Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Well, despite all the films and all the talks about protection and staying loyal to the Frankensmoker Mk. 2.2, we've gone and had a new baby. As they say, "Accidents will happen", and by 'accidents' I don't mean the kind that come from a large cup of coffee with a bran muffin mixed with a traffic jam. I seem to have the predilection towards creating BBQ smokers out of wood, and this one is no different. Once something gets stuck in my head, I must build it. Kind of like Noah and the Ark. Ok, maybe not to that extent, but you get the general idea. With that said, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Igor Mk. 1.0. It is a pellet smoker with the 12-inch assembly coming from Smoke Daddy.com. I'm happy with the price of the assembly. Yes, I probably could have purchased an already build pellet smoker; however, where is the fun in that? Yes, it would have been cheaper. Yes, I could have spent my weekends doing other stuff. Yes, I could have had it right then, but what the heck. As my wife says, "Yes, you could have bought the one at Lowe's, but no one will have one like this one." I agree......because she is right and mostly because I'm scared of her and learned to not sass her back. For y'all up north 'sass her back' is a southern thing. Onward......Igor is made from 3/4 inch cabinet-grade, birch plywood, and I lined it with 1/4 inch cement backer board. It stands at 4 ft. and is 22 inches wide in the cook chamber. I have estimated, and could be slightly off, the weight at 398,078 pounds.
Monday, September 29, 2014
So, yet another BBQ competition has come and gone, and here I sit at my computer trying to describe Grandpa's Pride BBQ's outcome. I thought the picture was appropriate, so please use it as a guide as you deliberate how you think we performed. Any questions? With that said, we finished 24th out of 29, and given the WIDE range of scores, I'm happy with that. There were many positives taken from this outing. Positive #1: We didn't come in dead last. Positive #2: There was no angry mob of villagers with torches and pitchforks banging on Shangri-La while shouting, "You call this BBQ?!?!?!?!?!?"......which was nice. Positive #3: I managed to get home before backing Shangri-La into my house, and I mean literally "into my house." Minor damage to a running light but major damage to my ego. I also learned a really good lesson: When one puts one's truck into park, it is a generally accepted grand idea to put one's truck into park prior to exiting said truck. I never knew I could move with the agility and speed of a hungry puma. Maybe I have super powers and haven't tapped into them yet. I could even be a super hero and just don't know it yet. Agility and speed of a hungry puma, strength of 10 3rd graders, eye sight of a marmoset, and reflexes of a crock pot. Yeah........probably not. I'm almost certain I would make a really bad super hero. Before you judge me and you know you are, I was really tired. Moving on to the good stuff, well mostly, BBQ. So Porktoberque was another nice event held in my home town of Dothan which lies in the heart of God's Country or Alabama as some call it. I was able to get there and get set up just in time to find I, along with a few others, had deeply upset the circus. How in all that is fun and quirky does one manage to single-handily upset an entire circus? I mean come on....it's the FREAKIN' CIRCUS!!! Apparently, we weren't supposed to set up as early as we did. Who knew? This mix up triggered a traumatic relapse, and I had dreams all night of clown commandos launching a sneak attack against my person. Hey, I saw Killer Clowns from Outer Space. I know what they can do, and it ain't pretty. Sure, they look all fun and happy twisting their balloons into dogs, hats, and various dictators throughout history, but I make it a point of never trusting a man in really big shoes and enough make up to make RuPaul say, "Damn girlfriend, back off the eye liner!" Anyway, we got set up and actually got prep done pretty early. The cook went well, or so I thought. Our chicken looked really good, and the taste was not bad....it just was missing that little something. Ribs turned out fairly good unless you were a judge. In which case, they were calling for my head. Butt was our best entry at 14th place, and our brisket tightened up and was described by one person as 'spicy'. At least I think she said spicy. After all, it was hard to understand what she said under the oxygen mask put on her by the paramedics. It may be time to readjust my rubs. That or submit them to the U.S. Army since water boarding was outlawed. Pansies. Anyway, the competition was not a total loss. I did gain some more experience, got to see some people that I do enjoy seeing and finally had some of the good groceries prepared by one Forrest Dilmore. He is to the dutch oven cooking process as Michelangelo was to painting really big places. His strawberry cobbler is enough to make a grown man openly weep. I'm not kidding, Really good food. He prepared brisket and rice, biscuits, mac-n-cheese, the aforementioned cobbler, and greens. Thank you again Forrest. Congrats to Uncle Kenny's BBQ for taking Grand and Woodhouse BBQ for RGC. It was nice to see Ed Lovett of Poolside BBQ, Bobby Lankford from Haulin' Butt BBQ, Forrest Dilmore of Forrest's Fine Foods, Jim Bentley of JB's BBQ, and the family of Wink's BBQ. I even met a couple of new people like Keith Fern. Prayers for continued recovery my new friend. I'm sure I'm missing many so please forgive me. All in all, it was a good time with pretty nice weather. Kerry Ferrell did a great job as always. I may not have another competition this year due to job requirements; however, I will try to do one in Perry or in Jacksonville. If I go to Jacksonville, I get to see an old friend from my days of fighting the red hoard, Jim Haskett. We served together in Montana and played many a mean game of Rummy 5000. I do remember him fondly and a great guy. Time will tell. Anyway, y'all take care, and Riley says, "Hey dummy!!! You just ran into the house.......moron." Stupid dog.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
I seem to recall there was a pretty popular book that started out, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Seems to me like someone knows a little something about the rough and tumble world of competitive BBQ. Since my last literary diatribe, Team Grandpa's Pride has competed in two events. The Marianna Arts Festival and the Tri-State BBQ Festival. To say it was two sides of the same coin would be an understatement. In Marianna, we basically blew chunks and got a DQ in our ribs for some 'follical enhancements' that made their way onto our rib entry.....in other words we had some hairs of some type get onto our ribs somehow. Se la vie as they say in the land of the french fries. It's not always about proving a point as it about taking it on the chin with class. Marianna was more of a shake down cruise since we hadn't competed since Perry in December. I'm glad we did. While we may have finished dead last in Marianna, it was a good practice for the event in Dothan. My grandfather, always the optimist, had some good advice about the competitions, "Well, if you finished last in Marianna, you can't do any worse in Dothan." True and valid point. Of course that's sort of like saying, "Well you don't have TB but you do have gangrene of the Medulla Oblongota." See my point? While we drug up the rear in Marianna, we finished 11 out of 29 in Dothan with two call outs. Not bad....not too bad. Congrats to Big Kahuna for taking Grand and B&T for RG in Dothan. Big Kahuna also took GC in Marianna. Our Friends at Q-Fused got 1st in Pork.....which was nice. I got to hang out with B&T a little in Marianna. Very nice people and pretty darn good at the 'Q'. In the course of these two diametrically opposed events we learned many things: 1) You have to turn the t.v. antenna to the north to get the Price Is Right to come in clear. (2) Never mess with a style or recipe in a competition. That is not the time to tinker. (3) Remember #2 because I have said it before. (4) There is a fine line between being too close to the port-a-potties and too far. Just saying. (5) BBQ people are really great people. (6) Never give up. (7) Never eat questionable cheese. Of course, we had Shangri-La at the competitions which made life a good bit easier. We keep improving and will one day be a powerful BBQ force to be reckoned with.....sort of like North Korea only without all the weirdness and family assassinations. The weather was great at both events and we had a really good time. Back-to-back events aren't as hard as I thought they would be. I mean after all, I got to work 5 days a week and that is back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back right? As for hanging out and I don't mean in the Pee Wee Herman sort of way, I got to spend some time with Forrest Dilmore and Q-Fused BBQ. Q-Fused said they found us a hair net for us but lost it. I hope they find it. I have a special spot on the outside of the Frankensmoker Mk. 2.2 for it. I will display it with pride. That's how I roll. As always, Sherri was very supportive of our team's efforts. So with all that said, there is a new FBA event this year in Panama City. It will be the weekend after the Bainbridge event. I guess I'll need to get my tramp stamp put on my lower back. That's a lot of ink folks. Maybe I'll just get 'born to bbq' tattooed on my chest in those latin looking letters. Then again, maybe not. I can just see it as I get older and flabbier, it will morph from 'born to bbq' to 'born a boob' and no one needs that. Y'all take care and Riley says, "I'll be danged, he can win some." Stupid mutt. Also, Easter is upon us and hope everyone takes a moment to remember the reason for Easter: The resurrection of our Lord and the gift of Salvation brought to us by Him. Y'all take care.
Monday, March 3, 2014
So Spring has sprung and love is in the air. When I say 'love' I mean pollen which is kind of like love on an arboreal level anyway. The South is shaking off one of the coldest winters in a while, the temps are rising, plants are budding out, bees are buzzing, birds are chirping, Riley is licking himself more that usual, and the BBQ competition circuit is once again heating up. Team Grandpa's Pride will compete at the Marianna Arts Festival and BBQ Competition as well as the Tri-State BBQ Festival which are in April. Just like the Cleveland Indians, we are hoping for a season better than last year's. I've made good use of the off season by working on rubs, technique, and presentation, so when I got an e-mail about a local BBQ cooking school, I was quite pleased. Now, for those that know me, know I have the strength of 10 3rd graders and a mental capacity on the same scale, and the thought of going back to school sounds like as much fun as when I had my 'male, birth-control, optional, outpatient' surgery done by a doctor with the shakes a few years back.......only not as much fun. No man ever wants to hear another man say to him, "Go ahead and take off your clothes, I'll be right back." At least, I don't, but that's just me. However, when I got this e-mail about a BBQ Cook School, well let's just say I'm was as happy as that weird kid from the 4th grade with a brand new bottle of glue just waiting to be smeared on his hands and peeling it off as it dries. You know the kid: Sat in the back, smelled kind of like mustard and old cheese, two left shoes, while once in a while to be heard saying, "Sticky..." Yeah that kid. Excited. I have often contemplated taking a BBQ Cooking School just to increase my skill set and abilities....that and so a friend of mine will quit saying my BBQ sucks. She says she is kidding, but... Anyway, I have talked to Sherri about taking a course to enhance my skills. As always, she was very supportive and asked with a somewhat anticipatory grin if the course could last up to six weeks and was maybe in Upper Saskatchewan. For some reason when I told her they were only a weekend and local, she became all sad and down all the while muttering, "Lord give me strength." Go figure. There are many schools from which to choose. Myron Mixon has a school at his home in Unadilla, GA which will set you back about $750.00. I hear it is outstanding though. Rob 'Rub' Bagby of Swamp Boyz fame also does a cooking school. I'm not sure the cost but as much as he wins, I'm sure it is worth every cent. Nice guy too. Now, one of the nicest guys on the circuit, Forrest Dilmore, is offering a BBQ Cooking School. For a weekend, you get a meet and greet as well as a whole lot of education on FBA and KCBS BBQ cooking, meat selection, and presentation for $400.00. Not bad, not too bad at all especially when you consider the fact he has done quite well on the BBQ circuit. When we were in Perry at the BBQ contest, he let me in on his plans, and I have been like a kid waiting for word that the elf strike was over and Santa really would come this year. Thanks mom and dad. I'm sure when he said that I let out a little squeal of delight because his name gets called a lot. My brother used the word 'squeal', and it wasn't so much a 'squeal' as it was a manly expression of excitement in a higher octave. I don't think he is Catholic so there should be no shoes or erasers flying at me for not paying attention thank you very much my sixth grade teacher Mr. Meahan. I am interested in the school as I hope many others will be. I can't help but wonder if the Sweat Hogs from Welcome Back Kotter were to take the class, which one would I be? Vinnie Babarino was always cool. Me? Yeah, not so much. In fact, I think I am the anti-cool. Washington? Too tall. Epstein. I don't have the hair for it. I guess that leaves Horseshack or the old, grumpy principal. I guess I'll go with horseshack. He seemed rather 'simple' except for the constant if not epileptic fits of, "Ooo, Oooooo, Ooooo, Ooooooooo!!!" I can see me doing that. Heck, I think I have done that. Don't ask me where the Sweat Hog reference came from. I didn't even really like that show that much, but my sister did. If she liked it, I watched it just to spend time with her. It just seemed to fit and has been on my mind most of the night. I wonder if Forrest will get a bus? The BBQ School Bus. Probably not. But that would be AWESOME!!!!! At least in Jeff-land. It's a very special place. So, if yall will excuse me, I have to make sure I have a fresh bottle of Elmer's laying around. Y'all take care, and Riley says, "Hello and please save me." Here is the information on the class: Forrest Fine Foods, LLC Competition BBQ Class March 29-30, 2014 in Cottondale, FL. The class will be held near Cottondale FL and will begin with a meet and greet supper on Friday night. The class will be presented in contest format, with the exception of a Friday/Saturday structure it will be done Saturday/Sunday. FBA and KCBS will be discussed. This is a full disclosure class that includes everything from meat selection to box building for turn-in. Dinner and supper will be provided on Saturday and breakfast and dinner on Sunday, as well as snacks. The cost of the class is $400 per person. Class size is limited so reserve you spot quick. Contact Forrest Dilmore at 850-209-7777 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.