Thursday, January 31, 2008

CONTEST: Win Free Sauce!!




Win some free sauce!

The good people at Woody’s Foods are providing the readers of the Home of BBQ with the chance to win some free sauce, tee shirts and more.

Three winners will be chosen. First place will receive a jar of each of Woody’s sauces, a tee shirt, other material from Woody’s Food and some extra goody’s from me. Second place will receive a free bottle of sauce, a tee shirt and some extra swag. Third place will win a bottle of sauce and a tee shirt.

We pay for everything, shipping and all.

So how do you win? Simple, visit Woody’s Cook-in Sauces site and send me (via the contact form at the bottom of this page) the answers to the following question:

What is the first question in their FAQ?


One entry per person, per question. New questions will be up on February 15th. Contest ends on March 1st. Please leave your contact info so we can let you know if you won.

Want to know more about Woody’s sauces? Watch this site for reviews or visit Woody’s Food’s site by clicking on the link in the right column under Contest Sponsors.

Contest available for those within the continental U.S., our apologies to our readers from outside the U.S.

Return to Home of BBQ home page

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

RANTS: National Cuisine











The national bird of the United States is the Bald Eagle.

The national anthem of the United States is The Star Spangled Banner.

The national flower of the United States is the American Rose.

The national emblem of the United States is pictured above.

The national beverage of the United States is coffee, as declared by the continental congress.

The national motto of the United States is ‘In God We Trust’.

The national flag of the United States is ‘the Stars and Stripes.’


Why don’t we have a national cuisine?

There is no food that is more emblematic of the United States than BBQ. There is no other food that is an indigenous national cuisine. So why isn’t BBQ our national cuisine?

This is an oversight that the Home of BBQ is going to attempt to rectify.

Return to Home of BBQ

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

REVIEW: Smack Your Lips Mild Sauce




Butch’s Smack Your Lips Mild Sauce

Manufacturer
Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ

Website www.smackyourlipsbbq.com



Quality **** (4.5 out of 5)
Viscosity ***** (5out of 5)
Aroma ** (2 out of 5)
Appearance **** (4 out of 5)
Packaging **** (4 out of 5)

This sauce was used on pulled pork that was cooked low and slow over cherry wood. The opinions are both mine and Will Breakstone’s, owner and pit-master of Willie B’s Award Winning BBQ.

There is a tendency to have high expectations when you are about to use a sauce from someone that you are familiar with and respect. I haven’t had the chance to meet Butch Lupinetti, but I know people who have and I have seen him whup up on Bobby Flay on the Food Network.

As you can imagine, the first component of a sauce that you experience is the aroma. Out of the bottle, Butch’s mild sauce has a ‘chemically’ odor that was a bit off-putting. The odor dissipated when cooked on food. My expectations for the taste were lowered by the aroma of the sauce. I shouldn’t have worried.

The sauce had a nice consistency and adhered to the meat well. The sauce is marketed and sold as mild, and lived up to that moniker. That does not mean that the sauce was without flavor. It was a sweet without being cloying, smoky without being overpowering and very enjoyable. The sauce was great with the pork, but is versatile enough to be used with poultry and can stand up to stronger meats such as brisket.

The sauce comes in a plastic bottle with a flip-top that acts as a squeeze bottle. You can purchase the sauce on Butch’s website (see above).

In spite of my initial fears, this was the best sauce that falls into the ‘mild’ category that I’ve had to date. I would heartily recommend Butch’s Smack Your Lips Mild Sauce.



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Monday, January 28, 2008

RANT: Free Rice


I realize that this is not exactly a BBQ related topic, but it does involve food and I feel that it deserves to be promoted.

Since close to its inception, I have been visiting a site called Free Rice. The site is subsidized by corporate partners that run simple ads on the bottom of the screen. Free Rice is a vocabulary building tool that provides 20 grains of rice to those in need every time you answer a vocabulary question correctly.

When you first log in the site will ask you four questions to gauge your current vocabulary level. Every time you answer 3 questions correctly your level will go up by one. Whenever you get a question wrong, your level will go down by one. The site is extremely addictive.

So, while you are enjoying yourself and building your vocabulary, you are helping to put food in the hands that need it desperately.

Check them out.

www.freerice.org


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Saturday, January 26, 2008

INTERVIEW: Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe

Ray Lampe is the thought of by many as the wandering ambassador of BBQ. Affectionately known as Dr. BBQ, Ray is the author of numerous cookbooks, is much sought after as a lecturer as well as competition teacher/mentor and has the chops to continually place in some of the largest and most prestigious cook-offs in the nation.

We are grateful that Mr. Lampe has taken the time to be interviewed.


Q. Ray, we know that you are extremely active in the world of BBQ. Is there anything that you are working on currently that you are particularly excited about?

Yes I do keep pretty busy with BBQ. In May my latest book will be out, it’s The NFL Game Day Cookbook and I’ll spend a lot of time in this year promoting it. I’m also one of the instructors for the new BBQ Mastery program at The Greenbrier which starts in June so it’s going to be an exciting 2008.


Q. What’s your earliest memory of true BBQ?


I grew up in suburban Chicago and real BBQ just wasn’t a part of the culture. I first became aware of it in 1982 when Mike Royko began a series of columns about properly cooked BBQ ribs that evolved into the first Royko Ribfest, which was my first cookoff.


Q. What sparked your interest in cooking? Did you cook as a child?

I’ve told this story a million times but it’s the truth. I took a bunch of honors classes as a freshman in high school but quickly discovered girls and partying so by sophomore year I was looking for a change of pace. Foods 101 looked like an easy class that would be full of girls so I signed up. It turned out I enjoyed the cooking part as well and I’ve been cooking ever since. I guess that was 1972.

Q. What prompted your jump from backyard enthusiast to competitor?


The first BBQ I ever cooked were the ribs at that first cookoff, so I guess I did a competition before I cooked in the backyard. Then the quest for the perfect rib began in the backyard. Somewhere along the way I got a cheap bullet smoker and then in 1991 the first KCBS contest near Chicago was held and I competed in it.

Q. How many BBQ events do you attend a year? How many of those are cook-offs?


It’s been changing a lot over the past few years as it’s swung from a hobby to my business. In 2008 I’ll be doing something BBQ related just about every weekend but a lot of it won’t be the events you are referring to. I expect to cook in about 6 contests this year.

Q. As a BBQ ‘veteran’, do you take any particular measures to stay ‘fresh’ or on the cutting edge?

Nothing in particular but I’m always talking to the guys who are winning and listening. The target is moving fast these days and you’ve got to try to stay aware of what’s going on. I have to concede some because I don’t get to cook much anymore but I don’t ever want to be considered a has-been.

Q. When talking about cooking, who are your influences?


Jim Burns was way ahead of the field way back when in Chicago and he helped us all. Ed Roith was a great help to me in the beginning as well. Mike Lake and I cut our teeth together and helped each other a lot. John Beadle from Michigan was a great mentor and became a great friend. He’s gone now. Bill Myers was a great cook from Texas that helped me, he’s gone now too. Mike Scrutchfield was at the top back then and always offered a tip anytime you asked. Bubba too. Fast Eddy has helped me a lot over the years. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

Q. What equipment to you use most frequently when competing?

The Big Green Egg. I keep an FEC100 around but cook mainly on the eggs.

Q. Do you have a particular philosophy about the sauces that you use in competitions?


No, I’ve switched a lot over the years. I feel using the correct sauce is very important but I think it’s a flavor of the month thing with judges.

Q. Do you choose your sauce depending on the region you are in?


Never.

Q. Do you use the same sauce for each of your entries, or do you change the sauce to suit the meat in question?


Usually the same but sometimes I’ll use two.

Q. What is your favorite commercial sauce?


For eating, Gates. For competing, these days it’s Head Country.

Q. If you couldn’t be doing what you do now for a living, what else would you like to try?

I’m so invested in this that I can’t even imagine another career. Over the road trucking would be fun but with the fuel situation it’s got to be tough for those guys.

Q. Outside of BBQ, what hobbies do you have?


Not many any more. My hobby became my job but I still love doing it so I don’t need much else. I love to cook in the kitchen too but I’ve now been lucky enough to include other types of cooking in my books so that’s now my job too. I’m a very lucky and happy man.

Q. What’s your favorite BBQ related book and non-BBQ related book?


The Cookout Book from the Ward Ritchie Press 1961. I found this book in a second hand store and when I got it home I realized it was about the first known BBQ cookoff held in Hawaii in 1960 and sponsored by Kaiser Aluminum. I found another copy on Alibris and gave it to Carolyn Wells.
Off the BBQ topic, The Doubleday Cookbook.

Q. If readers of this blog would like to find more information on you, your cookbooks and what’s coming up with Dr. BBQ, where should they go?


My website is www.drbbq.com but I have a hard time keeping it up to date. www.biggreenegg.com has a where’s Dr. BBQ page that gets updated more than mine.

We would love it if you would be kind enough to provide us with one your sauce recipes.

This recipe is from “Dr. BBQ’s Big-Time Barbecue Road Trip”, a cookbook from St. Martin’s Press 2007.

Dr. BBQ’s Texas Barbecue Sauce
This sauce is pretty typical of what I was served in the barbecue joints of Texas.

4 T butter
1/3 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
2 T flour
1-1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup tomato sauce
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 T cider vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 t fine ground black pepper
½ t brown sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook 2tow minutes. Add the flour and cook stirring constantly until the onion is soft. This will take about 4 minutes. Add all of the other ingredients stirring to blend. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.

Makes about 3 cups

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

REVIEWS: Rufus Teague Meat Rub









Rufus Teague’s Meat Rub









Manufacturer Rufus Teague

Website www.rufusteague.com

Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Aroma ***** (5out of 5)
Appearance ***** (5 out of 5)

Everything in this world is about allocation of resources. How much time/money/interest do I want to devote to X instead of Y. Most BBQ rub and sauce companies spend considerable time and effort coming up with logos, quips and funny names for their products. Uncle Kosmos’ Krazy Greek Dry Rub or Dante’s Rings of Hell BBQ Sauce or maybe Texas Pete’s Butt Smokers, all of which are made by a guy in the Bronx.

It is clear that Rufus Teague believes in counter programming. Their rub? It’s called ‘Meat Rub’. That’s it. No clever allusions. No witty wordplay. Just… Meat Rub. So what do they do with the time and money saved on marketing? They clearly spend it on making a kick-butt (pun intended) rub.

The Meat Rub is a pleasant surprise. I used it on a picnic butt that was cooked over cherry. It was intended to be pulled and used for sandwiches. The pork was cooked at 225 for hours and hours with just the rub and the wood smoke.

Why was the rub a surprise? The aromatics weren’t as strong as I’m used to and a tasting of the rub alone didn’t offer the impression that a significant flavor would be imparted. I was clearly wrong. Very wrong. The final taste was not overpowering and wouldn’t even be considered to be strong, but it was excellent, subtle and addictive.

As I mentioned, the meat was meant to be served as pulled pork. After letting it rest for about twenty minutes, I picked off a piece of the bark and popped it in my mouth. Big mistake. “hmmm, nice but not too much there’ I thought to myself. Then I tried another piece. And another. After about 5 minutes standing their like a zombie and sampling the meat as it sat on the counter I realized that I underestimated the rub.

The rub is a nice, dark orange color and comes in a plastic bottle. It can be ordered on their website (see above) and found at many specialty shops.

I highly recommend Rufus Teague’s Meat Rub.

(btw, the pulled pork sandwiches were a hit)

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

REVIEW: King of the Q's Blue Plate BBQ



Book reviews are rated on the ‘Stains Per Book’ method. We aren’t looking for pristine picture books on this blog. We want books that will be a resource. Dog eared pages and sauce stains are our earmark for success.

5 Stains Per Book (SPB) describes the ultimate book for our purposes. 1 SPB would denote a book that deserves to be left on the shelf.


King of the Q’s Blue Plate BBQ

By Ted Reader
Photography by Edward Pond
4 Stains Per Book (would have received a higher rating if there was a larger emphasis on sauces)
261 pages, Penguin Books ltd

I’ve been very lucky in that I have been able to review two books in a short period of time that receive my whole hearted endorsement. How much did I enjoy this book? I kept it on a desk near my bed amidst the novels I’m reading and frequently found myself referring to a recipe at two or three in the morning.

Let’s discuss what this book is not before we discuss what it is. This cookbook is not a basic primer on how to BBQ. Although anyone can find great value in it’s nearly 300 pages, the reader that will get the most out of King of the Q’s Blue Plate BBQ is the enthusiast. The book is also not dedicated to BBQ sauces. As we are a site that is focused on sauces the only book we can give 5 Stains to would be one that is dedicated to sauces.
I realize that this is a highly subjective criterion, but what review isn’t subjective?

So now that we got that out of the way, what is this book? This is the type of book that I would give as a gift to friends that are BBQ competitors. This is a book that I would list as ‘recommended reading’ once someone gets the basics down. I would honestly be surprised if I recommend a book more highly on this site.

There are 15 pages in the section listed as Rubs, Pastes and Marinades. The section listed as Sauces, Condiments and Stocks has an additional 12 pages. The recipes found here, such as Dirty Martini BBQ Sauce are right up our alley. We can only wish that the book was a bit less comprehensive and focused more on sauces.

Covered in this lavishly photographed tome is everything from breakfasts to desserts. Although I mentioned earlier that this book is an excellent resource for experienced hobbyists, Ted also covers basics such as cuts of meats, BBQ tools and what common terms mean in hard numbers.

Although this book covers more than true, low and slow BBQ, I highly recommend it for yourself or the serious BBQ’er in your life.



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Sunday, January 20, 2008

RANT: KCBS Election Results

The people have spoken! The results are in for the Kansas City BBQ Society's Board of Directors election.

The top four candidates by votes were:

Carol Whitebook
Rodney Gray
Tana Shupe
Ed Roith


The Home of BBQ would like to congratulate the members of the KCBS for running a smooth election and the winning candidates, who we are sure will help take the KCBS to the next level.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

REVIEW: Jack Daniels Spicy BBQ Sauce




Jack Daniel’s Spicy Original BBQ Sauce

Manufacturer
Heinz

Website www.jackdanielssauces.com

Quality ** (2 out of 5)
Viscosity ***** (5out of 5)
Whiskey Flavor ** (2 out of 5)
Spiciness * (1 out of 5)
Appearance *** (3 out of 5)

This sauce was used with brisket and ribs that were cooked low and slow over cherry wood.

Let me give you a bit of context. I like spicy food. I really, really like spicy food. When I ask for food to be spicy, I’m usually disappointed. When I buy something that is labeled as ‘spicy’, I’m usually disappointed. When I try food that others consider ‘hot’, I’m usually disappointed. Unfortunately, the disappointment trend continued with this sauce. It is not spicy.

This is one of the sauces in the Jack Daniels line, licensed by Heinz. As such, I would expect the sauce to have a recognizable whiskey flavor. The influence of whiskey is very, very subtle. It is odd that I find that as a problem, as our recent review of Sauza tequila flavored BBQ sauce had exactly the opposite problem, where the tequila overpowered the palette.

So, this spicy, whiskey sauce is neither spicy nor whiskey flavored. What is it? It’s a standard, commercial sauce with a subtle flavoring offering just enough spice and just enough Jack flavor to entice you to make your own.

The color is a very dark red and the bottle is plastic. The 18 ounce bottle has an open mouth (as opposed to a plastic cap with a smaller opening like most squeeze bottles). The sauce can be found at most grocery stores and retails for under $3.50.

Overall, a disappointment.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

REVIEW: Dr. BBQ's Big-Time BBQ Cookbook




Book reviews are rated on the ‘Stains Per Book’ method. We aren’t looking for pristine picture books on this blog. We want books that will be a resource. Dog eared pages and sauce stains are our earmark for success.

5 Stains Per Book (SPB) describes the ultimate book for our purposes. 1 SPB would denote a book that deserves to be left on the shelf.


Dr. BBQ’s Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook
By
Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe
4 Stains Per Book (would have received a higher rating if there was a larger emphasis on sauces)
302 pages, St. Martin’s Press

In the interest of full disclosure, I have met the author twice and we have corresponded electronically a number of times.

For the purpose of this site, my two primary concerns are ‘how much of the book is dedicated to sauces’ and ‘will this book be in the hands of the cook as he sits in front of his cooker and prepares his food’. To his credit, it seems that Dr. BBQ wants this book to have dog-eared corners and to be littered with sauce stains and scribblings.

This is a large and ambitious cookbook. Ambitious is not a term that is often used when discussing BBQ, but it should be. Low and slow smoking is not the simplistic, backyard ‘fire and forget’ cuisine that it is often portrayed as. Ray covers the basics of BBQ (rubs, sauces, types of meats, etc.) as well as recipes that are off the beaten path, such as Tomatillo-Mango Salsa.

This book contains not only recipes, advice and photos, but anecdotes and areas following each chapter where the reader can enter his own experiences and results. There are five distinct chapters that delve into pre-cooking recipes (rubs, marinades, etc.), traditional smoking, grilling, creative uses for leftovers and the last chapter deals with deserts and side-dishes.

There are 10 pages of mops and sauces. Not as much as I would like in a book of this, with our focus being on sauces, but the recipes all seem to be very strong.

I highly recommend this cookbook. It is a large, well written book that talks about the food and how to create it. You’re not going to find chapters on equipment or glossy pictures that act as filler. What you are going to get is a compendium of award winning recipes from someone who has brought them to you from the trenches of the culinary front line. I expect that I’m going to have to purchase a copy of this book every few years as the wear and tear of reference and sauce stains take their toll

It should be noted that these recipes come from a seasoned pro. Dr. BBQ is a respected veteran of the competition circuit and has more awards than you can shake a stick at.



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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

REVIEW: Malibu Rum BBQ Sauce





Malibu Flavored BBQ Sauce


Manufacturer Shonfeld’s Inc.

Website
n/a

Quality **** (4out of 5)
Viscosity *** (3 out of 5)
Rum Flavor ** (2 out of 5)
Appearance **** (4 out of 5)

This sauce was used with pulled pork that was slow cooked at 225 degrees over cherry. It was used as a dipping sauce, in the pork and on a sandwich with a Kaiser roll.

I’m happy that I’m able to give this sauce a positive review. We were disappointed by Shonfeld’s Sauza tequila flavored sauce and were a bit apprehensive about this, their second alcohol influenced sauce we are reviewing.

The sauce has an appealing, light citrusy flavor that works well with any BBQ, but would certainly enhance more delicate flavors, such as chicken. Although sweet, the sauce is neither cloying nor overpowering.

The color is a lighter red, about middle of the road for BBQ sauces. It comes in a hefty glass bottle with a standard opening, which avoids the problem of the Sauza sauce of stoppering the sauce and inhibiting the flow of liquid. The thickness of the sauce is about average, and does an average job of adhering to the meat.

The sauce has a nice aroma that is indicative of the taste. The taste of rum is very mild, but that works. Oddly, the sauce has a taste of pineapple without pineapple being listed among the ingredients. I will definitely be using this sauce again and would be willing to try more Shonfeld products based on this sauce.

The sauce is available online and through specialty stores.





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Sunday, January 13, 2008

RECIPE: Root beer BBQ Sauce



Root Beer BBQ Sauce


1 cup orange juice
1 cup ketchup
1.5 cups root beer (we recommend Saranac Root beer)
½ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 dashes hot sauce

Combine butter and orange juice and simmer until you achieve roughly 50% reduction. Add maple syrup and ketchup. Stir well. Simmer 20 minutes. Add rest of ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for one hour or until sauce reduces enough to have reasonable viscosity. Refrigerate. Will last for up to two weeks.




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Friday, January 11, 2008

REVIEW: Sauza BBQ Sauce







Sauza Flavored Savory Blend BBQ Sauce






Manufacturer
Shonfeld’s Inc.

Website n/a

Quality ** (2 out of 5)
Viscosity ***** (5out of 5)
Tequila Flavor **** (4 out of 5)
Appearance **** (4 out of 5)

This sauce was used with pulled pork that was slow cooked at 225 degrees over oak. It was used as a dipping sauce, in the pork and on a sandwich with a Kaiser roll. It was also tried as a dipping sauce for broiled chicken breast.

This sauce, as with the next sauce I’ll be reviewing, was tested by John Cantwell, Will Breakstone and myself. John is a sommelier and the owner of Taste Bistro, one of Long Island’s top ten restaurants and Will is the owner of Willie B’s, Long Island’s premier BBQ joint.

This sauce is a specialty item and needs to be judged as such. I would never consider using this in a competition and would only offer it as one of several choices if I had dinner guests. If you are a fan of Tequila and want a sauce that is redolent with that aroma and flavor, you have hit the jackpot. If you are not a fan of Tequila, you’ve chosen the wrong sauce.

The color is a dark red with an appealing hue. The sauce comes in a hefty glass bottle with a narrow bottle-neck. Unfortunately, the thickness which is a bonus in adhering to meat is a drawback with this bottle style. On three separate occasions I had to use a knife to get the sauce started on its way out the bottle.

I’m afraid that this is probably the only time that I’ll be using this sauce. I’m not a big fan of tequila, and that’s all that’s being offered here. There is no subtlety or nuance, just a traditional, very thick Kansas City style sauce with a great deal of tequila flavor.

The sauce is available online and through specialty stores.






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RANTS: Changing our look

As much as we loved our old template, we needed to change to something that you could view with Internet Explorer. It was a hard decision to make, as I really loved the old template, but it had to be done.

We will continue to work on the aesthetics of the site and would appreciate any comments that you might have.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

RANTS: KCBS Elections Reminder



Are you a member of the KCBS? You have 7 days left to cast your vote for the 2008 Board of Directors. The Board of Directors helps to guide and lead the KCBS and can have a large impact on competitions throughout the nation. Take the time to visit the KCBS website and read the bio's and platforms of the various candidates.

Please see the interview on this site with Merl Whitebook of the KCBS regarding the function and form of the Board.

There is a link to the KCBS on the top right of this site.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

RANTS: Regional Reviews



Did you hear that Willy Nelson was hit by a car? He was playing On the Road Again. Ok, bad, old joke. However, if you are on the road, we want to make sure that you can get your hands on some quality ‘Q.

Here are some sites that specialize in regional BBQ joints. This listing has missed quite a few areas, so if you know of any similar sites, please let me know.

**UPDATE**
www.bbqjoints.com offers searchable database of restaurants from across the nation. Not up to date, but still a great resource.

North East: Best review site I’m aware of
www.pigtrip.net

Florida
http://www.flbbq.org/joints.htm

Kansas City area
http://gasbbq.net/

North Carolina: interactive map
http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_map.html

More North Carolina
http://www.hollyeats.com/NorthCarollina.htm

Texas: interactive map
http://www.texasbbqtrail.com/

More Texas
http://www.texasbbqreview.com/




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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

INTERVIEW: Ted Reader


PICTURED: Ted Reader and good friend Jack

Ted Reader is a maniac. I mean that in the best of possible ways. His dedication to BBQ is unparalleled. As the unofficial Canadian emissary for all things cooked low and slow, Ted is much sought after for his catering, television appearances, lectures, restaurants and cook books.

We are very happy that Mr. Reader has squeezed in some time from his busy schedule to talk with us.

Q. Let’s start with the basics. You seem to bring an infectious enthusiasm to all things culinary. Does that enthusiasm extend to other things in your life?


Yes it does. My life is full of fun and excitement. Especially my time with my wife.

Q. Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of cooking that you bring that energy to?

I work a lot, so when I do have down time I spend it with my wife. W play together a lot and travel a ton.

Q. Have you always been as dedicated to your interests as you are today? Was this something that developed as a child?

Always been interested in cooking since I was about 6. Stems a lot from my grandfather who had a passion for life unlike any I have seen. He rocked.

Q. How many outdoor cookers do you have? Can you give us an overview of your collection?

I have over 90 grills and smokers in my yard. You can see a variety of them on my website in a section called Ted’s Equipment, but here is a list of some of my favorites: Napoleon Grills Gemini Model, Big Green Egg, Primo Smoker/Grill, My Dead Serious Texas Barrel Smoker on a trailer, Traeger Pellet Smokers (2), Brinkman Smoker, Freedom Grill for tailgating, Weber Ranch Kettle, Weber Kettle, Tandoori Oven, Wood Burning Pizza Oven and Hearth, Brazilian Gaucho Style Fire Pit, and the list goes on from small portable charcoal and gas grills to big smoking rigs. It is a collection of love.

Q. If I were to find you at a casual neighborhood get together, what would you be cooking on and what equipment would you have at your disposal?

I travel with a modified charcoal/propane grill (Napoleon P600 model) that fits in the back of my pick-up truck and it rolls out onto the tailgate. I use charcoal and propane on this rig. This allows me to cook anywhere from tailgating at a football game to whipping up a few burgers at the drive-in to doing quick promo events and demos or easy catering in a driveway. Most of my gear is portable so I have tons at my disposal.

Q. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?


Roasted marshmallow with chocolate swirl.

Q. When and how did your interest in cooking develop?

When I was 6, through my grandfather. He told me I can do anything to live life to the fullest. So I liked food. He was from Latvia and ran paper mills in Europe after the war. He loved food and good drink. I learned a lot from him.

Q. Did you have any official training in the culinary field?


Yes. I am a Culinary Management graduate from George Brown College in Toronto.

Q. What’s your favorite cook book that was not authored by you?

The American Encyclopedic Cookbook. It is an old, out of print cookbook with tons of recipes. Lots of basics and old homestyle recipes. I have two copies. It weighs about a ton and is full of info.


Q. Who do you consider a peer in the BBQ field?

I consider anyone that grills or smokes a peer. There is so much to be learned and you should never stop learning so every guy or girl that fires up a grill or a smoker in their backyard I consider to be my peers.

Q. Do you have any culinary heroes?


My best friend Wendy is one of my culinary heroes. She has been cooking for over 40+ years and has slaved away over hot stoves all over. From restaurant and catering kitchens to product development kitchens and manufacturing facilities everywhere. I would take her into a culinary battle any day. She has more energy and passion than most of the young chefs out there. They can learn from Wendy what hard kitchen work is. She is my hero.

Q. The celebrity chef has gone from being a rarity a decade ago to almost being ubiquitous today. If you were flipping through the channels who would you want to watch a show hosted by or focusing on?

I don’t watch cooking shows. I prefer to watch movies and South Park or Robot Chicken. Not a fan of tv in general. Mostly I go to movies and the drive-in. I love the drive-in. S my favorite tv chef that I have seen would be Graham Kerr – the Galloping Gourmet, Julia Childs and I do like Mario Batali. He is cool. Other than that I draw a real blank.

Q. The epicurean world is deep and wide. Why have you focused on BBQ?

BBQ (grilling and smoking is primal. It requires a great amount of patience and discipline. It is ever changing and many times out of control. So for me, it is a daily challenge to try and make BBQ perfect. And it is very difficult to make perfect. So I try and try and some days we are there others we start over. But I have not just focused on the world of BBQ. I own and operate a product/recipe development business and I consult to manufacturers world wide on retail and foodservice recipes and product development. I do this daily as well as BBQ. It is my other love in the culinary world.

Q. You have committed some heinous atrocity (like boiling ribs) and
you are on death row. What would Ted Readers last meal be?


Ted Reader’s last meal. Well I would start off with a couple of shots of Jack Daniels and then for the first course I would have salt and pepper crusted roasted marrow of bones with thinly sliced sweet Vidalia onions, served on fresh baked baguette. Second course would be coffee porter braised oxtail served with some more baguette but I would ad a little butter to the demi to just rich it up a bit. Third course; crispy fried soft shell crabs and to finish it all off a big glass bottle of icy cold coca-cola. So cold your head aches and it goes down smooth. Than I’m done. Call the dude and end it all.

Q. Of your many accomplishments in the culinary world, what are you
most proud of?


Meeting my wife Pamela.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your restaurant? Being a Canadian, how did you choose the location?

I was walking down the beach in the Dominican with a friend of mine and there was this abandoned restaurant on the beach. I said that would be a fun spot for a BBQ joint. He said he owned it and that if I wanted to make it a place, it was mind. So I did.

Q. What is on the horizon for you? Anything major coming up?


I am launching a new line-up of food products (12 new items for 2008) as well as another cookbook and two signature series gas/charcoal/infrared grills. I am in development on a new BBQ television show and I am also writing two more books. Ted Reader’s World Famous BBQ is the brand of items I am pushing forward on.

Q. A BBQ novice wants to step into Teddy’s world. What’s the best
way to go about that? What books would you recommend? What can he/she
find on your website?


Hey, if they want to be a part of my world, great. Remember this; keep it simple, have fun (always), patience is very important, never leave your grill or smoker, have a vew cold beverages on hand and have fun. HEY IF THEY WANT TO BE A PART OF MY Surf my website, I love my Sticky Fingers and Tenderloins cookbook; but have fun. Enjoy life and if you have any questions, ask me. I share all my info. I have no secrets. I want everyone to be able to grill and smoke as well as I do.

Q. Can you discuss the focus of your books and where readers could find
them?


I have written a number of cookbooks (15 to be exact that I have been involved in). Nine were written under my name. The focus is grilling primarily and now I am adding and moving more into smoking. Many discuss the art of plank grilling and that is one of my favorite methods of cooking. Hot, fast way of smoking on a grill. I have written two books on the subject of planking and both have won awards. They are beautiful books with lots of fun info. Best place to find them is on my website: www.tedreader.com

Q. What is your favorite charity?


Charities that focus on helping kids.


Ted, we thank you for taking the time. Look for a review of one of Ted’s books in the next few days her on the Home of BBQ.



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Sunday, January 6, 2008

RANT: The Rubdown


The Lowdown on the Rubdown I.

Let’s call part one of this series on BBQ rubs ‘Confessions of a Hypocrite’. In an earlier post I went into some detail discussing how hard it is for me to understand a competitor using a store bought sauce in a cook-off. The basic reasoning was, if you’re are going to spend up to twelve hours on a brisket, why wouldn’t you spend twenty minutes making a sauce?

The odd thing is in spite of my qualms at using a commercial sauce, I’m more than happy to use a commercial rub. The story gets stranger. I enjoy making rubs much more than I enjoy making sauces. I’m hyper-critical of any sauce that I make but in an odd way I’m never concerned about a rub. I’m always under the impression that I can find a use for a rub or find a way to fix a perceived problem, but with sauces I’ll throw out one of every five batches that I experiment on.

There is somehow something more artistic about the creation of a dry rub for me. I don’t know why. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. I’m often just as happy with a batch that I will use once and throw it in seven months as I am with something that I use on a weekly basis.

All that being said, creating a good rub is not as much of an accomplishment for me as creating a good sauce. And I think that may be the key. Creating a quality sauce is hard work. Although it’s enjoyable and satisfying, it’s not ‘fun’. It is much more rewarding when I offer friends and family a quality sauce than when I can offer them a quality rub.

Maybe it’s that sauces are more unforgiving than rubs. After 5 to 10 hours in a smoker your highs will be lowered and your flaws will be ameliorated. Rubs are also more monomaniacal. They serve one purpose. Sure, you can stretch things and use a rub on potato chips or popcorn, but their primary purpose is to be adhered to a meat prior to it’s smoking to add depth of flavor and a crust.

Sauces can be used to enhance a flavor, modify a flavor, used as a dipping sauce, cooked onto or into a food, used to create a crust or bark and provide an added aesthetic.

Coming up next in the Lowdown on the Rubdown; a spicy/sweet rub designed for ribs.


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Friday, January 4, 2008

RANT: KCBS Elections




The Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) is the largest and most prestigious of the various sanctioning bodies for BBQ competitions. In addition to overseeing hundreds of events a year, the KCBS acts as an evangelizing force, preserving the tradition of low and slow BBQ for generations to come. They provide a monthly magazine, a dedicated websites, judging classes, cooking classes and more.

The membership of the KCBS is currently in the process of deciding who will help lead the organization in 2008. Voting for the Board of Directors is going on now and will finish up on January 17th. We thought that this would be a good time to speak with Merl Whitebook about the organizational structure of the KCBS and see how things are run.

Merl is the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee for the KCBS and has graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us.

Q. Once a nominee for the Board of Directors is elected, how long do they serve?


Each member of the KCBS Board of Directors is elected to a three year term. KCBS has term limits of two consecutive terms. After rolling off the Board for a year, a person may run again for election.

Q. How many members of the Board are there and how many positions are open this year?

There are 12 members of the Board of Directors. Carolyn Wells is the Executive Director and sits on the Board as a nonvoting member. Each year we elect 4 directors for a three year term.

Q. What is the role of the Board of Directors and how does it differ from the KCBS Officers?

The Board of Directors have the responsibility in a fiduciary capacity to the organization and its members. The Board defines the Mission and the Vision of the organization. KCBS is a 501C4 corporation and is governed by the corporate laws of the State of Missouri.

Q. How many employees does the KCBS have?

KCBS has a full time Executive Director and three wonderful administrative assistants who run the office.

Q. Are there any permanent positions amongst the Board and Officers?

Each year the Board votes for the executive committee (President, VP, Secretary and Treasurer) from the Board of Directors. There are no permanent positions, except for the Executive Director sits as a non voting member.

Q. What is the average turnover rate during Board elections?

About 1/2 of the members of the Board serve two terms. The remaining half a single term. Therefore the average is 4.5 years. This does not include those who roll off the Board due to term limits and then come back for additional year of service to the organization.

Q. Are their any restrictions on how many terms someone may serve?

KCBS has a two term limit

Q. Aside from being a current member of the KCBS, are there any other criteria for running for the Board?

KCBS ask for the members to consider the skill sets which a Board Member will bring to the organization. Being a member of the Board is considerably more than being a cook, a CBJ or a Contest Rep. The Board deals with issues in accounting, marketing, procedure, legal, technology, as well as rules, personnel and competition. The organization needs skill sets to meet these needs. The Board is responsible for a substantial business enterprise.

Thanks Merl! Remember, if you are a member of the KCBS you can place your vote up until January 17th. If you are not a member of the KCBS, drop by their website at KCBS.us and consider joining.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

REVIEW: barbecues & marinades




Book reviews are rated on the ‘Stains Per Book’ method. We aren’t looking for pristine picture books on this blog. We want books that will be a resource. Dog eared pages and sauce stains are our earmark for success.

5 Stains Per Book (SPB) describes the ultimate book for our purposes. 1 SPB would denote a book that deserves to be left on the shelf.


barbecues & marinades (lower case intentional)
By Sylvie Tardrew and Marcel Duffas
1 Stain Per Book
125 pages, Hachette Illustrated


I almost feel guilty reviewing this book. Every review is subjective to some degree. Our perspective at the BBQ Sauces blog is very narrow and specific. I vacillated for over two weeks on my decision to post this review, but I came to the conclusion that as it was a book entitled ‘barbecues & marinades’ I would discuss it with an explanation.

If I could use the collective ‘us’ to describe true BBQ enthusiasts, this book is not aimed at ‘us’. You are not going to find anything directed towards the cook that enjoys ‘low and slow’. The authors, who I believe are French, use the term barbecue to mean grilling. There are no recipes for sauce, but there are six recipes for marinades. There are no recipes for true barbecue, but there are recipes for grilled meats, fish, poultry and vegetables.

This is a visually stunning book. ‘barbecues and marinades’ is adorned with lush, beautiful photos that do more than illustrate the recipes. The gorgeous pictures push this into the category of coffee table books.

The recipes look solid, but seem a bit sparse. There is no discussion of exact temperatures, fuel source or types and cuts of meat. If you are a proficient backyard cook, you should be fine with the information given.

In conclusion, if I were to review this book on it’s visual appeal it would get our highest rating. Unfortunately it (inadvertently) misrepresents its subject matter and can’t be recommended for our purposes.






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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

RANTS: From 2007 to 2008

2007 is over. Long live 2008.

Last year was one of learning what and where we want this blog to be. We started off slow but I believe that we made strides in finding an identity. This year will be a time of growth and implementation.

You can look for the following new segments and changes to existing formats:

Sauce Reviews: When applicable, sauce reviews will have a ‘spice it up’ feature where I will discuss what I would add to the sauce being reviewed to help personalize it.

Contests: We will be holding contests for our readers where they can win cook books, sauces and more.


On-site Competitions
: Different sauces (and maybe rubs) will be pitted against each other to determine which sauce (or rub) will reign supreme. Run similar to a single elimination draft, we will end up with the premier sauce (or rub) for 2008.

Behind the Scenes: We will be parting the curtain and taking a look behind the scenes at various facets of the BBQ culture. How do you run a competition? How do you bring a sauce to market? What goes into writing a cookbook?

We have a lot in store for 2008 and hope that you will be along for the ride.




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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Reviews: Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce




Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce (Honey)

Manufacturer Sweet Baby Ray’s Inc.

Website www.sweetbabyrays.com

Quality **** (4.5 out of 5)
Viscosity ***** (5out of 5)
Sweetness **** (4 out of 5)
Appearance **** (4 out of 5)

This sauce was used with pulled pork that was slow cooked at 225 degrees over hickory. It was used as a dipping sauce, in the pork and on a sandwich with a Kaiser roll. It was also tried as a dipping sauce for broiled chicken breast and on the chicken itself.

This is the first commercial sauce that I am reviewing that I would feel comfortable using in a competition setting. It suffers from the same problem as most mass manufactured sauces in that it has that slightly cloying quality that is associated with high fructose corn syrup. Aside from that, it’s hard to find a fault in the sauce.

When you find a sauce of this quality your assessment quickly breaks down to personal preference. The sauce does a great job of providing what it advertises. It is a sweet (honey) Kansas City style sauce. If that is what you are looking for, you could do far worse than trying Sweet Baby Ray’s.

The color is of a slightly lighter hue than some traditional sauces, but is certainly within acceptable parameters. The sauce has a very nice viscosity. It is thick enough to adhere to the meat without feeling like your lost in a sugary morass you can’t escape from.

I would like to note that this sauce, as with most tomato based sauces, tends to change the taste of the meat as opposed to bringing the taste out. That’s not a bad thing, just something to be aware of. I find that vinegar based sauces help to bring out the flavor of meats (especially pork) as opposed to altering it.

The version I tested came in an 18oz. squeeze bottle and was found in my local supermarket. It retailed for under four dollars.




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