Thursday, November 29, 2012

Turkey and Venison - 2012 Thanksgiving Cook

This Thanksgiving I tried some new things. If you can’t experiment on friends and family who can you experiment on? I planned to cook two turkeys and was trying for a crispy skin. In the past my turkey skin, while tasty, has been rubbery. Two ways I tried to fix this were by drying the turkey after brining and cooking hotter than I normally do. I also cooked a leg of venison. This was something new for me. I have smoked smaller cuts of venison before but never a whole leg.

I did some research on the web to find out the best ways to achieve my turkey cooking goals and to cook the venison. I then planned it out and created a schedule of what I needed to do when. It made the whole process and cooking go much easier. Below is all the information on what I did.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

'tis the Season

Hanging out by the grill.
I love the summer. The heat, the weather, the long days, sitting outside and hanging out by the grill or smoker. Cooking up some tasty treats and drinking a cold beverage. It makes grilling and smoking so easy.

But I also love the Holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In my mind, they are like a big, warm, fuzzy blanket that I can wrap up in and stay warm. I love the food, the traditions, the music, the lights, the fun and getting together with family.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Liquid Salsa - Tabañero Hot sauce

Creator: Tabasco Mexico
Name: Tabañero Hot Sauce Picante
Price: $6.50 per bottle
Link: Tabañero

I'm always on the look out for a flavorful hot sauce that brings a little something different to the flavors. I've found some that claim to have great flavor but are too spicy to taste the flavors and others that taste like a sauce with no heat. I started to see tweets about Tabañero and it got me interested. I decided to give it a try.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wine Tasting and BBQ

I love food. I enjoy cooking for myself, for friends and for family. My favorite food is BBQ. In my search for great Q I have had side adventures with grilling, cooking and trying new things. About two years ago my wife and I, along with some friends, did an online wine tasting course. It changed the way I look at foods and drinks.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: BBQ & Bowling at 10 Park Lanes

10 Park Lanes

Name: 10 Park Lanes
Location: Charlotte, NC 
Price: $$

BBQ and bowling makes for a fun evening and in Charlotte you can do just that. 10 Park Lanes is a full bowling alley with a restaurant and bar. They are smoking up the Q and serving up wings, burgers, BBQ and fun.

The building has a cool retro 50's feel to it but inside is up to date. There are two bars, an eating area, outside seating and a number of bowling lanes. On a Saturday night it gets busy and loud.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Proud Piggy BBQ Sauce - Sauce shots anyone?

Creator: Southern Staple Foods
Location: Waxhaw, NC
Cost: $3.75 (15oz. Bottle)
Link: Proud Piggy BBQ Sauce

Every year Fort Mill has a Strawberry Festival. This year one of the vendors was Proud Piggy BBQ sauce, and I have to say any pig would be proud to swim in this. I was lucky enough to win a bottle due to an twitter contest Big Wayner was running with them. I'm glad I won it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Recipe: Onion Jam? What the...?

Yesterday I decided to grill some burgers but wanted something a little different to go on them. I was looking through one of my grilling cookbooks and came across Onion Jam. I had also made some grilled tomatoes a while back with cheese on them. They didn't turn out like I had planned so I tried again but changed it up with better results.
It sounded good so I decided to give it a try.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Recipe: SC Hash or BBQ Stew

Still from
  "CAROLINA HASH : A Taste of South Carolina"
Hash. Around the country it looks different. There is corn beef and hash, there is a hash that is made in a frying pan with lots of different things mixed in. It is served for breakfast, dinner or a late night snack. It's made from whatever's in the fridge. In SC it is a stew served over rice. It goes hand-in-hand with BBQ.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review: Doomer's Q Dark - Chocolate makes everything better

Creator: Doomer's LLC
Location: Parkville, MD
Cost: $14
Link: Doomer's "Q" Sauce

I entered a drawing for Doomer's Q sauce around the Super Bowl and won their three sauce. I reviewed their original one and loved it. The Dark sauce is reminiscent of a molé sauce and works really well with grilled and BBQed meats.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: Amor de Brazil - Carnivores Paradise

Name: Amor de Brazil
Location: Matthews, NC
Price: $$$$

There's a taste of Brazil hidden in Matthews, NC. The service is friendly, the ambience intimate and the food plentiful. It's a great place to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or just hangout with a bunch of friends. But go hungry.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Recipe: Grilled Bruschetta

My family loves Italian food and snacks. We love to try new things at home and one of our favorite appetizers is bruschetta. I was watching the Food Network and one of the chefs made grilled bruschetta. It looked good and I thought I can make that and make it better. So I did.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Thermoworks TW8060

Company: ThermoWorks
Location: Lindon, UT
Product: TW8060
Price: $69-$221 (depending on accessories)

I never trust the thermometers that come in my cookers. I also have a couple cookers that don't have thermometers so it is hard to know what their temperatures are. Lifting the lid of the cooker to check the meat temperature causes heat fluctuations that affect the cook time and that's not good. The TW8060 has helped with each of these problems and is made by the same great people that make the Thermapen.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

BBQ 101: Cooking Brisket

Brisket is Texas BBQ. It is a big hunk of beef from the chest of a cow. When people think of brisket they usually think of the flat. When I think of brisket I think of a packer. The packer is the flat and the point combined. It makes for some good eating. Im going to tell you how I cook brisket. It works for me and my family and others who have sampled it love it. It is my wife's favorite type of BBQ.

When done correctly the brisket has a nice smokey beef flavor that is awesome. It is also one of the types of BBQ that can go wrong easily. If it is under cooked it is tough and hard to eat. If it is overlooked it is dry and crumbly. Hitting the sweet spot takes some practice.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Top Chef Tour

Ok, I know it's not BBQ, but its cooking and it's fun.

Yesterday when I was walking to the train to go home I noticed a tent being set up across from the train station with a large orange sign on it that read "Top Chef The Tour ." This looked interesting but I needed to get home so I didn't think much more about it.
This morning I was walking into work from the train and the tent was still there. This called for an investigation.

Review: Southern Living's Big Book of BBQ

Creator: Southern Living (Time Inc. Lifestyle Group)
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2.2 or later.

Cost: $7.99 (Price increasing to $12.99 after July 4, 2012)
Link: Big Book of BBQ

A few years ago I took one of Chef Troy Black's BBQ classes, he is the Southern Living Pitmaster. It was a great class and I learned a lot about competition BBQ from it. A couple months later, I found out he had worked on the Big Book of BBQ for Southern Living. I saw it at Books-a-Million on day and flipped through it. It looked good but I didn't have it in the budget to purchase it. A couple weeks later, I was looking through iPad apps and came across the Big Book of BBQ app. I thought it sounded very familiar so I looked at the information about it and it was the app of the same book. At $7.99 I figured it would be worth the purchase. It was.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: Meyer's Original BarBecue Sauce

Creator: Meyers’ Elgin Sausage
Location: Cuetopia, TX - Home of the Fighting Sausage Heads  
Cost: $4.95 + shipping and handling

Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse makes a variety of rubs, sauces and other delectible delights that I have had the privalige of reviewing. The Original BBQ sauce is no exception. From its sweet and tangy scent to its mouth filling flavor this sauce is a delight.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Grilled, Stuffed Pork Chops

Warming up the grill.
I like to try new things on the grill. One thing I have been wanting to try are grilled stuffed pork chops. My wife and I have regular conversations about what to eat for supper and one day she said, "There are pork chops you can grill." That decided what I was going to make. I just had to figure out what I was going to stuff them with.

I had visions of nice, thick center cut pork chops that I could slice into to make a pocket. I was a little disappointed when I got home.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Doomer's "Q" Sauce Original - Something a little different

Creator: Doomer's LLC
Location: Parkville, MD
Cost: $14
Link: Doomer's "Q" Sauce

Back in January I entered a contest to win a pack of Doomer's "Q" sauce. I was lucky and won. At my house we have our staple sauces that I make so don't buy commercial sauces on a regular basis. Since I have started up this blog I have had a couple sauces come in for reviews but always have a hard time opening a new bottle unless another bottle of sauce is gone. I finally decided it was time to try Doomer's "Q" Sauce Original. I'm glad I did.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Eating for a Good Cause

This week I had the privilege to take my wife to the 17th Annual Taste of the Nation Charlotte which is part of Share our Strength. Thanks to CLT dining for informing me about this event. This event featured over 20 area restaurants. They shared their food and time to help those less fortunate be able to have food. All the proceeds went to a couple local organizations, Second Harvest Food Bank and Community Culinary School of Charlotte.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Catering for my Cousin

About two months ago my cousin contacted me and asked if I would cook BBQ and baked beans for her wedding. I agreed. She said she would have 100 guests so that's what I planned for. Thankfully there are a couple spread sheets out there that can help calculate how much BBQ will be needed for an event depending on the size of the crowd. I also have the benefit of asking those who cater often, through the BBQ Brethren Forum, about the amount of food needed.

My two biggest worries for the wedding were; 1) not having enough BBQ, 2) not having enough sauce. I had cooked 40 butts for a church fund raiser about two years ago and ran out of sauce.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hog Heaven - Restaurant Review

Name: Hog Heaven
Location: Pawleys Island, SC
Price: $ - $4-$22 ($22 is for the buffet with seafood)
Hours: Mon-Sun 

Took a long needed vacation and headed for Myrtle Beach. When I go on vacation I like to hit local places that are not touristy but show the local flavor and foods. I do break from this from time to time if there is a chain that I don't have in my area.

Anyway a twitter friend recommended I try Hog Heaven down in Pawleys Island. I planned one of our afternoons to of down and check it out and see Pawleys Island also.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recipe - Smokin' Chili (or Threepeat Chili)

The chili simmering. 
At work we do fundraisers for the United Way and the Arts & Science Council (ASC) of Charlotte. One of the fundraisers we do is a chili cook off. Last year since the fundraiser happened around Mardis Gras we actually did a Cajun cook off instead of the chili cook off. I cooked a pot of gumbo for it and tied for first place. The previous year was my first year entering and I entered my leftover pulled pork chili and took home the grand prize. This year I made some Smokin' Chili and won again. Here is the recipe for the chili I made this year.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: Meyer's Smoke House Seasoning

Location: Cuetopia, TX - Home of the Fighting Sausage Heads
Cost: $4.95 + shipping and handling 
Link: Smokehouse Seasoning

My friends at Meyer's Elgin Sausage sent me some of their Smokehouse Rub to try a while back. I've tried it and used most of it so I figured I better review it like I promised too. I tried it on a couple different meats; pork, hamburger and briskets. Its flavor really shines on the beef.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grilling a London Broil

London broil resting.
It is odd to have it be so warm at the beginning of March here in SC. Our temps were in the upper 70s today so that made for a great evening to fire up the grill and make some good food. It doesn't take long and it tastes so good.

So Friday evening I grilled a london broil and made some sides to go with it. I decided to do a video blog about it too. I grilled the beef and roasted some garlic and potatoes to go with it. It came out great and the family loved it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: A Canadian BBQ Sauce?

Creator: Horn Dawgs
Location: Oshawa, Canada
Cost: Only available in select stores in Canada (So make some friends north of the border and have them send you some.)

 A few weeks back I had the pleasure of meet Wifred Reinke of Oshawa Ogre’s Views, News & BBQ’s, also known as @oshawaogre on Twitter. He, Big Wayner and I met for lunch and enjoyed a great meal of BBQ together. After lunch Fred gave me a bottle of Horn Dawgs Sauce to try. I gladly accepted and told him I would review it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chicken and Noodles

Something that I have always wanted to make is pasta. Why? I don't know I just think it would be cool to make my own pasta. So I finally took the plunge and tried it out. I made grilled chicken which I served over my pasta with a simple tomato sauce. For a first try it turned out ok.

I used a simple pasta recipe consisting of, 2 cups of flour, 3 eggs, 1tbls olive oil, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of garlic powder. Mixing the dough was simple but the next parts took some doing. I don't have a pasta maker. I hand rolled the dough and cut it with a pizza slicer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: Give 'em some Love. Socks' Love Rub

Location: Duluth, GA
Cost: 5oz Shaker $5.50 + shipping and handling
Link:  Socks' Love Rub

I decided I needed to post something on Valentines Day and thought that Socks’ Love Rub would be appropriate. A friend (@bbqpairadise) shared the love and sent me a bottle of Socks’ Love Rub to try out. I had heard good things about it and had wanted to try it. I was wondering what to try it on and decided that since I received it right before the Super Bowl I would try it on the ribs I planned to make. I’m glad I did.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Swine 'n Dine for Charity

Team Swine 'n Dine: Frank Fields, Rob Ford,
Mike Bonn. Not pictured, Preston Cornett.
I received an email from my friend Gwen Poth who requested I check out and review this BBQ team who use their BBQ to raise money for 24 Hours of Booty in Charlotte. I always love it when other BBQers use their ability for good and to raise awareness for a good cause. After all OTT is a great event I help with, so I’m always happy to spread the word for someone else. Rob, the spokes person for the team, and I exchanged a few emails so I could find out about the team. We set up a time for me to meet the team and try some of their porcine product.

The Team
In the emails we sent back and forth, Rob gave me the history of his team, Swine ‘n Dine. It is made up of four members; Rob Ford, Frank Fields, Preston Cornett, and Mike Bonn. They started to cook at their neighborhood festival and sold sandwiches and pork butts and all the proceeds went back to the neighborhood. They really enjoyed cooking together and decided to cook for the neighbors once again. Their neighbors liked what they were cooking and asked if they would do it again for a third year. The team went from cooking 150lbs of pork to 400lbs per cook.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

Our SUPER Super Bowl Screen
This weekend we had a Super Bowl party and I smoked a bunch of food for it. I had done some St. Louis ribs last month and had saved the trimmed tips so I used those along with some country style ribs. I also did the crowd pleasing MOINK balls, wings and Pigs on the Wing. We had a great time with lots of friends eating, talking, cheering on our teams and making fun of the half time show.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Meyer's Spicy BarBecue Sauce = Spicy, Sweet Love

Creator: Meyers’ Elgin Sausage
Location: Cuetopia, TX - Home of the Fighting Sausage Heads 
Cost: $4.95 + shipping and handling
Link:  Spicy BarBecue Sauce

Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse makes a variety of rubs, sauces and other delectible delights that I have had the privalige of reviewing. I've had the Spicy BarBecue Sauce sitting on my shelf for awhile trying to find just the right thing to try it on.

Truth be told, I'm not a fan of sauces. BBQ meat must stand on its own and the sauce only enhances and brings out the flavor. In my book, if you need sauce the meat isn't seasoned right. Well, I did find something to use the spicy sauce on. In fact two something's; smoked wings and Pigs on the Wing.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Putting the "Q" in the Queen City

Name: Queen City Q
Location: Charlotte, NC
Price: $$ - $6-$14
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-12am

Queen City Q recently opened in Uptown Charlotte, and there was much rejoicing. At least from me. Anyone who is familiar with Charlotte knows they have been lacking in places for good BBQ. Being located at the center of both Carolina's you would think there are many BBQ joints serving the classic Carolina slow smoked pork. You would be mistaken. There are a few BBQ places but finding one where you want to pay for the q is difficult. Yes the Queen city has been lacking in the "Q" department but that is changing.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Drunken Chicken with a Twist

Final product
I've been thinking about trying to make a drunken spatchcock chicken for a long time. I finally tried it this weekend and videoed it. Normally with a drunken chicken you take a half can of beer and stick the chicken on it and set it on the cooker until it's done. Spatchcocking basically means you butterfly it. Therefor it can't fit it on a can of beer any more. I laid mine on a rack in a pan and put some wine in the pan to cook it. It was a first for me to try it this way and also video it. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Flavor and Spice and Everything Nice

Location: Cuetopia, TX - Home of the Fighting Sausage Heads
Cost: $4.95 + shipping and handling
Link:  Texas Hot Pepper & Wing Sauce
I like spicy and I like flavor. There are some hot sauces that are just spicy and that is all they bring to a dish. There are others that just bring flavoring with no spice. Texas Hot sauce is neither of these. It brings flavor and heat. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Super Fast Black Thermapen

Creator: ThremoWorks
Location: Lindon, UT
Cost: @$89.99 +shipping
Link: Thermapen

I've added a new tool to my BBQ arsenal. A Thermapen. I have been lusting after one of these for about three years. This year I entered into Thermaworks Thanksgiving  drawing and won one. These thermometers are really great and take a reading in about three seconds.
The prize package.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Ok, so I'm a bit late. We're into the new year all ready and lots is going on. I have a few reviews coming this month for my friends at Meyers Elgin Sausage, a review of the super fast Thremapen and another of ThermoWorks fabulous thermometers (TW8060) and my new cooker. 

It was a good Christmas. I got a Louisiana Grill pellet cooker for Christmas from my very good friends and a ThermoWorks thermometer. I also did three cooks between Christmas and New Years to really break the new cooker in. 
Louisiana Grill Pellet Cooker.