if it's not the most exciting sauce on the planet."

Fed Man Walking visits Franklin's BBQ. You'd expect him to join the chorus of devotee's to what has been called America's best BBQ joint. Well you'd be wrong. Fed Man found the brisket to be "Sunday dinner-table chuck, with only the rosy edges to speak for its time in the smoke." and the ribs "Blindfolded, I would have said these came from a crockpot." Ouch.

Once Upon a Stein had a great time at the recent aPORKalypse NOW event here in NYC. Seems like she enjoyed my hog! "Now here’s the funny thing – I don’t really like pork! At least that’s what I thought before the event. Turns out I’m just picky about my pork. The food was delightful. Pork from a smoker, marinated in au jus, served on artisan bread, or my favorite, served up as Chicharrónes."

Texas BBQ Posse visits Fat Boys BBQ in Cooper, TX. "The meats at Fatboy's continue to be cooked low and slow using only seasoned pecan wood. Marshall declared the ribs and brisket cooked "absolutely perfectly." That's a real compliment from a guy who has 30 years experience cooking real Texas BBQ. Shannon has added a simple salt and pepper rub to his brisket and ribs, just enough to add another layer of flavor to Fatboy's meat offerings."

Full Custom Gospel BBQ visits Black Diamond Smokehouse and awards it a vaulted 3 stars. "Once again the brisket was deeply smoky as well as dried out. The ribs had improved. There was still a heavy smoke flavor that verged on overkill, but a lighter rub had been applied that allowed a crisp bark to form on these moist ribs. As I concluded my meal I could still see the potential. A fattier cut of brisket closer to opening time may be great, but the slices I got were just above acceptable. The ribs seem like a safer bet."

Grilling with Rich shares a photo of a massive pile of juicy pulled pork. Sometimes that really all you need isn't it?

BBQ with Franklin (the fellow bashed by one of the posts above) shows us some Texas style pulled pork. Guess you get tired of brisket after a while. Interesting enough the country's brisket king prefers pork butts.

No Excuses BBQ smokes up an entire pork chop rack! Really nothing much to say about this other than the fact that when I saw the photo (posted on top) my jaw dropped.

Man Up Texas BBQ is in Hoover, AL visiting Golden Rule BBQ. Mixed chopped pork sandwich with food porn galore!

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

BBQ Sauce Reviews tries out Zurrell's BBQ Sauce after their label make over. Great to see more people heading for the tangy end of the spectrum in the "Stubb's Mesquite" style.

Bob's Brew & Que turns his grill into a wood burning pizza oven! "I have been pondering my lack of a wood stove or dedicated pizza cooker for some time, and have been playing around with different configurations for making pizza. I have tried fires on the bottom of the kettle, offset, in the middle, and decided I would try building the fire on the back side of the cooking grill, to see if that worked. It did not work well enough, the pizza stone, in this case a cast iron version, never got hot enough to cook the crust as I would like. But the overall pizzas were still pretty good."

Cowgirl's Country Life is ready for St Paddy's Day! On the grill tonight - Grilled corned beef and cabbage wraps with chipotle thousand island dressing.

Kevin's BBQ Joints convinces Ms Virginia Willis to name her favorite BBQ joints. This included Heirloom BBQ; Fox Bros BBQ, Fat Matt's, and Community Q all in Atlanta, GA.

Patrons of the Pit makes some Apple wood smoked spare ribs! "During the next three hours, I naturally took up periodic residence in a gamut of my favorite easy chairs, whilst watching out of the corner of my eye, the apple wood smoke quietly curl from the cooker. I don’t know what it is exactly, about a smoking pit, and meats quietly cooking there, but it stirs me. It cultivates a great contentment in me, and for a while at least, I am in need of little else. And as I repaired on the couch with my favorite father in-law, our feet propped up, lovely beverages in hand, I declared that this was indeed the high rigors of BBQ, but more over, that we were undoubtedly up to the task at hand. We raised our beverages with the rising smoke, saluting the BBQ arts, and then I think father in-law may have even nodded off a bit. Bless him and his true BBQ posture"

Grilling with Rich reviews Slap Yo Daddy's Competition Chicken Rub. "Upon, taking the chicken out of the smoker, you automatically see the effects of the rub and you get that nice mahogany color  that we all strive for and will have a big impact on your appearance scoring. The one thing that I realized when making the best barbecue chicken possible is that you must leave the rub on for about max 20 mins so that the rub really penetrates the skin of the chicken before you put the chicken in the smoker."

Man Up Texas BBQ gives us some great shots of the pits at Opie's BBQ in Spicewood Texas.

BBQ Guy Blog is done with competitions. His post is well worth reflecting on. "As regular readers of this blog probably know, I stopped competing in bbq contests a few years ago. I decided that instead of spending money on a hobby that didn't produce a respectable return on investment, I would prefer to spend my time and hard earned money pursuing other hobbies that do produce realiable consistent income with reasonable certainty."

BBQ Jew alerts us to the fact that Cooper's is turning 75! " If Clyde Cooper walked into the barbecue restaurant that bears his name today – 75 years after he opened its downtown doors – he still would know the recipes for the short, simple menu and recognize some of the regulars in the straight-backed wooden booths."

Texas BBQ Posse shares several 360 panoramic views of the top BBQ joints in Texas.
Another Pint Please shares a tasty recipe for the grill. Chicken Grillsicles with Rum Butter Sauce.
The BBQ Grail preps up something tasty - Grilled Tenderloin stuffed with Walnut Romesco.
Fed Man Walking visits the new John Meuller Meat Co and Texas' most infamous pitmaster still has the chop's "Even as the brisket shakes off the rust of a shakedown cruise, Mueller’s beef ribs are the staves that hold the ship together, complicated beams of fiber and ruddy crust on the outside, a marbled motherlode on the inside, with the bone just starting to recede at the edges for an ideal tension.".

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Obsessive Compulsive has a new official theme song and video for his competition cook team Man vs. Pig

BBQ JEW is on the trail following my teacher, the Pitmaster Ed Mitchell in his secretive upcoming restaurant in Durham.

BBQ Grail reviews the latest in BBQ gadgets! Eyewear?

No Excuses BBQ smokes up some game hens on the pit. Because who doesn't love to have their own bird? I know I don't like to share.

Man up Texas BBQ gives us some massive food porn both in front and behind the scenes at Black's BBQ.

Don O's BBQ picks up 25 lbs of Franklin's Brisket. Yes you read that right. TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS!!! Well that's a lb of beef a day. I'm sure my doctor would approve.

Texas BBQ Posse finds the best picture/comment EVER!! If you love all wood BBQ you gotta check this out.

Our State Magazine does a thorough review of Hillsborough BBQ Company in Hillsborough, NC. Pay the site a visit and definite make it part of your BBQ road trips.

Marie Let's Eat visits True BBQ in West Columbia SC. "The chopped pork is certainly worth trying. It’s smoked overnight on a mix of wood – Ernest told us that he smokes over whatever he can get, but prefers pecan when it’s available – and then chopped quite fine. It is smoky and lip-smacking good. Since Marie was trying the more Alabama/Georgia-styled tomato-based Sexy Lady sauce, I suppose that I should have tried the mustard-based Pretty Lady, but I’d already had a delicious mustard-based sauce at Jackie Hite’s for lunch and so went with an unnamed and thin Lexington-style pink vinegar sauce. Maybe they should call it Sassy Lady or something."

The MEATWAVE reviews DennyMike's Hot 'n Nasty BahBQUE sauce. "So many "hot" barbecue sauces don't deliver on the heat, but DennyMike's Hot 'n Nasty does, and I immediately give it props for that. Moreover though, the sauce builds great layers of barbecue flavor that are very bold out of the jar and bit more balanced and slightly milder after being cooked. The mouth scorching heat may make this a good choice mainly for heat seekers when used as a condiment or dip, but it created tremendous flavor on the chicken, and with more sweetness and less spice, I think it's something almost anyone can enjoy."

BBQ Sauce Reviews tests out the Gril-Lit automatic grill light. Because who doesn't love grilling in the dark?

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere slow smokes a Tri-Tip roast and stuffs it with breakfast!

BBQ Geek shares with us Fox Brother's BBQ event  to promote awareness of breast cancer. Having lost their head chef to a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, they wish to honor her memory and do what they can to get more people involved to find a cure. If you're in the Atlanta region, do show your support!

The MEATWAVE tries a new Chris Lilly recipe and grills up some sweet and spicy pickles! Summer burgers have never had a better companion.

Marie, let's eat visits Big Oak Bar-B-Q in Commerce, GA a joint serving up North Georgia BBQ. "He smokes hams for seven hours and the result is a meal very much like the excellent restaurants in the surrounding area. The chopped pork is dry and mildly smoky, and tastes pleasant and light, but it really cries out for sauces. The taste of the meat is very similar to what you get at the nearby Bar-H, and also Bar-B-Q Shack, among others. There are two sauces, mild and hot versions of a not-too-thick tomato and vinegar mix; the hot version is enhanced by Red Rooster."

Memphis Que reviews Elwood's Shack, a literal shack sitting in a parking lot of a Lowe's in Memephis. "The sandwich ended up being a gloriously big, sloppy beast that I mostly ate open-faced with a fork. The pork was well-smoked, the jalapeno slaw added a nice extra kick and the bun was perfectly toasted and buttered, which showed some impressive attention to detail despite the unusually high volume of customers that day. For $6 it is one hell of a sandwich."

Patron's of the Pit shares with us the story of Jim Minion. If you're a BBQ guy, it's likely that you're cooking using the minion method. This was a method of keeping a low and slow burn that Jim came up with by accident.

BBQ Illuminati shares a picture of a real BBQ dragster. Some things just render you speechless don't they?

Texas BBQ Posse did a  35-hour, 700-mile barbecue tour to the Texas Gulf Coast and back just to find good smoked meat in Houston. Well let's say they didn't quite find what they were looking for.

Obsessive Compulsive BBQ, my favorite BBQ historian, shares some photos and stories of the annual Pie Town Fair BBQ from 1940.

Man Up Texas BBQ shares with us a very very very tragic story. "Sadly, a pit fire shut down Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor, TX) yesterday. They might reopen tomorrow (I'll update later.) but will do so without the brick pit in the kitchen. It's a sad loss, but everyone is okay, so that is something to be thankful for. Our best wishes to Wayne and all of the folks at LMB.."

Another great week in SAUCE!! 

  • Big Wayner's BBQ reviews Crazy Bitch Gourmet Sauces. With names like Sassy, Chicken Shit, and Hott how this possibly be bad?
  • BBQ Sauce Reviews takes a look at Char Crust Amazin' Dry Rub Cajun Seasoning. Could they possible have come up with a longer name?
  • Pork N Whisky makes a hot sauce using the "Brian Strain" pepper, the world's hottest pepper. It rates up in the 1.2+ million Scoville range (jalapeno are in the 5000 range).
  • BBQ Grail shares a Chipotle-Peanut BBQ sauce. Sounds delicious!
  • Another Pint Please shares a beer variant of a classic French sauce to go with his BBQ. Instead of a Bearnaise, it's a BEER-naise! Right up my buddy  WDM's alley.
  • No Excuses BBQ tries out Big Butz Chicken Dust and Hot BBQ sauce
  • Barbecue Master reviews and presents an offer from Tantonka Dust Beef Rub.

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

BBQ JEW alerts us to the President of the United States' fondness for North Carolina BBQ. This isn't a political rally stop, he's getting some grub to go!

Lots of BBQ Sauce and Rub reviews this week!

BBQ Pit Boys shares their video recipe for Fish fillets with lobster and brandy stuffing. Oh yeah...

Texas BBQ Posse bumps into fellow Texan BBQ blogger Daniel Vaughn, who has an upcoming book coming soon, at Snow's BBQ. "I’m never surprised to run into Daniel at a restaurant, because if I see him, I know I’m in for some good barbecue."

Patrons of the Pit shares a BBQ Chicken Recipe so good it'll actually keep Elvis in the building. I have always found BBQ chicken to be as hot and sexy as a pimpled Tuba player. But this actually got me back into thinking what we could do to make a better BBQ chicken.

Marie let's Eat visits Jack's Barbecue in Kingsland, GA. In addition to to enjoying the wood cooked BBQ and honey glaze they discover Jack's an exemplary boss and human being. "Sutton has one of those staffs who really like talking about him with a smile and a twinkle in their eye while he’s away..... The two ladies working this afternoon, instead, told me it was a shame that I missed him because he’s such a character. They love working for the old guy, who has been happily married for something like fifty years and keeps everyone guessing by changing his mind constantly about what he wants to do."

DivaQ the Canadian Queen of BBQ shares with us a fitting Canadian dessert to finish off our smoked dinner - Crown Royal Maple Whiskey & Sweet Potato Pie.

Zen BBQ features pitmaster Trent Brooks of Brooks' Place BBQ - a roadside trailer BBQ in Cypress Texas.

Bon Appetit lists Franklin BBQ in Austin Texas as a critical member of it's top 20 most important restaurants in America.


News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Southern Foodways shares the retirement of "Big Jack" Dyson whose been serving legendary Memphis ribs at the Rendezvous for the past 45 years. How waiters do you know get a congressional speech at their retirement? That's memorable hospitality right there! "I’m watching the children’s children come in...I’m waiting on my third generation, so I know mostly everyone, you know, that’s been coming here for years."

BBQ Jew has some exciting news!!! Johnson Family Barbecue has open in Durham, NC and is serving all wood cooked BBQ. If you're new to the BBQ scene, any new place being opened in North Carolina that cooks with all wood is a win for the good guys is worth celebrating.

Texas BBQ Posse is off on a journey to find Texas' best BBQ. "Now, to determine the very best – at least for this one trip -- we plan to visit our 10 favorites over three days, covering nearly 700 miles. Then, we’ll rank the top 5, in order. ---Call it the Super Bowl of Texas BBQ tours. One trip. One tasting. One big winner."

Man Up Texas BBQ visits Louie Mueller's and shares some AMAZING food porn photos. So little words but so much to be said. You'll want to see these!

Serious Eats gives us a tour of the newly opened Hi-Lo BBQ in San Francisco, CA. If nothing else marvel at his all wood cooker - my personal favorite the J&R smoker. This is exciting news to hear that people are moving back to cooking with all wood.

DivaQ, the award winning BBQ champion, shares her recipe for Greek-style grilled chicken kabobs.

Congratulations are in order for Swamp Boys BBQ for hitting the #1 spot in BBQ rankings!

The BBQ Grail reviews Gary's Original All-Purpose Seasonings. "When you first open the shaker of Gary’s Seasoning the aroma of garlic is the most prominent flavor your notice.  But do not let that fool you.  This is not a one note seasoning.  Taste the seasoning and you’ll notice the layers of flavors start to play tricks on your taste buds.  The more you taste the different it tastes.  Because of the different flavor layers I found you get the best result when you start with a good dash of the seasoning the chicken when it’s put on the grill and then a light sprinkle just before you take the meat off the grill."

Patrons of the Pit has another use for his BBQ grill - remembering the tranquility of cooking at a forest campsite. "The stars, the moon, the forest glade, we love it all, even the smoke in our face! And here is the thing I have noticed, and maybe some of you have to; every time back home when we thus light the grill, and we smell that campfire-like smoke lofting towards the heavens, are we not at once, and irrevocably so, reminiscent, and smitten deeply for these places. Because smell is at once patron to memories, and memories thus flood back of those quiet campsites nestled aside shimmering waters. And for a moment,  we can taste again the simple life we had once aspired to there."

Marie let's eat visits Beachcomber BBQ & Grill in St Simon's Island, GA. Apparently in the area. it's the underdog BBQ joint to a much larger and older competitor. But ... "Alton Brown has family in the area, and he sang Beachcomber’s praises on an episode of Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate. It’s his contention that Beachcomber’s simplicity puts it above its celebrated rival; just smoking the meat low and slow over oak without anything fancy or flashy is all that it needs to be memorable."

Full Custom Gospel BBQ is in San Antonio, TX visiting the Big Bib BBQ which was "above average" and Conger's Smoke Shack where he had a really good time. "The meat was smoky, well seasoned and had perfectly rendered fat. This was some great brisket."

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

Obsessive Compulsive Barbecue notes that the original celebration of Groundhog's day actually involved barbecuing Groundhogs! "At this novel annual event farmers, politicians and former residents to the number of many thousands gather to share in eating a splendid repast, the principal feature of which is groundhog meat. The meat is cooked in barbecue fashion and invariably wins the praise of the celebrants."

Marie let's eat visits Keith-A-Que in Ashbrun, GA and found the only great thing about it was the price because the BBQ pork butt certainly wasn't very good. They also visited Smoakies in Cordele, GA which they really did like. I'm so disappointed I didn't know about this place when I was down in Cordele a few months ago. It's named after the owner's beloved cat, and who wouldn't love a joint like that?

Patrons of the Pit grills pork chops in sub-freezing temperatures in the balmy state of Minnesota. They got some beautiful shots and share my view of what BBQ is - it's not a recipe, it's a philosophy. "After a while, and maybe even longer than that, I felt the compulsion to put the lid on, and go think about my life. Nothing quite so fine as repairing out in the yard with a 15 below cross-wind, whilst two pork chops sizzle on the snow grill. Glory! The art of winter grilling, if your wondering, is not to fight it. But to embrace it. To make the proverbial glass of lemon aid out of it. To meet it on it’s terms and not your own. That, and a degree of lunacy doesn’t hurt none either."

Grilling with Rich does an amazing profile on Texas UBER-pitmaster Robert (Bobby) Mueller. Much have already been said about Mueller's sausage recipe and his preservation of the family brisket but Rich managed to show us another passion of the great smoker - marathon running! "Beginning around 1975, Bobby embarked on a new leisure activity – running. As if sanding on his feet for 14-16 hours a day wasn’t enough, Bobby set his sites on eventually running in a marathon. After 25 years as an avid runner, Bobby completed 5 marathons, numerous half marathons and roughly fifty 10ks. In the summer of 1984, Bobby was chosen by the Taylor community to carry the Olympic torch on its journey to Los Angeles, CA for the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Games."

The MEATWAVE reviewed Frank's RedHot Kickin' BBQ Sauce and didn't love it as much as I do. This sauce is a guilty pleasure of mine kinda Hostess cupcakes and McDonald's McNuggets. "I understand Tyson's attraction to this "guilty pleasure," as the flavor of Frank's is nearly impossible to resist. That being said, it doesn't really live up to its label as a barbecue sauce. Out of the jar that sauce tasted like a scaled back version of the original Frank's, which left me wanting more heat to bring it in line with the flavor that I know and love."

Full Custom BBQ visits Balderas Grocery & BBQ in Waelder, TX and well, seems unhappy. "The brisket was so over cooked that it came apart in chunks. A bit of mashed potatoes and gravy would have been more appropriate accompaniments than barbecue sauce. It was just sad roast beef. Pork ribs were so dry that edges were frayed as they were cut from the rack. They had been wrapped up tight for some time, so what once was bark was now wet and gummy. The only saving grace was a well spiced sausage with some kick from garlic and spices along with some unexpected herbal notes. It had good smoke, but like everything else had dried out considerably."

Big Wayne's BBQ lists some his favorite BBQ & Pork related tshirts and they are definitely awesome!


Cowgirl's Country Life does a Smoked Beer Chuck on Beer bread. That's right it's embarrassing how much more awesome she is than the rest of us. Just try and read this post without drooling. I couldn't.

News from around the BBQ Blogsphere

BBQ JEW shares one of my favorite magazines OUR STATE, a North Carolina state publication that has an actual page dedicated to the state's barbecue.

Year of BBQ is keeping track of his progress throughout the year and sharing it with us. Thus far he's working with the temperature control tool Guru II and smoking it a Weber Smokey Mountain. 

Marie Let's Eat! reviews Big D's BBQ in Dawsonville, GA. Seems like the pork plate is the item to get, noting that it was "rich and smokey". "Big D’s has a pretty large menu of other things, although the barbecue here is so good I can’t understand why anybody would order any of it. They open every morning for breakfast, including a gluttonous challenge of five pounds of pancakes, and are very proud of their hamburgers. The owner, who grew up in eastern North Carolina, is a UNC fan and he offers up a Tarheel Burger, with cheese, bacon, slaw and vinegar sauce over a half-pound of ground beef."

MEATWAVE continues the BBQ awesome by smoking up some Canadian Bacon! Bear in mind that it's below 20 degrees for the past 2 weeks here in New York City. That's a dedication to smoking we can all respect. Click to get the recipe.

BBQ Blog gives us tips on how to self publishing our own BBQ cookbook. "Before you dismiss what I'm saying about self-publishing you may be interested to know that 2012's best-selling written work 50 Shades of Grey started out as a self-published book. You may not agree with it being a book worth reading and you may not agree with the book's subject matter, but like it or not that book changed publishing and how it will be done in the future."

Obsessive Compulsive Barbecue takes us through the history of Virginia BBQ sauce. OCB is a fantastic researcher (possibly my favorite) and this post is most definitely one that should be studied in detail by all. He does take a zing at us Carolina stylists "In closing and on behalf of all Virginians, I'd like to say to our Eastern North Carolina friends who enjoy vinegar based barbecue sauce, "You are welcome. We are delighted that you like our barbecue sauce.""

Big Wayner's BBQ visits Blue's BBQ in Billings, MT. He recalls the hilarious conversation conversation he had with the staff in which he complimented their brisket and asked if they had any burnt ends for sale. Their response? "We usually throw ‘em out or feed ‘em to the dogs." SMH....

Afroculinaria relived the Southern Plantation experience by attending a Hog Killing. Great pictures. Those who are squeamish should return to McDonald', this is real food here.