Thursday, July 26, 2012
Alton Brown's Turkey Brine. Myron Mixon's BBQ Cookbook that I reviewed talked about his rib brine/marinade which included ginger ale, orange juice, and I believe Soy Sauce among other things. There you get the salt, the liquid and the sweet that makes a good brine. The good thing about a brine is the longer you do it, the better it is. Now that's not to say I would leave chicken thighs in the brine for 12 hours, but 2-4 hours is a good amount. You aren't creating jerky. You are just trying to infuse a little flavor that can also be done with an injection (which is basically a brine that is shot in instead of allowed to work naturally). Be careful of your injections when it comes to a Boston Butt. Too much salt will give it a "hammy" taste which isn't what you want. What meats tend to accept brines well you ask? Any white meat, dark poultry meat, seafood, pork, ribs, whatever you like. While I have never brined a brisket, you can and you will wind up with pastrami. As for recipes for a brine, you can surf the web and find dozens of them. If you look at many recipe books for chicken, they call for brining in Italian Salad Dressing or Raspberry Vinaigrette. The effect is the same: breaking down those cell walls so the meat can accept more liquid and flavor. More liquid equals moister BBQ. So next time you have some chicken or a nice pork loin that is going on the smoker, give a brine a try. I don't think you will be disappointed. And we all know that good BBQ is always Good Eats.....that's shout out to Alton Brown or "AB" in the know. Yall enjoy and Riley says hello.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
Well I went and did it. I had first my BBQ Americana interview today. On the way home from Panama in Fountain up 231, or down depending on your direction, there is a place called Austin's Smokin' Butt Hut. I had been passing this place for over a year and wondered how good the BBQ was there. Today, I answered that question, and the answer is pretty dadgum good. Yes, dadgum is a word. The owner, Sam Denham (sp), is retired and does just BBQ now. Surprising, his name is not Austin. Austin is his grandson. As I was told, the owner said if Austin got into trouble at grandpa's house, he would smoke his butt. Hence the name Austin's Smokin' Butt Hut.....well that and it is a kind of hut with wheels. They do ribs and butts, but they also do all kinds of other things. You have your choice of sauces that are sweet, sweet/heat (yum yum), and sweet/savory. I got the pulled-pork sandwich with sweet/heat sauce. I was not disappointed. My little slice of heaven was served simply in an aluminum wrap, and it was a good sized sandwich. The pork was smoked using oak and was perfectly tender with a hint of cumin that rounded out the flavor profile nicely. In the other categories outlined the other day: The very nice lady, Bobbie, who served up the 'Q' and is the manager did say, "Sugar" and "Hun" several times, there was a screen door on the smoker trailer, the smoker was visible, they had the unique metal pig that was smoking away, it was a trailer versus a huge building, and it was one-of-a-kind. They even have a metal pig bell that you ring for service. Try that at a fancy shmancy place. Shmancy....look it up. There were no plastic signs with Coke or Pepsi products; however, allegedly there is a dog that stays with the owner but he wasn't there. There wasn't a wooden porch, but there were some big telephone poles propped up so someone could sit there if they were so inclined. Seating probably isn't their intended purpose, but neither was my truck hood a dining table until today. In the immortal words of Gunny Hiway, "Improvise, adapt, overcome." I really enjoyed the stop. Life gets to be a lot sometimes, so we gotta take those little snippets of mellowness where we can get them. So, if you are feeling stressed and see a smoking metal pig, pull in, have a good BBQ sandwich and tell Bobbie I said hello. She might even call you hun', or sugar. Probably will.....she's nice that way. Look them up on facebook at Austin's Smokin' Butt Hut.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I am from the South. I think that point is already made clear. Growing up, some of my first BBQ was with my granddaddy and from 231 BBQ which is, surprise surprise, on 231 in Midland City, AL. Of course, Dobb's in my hometown of Dothan was always around growing up. Both cool places. So, a couple of days ago, I posted an idea on Facebook where I would be on the look out for other local BBQ spots, and now I need your help folks. Yes, many have said I have needed help for a long time, but that's another story. Anywho, I am looking for BBQ places where I can sample the 'Q', talk with the proprietor and get their take on what makes good 'Q' to them. No chain restaurants please. Once you franchise, you lose that certain individuality. I have created two categories of criteria: 1) The BBQ and (2) The place itself. In the first category, I'm looking at what they make, the taste, and the presentation. For the second category, I'm looking for places with plastic signs with either Coke or Pepsi products mentioned on them, a wooden porch, a screen door, a dog close by, a smell of smoke that permeates the entire place with extra points for smoked out windows, and something that just stands out and makes the place unique. In short, the kind of place that looks like an after thought in the BBQ world. Wouldn't that be a great road trip? Driving around the Deep South looking for great places, trying all kinds of BBQ, and meeting the people that keep the art of BBQ alive. People who have sauce in their veins and can talk about BBQ all day. Genuine Americana. Who knows, maybe I'll see someone from those pictures in the post office that have huge rewards attached to them....unless that person is the one running the BBQ place and bad, bad, bad things happen there. In that case, I will feign a foreign accent and pretend I don't understand English while trying to communicate in broken English, "Where can I get my oil changed in my cheap rental car?" I won't run away because I tell everyone, "If you see me running, you might want to try to keep up because something really scary is chasing me." Anyway, back to the 'Q' hunt. If you see a place and think it would be a good spot to check out that meets the criteria, send me a comment on my blog, e-mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can tweet me @ awolafsp. I've got a couple of places scoped out already which sounds a little like stalking but it isn't, probably...at least not in a statutory sense. Stay tuned. If you see me out and about, honk and wave with all the fingers please. I'll wave back. It's how I roll....again it's something else I hear the cool kids say these days. Darn kids.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Myron Mixon is quite a bit deal on the BBQ circuit. If you don't believe me, just ask him, and he'll tell you and probably with language I wouldn't use around my Baptist Minister father-in-law. I hear he actually is a pretty nice guy and not the persona you see on t.v.'s BBQ Pitmasters or other BBQ shows. He is from the Deep South, even if it isn't Alabama, which is a good start. While I haven't met him yet, notice I said yet, I have seen him at the competitions I have been in, and yes, he wins a lot....consistently. As they say, "He can talk the talk because he can sure enough walk the walk." Granted that talk may have some colorful language mixed in with it, but the talk none the less. So, if one wants to know how to win, one must ask or research what the winner does in order to garnish that important grand championship. Who better to gain intel from than the man who has won over 180 Grand Championships, 30 state championships, 11 national championships (still not as many as the Crimson Tide but that's another matter), and three-time Grand World Champion at the Memphis in May event. That folks is some serious street cred' as they say on t.v. That's where his BBQ book comes into play. Smokin' with Myron Mixon is quite a good BBQ cook book if I do say so myself, and since it is my blog I will. I bought a copy for my Color Nook about a two months before a competition in 2011. When I used some of his ideas and tips, we took Grand Champion in Backyard Division at the Foggy Bottom BBQ Bash in Elba, AL. Coincidence? I think not. Granted it wasn't in the pro division, but it still was quite a happy day for Team Grandpa's Pride BBQ. Baby steps folks. I didn't follow his book to the 'T', but I did try to incorporate some of his theory into my own style. After all, it still has to be my 'Q'. His book covers a little bit about all aspects of BBQ cooking from his equipment, rubs, marinades, cooking styles, and little tricks to keep it great. Luckily for me, it has a some pictures. He talks about how to do ribs, pork, chicken, and beef, and what he does to prepare them in competitions. His theory, as outlined in the book, is pretty simple: I'll teach you what I do and I'll still beat you because of experience. And he does just that....again....and again....and again. One of Myron Mixon's most famous twists to the BBQ world is his cupcake pan chicken.....well, that and winning enough money to burn a wet mule. In this book, he teaches you how to do it just like he does....the cupcake pan chicken that is and not burning a wet mule because burning a wet mule would be wrong and probably get P.E.T.A. in a hissy. Anyway, there is a good bit of honesty in this book. When you finish reading the book, you feel like a magician has pulled back his cape and shown the world all of his tricks. That takes some serious stones. In reading the book, I could actually in my mind's eye see Myron sitting at a computer with Dragon Speak or some other talk-to-type program and rattling out a book. It is an easy and entertaining read which is made more interesting because he added some of his personal history and how BBQ was core to his upbringing. He also covers a bevy of additional side recipes to include an adult beverage which sounds pretty darn tasty. Yes, he comes across as gruff and even a bit arrogant, but he does impart a good bit of knowledge in how to do some good and tasty 'Q' which is what it's all about. Right? I look forward to meeting him. Maybe I'll get all star struck at the next competition and have him sign my Nook....that or my chest....which is a little creepy even to me and would require a good bit of shaving, so I'll stick to the Nook. Yeah, definitely the Nook.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
I am still trying to get the hang of this blogging, but I have some ideas. First of all, thank you for reading this today. While I sort out my schedule, I do have some ideas on what topics I plan to cover. All of the topics will center around BBQ (of course). I'm interested in branching out and experiencing different types of BBQ from around the world. We have a restaurant in Dothan, AL (God's country and my home town) called Taj It is a mix of Indian, Greek, and BBQ. Yes, Indian and BBQ in the same place. Only in the south would you get this combination. The owner, Ritesh, bought the place after it was a BBQ place. When the owners left, they left everything one needed to start BBQ, and yes the food and people are great. So that is my starting point. I want to find those interesting places that sell good 'Q', meet the people that make the magic, and maybe, just maybe learn a thing or two that I can share with others. I'm also looking to write a review of some BBQ cook books. I have purchased and read Myron Mixon's book which was pretty good; Chris Lilly's (of Big Bob Gibson's BBQ fame); and the Dummy's Guide to BBQ. My hope is someone will find a nugget of knowledge that will be helpful to them.....with a little humor thrown in. The feedback is appreciated. Y'all take care.
Friday, July 6, 2012
So in case you are on final Jeopardy and need to know the history of BBQ, here you go. BBQ goes way back in local history. By local, I mean the West Indies. The term "Barbacoa" was used to describe any meat cooked over a slow and low heat. The term BBQ migrated to the American slaves who were given the lesser cuts of meat with which they had to fashion into a decent supper. The quality of these meats meant they had to be cooked over a low and slow heat so the connective tissues would break down. As a result, there was some good eatin' going on. The use of low heat and smoke was used for centuries by the American Indians as a way to preserve their meats and fish. They made it into a jerky type of food, but the principle is the same. Here is a link should you have an unquenched thirst for more BBQ history, complements of Wikipedia. Wikipedia link to the history of BBQ. Thanks and enjoy.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
I'm sure many of you lay awake at night pondering the origins of BBQ sauce. I know I do....that and a dog that keeps trying to jump into bed with my wife and me. In an effort to add to the R.E.M. sleep of America, I give you the origins of BBQ sauce. In the old days, like pre-1950 but much more like the 1700's, spices were very expensive and often hard to come by. In an effort to give cooked meats some flavor, our founding fathers would dip the meat in vinegar. As the sauce moved down to the western Carolina coast, they started adding pepper, a little sugar and other spices that were available. Since tomatoes did so well in the eastern part of North Carolina, as the sauce migrated that way, people began to add tomatoes to the sauce. You see where this is going right? When it drifted towards South Carolina, mustard was the spice of the area, so now you have South Carolina Mustard BBQ sauce. Since then, people have been creating their own sauces. My recipe originated from my grandmother and grandfather. My grandfather often tells the stories of when he and my grandmother owned a little hotdog stand, and people would line up for their BBQ. I've since tweaked the original recipe, but it is still basically their own recipe, and I am eternally grateful for it. My grandfather is so protective of the recipe that when he gave it to me he had this one caveat, "Now Jeff, if something happens to you and Sherri, you be sure to get this recipe back." Wow. I do love Shellie D.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
So in an effort to not spend $1,500.00 to $1,329,554.88 on a smoker, my trusty father-in-law and I built what I refer to as the Frankensmoker Mk. 2.1. It is made from oak veneered plywood lined with insulation and aluminum. Yes, it does get quite a lot of looks and funny expressions from people; however, when coupled with the BBQ Guru, it keeps a nice and steady temperature for as long as I keep the fuel to it. When we used it at the Foggy Bottom BBQ Bash last November, we got Grand Champion in the Backyard Division......which is nice. This year, we are going pro. The worst we could do is dead last. Here are some photos of the Frankensmoker Mk. 2.1.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Well here we go. This is the inaugural post of the Grandpa's Pride BBQ blog. We will be posting on all things BBQ with an emphasis on our little BBQ team called "Grandpa's Pride." Hopefully, you will find links or posts that interest you. Please feel free to share your own information or links that are related to all things BBQ. Please keep it clean folks. Stay tuned and we will update with more information.