Arrogant Swine

Beer Hall Carolina Whole Hog BBQ

Filtering by Category: Humor

I'm in an Arby's Video!!!

So ARBY's, the awesome roast beef sandwich shop, came up with a new BBQ sandwich - The SMOKEHOUSE BRISKET sandwich.

To promote their new offering they partnered up the national food site Serious Eats to create an interactive BBQ "Map" where they got the expert pitmasters of every stylistic region to talk about how they smoke their meat.

I got tapped to do South Carolina whole hog. Now too bad I didn't get to rep North Carolina but the cooking for North & South Carolina whole hog is the same. In the eastern part of South Carolina they use vinegar pepper just the same as the rest of us. For the shoot however, they wanted to highlight the distinctive mustard sauce of the Central Carolina region. Good thing I had plenty of mustard sauce on hand! Check the video out!

btw- couldn't resist any chance to add a fat man GIF

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=62FSZWcqfWo]

 

Introducing the Team!!

Whole Hog BBQ needs a decently large team. If nothing else, to move the massive dead weight of our pigs. So the Arrogant Swine crew in alphabetical order (of course I end up last) Angel Mercado – Beer-conomist/Head of Infrastructure

Angel believes sobriety is a problem which must be dealt with extreme prejudice. So he’s in charge of calculating how much beer we need to get you properly sh*t-faced. He’s also our infrastructure guy, making sure minor little details like “WE HAVE NO POWER!!!” doesn’t get in the way of Hog cookery. Angel covers our business development activities for Queens.

Ed Mitchell BBQEd Mitchell – Patron Saint of The Arrogant Swine

As a North Carolina BBQ team our patron saint is no less than the legendary Ed Mitchell to hold us to those higher standards of whole hog smoking. Also since the Roman Catholic Church has already excommunicated 80% of the team, we couldn’t go with the normal roster of saints.

Josh Bowen – Banjo Plucker/BBQ Alchemist/Team Patron

Josh is the owner and pitmaster of highly popular joints John Brown Smokehouse and Alchemy Texas BBQ. He has generously acted as incubator for the team – supplying us with hogs, use of his kitchens, and keeping the local Fire Department from shutting us down (again…).

Steven Goldberg – Team mead brewer/Cicerone

Steve is our beer guy. We will not serve a single beer with our BBQ unless it’s Steve Approved. What the hell is a cicerone? It’s a dude who tells you what beer to pair with your food; now shut up and drink your beer!

Mark Macatangay – Event Photographer/Bigfoot-in-Residence

Left to my own devices, we’d never have any photos. Things start getting busy and I completely forget to record the action. This is why we have our very own resident Bigfoot to stand over the crowd and snap pictures. The other important reason for having your own bigfoot is to protect our pig head displays. Our pig heads are enormously popular with the crowd. People take more pictures of the head than they do me! Thus our bigfoot keeps our intoxicated guests from making off with our heads (again),

Matthew Gelfand – Director of Kosher Compliance/ Logistics & Crisis Management

Matt knows how Superman feels. No one ever calls him unless things have gone horribly, horribly awry. Pit get stolen 4 hours before cook time? Call Matt. Vegan protest? Matt’s there with the attack dogs as well as breakfast for the crew. On his last blind date, she wouldn’t give him her number but asked for his just in case her basement floods again. The Arrogant Swine is the only kosher compliant whole hog BBQ team. How does he pull that off? I’m not sure. Don’t ask don’t tell. Matt handles our business development activities for Brooklyn.

Arrogant Swine LogoTyson Ho – Founder/Hog Cooker/PhD in Redneck Anthropology  

They say the best job is the one that follows your passions. To the chagrin of my wife, I love cooking whole animals twice my body weight and I like starting fires. If that wasn’t bad enough I have the largest documentation on whole hog cookery in various American regions. Everything from the cooking styles to hog breeds. Surely that deserves a graduate degree no?

Breaking some Rules in BBQ for Success!

Recently a sport commentator remarked that the best thing you can learn from a sport is what’s illegal, specifically in combat sports. For example, we don’t let boxers hit each other while hugging because quite frankly it would be dull and it would sacrifice the development of beautiful crisp punches for the more effective “dirty boxing”. In high school wrestling, you were not allowed to lock your hands in certain positions because it gave an unfair advantage. The list of techniques banned in combat sports e.g. kickboxing, Judo, boxing, taekwondo etc, is filled with really effective moves. No amount of punching power will beat out a good ole “kick in the jimmy”.

So what does this have anything to do with BBQ? Contests are highly artificial. You will never find the world’s best chef in a contest. BBQ is no different. Take the top 5 best BBQ joints in the country by popular informed consensus and you won’t see a single big contest winner on there. They are solid and talented cooks but they’re not destination restaurants.

So what are the “illegal” moves in competition BBQ that would be effective for us to make superior BBQ? No too much is prohibited in BBQ contests but there’s plenty of implicit penalties for certain actions. So here’s a few.

Oil-based injections

Tony Chachere’s Injections are strange, slimy and very delicious. They’re also highly popular for one reason – they add great flavor to dry meats like turkey and pork loins. They’re also oil based. Oil based injections taste better because the vast majority of seasonings are fat soluble!!

Try this at home. Warm up some garlic powder in some water vs some oil. Which one would you rather slather on bread? The water will smell like a broth but the oil will smell delicious!

Pitmasters are not ignorant of this fact and yet inject their meats with liquids instead of lipids. Why is that? Why bother with the apple juice when some olive oil would throw in a nice garlic punch with little effort? In fact, liquid injections are highly inefficient for flavoring due to the fact that the muscles naturally just squeeze them back out.

The reason is largely cosmetic. Judges at contests will penalize a cook because the oil based injections will leave a streaky mark. There’s nothing in the rule book on this but still you’re getting marked down. If you are interested in boosting some flavor try injecting with fats.

Use less sugar use more tart

In the first season of BBQ pitmasters, newbie cook Harry Soo discovers that one of the keys to winning was to make their meats cavity-inducingly sweet. You will not win any contests serving tart BBQ. However this is not true in the general market place. Tart is big amongst consumers. Stubb’s BBQ Sauce is thin and tangy. It is also the #6 best selling sauce in the country grossing over $20 million in revenue a year.

It’s pretty clear that Stubb’s BBQ sauce being used to glaze ribs at a contest would lose and lose badly. Again there’s no rule against tangy sauces but the contests in general prefer it sweet and sticky. It’s worth going back to the original tangy sauces of the South. They’re a natural partner to BBQ .

Bring on the Mustard

Mustard sauces get absolutely no love from BBQ contests (unless it’s sauce contest). If you took 10 random turn in boxes from 10 contests, I guarantee you that you’ll get 10 boxes full of red glazed meats. Any of the yellow stuff would get your entry fed to the dog.

Mustard sauce is popular in central South Carolina and parts of border towns in Georgia. They’re a great compliment to greasy meat. Given that everyone’s secret sauce is more or less composed of ketchup and molasses, give mustard a try. I think you’ll like what you find.

Some BBQ Poetry

The Pitmaster's Dilemma  The alarm failed to ring, it’s a quarter past eight!

And our dear poor pitmaster was dreadfully late.

We are way behind schedule, we are way past dawn.

The wood must be fired, the hog must go on!

Well the pig has been load, the coals have been lit,

the smell of pork smoke surrounds me as I felt free to sit.

Dear Lord what happened? How could this happen to me?

I lit up my cigar and sipped from a brew. It then became all clear! I was beginning to see!

A poetry reading my wife told me! It would be fun and a date!

If you keep ignoring me for BBQ, we’re getting divorced at this rate.

So I put on a tie and shined up my shoes. Ready for readings on floral and fawn.

I prayed the good Lord to kill me as I fought off a yawn.

There were readings on zen and faith and overcoming our fears

If the reader’s bosom weren’t so huge, poems would have bored me to tears.

Then PETA came up and plead the rights of chickens! So passionate So bold!

Oh dear Jesus that was so boring, it knocked me out cold.

It’s not that I hate poetry. I love it I do!

No I’m not joking, I swear that it’s true.

Well my pig is done smoking and we’re ready to eat.

Glad my friends aren’t vegan cuz there’s a whole crapload of meat.

We chop and season and mix up our hog

A couple brought a salad! Which we fed to the dog.

The beer flows freely, the air thick with song and play

Disaster averted, the pitmaster saved the day.

So the morale of the story O reader, write this down too!

Avoid all poetry readings, they’re dangerous for you.

Frank Underwood's Ribs – House of Cards

If you've been watching Netflix’s House of Cards series, you’ll be quite familiar with how much the main character Frank Underwood loves his BBQ ribs. So let’s say you wanted to get the same ribs that Frank gets, what type of BBQ ribs would you eat?

Frank has his choice of 3 different types of ribs from the pig - Upper spare, Lower Spare, and Baby Backs.

Upper Spare – Frank would choose this one if he valued fat and meat thickness the most. The upper spare ribs are the ones closest to the neck and are meatier and fatter.

Lower Spares – If tenderness yet full flavor is what Frank prefers he’d the lower portion of the spareribs which have less meat and fat but since it’s thinner will cook up much more tender.

Baby backs – Where as the spare ribs are flat, baby backs are curved at the bone. Hence if you look up at the photo, you’ll notice that Frank is indeed chopping on some baby backs. Several other proofs of this

  • Freddy the BBQ guy often opens early to serve Frank a breakfast plate of ribs in the morning. BBQ takes a long time to do, so unless the Pitmaster wants to wake up at 3 in the morning, it’s not likely that he’s cooking him spares.
  • Babybacks have a quick turnaround, most places will cook up babyback ribs in 3 hours. One famous joint Tennessee fires them out in just over an hour. Given that Frank likes his ribs at odd hours through the day, it’s likely babybacks are logistically more possible.
  • In Chapter 6 Freddy gets a last minute party catering request. Again, unlikely that he was going to fill that order without using baby backs.

Some reasons that it might not be baby backs

  • Freddy’s is dive. Like a real dumpy dive. Unless you’re a connoisseur, most people have trouble understanding the price premiums that Baby backs command.
  • Freddy’s a South Carolina boy and all the top rib guys there – Sweatman’s, Maurice’s etc use spares not babybacks.
  • Spares have more flavor and since he refers to his rib habit as a vice, it might lean more towards the fatty belly meat on the spares vs the lean loin meat of the babys.

Why Frank might prefer baby backs.

  • First off Frank eats a lot of ribs. A lot. Most people who like to eat a lot of ribs will tend to go for the baby backs as they’re less fatty.
  • Frank eats them before going to work. As baby backs are relatively more uniform than spares, they’re less messy to eat. Thought nothing says political power like BBQ sauce on your tie.
  • Baby backs are easier to eat. Frank looks like the type of guy to streamline everything. It’s hard to imagine that on his off hour, he’d want to deal with inconsistent bone structure of spares when he can have a nice neat row of ribs from the baby backs.

Sauce

It’s likely that Frank prefers a more tangy sauce with a bit of spice. This would be consistent with his Carolina heritage and the fact that he likes to eat a lot of ribs. BBQ sauces are sweet for a reason, because people don’t eat that much BBQ so the acute sweetness is very pleasant for the occasional smokey binge. But for people who eat BBQ all the time, the tart sauces cuts through the fattniess of the meat and enhances the smokey pork flavors.

Freddy’s BBQ Joint – House of Cards

I am awful when it comes to keeping up with new television. Several years have past after the premiere of BBQ Pitmasters before I even thought to tune in. So when Netflix came out with their subscription only political thriller series – House of Cards – I expressed my usual indifference. It’s not that don’t like watching TV, I love it, I just don’t really find the time to do it.

But then my wife started complaining about the main character’s affection for BBQ and how much BBQ kept popping up in the scenes. Well that caught my attention. In the show, Frank Underwood is a South Carolina Congressman whose playing at the upper levels of cut throat politics. Just as Tony Soprano does his deals at a strip club, Underwood schemes and does his backroom deals in a BBQ hole in the wall while stuffing his face with sweet sticky ribs.

Sounds like my kind of character!!

Several fun observations from the media on Frank’s choice of BBQ and my commentary.

Media: Frank Underwood is from South Carolina so he’s more likely to want mustard based BBQ

My Commentary: Frank’s from Gaffney, SC which is only a sneeze away from Charolette, NC. This area is pretty much ANY-TOWN, USA when it comes to regional BBQ i.e. it doesn’t exist. Only certain areas really stick to the old Carolina tradition. The closer you get to major cities, the less regional your BBQ becomes.

Take for example Daddy Joe’s Beach House BBQ in Gaffney, SC where Frank’s supposely from. On the menu the BBQ really isn’t any different than what you might find in Los Angelos or Boston. The rib likely the same as portrayed by the show – saucy and sticky.

Media: Frank would more likely be eating pulled pork than ribs being from the Carolinas.

My Commentary: That’s pretty on point except for a few caveats. I’m sure the show is picking ribs because it’s easier to see that he’s biting into a piece of BBQ. A pulled pork sandwich just looks like anything else between a bun on camera. For all we know he might be eating a tofu sandwich. The ribs is an interesting distinction between North and South Carolina. Strong representatives of the area like Maurice’s and Sweatman’s actually go through the trouble of preparing South Carolina style ribs. In North Carolina, ribs are an after thought because when someone says BBQ, they’re thinking chopped pork.

Media: The closest equivalent to Freddy’s BBQ would be Rockland’s in the DC area.

My Commentary: I would have to agree with that. Rockland’s is indeed very good. If Frank was eating here though, he might want to give the Beef Rib a go, it’s mind blowing.

BBQ and Snowman

BBQ Snowman Super storm Nemo decided to dump a good two feet worth of snow on us New York City residents. January and February are pretty miserable months up here. The reduced daylight and bitter cold really puts a damper on our moods. I never understood people’s thoughts that the winter and barren cold leads to meditative thoughts. Perhaps looking at snow topped tree branches from my computer screen saver maybe, in reality it’s just misery for us who enjoy simply being outside.

The one thing about winter is the seeking nuggets of joy in the midst of misery. Now this would probably not really be an issue if I were into winter sport e.g. skiing, snowboarding etc. But it’s an expensive hobby and not one I have ever found myself to enjoy. So in the middle of the snow storm we looked out into piles of white misery and we made a snow man. We also decided to smoke some beef shortribs.

The snowman lasted for an extra day before melting. The carrot also disappeared leading me to think the local raccoon population had a nice snack. The shortribs were tender and smokey. It seems insignificant to simply be cooking meat over coals in the winter. Some might even find a good deal of humor in the fact that someone is doing BBQ in the snow. For me it’s part of the larger dialogue of one’s existence. There’s plenty in daily life that’s restrictive of what you can do, so much of our limited time engaging in undesired actions and conversations. We do this because the natural world is hard and we accept the difficulties of the task. But in the moments where we manage to separate from the daily rat race, it’s nice to engage in a dialogue away from all that. Thoughts and talk of snowmen, of smoked meat, a child finding magic in winter, and the dreams of Spring.

Brisket - The Insensitive Douchebag of BBQ

Dry Brisket BBQ Last week I wrote a post advising people to not order brisket at BBQ joints unless you were going to spots which specialize in brisket. Brisket is without question the insensitive douchebag of BBQ meats. As a protein, it’s a high risk/high reward type of meat.

What do we mean when we say high risk/high reward? Well the risk of failure is very high and the payoff is really high. When brisket is good, it’s REALLY good. A low risk/low reward thing would be something like chicken where it’s pretty difficult to screw up chicken and really difficult to shoot for the stars with it. This accounts for why so many people ordering brisket in various BBQ joints are overwhelmingly disappointed.

Interesting enough it’s not a regional thing either. Where do you think of when you think of BBQ brisket? Texas right? The Texas imagery is pretty well engrained when it comes to BBQ even though the folks in Kansas City probably do just as much brisket. The Carolinas got pulled pork, Memphis got the ribs and the Lone Star State got the beef.

I decided to do some numbers research based off of one writer’s eating through Texas brisket. Daniel Vaugh is a BBQ blogger who’s eating through Texas. His is the single most extensive site covering every little shack currently smoking meat in the state. Now given that he’s had more Texas BBQ than most and was even featured in a Travel Channel episode, I decided to go over the last 100 places he has visited to gauge how brisket is fairing in Texas.

As you can see from the chart up top, it doesn’t look too well. In the last 100 meals he’s eaten, over 20% of the brisket as basically inedible. 47% of the briskets he ate just sucked. So that adds up into a 68% failure rate!! 19% was decent brisket and only 13% were meats he really enjoyed.

Some of the reviews are pretty funny to read. I’m not sure if it’s just because of Vaugh’s flair but it really does seem that some the briskets he has eaten had offended him in a deep spiritual level. It does seem odd that for a state known for a food item to perform so poorly. It’s not likely you’ll find an almost 70% failure rate on tacos in Mexico or pasta in Italy.

The culprit largely is the meat itself. Brisket is largely made of collagen wrapping it around muscles which are heavily used on the cow. This is not a recipe for success. As far as I know, we’re the only culture that cooks brisket without a liquid element. The liquid is there to maintain an illusion of moisture. Keep that in mind - it is indeed an illusion. Try this test, the next time someone gives you some brisket pot roast, leave the sliced meat out in the open without any of the braising liquid. Come back in an hour and you’ll notice that it “dried” out. It did not dry out, it was always like this, and the liquid just provided the illusion.

Texas brisket depends on the natural melted collagen and fat to create the illusion of juiciness. You’ll notice that when they first cut into the meat that it’s just gushing liquid. Well that isn’t from that one spot, that’s basically pricking a hole in the balloon. All the juice is leaving the brisket and leaving fast!!

Now in a BBQ restaurant setting you have to figure that 1 brisket = about 8lbs. Assuming each person gets a 1/2lb of meat you’ll need to serve 16 people all at once to make sure that everyone gets an optimal brisket. Not likely to happen given that not everyone eats at the same time and not everyone gets the brisket. If people are given a choice of getting it either fatty or lean and people are all ordering the fatty portion, well that lean’s just sitting there drying out waiting for the poor guy who orders the lean.

Again my goal is not to say brisket can’t be good. There are people who really specialize at making brisket. The problem is that they are few and far between and even really good guys need to deal with the horrible logistics of how a brisket acts and fitting that in a restaurant environment. So the next time you go to a BBQ joint and the brisket is dry, don’t get mad get the ribs instead. Or you could just take my advice, when going to BBQ joint avoid the brisket. It is afterall the insensitive douchebag of BBQ meats.

How to Throw a Sausagefest Party - Queens is the King of Sausage

SausageFest This is day 6 in my series on how to throw a sausagefest party. As my original post got too long I broke it down into several parts to lead up to the big day.

Click HERE for BRITISH Sausages

Click HERE for POLISH Sausages

Click HERE for GERMAN Sausages

Click HERE for ASIAN Sausages

Click HERE for ITALIAN Sausages

It's tough to write a post on "Miscellaneous" sausages. This comes with such a pejorative connotation that I'm loathe to create this category. These really are very remarkable sausage and are not only worthy additions to a Sausagefest, they're crown jewels.

To place a positive spin on subject we're unifying them under the banner of "Sausages of Queens". My hometown of Queens NYC is a foodie heaven due to it's extraordinary diversity of ethnicities. The following sausages come from the Sunnyside-Astoria-Long Island City neighborhoods, to navigate this I asked the help of no less of an expert of the region than fellow blogger Tastoria Queens

Moroccan Merguez -  I love lamb and wish I could eat more of it. One of the best things about lamb sausage is how aggressive and spicy you can season this bad boy and STILL be able to taste the lamb. Every one has their own variation on the merguez seasoning but it usually contains sumac- a reddish lemony seasoning. It usually comes with a spicy pepper paste called harissa. Caveat Emptor! Harissa is no joke, take a little sample before you go to town, otherwise it'll be long night.... Two popular places for merguez in Astoria are Naseem Meat Market & Grocery and Cedars Meat House.

Greek LoukanikoThis greek pork sausage is flavored with orange peel and fennel seeds. As you probably already know, orange and fennel are natural partners. Having a sausage flavored with a citrus zest is an amazing treat! This sausage is so popular that it's been around since the 4th century!! That's older than most major religions! You can get yours at Akropolis Meat Market in Astoria.

Romanian Mititei - Anthony Bourdain had an AWFUL time in Romania. I'm not saying these skinless sausages would have changed his view of the country but they certainly would have helped. As someone who has done work in Eastern Europe it's a common sentiment among travelers that the food has no range and pretty much settles on the binary - either bland or completely inspiring. Mititei is definitely the later. It's seasoned with thyme, garlic, paprika, coriander, anise, satureja. Just look at the photo and tell me you're not drooling. I get mine at Muncan Foods in Astoria.

Irish Black & White Pudding - I grew up next to an Irish family and certainly never saw them eating these sausages. We already covered the black pudding in the British segment. I could honestly have simply forgone this post if it wasn't for amazing Irish butcher in Sunnyside - the Butcher Block. The white pudding isn't my favorite tasting sausage but it's interesting enough and it's a great color contrast for a sausagefest! It's basically pork and binder with some general seasonings.

 

Spaniard Chorizo This Spaniard style sausage is served at the finest restaurants in New York City, and it's made right here in Queens!! Despana seasons theirs with the smokey paprika known as Pimenton de la Vera. The varieties of chorizos include Chorizo Tradicional, Chorizo de Cantimpalo, Mini Chorizo, Chorizo Picante and Chistorra.

How to Throw a Sausagefest Party - Italians? Don't fuhgedaboutit!!

SausageFest This is day 5 in my series on how to throw a sausagefest party. As my original post got too long I broke it down into several parts to lead up to the big day.

Click HERE for BRITISH Sausages

Click HERE for POLISH Sausages

Click HERE for GERMAN Sausages

Click HERE for ASIAN Sausages

There is one rule went it comes to a good sausagefest - the generic sweet Italian sausage is not allowed. Now this not because it's not a great sausage. It is because if you don't implement this rule basically everyone will stop by the supermarket at the last second and you'll have a table filled with sweet Italian sausage. So in order to gain a larger variety of tube steak the believed sweet Italian is not invited.

Good Italian butchers don't see fresh sausage as the benchmark for judging meat handling superiority. Where they thrive is in their salamis. For today's post we will simply look at two Sausagefest acceptable offerings which are fresh sausages and two which are salamis which make for an acceptable appetizer. After all, what would be more appropriate an appetizer for a sausagefest than more sausage?

Parsley-Cheese Pinwheel - Alright, this has to be single largest made for the ignorant masses sausage ever. Nothing subtle here, you're not getting some culinary epiphany with this retarded inefficient shape. It's also a sausage I can't hold sausagefest without. I love this thing so much I'm ashamed to admit it. It's pure junk food lowest common denominator eating. It's meat and cheese all grilled til juicy and melty. Further proof that I have the epicurean palate of an 8 year old child. For my money no one does it better than Faicco's Pork Store.

Saucisson a l'ail / CotechinoAs the name implies, it holds dual citizenship in North Italy and France. This here is the reigning emperor of garlic sausage. I first encountered it while working at La Cote Basque, a French cuisine institution, in Manhattan. We cooked our cassoulet with this sausage and it flooded the beans in the dish with its garlic flavor. Every subsequent cassoulet I have ever had has been subpar and largely due to the fact that they don't use this sausage. The italians eat it during New Years. You can get it at Salumeria Biellese.

Wild Boar Cacciatorini I absolutely adore this salami. How much flavor the feral hog they use in there adds I'm not sure but it's really tasty. It's definitely more pronounced than your normal salami. It also just has a great story to go with it.

SoppressataThe first time I tried sopressata I thought it was the amazing food invention ever. My opinions haven't deviated far after so many years. Growing up Chinese, soppressata - a cured raw pork salami, was like nothing I ever ate growing up. We never ate a medium rare steak much less raw pork! Soppressata alone made me wish it was possible for me to "convert" my ethnicity. After all people change their religions right? Why couldn't I be an Italian kid? I'd take on the whole bit, Catholic school, Jersey shore look, pasta ever night, just to call this salami my own. I personally prefer them in blocks like they sell them at Mike's Deli in the Bronx and at Faicco's in Manhattan.

How to Throw a Sausagefest Party - Yellow Fever!!

SausageFest This is day 4 in my series on how to throw a sausagefest party. As my original post got too long I broke it down into several parts to lead up to the big day.

Click HERE for BRITISH Sausages

Click HERE for POLISH Sausages

Click HERE for GERMAN Sausages

Asian sausages. The saying goes that every nationality has a dumpling and every nationality has a sausage. While there are plenty of sausages in Oriental counties. Individually there's not as much as say Poland or Germany. Thailand is the one exception as the Asian nation most passionate about sausage.

CHINESELap chong - No one actually grills this stuff but I toss in there anyway for something different. It's slightly sweet, very fatty. Tastes like a warm jerky. As the resident Chinese guy, it's a must for my contribution.

The thing about Chinese sausages is no one actually eats it independently. It normally acts as an ingredient either for seasoning rice or stir frying with vegetables.

FILIPINO Longganisa - this is the national sausage of the Philippines.Every region has their own variation all which are pork. Some are extremely sweet with a punch of garlic (jamonado), others have a strong salty-sour profile (de recado)

THAI - Thailand loves it's sausages. The one thing I really love about Thai sausages is the use of fresh herbs and spices in the mix. Here's 2 of the major ones.

Sai Oua - A Northern Sausage. My wife is Thai and this is one of my top 5 favorite sausages. The texture isn't necessarily my favorite but the flavors are amazing. You get a mixture of cured, fermented, and freshness flavors. It's seasoned with lemongrass, kaffir and red curry paste which is as fantastic as a sausage could ever hope for.

Sai GrokThis sausage stems from Eastern Issan region. Hope you love garlic. Full Judo chop full of garlic in every bite!

Korean - Sondae Koreans have 7 different varieties of pickles (kim-chi) and probably a thousand sub-varieties on the same pickled theme. Unfortunately this innovation didn't quite make its way into the art of tube steak formation. There is 1 sausage in Korea.

This one made of pigs bood, oats, glass noodles and spices would be it. Like the Chinese sausage, no one is looking to grill this (not that this will stop me from grilling it). Unlike the rich creamy texture you'll find in most blood sausages, this one is kinda fluffy and spongy (more or less because of the glass noodle filling).

How to Throw a Sausagefest Party - From Munich With Love!!!

SausageFest This is day 3 in my series on how to throw a sausagefest party. As my original post got too long I broke it down into several parts to lead up to the big day.

Click HERE for BRITISH Sausages

Click HERE for Polish Sausages

GERMAN - I get mine at Karl Ehmer's. As far as ethnic stereotypes go, the Germans seem to win the upper hand. When we think of Germans we normally associate them with Beer, Sausages, and flawlessly executed automobiles. Seriously how could you beat that - Fun AND Efficient. It's hard to create a list for German sausages as they have over 200 types of them. Here's some of my favorites -

Weisswurst - This is THE original Munich drinking sausage. The tradition is to simply boil them but I don't think they look every nice boiled. Griddled or grilled so you have brown contrast with the pale white flesh of the sausage looks much better. This tube is made of veal and pork fat and takes on a white color.

Bratwurst - The King of German sausages and of course the fatty cornerstone of a Wisconsin tailgate. The Johnsonville Brat is a perpetual guilty pleasure. Historically, the bratwurst was made with leftovers from your meat roast (brat). No one I know does that today. There are over 40 different varieties of bratwursts but we only have a few here in New York sadly. My personal favorite style of brat would be on the course-ground end with a retardly large amount of fat. If your brat doesn't start out looking almost white, we have a problem. Any additional regional spices are appreciated like caraway, ginger, mace, cloves, cardamon is appreciated.

Bauernwurst - This is known as a "farmer sausage". What makes it a more farmer-like I'm not certain. This is the most full-flavored german sausage I've had. They really throw in the kitchen sink with this one. There's marjoram, pepper, paprika, garlic, mace, caraway, juniper berries, etc AND they smoke it. Great sausage.

KaseKrainer - This is actually not German. It's Austrian. I first had it during my travel to Vienna, among my top 3 favorite cities in the world. The KaseKrainer is basically a kielbasa stuffed with swiss cheese. Griddle that up with a side of sweet Austrian mustard and your eyeballs will do a 360. It's really cool how they put it together as the cheese never seems to leak out until you decide to puncture it, unlike the parsley and chese italian sausage. It's a dangerous thing to eat though cuz that cheeze is indeed molten!!

How to Throw a Sausagefest Party - The Polish are no Joke!!

SausageFest This is day 2 in my series on how to throw a sausagefest party. As my original post got too long I broke it down into several parts to lead up to the big day.

Click HERE for BRITISH Sausages

POLISH - There's a number of polish butchers in Brooklyn that I get my Kielbasas from. Now nothing will get you more "you're a douchebag" looks in a Polish deli than walking in and telling the counterperson you want a “Kielbasa”. Kielbasa is Polish for sausage and there’s over a 100 variety of sausages in Poland. My favorites are -

Kielbasa Krajana - I love this sausage for no other reason than its ring shape. It's double smoked with a thicker and usual casing, and thicker chunks of lean pork.

Kielbasa Weselna - This is a DARK sausage! It's name means "Wedding Sausage" and it has an INTENSE smokey flavor. Just touching it, your hands smell like sweet hardwood fire. The Poles definitely know how to get a marriage started off right. My all time favorite Polish sausage.

Kielbasa Wedzona - This is what you and I normally think of when we think of "regular" kielbasa. Everyone has it on their menus and there's millions of commercial versions. If you get your kielbasa from the Hillshire Farms brand you're getting Kielbasa Wedzona. On a cold winter night, grilling Wedzona until it pops while drinking cider and smoking a cigar? Can't be beat.

Kiełbasa Jałowcowa – This is a kielbasas flavored with juniper berries. It’s the gin & tonic of the sausage world. There’s something very old world about this spice. It’s definitely not a spice we use enough of in my opinion.  I'm actually surprised no one ever decided to call this a "Xmas Sausage". Xmas = Xmas trees & wreaths right? Nothing like a pine cone scented meat tube for the holidays.

 

How to Throw a Sausagefest Party - The British Are Coming!!

SausageFest I love throwing theme cookouts, especially in the frigid New York City winters as they stick out. My all time favorite cookout party is my annual Sausagefest! The premise is simple - an entire table of various different sausages, lots of beer, and an entire evening worth of immature humor. I seriously could not imagine a better time. To hold a proper sausagefest, you need a retarded amount of sausages, beer and a grill. Everyone brings their own and the generic sweet Italian is banned. Not that there's anything wrong with our beloved sweet italian sausage but unless this rule is in place, everyone will bring the same generic sausage. The key is that there has to be too many sausages to finish, otherwise it's just a cookout.

The one great thing about New York is how ethnically diverse we are. So it's pretty easy to get different types of ethnic sausages. (see my spread above).

Originally in this post I was writing a bit on all my favorite sausages but it was turning out to be my longest post ever So I'm breaking it down into a series as a lead up to my party. Today we start with Ye Olde England!

BRITISH - I get mine at Myers of Keswick

Cumberland - A very long coiled course ground sausage flavored with spices like sage, mace, or ginger. It comes from the region Cumbria where they've been making this regional favorite for the past 500 years! It's normally sold as one long coil and not made into links. We're actually very luck to have Myers use a 100 year old recipe here in NYC for cumberlands. There's a theory that sausage was invented during reign of Elizabeth I by German miners who came  to Cumbria for work.Originally made with the Cumberland pig, which became extinct in 1960 and then "Recreated" in 2008.

Chipolata - A short fresh sausage that's often used to garnish fowl dishes in England. Pretty much what we associate breakfast sausages with. What I love about this sausage is that in England, it's a SIDE DISH!! So you get your Sunday Roast (weekly meal that involves a large roasted joint of meat) and you get a side of sausage. If there's anything more amazing than getting a side dish of sausage, I don't know what it is.

Bangers  - Myers sells a separate "banger" sausage. From my understanding cumberlands or any generic pork sausage can be used for bangers and mash. Interesting enough, I've had an incorrect belief that "bangers" had a cruders meaning. Turns out it's from badly processed casings bursting during cooking with a "bang" sound.

Black Pudding - I have a thing for blood sausages. I love the textures, the richness, and that deep metallic flavor. Most blood sausauges are divided into the "custard" vs "crumbly" style. This one leans more towards the crumbly style. The flavorings are basically onion, pepper, and pork fat. For me, it's mainly a texture thing. Now in England, there's actually a World Black Pudding Throwing Competition held every year. In this competition, athletes take blood sausages, stuffed in a pantyhose (no judgement), and toss it at a stack of British popovers known as Yorkshire Puddings. Whoever knocks the most down wins. Black Pudding is also part of a full English and Irish breakfast.

 

Chili's Baby Back Ribs

Hat tip to Huffington Post TLC is producing a morbid show called "Best Funerals Ever". In their episode, Willie McCoy, the voice of the catchiest BBQ jingle ever

I want my baby back I want my baby back I want my baby back I want my baby back Ribs

I want my babyback babyback babyback I want my babyback babyback babyback I want my babyback babyback babyback I want my babyback babyback babyback I want my babyback babyback babyback

Chili's babyback ribs Barbecue sauce

departed this world in true BBQ style. His coffin was even shaped like a BBQ smoker! There's a fountain of sauce, ribs for the mourners, and of course live pigs.

Fun Facts

  • Listed in Advertising Age Magazine as one of the "10 songs most likely to get stuck in your head" 
  • Baby Back Ribs were added to the menu in 1986
  • The song has been featured on television shows such as “Will & Grace,” “The Office” and “Scrubs.”
  • Fat Bastard in the Mike Myers movie "The Spy Who Shagged Me" gives a memorable rendition below.
  • Chili's was once primarily a hamburger restaurant. It sells more ribs than burgers now.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv3I6mz0tBY]

The RETURN of the McRib

It is Dec 17th here in New York City and it's a special day. Today is the day that the elusive McRib sandwich returns and I'm having it for lunch.

You can read Business Insider's 11 Amazing Facts About The McRib

We all know its cheesy but I love seasonalities of commercial foods. Among my top favorites for the season

#1 The Starbuck's X-Mas Blend 

#2 The Arturo Fuente "Anejo" Cigar 

#3 Advent Chocolate Calendar 

#4 Xmas Coca-Cola - I know it's the same  blend, but there's Santa and thirsty polar bears and penguins on them. It's all in my mind but I'm confident it tastes better.

#5 Sam Adams White Xmas Beer.  

Whole Hog BBQ Myths

The BBQ world is filled with myths and tall tales. Fairly ridiculous claims like the 18 hour brisket or the 20 hour pork butt. Heck I've even had some guy tell me he cooked his chickens for no less than 8 hours. A lot of it stems from the "low & slow" target that people aim for, so theoretically Lowest & Slowest should make the best BBQ right? If you believe that. I have some beach front property in Arizona I'd like to show you.

Myth #1 200 Degrees and below cooking temperature

You've heard it before, people claiming that the key to cooking the perfect hog requires you  hit a MAXIMUM cooking temperature of 225 degrees. I've even read about places claiming that they cook the hog at 185 degrees or perhaps just slightly higher just to keep the flies away.

One key fact people miss is the DENSITY of the hog. Now if you were cooking a little hog fetus, you go right ahead and do real low. My teacher, Ed Mitchell always said that the most important part of the initial temperature was to get "your heat into your meat". Do you know what they call a turkey cooked for 2 hours in a 500 degree oven? Raw. How long do you think it takes an animal the size of 10 Turkeys to get up to temperature. Just because your pit is 200 degrees doesn't mean you hog anywhere NEAR 200. Heck you're luck if its anywhere near 100 degrees. So raw meat in a moist warm environment, you know what that translates to? Yessir, that's some food poisoning bacteria making it's happy home in your dinner.

For many BBQ cooks, 180 - 200 is a HOLDING TEMPERATURE. You don't cook with it at all. This is the period where the BBQ is at the exact doneness that you want her to be at and she's going to hang out at this setting to rest, redistribute juices, and relax wound up protein. No one cooks at this temperature at any legitimate whole hog joint. If they tell you so they're either lying or trying to kill you.

Myth #2 It takes 24-36 hours to cook a hog 

Now this is a pretty sad view of the pitmaster. Poor guy has to hang around a carcass for the entire day 6 days a week. All dating and sleep will take place on Sunday unless they're open on Sunday. So where exactly do they get this number?

The best lies are of course partially true. It's the same as the 18 hour brisket, despite what television tells you, the brisket is not cooking for 18 hours. Same with the hog, the longest a hog should take you is about 14 hours. Most people will get it done much sooner. What happens after it's fully cooked is that the pit has enough residual coals giving off light heat for the pitmaster to go home without having to fire the pit. If you cut off the drafts, your pit should stay warm for hours. Get a good night's sleep, come back and stoke the coals (re fire) and finish off your hog. So the math is pretty simple 14 hours cooking + 2 hours at the bar + 8 hours worth of sleep = 24 hours. The final 10 is a holding temperature where the meat is no longer cooking.

Can the meat be served at the 14 hour mark? Absolutely. It's fully cooked.

 

Top 10 Best BBQ books?

Here in no specific order are my 10 must read barbecue books. You'll notice that most of them are not really cookbooks. I believe the perfect barbecue book should be 80% stories and 20% recipes. The problem with writing a BBQ book is that you quickly run out of material. It's like writing a book on sushi. Yes there are a myriad ways of properly prepping different fish for sushi but you can only say "press rice into ball and top with fish" so many times. Without fail the average BBQ book will hit on the official BBQ canon meats - Butts, brisket, chicken, ribs, and then go off into filler land where somehow giving recipes for lemon pound cake or balsamic glazed pumpkins.

Functionally speaking, for anyone truly interested in BBQ, you want the stories. Barbecue is a philosophy not a series of recipes. The best and oldest pits in the nation rub their meats with nothing more than salt and pepper, they couldn't tell you what temperature they cook at or what temperature they pull their product off as there's no thermometer in sight, they really don't have secret sauces and if they do they're not telling just to not tell as the sauces aren't that great anyway.It never fails that people come into BBQ trying to "chef" it. It's common to see people who have never cooked a brisket in their life start off with some 20 ingredient rub and some weird injection along with some convaluted wrapping technique. A far departure from just toss meat in pit, close lid, feed fire. Realistically if you wanted to work on something complicated, making the French sauce Borderlaise is more fun than making a mustard sauce.

Smokestack Lightning - The ORIGINAL BBQ roadtrip book. This alone is the place to start your reading because it gives you an unsalesman view of the American South and it's barbecue. It shows how much work needs to be done to revive a neglected American artform.

Legends of Texas Barbecue - A shining example of what a barbecue book needs to be. Great story, lots of history.

Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue - Well no surprise here. I'm a North Carolina stylist so I'm a bit biased. But there's everything you want in a BBQ book here - recipes, histories, interviews with pitmasters, a PhD study in BBQ.

Big Bob Gibson - This one is actually more cookbookish and if you were to buy only one BBQ cookbook you need to buy this one. Chris Lilly is a master storyteller and vividly brings out the Depression-era Patriarch which spawned a BBQ dynasty. The book is filled with humor as reflected in the quirkiness of the founder. The Barbecue Goat story alone is worth the price of the book.

Peace, Love, & Barbecue - The BBQ world is filled with people who think they're legends and places which call itself the "BBQ Capital of the World". Mike Mills is one of the few that not only holds the title of "The Legend" he has no detractors. The next time you see someone hose their ribs down with apple juice, tip your hat to master Mills.

Barbecue: The History of an American Institution - Nuff said. There's a great story about the protest long before the Boston Tea party during the American Revolution. I won't spoil it, buy the book.

The Whole Beast - There's not a single wood burnt in this entire book. In all fairness though, there's plenty of fraudulent bbq recipes out there that involve a crockpot. Again barbecue is a philosophy not a recipe and there's plenty of philosophy in here. Fergus Henderson is recognized globally as the pioneer of offal eating and eating the entire animal. Henderson's philosophy is the same as my teacher's who was the only whole hog barbecue place in North Carolina that served not only whole hog barbecue but all the other stuff like offal and trotters in his "Pig Bar".

The Cook's Illustrated Guide to Grilling and BBQ - My all time favorite food show is "Good Eats" produced by Alton Brown. The best thing about the Cook's Illustrated series is that they run several experiments so that you don't have to. It's also great for debunking old myths and accepted dogma.

Texas BBQ: Photographs by Wyatt McSpadden - If a picture's worth a thousand words, there's a lifetime worth of conversation in here. A great collection of our tradition and heritage and visual argument of why it's so critical to preserve them.

Wicked Good Barbecue - There's only one competition book on this list as it should be. Competition barbecue really should be the last place that people look. Competitions create environments that are artificial and requires the creations of flavors that do not correlate with anything we eat on a normal basis. That being said, if you had to get one competition book, Andy Husband's book is the one to get.

Top 10 BBQ Gifts For X-mas

Do you have a BBQ fanatic friend? Someone with basically every BBQ toy known to man? They got more than one smoker, they got 20 different rubs, another 40 different sauces, all times of probes, injectors etc. Those "grilling" gift-sets are lame and will bring only shame and mockery to your pitmaster. DON'T DO IT!!!

As we head into Black Friday after thanksgiving here are my tips for making your favorite pitmaster's holiday that much more merry.

1. A Small Chainsaw       

Wood is pricey and if you always have stray fallen branches and trees available to fuel the hungry pit. As the wise old saying, give a man a cord of wood and he'll cook for a summer, give him a chainsaw and he'll BBQ all year or something to that effect.

2. A Fire Pit     

As the temperatures dip, your favorite pit master might not be as inclined to sit outside as they tend a fire. We call those guys sissies. Preserve your BBQ guy's dignity and extend his time outdoors with a nice fire pit. Incidentally, the link I posted above is for Bubba Grills. You won't see a fire pit for sale on the site but call the number and mention that Tyson sent you for a discount. Lonnie makes the best fire pits in the business.

3. A Box of Cigars    

Have you ever heard of anyone complaining that they got too much gas for their car? Me neither, same goes with cigars. The best pitmasters in the world need their pits tended to all night, and there's no greater companion than a nice smoke. There really isn't a bad box of cigars. Just go into any cigar shop and tell them you want a box. Just so long as your cigar brand isn't sold at a drug store you'll do just fine.

4.  A Mini- flame thrower   

I would wax long about why your favorite pitmaster needs a mini flame thrower but seems unnecessary. It's farking FLAMETHROWER!!! It's awesomeness should sell itself. Alright if you FEEL you need a justification, it lights logs and charcoal like a charm.

5. Several Sacks of Charcoal 

It might seem as exciting as giving someone tube socks for Xmas - pragmatic but unsexy, But be not fool, there really isn't anything sexier than showing up with 100lbs of charcoal.

6. Plane ticket to Austin, Winston Salem, Memphis or Kansas City

There really is nothing that will enhance BBQ knowledge than travel. Give your favorite BBQ buddy a BBQ road trip.

7. A Costco Membership    

I LOVE buying hundreds of pounds of meat at a shot. My butcher hooks me up with great prices because I do buy in such volume. Your friend might not be as crazy but still want to get whole sale prices. It's the gift that keeps on giving. They buy more meat, more meat = more bbq for all. Better known as the carnivore's virtuous circle.

8.The Ultimate Spectator Chair 

Let's be honest, BBQ is not very hard work. I know I'll get some flack about this as there's plenty of people who will tell me about the smoke and the heat etc. But honestly most of the time you're just sitting around. Hence why we love to BBQ so much. If you're gonna sit around you might as well have a nice chair.

9. Victorinox Forschner Rosewood Cimeter    

The Cimeter and the 4 inch paring knife are my favorite knives. The only BBQ guy I know that uses the Cimeter extensively is Chris Lilly, which really just speaks for itself. He chops his BBQ with the knife in a pirate swash buckling fashion. I prefer my cleaver but the advantage to having the Cimeter is that it acts both as a superior butchery knife - for you to trim your meat - AND useful for chopping. Thus you only need to carry one knife instead of a butcher knife and a chopping knife. Smart man that Chris Lilly. Not sure if your pitmaster buddy already has a knife, have no fear! You can never have too many knives.

10. Combat Sports Membership 

HUH??? Let's face it. As a whole us BBQ guys are just as chunky as the hogs we cook. Definitely no one would look at us and mistaken us for vegans. Going to the gym doesn't really work for most people because it's a fairly dull enterprise. I encourage people to give combat sports - Boxing, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Judo etc a try. It's a great work out and it's definitely not boring. Exercise is a great stress reliever and an intrical part of a balanced lifestyle. Do your favorite BBQ guy a favor and sign him up for some classes.