Friday, February 29, 2008

PAIRINGS: Beer and BBQ pt. 4

This is the final article in our series of Beer and BBQ pairings. The previous three articles focused on sauces, but this time we are taking a look at a dry rub. It goes without saying that these articles could not have happened without the kind and informed assistance of Timothy Bisson and Michael Payne.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
¼ cup ancho powder
¼ cup lemonade powder mix


Michael Payne

Styles
- German Pilsner, India Brown Ale

This preparation emphasizes spices, meat, and caramelization from the brown sugar. The recipe for this rub shares a lot of similarities with both Czech goulash and mexican cuisine, so I selected beers that would pair well with those foods.

German Pilsner is a far cry from the mass produced "American Pilsners" produced by the biggest domestic brewers. The best examples have a clean, crisp flavor and refreshing, herbal, earthy bitterness. The dryness will contrast well with the sweetness from the caramelized brown sugar and the unique hop flavors match well with the chilies and garlic.

India brown ale is a relatively new beer style brewed by a few American microbreweries. It combines the strong bitterness and floral hop aromas of an India Pale ale with a rich, caramel like maltiness from the darker grains. The malt flavors will naturally pair well with the brown sugar and the darker chili peppers like the ancho. The fragrant hops and strong bitterness will compliment the spice and contrast with the rich, meat flavors in a way that will refresh the palate.

Suggested Commercial Examples:

German Pilsner - Victory Prima Pils, Brooklyn Pilsner (oddly enough, Americans make some of the best German Pilsners)

India Brown Ale - Terrapin India Brown Ale, Dogfish Head India Brown Ale

Timothy Bisson

Brisket
Tried three beers with the dry rub brisket and found they all were compatible. Chimay’s Grande Reserve was the best match, though. Its slight sweetness and smooth dark fruit and malt flavors soaked in the brisket adding some foundation to the spices of the brisket. There was also a slight smokiness that came out of the Chimay which was unexpected and pleasant for the meal. The McEwan’s Scotch Ale is another great match. It’s a little sweeter and cleaner than the Chimay. It’s got a little more smoky character than the Chimay. The Scotch Ale’s caramel malt heart and lingering smoke character mingle confidently with the brisket’s robust beef and spice profile. A great combo as well. One key for enjoying both of these beers is that they must be served cool and not cold. Otherwise, the subtle flavors are muted.

I also tried the Schenkerla Maerzen, a Rauchbier, which is very smoky. The smoke flavor slightly overpowered the brisket. But, it added a new layer of flavor to complement the pepper and sweet flavors in the rub. It was good with the brisket but not as good as the other two.

Pork Ribs
The pork ribs and Spaten’s Oktoberfest were made for each other. First of all, the pork ribs and dry rub was my favorite meat and sauce combo. The brown sugar melted into the fat making the pork full of juicy sweetness. Kudos to Eric on the rub recipe. The sweet and spice were perfectly balanced and made the ribs sumptuous. The Oktoberfest has a spicy hop aroma with some biscuit and honey undertones. The malt flavors sink into the pork and fat like me into my favorite chair. The hop bitterness cuts through the fat and links up with the peppers and other spices in the rub in the finish and on my lips. The slight sweetness in the Oktoberfest ties the meat and fat flavors together with the spices and hop bitterness. This was an excellent pairing. Best thing is this beer is quite affordable and available all over the US. Another good Oktoberfest or Marzen that is widely available is made by Paulaner.

Beef Short Ribs
The dry rub on the beef ribs was tasty and added some good spices. Again, the brown sugar melted into the sinew adding complexity to the ribs. For this, we had Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout. This classic American Stout is bold and full of confidence just like the guy on the bottle. It’s also full bodied and robust; and that is what the ribs needed. The beef was very flavorful and full bodied. The beer and beef stood up to other nicely in the body and mouthfeel. Also, the spices in the rub were unique to the ribs as were the roasty and smoky character to the stout. These played like old friends as I got some sweetness and heat from the rub followed by the roasted malt and then lingering spices in the finish. I kept tasting the two and wishing for more. Try Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout if you are in the Midwest as an alternate. But, I think Rogue is widely available.

Chicken Breasts
Ahhh, the dry rub comes through again. The paprika, black pepper and chili powder of the rub come out hot and looking for a fight. You can tell this charred and smoky chicken ain’t one of its own kind. It’s juicy and full of a myriad of flavors. This needs one of two kind beers; a beer that cleans the palate and blends in or a beer that stands up to the feisty fowl and throws a punch of its own. I found one for each category. Flying Dog’s Old Scratch Amber Lager is a well balanced session beer with a finishing malt character that blends brilliantly with the chicken’s sweet juices. It washes the mouth leaving it ready for more spicy grilled chicken. Schenkerla’s Rauch Ur- Bock’s intense smoky flavor grabs onto the char of the chicken and extends the smoky flavor without missing a beat. It also has a clean dark malt sweetness holding the down the fort with the chicken. This beer goes twelve rounds with the chicken and comes out on top. But it’s a split decision. A great pairing.

Amber Lager substitute: Sam Adams Boston Lager
Rauch Ur-Bock substitute: None widely available but Schenkerla widely available in better beers stores



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REVIEW: Woody's Cook In Sauce





Woody’s Cook-in Sauce

Manufacturer
Woody’s Foods

Website www.woodyscookin.com

Well, this is easily the oddest review that I have done for the Home of BBQ. This isn’t so much a BBQ sauce as it is a tool.

I wouldn’t recommend this as something to be used by straight out of the bottle. To say that it is powerful is a serious understatement. The unadulterated taste is heavy and thick. It was tried on ribs, chicken and pulled pork.

So, what is its intended purpose? The website for Woody’s Foods has a page dedicated to recipes. The recipes had different ways to doctor the sauce. Who am I to argue?

We modified Woody’s Cook-in Sauce to create four different and distinct new sauces. 3 of the 4 were excellent (the beer sauce didn’t go over well). The new creations were completely surprising and very promising. I truly didn’t expect the sauces to be as good as they were, and they were fantastic and disparate.

Woody’s Cook-in Sauce is a versatile base that should be used to create sauces tailored to your specific needs. If used for this purpose, it is an excellent tool that should be in every serious BBQ’ers arsenal.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

REVIEW: Jimbo's Log Kitchen Barbecue Sauce






Jimbo’s Log Kitchen Barbecue Sauce

Manufacturer Jimbo’s Log Kitchen Inc.

Website www.jimbosbbqsauce.com

Quality **** (4.5 out of 5)
Viscosity **** (4 out of 5)
Appearance **** (4.5 out of 5)
Packaging **** (3 out of 5)
Aroma *** (3.5 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.

The aroma of this sauce is not strong, but that’s not a bad thing. There was a pleasant vinegar, mustard smell which wasn’t overpowering but was certainly present.

This sauce is a bit of an anomaly. The label claims it as ‘barbecue sauce’. There are no adjectives or other descriptors involved. The manufacturer’s website didn’t have any more detail on the sauce than the packaging had. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was looking forward to giving it a try.

Both my curiosity and taste buds were satisfied with this excellent sauce. I’ve been on a bit of a roll lately, being able to taste and review some fantastic sauces. Jimbo’s Barbecue Sauce immediately jumps up to be among my favorite sauces. I’m a little surprised that I haven’t run into this sauce before or at least heard word of it through the BBQ grapevine. It’s too good to be kept a secret.

The sauce is an admirable mix of a vinegar/mustard sauce with a tomato base. This is a common mix and is seen everywhere. Sticking with a common ingredient list can often be the result of someone who wants to appeal to everyone’s palette, but unfortunately the result often fails to appeal to anyone. This was the exception that proves the rule. Although closer to a mustard sauce than anything else, the blending of tastes was phenomenal.

The ingredient list was clean and concise, without many of the artificial additives you often find in mass manufactured sauces. The coloring was a very uniform light red. The sauce came in a 16 oz. plastic bottle.


Do yourself a favor and try this sauce. It is a great departure from the near ubiquitous Kansas City style sauce

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

RAMBLINGS: BBQ Terminology

Terminology:

BBQ has a nomenclature all its own. Smoker, mops, sops, smoke ring, chimney and rack all mean something to the public at large that is very different from what it means to the BBQ enthusiast. Let’s take a minute to go over a few common ‘Qing definitions.

THE WET STUFF

Mops: A mop is the name for both a thin liquid that is used to keep a meet moist during smoking and the device used to apply it. The ingredients for mops vary greatly, but I most often use something with a base of apple juice.

Sauces: Sauces are usually, but not always, applied late in the cooking of the meat or after the meat is done. The styles of sauce are varied and are often geographically representative. Sauces are used to enhance or alter the taste of the meat.

Slathers
: A slather is a very thick sauce that is often mustard based. It is usually applied to the meat prior to the cooking. A slather helps to bind rubs to a meat, provide a crust or ‘bark’ and add flavor to the end product.

Marinades
: A marinade has two jobs. A marinade is especially useful in BBQ as it helps to break down the connective tissue in meet, making it more tender. This is important in our neck of the woods, as BBQ’ers often use rougher cuts, such as brisket. The other purpose of a marinade is to impart flavor. Meats are soaked in marinades for a significant amount of time prior to the cooking. Common ingredients in marinade are oil, vinegar, wine, citrus juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and assorted dry spices.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

REVIEW: Woody's Sweet and Sour Sauce






Woody’s Foods Sweet and Sour BBQ Sauce

Manufacturer
Woody’s Foods

Website www.woodyscookin.com

Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity *** (3 out of 5)
Sweetness **** (4 out of 5)
Appearance **** (4.5 out of 5)

This sauce was used with ribs (babyback) and pulled pork. The meats were slow smoked over apple and cherry wood.

One of the problems with running a site like the Home of BBQ is that manufacturers are not going to send you something that they are not proud of. So, how many superlatives can I throw out there? How much variation can I offer for reviews of excellent sauces?

Well, enjoying quality BBQ is a burden I’m willing to shoulder for the sake of the readers.

Woody’s Sweet n Sour Sauce is a top shelf product that I hope to see more of in the future. I haven’t seen it in any retail locations and I haven’t seen it discussed in any BBQ forums. That is a shame, as the sauce deserves more acclaim.

The aroma is just strong enough. It’s not overpowering while still providing a pleasant indicator of what’s to come. It provides hints of both the sweet and savory aspects of the sauce.

The potency of the sauce would fall between mild and average. As such, it is best used on milder meats. One of the strongest selling points of the sauce is that it retains its flavor without changing the flavor of what it is used with. Many sauces alter or mask the flavor of the subject. Woody’s Sweet n Sour brings something new to the table while allowing for the retention of the integrity of the rest of the food.

The flavor seems to be ‘pure’ for some reason. The sweetness tastes natural, as if it is derived from fruit. The sour has a great flavor that is derived from pineapple. The acidity is balanced perfectly against the sweet.

The sauce comes in a glass jar with a printed on label (as opposed to a paper label). The jar contains 14.5 oz of sauce.

If you enjoy sauces that seem to derive it’s sweetness from fruit as opposed to pure sugar, try this sauce. If you enjoy a mild sauce that adds instead of alters, try this sauce. If you enjoy a sweet vs. sour contrast, try this sauce.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

INTERVIEW: Derrick Riches of About.com

About.com is an online reference source staffed by experts in a variety of fields. Owned by the NY Times, About.com was founded in 1996.

Derrick Riches is the resident BBQ and grilling expert for About.com. Derrick and About.com serves as what I look to refer to as a gateway service. Although Mr. Riches spends a great deal of time assisting anyone who needs BBQ related help, his acumen is greatly appreciated by those that are making their first moves from backyard grilling to true enthusiast.

Derrick’s expertise and knowledge level are tested on a daily basis. He is a true BBQ guru and we are grateful for his participation.

Mr. Riches kindly agreed to be interviewed by the Home of BBQ and we are happy to present that interview today.

Q. How long have you been interested in cooking and how did that interest develop?


My mother had three boys and was dead set on making sure we all knew how to cook. Me, being the youngest, received the brunt of the cooking lessons. My father loved to cook and was very good at it, but was rather lazy. He had me flipping steaks when I was tall enough to reach the top of the grill. What dad was particularly good at was experimenting. He took the classic English meals his mother would make and constantly worked to adapt them to different ingredients and different cooking methods. He and I were always trying all sorts of crazy recipes. So between my mother’s insistence that I know the basics and my dad’s experiments, I can honestly say that I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t cooking.

Q. When did you get interested in BBQ?

In my childhood, I had at my disposal everything you would need to prepare great barbecue without actually knowing what true barbecue was. For most of my early life I lived in a house built on a large piece of what was once an orchard. There were dozens of giant old cherry, apple and peach trees which had a constant supply of dried wood. When I was about ten years old, the neighbors moved away and left us with this big green thing we called a Hibachi. It was in fact a Kamado style cooker similar to a Big Green Egg, brought over from Japan after the war. Since we lived very near the mountains I had grown up eating as many campfire meals as kitchen cooked ones. I had been taught to tend fires at a very young age and knew how to prepare and cook a fish over an open fire before I knew you could cook them any other way. Add into this mix my father’s constant experimenting and we were cooking low and slow barbecue before any of us knew what it really was. After graduating from High School, I took a trip to Texas to visit some friends and this is where I tried real barbecue for the first time. I was hooked immediately and once I figured out how it was done I adapted my childhood training to making real barbecue from that day forward.

Q. How did that interest in BBQ lead to your being the ‘low and slow’ guru for about.com?


I was literally looking for something to do when I noticed a want add online for this new start up dotcom. I applied and was almost immediately picked to be the Barbecue and Grilling Guide at About.com. That was in March of 1997 and after 11 years I think I’m starting to get the basics covered. Writing about barbecue was a natural fit and this has been the best “job” I’ve ever had.

Q. What is the most frequent question you get from users of about.com?


Most of the questions I receive are about types of cookers. There is an endless amount of smokers, grills and other outdoor cookers on the market and a seemingly infinite number of confused consumers. After this most people ask about the basics of barbecue. There are a lot of people out there who want to make great barbecue, but they simply don’t know where to start. I think that if I can help them have a good first experience then they will be more likely to make barbecue a part of their lives.

Q. How often do you receive solicitations for assistance from readers?

It changes through the year. By the middle of May I should be getting about 30 to 40 email questions a day. In January it drops down to around a dozen. There are days when it seems answering my email takes all day.

Q. If you were to recommend a resource to a BBQ enthusiast other than your own, what would it be?

I think that there are a great number of excellent resources for specific smokers. The Virtual Weber Bullet, Big Green Eggs forums, or Cookshack’s forum are great places for people to get specific help for the problems that are having. I feel that getting people with the same equipment together is the best way to learn and perfect their barbecue. I also fully encourage people getting involved with their local barbecue societies. It is the local groups that preserve the real traditions of barbecue. My advice to anyone wanting to learn more is to find the group for their local and the group for their cooker.

Q. Are you a member of any other online BBQ communities?

I have been involved in many groups over the years. Unfortunately, my schedule has gotten so full that I simply don’t have time to actively participate in many of the great communities out there. I do read a lot of what’s going on so I can keep up, but between writing, answering emails, traveling, cooking and the other projects I’m involved in, I simply lack the time.

Q. Do you participate in competitive BBQ?

I am a certified KCBS judge and I judge a wide range of events, but I do not compete. This has been a conscious decision on my part. I work with several teams and competitors, helping them with their technique and recipes but I prefer not to compete. I know many great competitors and admire them for what they do, but being that focused is just something I don’t feel I have the resources for right now. I do, however love competitions and hanging around with competitors. I play with the idea of competing from time to time so maybe someday I will.

Q. Of the people out there that are dedicated to educating others about BBQ, who do you most admire?


I’ve found that some of the best insight I’ve ever received came from people who said the least. I’ve had the opportunity to attend several barbecue classes and to speak with many of the modern legends of barbecue. What I have found the most insightful however, are the discussions not so much about barbecue but about the lives of the people who are really good at it. A while back I flew down to Fast Eddie’s cooking class at the Cookshack factory on Ponca City, Oklahoma. Since Ponca City is pretty much in the middle of nowhere I flew into Tulsa, about a two or three hour drive from the factory. Cookshack had arranged for me to come down so they decided that one of their people would pick me up at the airport and drive me over. Turns out Fast Eddie himself ended up being my driver. We had a long conversation the whole way in and while we talked a little Q. We also talked a lot about Eddie and his experiences. I learned as much during that drive as I did during the all day cooking class the next day.

Anyway, to throw out some names I’d have to say that Ray Lampe, Rick Basso, Fast Eddie Maurin, Rick Browne (who is a really nice guy), and Myron Mixon are just a few who really stand out in my mind right now. Increasingly, I have been reading a lot of blogs that have popped up in the last couple of years. It is very refreshing to read from the perspective of people who are just starting out, so there are a number of these people that I have been following as well.

Q. Do you have any favorite BBQ cook-books?


I have literally hundreds of barbecue books. I receive virtually everything published for review (though I am way behind on book reviews). I really enjoyed Mike Mills, “Peace, Love and Barbecue” but not so much for the cooking parts as everything else. Of the books I use regularly I keep the Adells and Kelly “Complete Meat Cookbook” close by as well as several general reference books. I’m a tinkerer by nature so I have a lot of difficulty following recipes without throwing my own ideas into it. Cookbooks are a good starting point for me.

Q. Of anyone alive or dead, who would you most like to cook with and why?

This is probably a much shorter list than people I would like to drink with, but if I really thought it out it would end up being a list far too long to manage. I’m a history buff by nature and I am really fascinated about how we got where we are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always interested in hearing about the latest techniques and methods but I think you have to admit that where barbecue is today is, well, a little strange. Take a long walk through a big competition. It’s amazing that this backwoods form of cooking has developed to the point where there are show teams that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment, motor homes, smoker rigs, flat screen TVs. Okay, maybe I digress, but I if I could really cook with anyone in history I would probably like to go back a hundred years and see barbecue in the raw. From the Q shacks of backwoods South Carolina to the chuck wagons of Texas. I guess I would like to cook with the people that taught Walter Jetton or Arthur Bryant and the greats of the last generation. To me that would be really cool even though I wouldn’t learn a thing that would win a competition.

Q. About.com is a resource for all aspects of BBQ; including regional recipes, equipment and news updates. How do you educate yourself on all of the topics covered?

The best way I have learned about barbecue is by making mistakes. It doesn’t take long for someone to point out the error of your ways. Over the years I have engaged a lot of people from all over the world to help me out. I am fortunate that barbecue is about the friendliest pursuit in the world and that I have made so many friends who know so much. In recent years I have been able to do a lot of traveling , enabling me to get a lot of first hand experience with a wide variety of cooking techniques and foods. Recently I travelled to South Korea to spend a week touring and eating. Not a bad job if you can get the work.

Now, hardly a day goes by that some inventor, manufacturer, competition cook, or just backyard chef doesn’t contact me about something new. I get new equipment all the time to tryout and am very fortunate that so many people have taken their time to set me straight and tell me about there way of barbecue

Q. What do you think BBQ means to our society?


I think that barbecue today is the antithesis of everything that has gone wrong in our world. Barbecue is the slowest food possible in a fast food world. While it may not be health food it is certainly real food which is something disappearing from out diets. It requires patience and a desire to experiment. These are virtues in my eyes. Imagine a room full of men sitting around talking about the difference between Italian and Greek Oregano. These are people with a passion for food and by extension a passion for life. In a world as competitive as ours barbecue competitions result in more sharing than in any other activity I know of.

Q. Where changes would you like to see in the world of BBQ in the next ten years?


The biggest problem I see in barbecue today is a quest for standardization. I know that from a competitive stand point it is important that everyone work on a level playing field, but I fear that many of the small regional differences are being wiped out in favor of one big national or global standard of what is barbecue. Anyone who knows anything about barbecue can tell you about the great barbecue regions, but what people don’t realize is that there are far more than four or five regions, there are hundreds. I would love to see more of the local flavors win out over the more general standards. There needs to be a way to inspire the preservation of our barbecue past while continuing to grow the popularity of barbecue as a competitive activity. It is after all one of the truly unique American cultural elements and something that needs to be preserved for the future.

Q. After your long tenure at about.com, do you plan on branching out into any other BBQ mediums, such as a cookbook or radio show?

I have been very close to both book and TV deals in the past and something has always come up. I am certainly open to virtually anything that would be offered but I don’t actively pursue these deals. I keep telling myself that I will work on something as soon as I get caught up. Unfortunately, in 11 years my to-do lists have just gotten longer, not shorter. However, I will probably have the time and energy to get working on a book soon and hope to be able to shop it around in the near future.

Q. What would you like our readers to know about about.com?

I believe in love at first site. When it comes to barbecue if you don’t get it right the first time you try, you might just give up and never try again. First impressions are important and what I am trying to do here is not make you the best barbecue cook in the world, but to try and make sure that the first time some one fires up a smoker to cook a rack of ribs that they have the best chance of getting a good meal. If your first experience is good, you’ll be back. I want more and more people tending the fires and making great food. Learn to cook, take your time and have fun. Remember, patience is a virtue.

The site has a focus on BBQ sauces. Can you provide us with the recipe for your favorite sauce?

Burning Tomato Barbecue Sauce

• 1 cup ketchup
• 1 cup tomato sauce
• 1/2 cup Louisiana style hot pepper sauce
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon garlic salt
• 1 tablespoon molasses
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

PREPARATION:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.



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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

REVIEW: Sticky Fingers Carolina Sweet










Sticky Fingers Carolina Sweet

Manufacturer
Sticky Fingers
Website www.Stickyfingersonline.com





Quality ** (2.5 out of 5)
Viscosity *** (3 out of 5)
Aroma ** (2 out of 5)
Sweetness *** (3.5 out of 5)
Appearance ***3 (3 out of 5)
Packaging *** (3 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.

Sticky Fingers Carolina Sweet BBQ sauce is the ‘Qing equivalent of vanilla ice cream. There is nothing really wrong with it, but there’s not much right either. You almost wish that they would take a chance. Be a little bold. The sauce is just good enough to wonder why it isn’t better.

There is another website out there that does BBQ sauce reviews (I’ll be discussing them soon in another post) and it seems that they recently had the same problem that I’m having with this sauce. You almost feel guilty when someone sends you a sauce for review and it’s not that great. The feelings of guilt are ameliorated, however, by the need to do justice to other sauces that are of a superior quality.

It seems that Sticky Fingers is walking a tightrope, hoping not to offend anyone with this sauce. If that’s the case, they have achieved their goal. This sauce would offend no one. If I was in a chain restaurant and had this on some food I wouldn’t think twice about it. And I wouldn’t remember it five minutes later.

The sauce itself is a sweet (for sure) sauce that is not really indicative of what we have come to expect from Carolina sauces. It has a tomato base and a slight vinegar flavor.

The aroma is fine. You can tell by the smell that this is a sweet sauce. The aroma is not very strong, especially on the food. It’s not a bad odor, just not much to it and it doesn’t represent much beyond the sweetness. I would have preferred to have hints of vinegar and/or tomato.

The viscosity of the sauce is fine. It adheres to the meat well. It’s not overly thick. This is the one category that may have deserved a better review. I’m vacillating between a 3 and a 3.5.


The sauce comes in a plastic 18oz. bottle. It’s a nice bottle and it has a distinct, clear label. I would have given it a 3.5 if it had been a bit more descriptive.

You can purchase this sauce online for $3.99. It’s also found in their chain of Sticky Finger restaurants. Although a clear step up from sauces such as Kraft, there are much better sauces to choose from if you are purchasing BBQ sauce online.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PAIRINGS: BBQ & Beer pt 3

BBQ and Beer

This is the third in our series of articles on BBQ and Beer pairings. Today we will be concentrating on what goes well with a classic white sauce. Again, we are indebted to our beer experts Timothy Bisson and Michael Payne for their acumen and willingness to lend a hand.


Alabama White Sauce

1 cup mayonaise
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for at
least 8 hours before using.


Michael Payne:

Styles - Lambic, Flanders Red.

This is a real challenge to match as it is a unusual and idiosyncratic style of BBQ sauce. Since this sauce is so different from most, I recommend going with an unusual beer as well. Both Lambics and Flemish Red beers have the acidity to stand up to a sauce with all the vinegar that we find in the Alabama white sauce.

Lambics are a very old Belgian style of beer. They are produces by a handful of dedicated artisanal brewers near Brussels. They have a strong acidity can easily match the vinegar in the sauce as well as earthy, peppery notes to match the pepper, spice and citrus.

Flemish Red beers are a similar but distinctly different style of Belgian beer. These beers have a similar acidity to lambics as well as the earthy funkiness, but they also have a subtle, malty sweetness that can help refresh the palate when dealing with something acidic like the Alabama Red sauce.

Suggested Commercial Examples:

Lambic - Lindemans Cuvee Rene, Cantillon Gueuze (avoid sweetened lambics such as LIndemans fruit lambics as they tend to be cloyingly sweet and artificial tasting).

Flemish Red - Rodenbach Grand Cru, Duchesse De Bourgogne.



Timothy Bisson
:

Brisket
This was a tough one. The white sauce is thin in consistency but brings a lot of pepper and acidity balanced by some sweetness and tang in the mayonnaise. The brisket is full of robust flavor and mouthfeel. Hmmm. Well a beer that fits this bill is Guinness Draught Stout. The beers’ and sauces’ slight sourness and light mouthfeel gave them some common ground to meet and sniff each other out. The peppery flavor in the sauce liked what it saw in the roastiness of the Stout and the party started. As the Guinness warms its full flavor comes out. This is key. The roastiness nestles into the brisket adding complexity to the tender but textured meat. The Guinness cleans the palate while enjoying commonality with the sauce. The meat tangoed with the Stout and the sauce allowing each to lead but not getting pushed over at all.

Alternate brew: If you can’t find Guinness, crawl from under the rock you live and ask anyone who breathes fresh air where to find it.

Pork Ribs
Tried:
Ahh, this Alabama White sauce is a noodle scratcher. But, I’ve got two brews that will add complexity and balance to it. The white sauce is acidic from the vinegar with some sweetness and creaminess from the mayo and finishes with layers of black and cayenne pepper. The ribs bring some fat and a lovely meaty texture.

The Dupont Moinette Brune is a Strong Dark Belgian Ale made by a brewery famous for Saison Dupont. And it’s great with the Pork Ribs and White sauce. The beer is slightly sour with mild cherry flavors, chocolate and caramel balanced by hop bitterness. It’s a beer that will go well with lots of dark or BBQ’d meats. The beer’s sourness finds harmony with the sauce and the malt flavors blend well with the meat. This beer is hard to find in some places and might not be up everyone’s alley,

But, Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter is widely available and if you like craft beer it should be up your alley. For both the Pork and Beef Ribs this is a fun excellent pairing. Its sweetness matches the sauce. The acidity of the sauce is cleaned out by the full mouth feel and body in the porter. Also, the roast character adds another layer of flavor to the ribs. Taddy Porter’s molasses qualities enhance the meat’s flavors. It’s a great beer for any BBQ dish.

Beef Ribs
The beef ribs and the sauce bring quite different flavors to the table. The ribs are bold with earthy qualities. The sauce is peppery and acidic with some creaminess for balance. As stated in the Pork Ribs review above, Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter smooth, roasty full character dovetails splendidly with Beef Ribs.

But for the more adventurous type, try a Flemish Red Ale, particularly Verhaeghe’s Vichtenaar. I know. It’s a mouth full and I don’t even know how to say it. But Flemish Red’s are sour and so is the sauce. Sour in a good way. The sourness in the beer and sauce match which allows the Flemish Red’s cherry and wood flavors to dive into the tender but rich beef flavors. The sauce adds some peppery spice and a slight creaminess that pulls everything together. This is a great pairing where the food and beer find a commonplace in the acidity and use that to beautifully express themselves. Give it a try!

Chicken Breasts
The chicken breasts with the White Sauce is great. The sauce seems less sour and the black and cayenne pepper comes out more fully in the chicken. Two beers did well with the chicken. First, Belhaven’s Scottish Ale has a mild dark malt character which links up with the char of the bird. There is a slight tart ting in the finish of the Scottish Ale that finds harmony with the sauce’s cider vinegar. This nitrogenated silky quaffable is like a side of creamy mashed potatoes next to your favorite steak. It’s there to complement the meat and add something creamy to help wash it down. It happily blends right in.

Second, try Verhaeghe’s Vichtenaar Flemish Red Ale. Its strong acidity finds a home with the vinegar in the sauce. With the chicken, there is a wonderful sweet and sour combinations going on. The dark fruit and malt sweetness of the beer dive into the lactic and acetic acids of the beer and sauce. The peppers also are tamed and blended with the cherry flavors from the beer. It’s a complex offering that enlivens and delights the tastebuds. Again, this beer is not readily available and is for the adventurous.


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Sunday, February 17, 2008

REVIEW: Butch's Pyro BBQ Sauce






Butch’s Smack Your Lips Pyro BBQ Sauce






Manufacturer
Smack Your Lips BBQ

Website www.smackyourlipsbbq.com

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

Butch Lupinetti is a bit of a celebrity amongst BBQ enthusiasts. He has been on the Food Network (beating Bobby Flay in a Throwdown), has won numerous competitions and has gathered renown for just being an all around nice guy. This is our second review of one of Butch’s sauces.

The aroma of this sauce is predominantly vinegar, but has nice subtle undertones. I really liked it, which was a bit of a surprise. As you might remember, our only negative in our review of Butch’s basic sauce was a ‘chemically’ odor.

When writing a review you are almost inclined to look for something negative to comment on so that your positives will seem to have a balanced counterpoint. Unfortunately, I can’t offer that here. This sauce is right in my wheelhouse, as I love spicy foods.

We gave the ‘heat’ category a 4 out of 5, but that should not to be taken as a comment on how hot the sauce is. It is intended to convey the quality of the heat with the sauce. The heat has a nice lingering effect while providing a noticeable but not overpowering kick.

The sauce has a nice, dark red hue. The color is very consistent but it might be more visually appealing if some pepper seeds were visible as you will sometimes see in a lighter sauce. The sauce comes in an 18 oz. plastic bottle. In a departure from the basic sauce (and the soon to be reviewed Super Pyro sauce), the bottle has a standard twist cap as opposed to the preferable squeeze top.


Butch proves that name recognition can indeed equate to product quality. After sampling three of his sauces I would be pleased to purchase anything else he puts his name on site unseen.


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Friday, February 15, 2008

REVIEW: Rufus Teague Honey Sweet BBQ Sauce





Rufus Teague Honey Sweet BBQ Sauce











Manufacturer
Rufus Teague

Website www.rufusteague.com

Quality **** (4.5 out of 5)
Viscosity ***** (5out of 5)
Aroma **** (4 out of 5)
Appearance *** (3.5 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 pulled chicken.

Since I started reviewing sauces I have sampled roughly fifty different varieties. This is the second sauce that I would feel comfortable using in a competition setting. Keep in mind that the vast majority of the sauces that I’m reviewing have been sent to me by the manufacturers and they certainly don’t send something that they aren’t proud of.

Over the past few years I have tasted countless sauces. Literally hundreds. Some purchased, some home made. Rufus Teague has jumped the ranks to become one of my top 5 favorite manufactured sauces. I don’t want to jump the gun and go into the other Rufus Teague sauces that I will be discussing at a later date, but this is a name that you can rely on. I have tried their rub and each of the sauces and everything they make is excellent.

I have no idea if Rufus Teague is the actual founder of the company or someone akin to Pecos Bill who lends the brand a folksy feel, but if I see his face on a BBQ related product, I’m buying it.

The Honey Sweet sauce comes as advertised. It is a mild, sweet sauce that adds to the flavor profile without diminishing what it is put on. Similar to their rub, the sauce is not out to overpower you or to take the spotlight off the meat. It is a quality addition any BBQ enthusiasts pantry.

The sauce has a mild, but nice aroma reminiscent of the vinegar and tomato base. The color is a dark red that is uniform in its consistency. Coming in an attractive glass bottle that is shaped like a flask, the packaging is some of the best that I’ve seen.

Again, as with their rub, the labeling is lacking in descriptors. Allow me to lend a hand and throw out a few free samples that they can choose from: Excellent, Recommended, Top Shelf and Addicting. Do the people you ‘Q for a favor and try this sauce.

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CONTESTS: New Sponsor!! - BBQ Calendars!




The Home of BBQ is very happy to announce a new sponsor for our monthly contests. Every winner for each of our revolving monthly contests will now also receive one A Pig A Day BBQ calendar.

Regardless of what you win, grand prize, second place or other; you will now also be receiving a calendar in amongst your winnings.

These great calendars celebrate the icons of BBQ and are a must have for any enthusiast. Whether you are a fan of pulled pork, smoked brisket or baby back ribs, this calendar is for you.

Can't wait to win one? Hop on over to their site and pick one up today!
Click on the url: www.bbqcalendar.com


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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

PAIRINGS: BBQ & Beer pt 2

Beer Pairings pt. 2

This is week two in our series of BBQ and beer pairings. This week we are focusing on the standard red sauce. The recipe is courtesy of about.com. Look for our upcoming interview with about.com’s resident BBQ expert!

Our thanks go out (again!) to Timothy Bisson and Michael Payne for their guidance and kind assistance.

Standard Red Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add garlic and sauté
until brown. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat.
Simmer for 15 minutes until thick.

Michael Payne:


Styles - Dubbel, Smoked Porter

This is the classic red sauce, and my first thought was to pair it with the classic of Belgian beers. Since a major component of the flavor of this red sauce comes from the sweetness of the ketchup and the brown sugar, the natural choice is to pair it with a malty brown beer. Any brown beer will do an adequate job, but if you want something really special go with a Belgian Dubbel.

Dubbels are strong, malty, fruity beers traditionally produced by monks in Trappist monasteries (thought many good dubbels are produced by secular breweries as well today). The rich malt character of a good Dubbel matches the sweetness of the sauce and also stands up to the tomato character, which is a tough match for most beers. The dark, fruity characteristics of the beer will compliment and contrast the spices and garlic, while the slightly stronger than average alcohol content (about 7%) will cut through the richness of both the sauce and meat.

Another good match for this traditional sauce would be a smoked porter. This is a logical match for any BBQ dish because of its savory smoke character and rich maltiness. The best smoked porters have a subtle smoke character that will match any meat, a maltiness to match sweet, rich sauce, and brisk hoppiness that compliments chili pepper spice.

Suggested Commercial Examples:

Dubbel - Chimay Premiere (Red), St. Bernardus 8, New Belgium Abbey

Smoked Porter - Stone Smoked Porter, Alaskan Smoked Porter


Timothy Bisson:

Brisket
I found two beers that went very well with Brisket and the KC Red Sauce. These were the Belhaven Wee Heavy and Deschutes Black Butte Porter. They are rather different though.

If you want the beer to be showcased go with the Black Butte. It’s roasty and bitter which creates a good base for the vinegar and sweet flavors in the sauce. Also, the fat and rich flavor of the beef fit nicely when doused by the black pepper, caramel and chocolate flavors found in the Porter. The Porter added delicious contrast to the brisket. This was my wife, Jennifer’s, pick as favorite.

If you want the brisket and sauce to prevail, go with the Wee Heavy. This was my favorite. It was truly special when I took a whiff of the Wee Heavy while enjoying the brisket. The char of the brisket added a whisp of smoke to the toasty malt and alcohol of the Wee Heavy. The Wee Heavy is a Scotch Ale at 6.5% ABV. The sweetness and acidity of the beer matched the sweetness from the sauce’s ketchup and the acidity from the vinegar. It’s a malt balanced beer but has enough hop bitterness to keep the finish dry. The Wee Heavy made the brisket seem more moist. It added a tad of bitterness and cut nicely through the fat and sinew leaving my mouth happy and ready for more.

Beef Ribs

Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale was the match for this tasty combo. It’s a well hopped high alcohol (7.2 % ABV) American Brown Ale that can be found at better beer stores all around the US. The hop bitterness and the roasted malts gave a good foundation for the short ribs and sauce to frolic on. The sauce is pleasantly sweet and acidic. The caramel malt flavor blends well with the sweetness in the meat and sauce. The beer’s complex aroma of earthy, pungent hops, alcohol, raisins, and molasses follows through into the flavor and sinks into the ribs. This was a bold beer for a bold dish.

Pork Ribs

The ribs needed something to cut through its fat while complementing the lovely flavor of the meat and sauce. This called for the Belgian Trappist Ale, Rochefort 8. It’s 9.2% ABV with a slight fusel alcohol component in the nose and flavor that acted as a wonderful knife on the rib fat. This left behind the caramel and pale malt sweetness of the beer to freely intermingle with the rich pork flavors Also, the aroma has some sweet banana, pear and cloves that added good balance and helped ground the ketchup and vinegar of the sauce. I am finding that pork ribs and darker Belgian Ales are wonderful together. The sweetness in the beer and sauce match. Also, the alcohol and high carbonation of the beer elevate the sensitivity of the palate; opening it for the delicious duo it’s encountering.

Chicken Breasts
The garlic, cayenne, and vinegar when combined with caramel char of the ketchup made a tasty dish with lots of flavors to enjoy. I went for a beer that would let the chicken be showcased, add some complementary sweetness and cleanse the palate. This was the Einbecker Schwarzbier. It’s malt balanced, clean, very smooth and was perfect with the chicken. The malt sweetness of the beer matched that of the sauce. The slight roasty character of the Schwarzbier melded right into the char of the chicken. The beer’s aroma has a slight grain component that added a bit of complexity to the meal. But, mostly, this beer was a great supporting actor and allowed the star to shine.

Schwarzbier Subtitute: Sam Adams Black Lager

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

REVIEW: Crazy Mother Puckers Honey Habanero Sauce



Crazy Mother Pucker’s Honey Habanero BBQ Sauce

Manufacturer
Crazy Mother Pucker’s

Website
www.crazymotherpuckers.com

Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity **** (4 out of 5)
Aroma ***** (5 out of 5)
Heat **** (4 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.

I had no idea what to expect with this sauce. I was a bit afraid that the heat would overwhelm the food due to the use of habaneros.

The initial impression from the sauce was that of a pleasing ‘vinegarish’ smell. The sauce had an impressive, fresh aroma that left us looking forward to the tasting.

The viscosity was a little looser than that in a Kansas City sauce, more in line with a Texas specimen and certainly not as loose as a Carolina sauce. The color was a light, bright red and the pepper flecks in the sauce were plainly visible. Overall, very appealing.

Crazy Mother Pucker’s sauces come in a nice glass bottle that has a nice heft to them. There was no skimping on the packaging. Both the labeling and the bottle have a very professional feel, somewhat in contrast to the humorous brand name.

The sauce had an immediate heat to the taste that faded fairly quickly. I was pleased that the qualities of the meat were not overwhelmed by the heat of the sauce. Aside from the heat, the sauce had a rather mild flavor that also seemed to aid in allowing the flavor of the meat to shine through. The sauce was mildly sweet, without being cloying.

I also used the sauce the same evening on a burger and with some french fries. The sauce was enjoyable and will have a place on my table when I want a little kick in my BBQ sauce.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

RAMBLINGS: KCBS Policies

If you are a member of the Kansas City BBQ Society or are considering becoming a member you should be aware that there has been a recent proposal by a member of the Board of Directors to enact a policy where someone can not run for the Board if they are related to someone currently serving.

This policy has generated a considerable debate, with those opposed to the proposal claiming that as reasoning adults they don’t need or want restrictions on who they can vote for. This website supports that position but respects anyone who cares enough to make their voice heard.

There are many claims being made by people on both sides of the fence regarding the ethical behavior of those involved. I don’t believe that all the facts are available to the public and until that changes I believe that we owe everyone the benefit of the doubt. I would respectfully request that you make up your mind based solely on whether or not you believe in the proposal itself and allow your voice to be heard by voting in the poll here: KCBS POLL

Again, it is my contention that this policy is not necessary and would indeed be detrimental. My reasons are as follows:

A) The membership of the KCBS has the choice to vote AGAINST anyone that they believe would be involved in cronyism.

B) Two of the founders of the KCBS were a married couple.

C) The person who is now serving whose tenure instigated the discussion was the top vote recipient in the most recent election.

D) There is a mechanism in place for the Board to remove someone that they believe are behaving unethically.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

RAMBLINGS: Art vs. Science

Artistry vs. Science

The battle for the purity of a hobby is always an intense struggle by those that are immersed in the pastime. What outsiders may view as minutia is often a serious bone of contention. BBQ is no different.

As technology continues to become more available to the ‘everyman’, the benefits of that technology will be applied to every aspect of their life. Unfortunately, when that is related to BBQ it seems to be almost oxymoronic for some. For many enthusiasts, BBQ is a way to get back to a slower, less complicated time.

The question is, where do you draw the line in the sand? Technology in BBQ is certainly a grey area. Do you believe that it takes away from the artistry of Q’ing to use a digital thermometer? What about food science? How about insulated coolers to allow the meat to rest? Those are all pretty acceptable and I would be surprised to hear any complaints about them. But what about computerized venting, blackberry temperature alerts and the like? Is that pushing the envelope?

The problem is that this is a hobby. You are undoubtedly going to bring your passions into your hobby. If Bob is a tech-head and is going to merge his passion for BBQ with his passion for gadgets, who are we to frown upon it? On the other hand, BBQ is certainly not just about preparing the optimal food. It’s about a culture that links back to the start of our nation. It’s about a people and a way of thinking. It’s about a certain laid back graciousness and understated hospitality that we are helping to preserve. To a certain extent, technology does take something from that.

So what is the appropriate compromise? I believe that everyone has to make their own decision on this, but I believe that it will come down to the general good nature of the people who are involved in this great hobby. There may be a few side glances of disbelief at a neighbors hook-up at a competition, but all will be forgotten as friends and neighbors break bread, share a drink and talk about ‘Q.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

REVIEW: Demon Pig BBQ Sauce





Demon Pig BBQ Sauce

Manufacturer: Demon Pig BBQ

Website: www.demonpigbbq.com



Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity *** (3 out of 5)
Aroma **** (4 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.

I had heard of Demon Pig BBQ sauce in my varied meanderings through the world of BBQ but this was the first opportunity I’ve had to try the sauce. It won’t be the last. They have two sauces, one a regular, the second a spicy, orange sauce.

The aroma is very pleasing, with hints of both vinegar and citrus. The sauce itself is tomato based with a consistency between a K.C. and a Texas sauce. Although the sauce was looser than many tomato based sauces there was no problem with it adhering to the meat.

The strength of the taste would fall between a medium and a mild and the flavor had a nice lingering aspect to it. The sauce was surprisingly complimentary to the meat. Usually a tomato based sauce will change or add to the taste of what it is put on while this seemed to bring out the flavors that were already there. This seems to mimic the effects of the best vinegar sauces in heightening what is already there while bringing something new to the flavor profile.

The sauce comes in a glass 13oz bottle. The glass has a nice heft to it and the label is clean and distinct.

The best recommendation I can give for this sauce is that when I run out of what I currently have I’m going to be purchasing more immediately.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

RECIPE: Beer & BBQ Pairings

BBQ & Beer Pairings

The recipes are from about.com. Look for an upcoming interview with about.com’s resident BBQ expert, Derrick Riches.

Mustard Sauce


1 cup jarred mustard
1 tablespoon (roughly) fresh chopped garlic
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon powdered oregano
1/4 teaspoon powdered thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Combine dry ingredients in a saucepan. Add enough
vinegar to make a mixable paste. Mix well. Place
over high heat and add remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and
simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Michael Payne


Styles - Saison

I like to think of Saison as the swiss army knife of beer. It is a rustic, Belgian farmhouse ale with spicy, peppery flavors and refreshing hop bitterness. Many brewers add various spices to the beer as well to increase the complexity. This style can pair well with virtually any food, but it has a special affinity for spicy acidic foods like this mustard sauce.

The mustard, herbs, and cayenne are easily matched by the complex, herb and spice characteristics of this beer style. While saisons are not sour beers, they do have a characteristic, refreshing tartness that matches the vinegar in the sauce and easily allows the beer to cut through the fat in whatever type of meat you put this sauce on.

Suggested Commercial Examples - Saison Dupont (classic hoppy saison), Fantome (excellent, creatively spiced saison)

Timothy Bisson

Pork Ribs

The Westmalle Dubbel and the pork ribs were great together. The sweetness in each met on common ground. The Dubbel added dark fruit (cherry and plum) flavors which melded nicely with the smoky, mustard flavor from the sauce. The fat and meat absorbed the sauce and beer very well to create happiness in my mouth.

Westmalle is a wonderful but pricy Dubbel. So on the East Coast you could get Allagash Dubbel and on the West Coast try North Coast’s Brother Thelonius.

I also tried Full Sail Amber with this but the ribs overpowered the malt and hops and only left a residual alcohol flavor behind.

Beef Short Ribs
Deschutes Black Butte Porter and the Beef Ribs were wonderful. Black Butte has some roasted malt, chocolate and smoky flavors. The mild smokiness came out for this pair and frolicked with the molasses, mustard and spices in the sauce. The robust beef flavors complemented the hop bitterness and other malt flavors exquisitely. A very tasty pairing indeed. If Black Butte is not available in your area, Sierra Nevada Porter or Stone’s Smoked Porter would pair well too.

I also tried Stone’s 11th Anniversary with the Beef Ribs. This beer is 8.7% ABV and full of hop aroma and bitterness. The hop bitterness and alcohol bowled over the tasty beef and BBQ sauce. Great brew but too big for the ribs.

Chicken Breast

The Grilled Chicken breast with the mustard sauce was great. The char on the meat flowed seamlessly into the sauce’s sweetness as did the Full Sail Amber. The caramel flavor from the malt wrapped itself tightly around the char of the chicken and the molasses in the sauce. The hop bitterness and the piny, citrusy hop flavor added complexity to the meal without detracting from the great BBQ flavor. Any hoppy American Amber will work with this sauce and chicken.

I’d also recommend American Brown Ale for this delicious dish. Bell’s Best Brown or Avery’s Ellie Brown would be at home comfortably. These Browns have some roasted and chocolate malt flavors that’ll gladly hold hands with the char and molasses while the hops dance pleasantly with the mustard.

I also tried the Ommegang Hennepin Saison with this. It was too citrusy of a saison to go well. It’s a great beer but an earthy saison would be needed for the smoke and dark sweetness the chicken brings.

Brisket
The Rogue Dead Guy Ale did nicely with the brisket smothered in the mustard sauce. The Dead Guy Ale is a Maibock style with some peach flavors in the finish. The sweetness in the Dead Guy matched the honey and molasses sweetness left in the brisket. The peach finish added some good complexity to the tender and mustardy brisket. I think a more traditional Maibock like Einbecker Ur Mai Bock or a Traditional Bock like Aass Bock would do well with this dish too. It just needs to have a mildly sweet finish and not be overly hopped.

I also tried Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale and Ommegang’s Hennepin with this. The Celebration, an American IPA, was way too bitter and did not blend with or complement the flavors of the brisket. The Hennepin, a saison, was good with the brisket but it was great with the grilled zucchini that was served to accompany the brisket. The zucchini helped clean the palate between brisket bites and the Hennepin added some zest.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Ramblings: BBQ and Beer

February is Beer Month at the Home of BBQ!

We are very grateful to have the input of beer experts offering their opinions on pairing of beer with BBQ. We will be posting four different recipes (three sauces and one rub) and our featured guests will be presenting their views on what beer best compliments the sauce and meats.

Our first expert is Michael Payne. Michael is a former ceramic artist who's interest in beer first took a serious turn when he read Garrett Oliver's "The Brewmaster's Table". This book changed his perspective on beer and taught him the importance of good food in bringing out the best in beer. In 2006 Michael made a career switch to professional brewing, attending the World Brewing Academy in Chicago and Munich, Germany in the spring of 2007. He currently works for the Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Georgia.

Our second expert is Tim Bisson. Here is what Tim had to say:

I am a Recognized Judge in the Beer Judge Certification Program who has brewed at home for about 10 years. I brewed professionally for three years while living in Colorado. Currently, I live in Anchorage, Alaska and think beer is the second greatest liquid on Earth. (H2O, you rock my world!!)

My interest in pairings started when I saw a beer dinner being advertised for $80 a head and decided if I hosted one at home, it would be cheaper and more fun. So a friend, my wife and myself put together a five course dinner for ten people and had a wonderful time. Since then, I continue to eat and drink while trying to create delicious duos.


Ok! Our thanks to Tim and Michael for their help. We will be covering a mustard vinegar sauces, a white sauce a traditional red sauce and a dry rub. We will be doing one pairing a week, starting Friday.

What beer do you usually drink with BBQ?

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

REVIEW: Searching for the Dixie Barbecue





Searching for the Dixie Barbecue – Journeys into the Southern Psyche

By: Wilber W. Caldwell

Publisher: Pineapple Press www.pineapplepress.com

108 pages

If you happen to be on a dimly lit highway heading south and hit the intersection of Legend Street and Mythic Boulevard, pull over and look for a bookstore. Chances are, the bookstore will be featuring Wilber Caldwell’s ‘Searching for the Dixie Barbecue’. This isn’t a book as much as it is a travelogue. Featuring characters that would feel at home in the same milieu as John Henry and Pecos Bill, this book acts as a passport to an America that never was and yet somehow manages to linger just around the corner.

Caldwell has provided an insight into a culture that has been dying for decades, but may be in the process of rejuvenation. Primarily focused on the American south east, this book provides a glimpse into the mindset of a fiercely proud, dedicated and almost jingoistic part of our nations populace.

Full of beautiful black and white photos of BBQ joints (note that the proprietors would take umbrage at the term ‘joint’) that are around today but look like they stepped out of 1954, ‘Searching for the Dixie Barbecue’ provides not just a lyrical journey but a visual feast. The book very quickly pulls you in and refuses to let you go.

There are few recipes in here and there is less discussion of tips and techniques for the backyard cooker. Their absence isn’t missed. This is about the ephemeral moment in time that was the very soul of the rural south for a large part of the last century. This is a book that should be on the shelf of every BBQ aficionado and any student of the cultural history of America.

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