Monday, June 29, 2009

Reviews: Gold Rush Jerky - Black Peppered

Gold Rush Beef Jerky – Black Peppered


Manufacturer: Toxic Tommy

Flavor: Black Peppered

Weight: 1.75 oz.

Website: http://www.toxictommy.com/


Flavor: **** 4.5

Aroma: *** 3.5

Texture: *** 3.5

Appearance: **** 4

Packaging: *** 3.5

Ratings range from 1 to 5


Gold Rush Black Peppered jerky comes in a transparent, narrow plastic package that allows clear visibility of the product. The label is black with white lettering and has a logo depicting a gold miner. The packaging is professional in appearance but not overly distinctive.


Unlike many reviews that we have done in the past, the aroma of this jerky is a direct parallel to the taste. The meat is redolent with the aroma of pepper, and that is a wonderful thing. I enjoy exotic and arcane aspects to sauces and jerky’s but sometimes you are most satisfied with the basics. Before you take your first bite you know that you are getting something primal but well crafted.


There is a lack of uniformity in the jerky when it comes to size and shape. I’m not really sure how much time to spend discussing this as it doesn’t bother me in the least. The variation is neither a positive nor a negative in my opinion. I could easily be persuaded that it lends a more rustic feel to the jerky, but as long as the variation

doesn’t impact the texture and taste, I don’t care.


The three most prominent bits of information gathered from the label are:

1) 97% fat free. Good to know and nice, but not surprising.

2) Moist and tender. Right on the nose (not literally). This jerky is surprisingly moist. Some jerky’s are brittle and some are overly chewy. This finds a nice middle road between the two.

3) The jerky is black peppered. Rarely has a description seemed so accurate.


It was bit surprising that the black pepper isn’t even listed in the ingredients. The sixth ingredient is ‘spices’, which I guess would include the pepper. Regardless of how they pull off this bit of gastronomical alchemy, the result is an excellent jerky with strong overtones of black pepper. The strongest profiles found here are meat, salt and pepper; offering a simple yet satisfying eating experience.


I was concerned about the msg that is the fourth ingredient, but it was nearly undetectable.


An tasty, low carb snack; Gold Rush Black Peppered Jerky would have an honored place in my pantry if I hadn't eaten the entire package. Time to order more.


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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ramblings: Custom BBQ Items

Huntingdon County Customs


Looking for a novel gift for that BBQ fanatic in your life? How about a unique prize for a competition you are running?


Brian Nevel of Huntingdon County Customs is the man to see.


Although they craft an array of custom metal products, Brian’s passion is BBQ. Whether it’s a tiny (and I do mean tiny) but fully working offset smoker or a new grates for your smoker or grill personalized with your name or logo, Brian breathes his love of BBQ into everything he makes.


Among their wide selection of custom products, Huntingdon County Customs also manufactures smokers made from Kegs. A small and portable unit, they are great for tailgating or any casual event.



Want everyone to know who cooked that delicious steak? Check out their custom branding irons.

Although you’ll find enough cool stuff here to satisfy any BBQ fan, the best option may be to come up with your own concepts and have Huntingdon fabricate them. Give them a yell.


You can visit their site by clicking here.


You can reach them by calling

1-(814)-506-1328

1-(877)-272-0527 (between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern)


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Interview: Chris Lilly -Video II

Here is part two of our interview with Chris Lilly regarding Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book from the Snapple Big Apple BBQ Block Party.

We greatly appreciate Mr. Lilly's time.



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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Interview: Chris Lilly -Video

Chris Lilly video interview

This is part one of our interview with Chris Lilly at the Snapple Big Apple BBQ Block Party. Chris was extremely generous with his time. We had the pleasure of speaking with Chris minutes before the start of the event and I'm sure that he could have been doing a hundred other things, but instead he took time from his busy day to talk to us.

You can read the review of Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book in the July issue of the KCBS Bullsheet.



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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ramblings: Snapple Big Apple BBQ - Video

Snapple Big Apple BBQ Block Party Intro

As an introduction to our interview with Chris Lilly at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party (check back tomorrow for part one), we are presenting an ode to New York City with an emphasis on the event.

Enjoy.



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Monday, June 22, 2009

Review: Gold Rush Jerky - Teriyaki

Gold Rush Beef Jerky – Honey Glazed Teriyaki


Manufacturer: Toxic Tommy

Flavor: Honey Glazed Teriyaki

Weight: 3.5 oz.

Website: http://www.toxictommy.com/


Flavor: 4

Aroma: 5

Texture: 3.5

Appearance: 4

Packaging: 3

Ratings range from 1 to 5



Gold Rush Teriyaki comes in a sizeable transparent plastic package allowing you to see what you are purchasing. The label is a pale yellow and has an image of a miner as the logo.


Although the flavor is great, the standout here is the aroma. It’s not strong, but it is excellent. Prominent hints of sweetness and soy come through and get the mouth watering. The aroma is on a parallel line to the taste, but is deeper and richer.


The jerky itself varies in length, width and depth. If that doesn’t have a negative affect on the texture and taste, I’ll all for it. A deep, reddish brown in color, the jerky is appealing to the eye.


As advertised on the label, the jerky is surprisingly moist. While still offering plenty of ‘chew’, Gold Rush jerky is still malleable and won’t pull your molars from your mouth. A small failing is that the jerky has a slight oily feel. I’m not sure if that is a function of the honey or the drying process, but it’s a minor complaint at worst.


This is a sweet jerky that maintains the flavor of the beef while adding an oriental tinge and is overlaid with honey. Reminiscent of a mild version of the flavor found in local Chinese restaurants on the spareribs and boneless ribs, this is a very pleasant flavor and completely addicting. A bit of heat would have been a nice compliment, but that wasn’t there goal. Everything promised on the label is delivered and delivered well.


I look forward to trying the rest of their products.


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Interview: Ct. State Champion



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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Review: Crazy Charley Cajun Bar-B-Cue Sauce

Crazy Charley Cajun Bar-B-Cue Sauce



Manufacturer Ford’s Crazy Cajun Enterprises
Website www.Crazy-Charley.com


Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity *** (3.5 out of 5) This is a measure of thickness, not quality
Aroma *** (3.5 out of 5)

Appearance **** (4 out of 5)

Packaging *** (3 out of 5)


Like coffee with your BBQ? Good news! Following the example of those brilliant visionaries who matched up Macaroni and Cheese, Peanut Butter and Chocolate and Cherry and Coke; Crazy Charley has made brewed coffee the prime ingredient in his Cajun Bar-B-Cue Sauce.


I’m familiar with coffee in rubs and in chili, but have never had it in a sauce. My initial impression is that it would round out the flavors and offer an earthy base for the other elements to play on. When I realized that the coffee was the first ingredient I was completely surprised. My opinion quickly shifted and I now thought the sauce would be very strong, maybe slightly acrid and a bit bitter with a predominant coffee flavor. I was very wrong.


The sauce comes in a mason jar type of container and holds 16oz of sauce. Due to the wide mouth, the sauce pours very easily. The label has a fading color scheme that moves from a light orange to a light red. The text is in black and the ‘Crazy Charley’ text is in an iconic font designed to give an off-kilter impression. There is a photo of (I have to assume) Charley himself in the center of the label.


Was coffee the first aroma to make itself known? Nope. That honor went to the ketchup that is the second ingredient in the sauce. As a matter of fact, the essence of coffee was nowhere to be found. Odd.


This is a rich, dark red sauce and is pretty much what you would expect a BBQ sauce to look like when it features coffee. As a matter of fact, the appearance of the sauce is much closer to what you would expect than the aroma or taste. There are lots of ingredients swimming around in there, but they are a bit hard to see due to the hue of the sauce. Seeds and pepper flecks show up and are a nice visual.


Don’t be concerned about pooling or slippage, this is a thick sauce. You will definitely need to use a brush to spread the sauce over the chicken or ribs when applying it.


The taste of the sauce is unusual. At first it comes off as a standard KC style sauce but after a second or two you realize that there is a depth and nuance to the flavor is just now becoming apparent. The taste of the coffee is hidden behind everything else and is hard to detect. I assume that it helps to unify all of the other flavors, and if that is the case it does its job well.


As you would expect from a Cajun sauce, there is a smooth, lingering heat that permeates the sauce. It doesn’t overpower the flavors and instead adds a new dimension to the experience.


Akin to the flavor, the feel of the sauce is also nuanced and varied. Along with the seeds mentioned earlier, there are bits of minced onions in the sauce.


I would recommend this sauce for pork and brisket, but it might be a bit too strong for poultry.


General Notes:

I do the majority of the sauce analysis on this site. I have often been assisted by Will Breakstone of Willie B’s Award Winning BBQ (pitmaster, competitor and caterer). The foods used with the sauces are usually brisket, pulled pork and chicken. On occasion, other foods will be used if recommended by the manufacturer (ex. burgers, fries, meatloaf, etc.).


Most of the food used for the reviews is cooked on a Weber Smoky Mountain or a Lang 84. The basic BBQ accouterments (such as tool sets, chimney starters, etc.) are by Weber. Knives are by Mercer Cutlery. Fuel is either a cherry/oak mix or whatever charcoal I’m in the mood for.


www.weber.com

www.pigroast.com

www.mercercutlery.com


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Review: Charlie's Hard Times Honey Mustard

BBQ Sauce of the Month Club
www.amazingclubs.com/bbq.html
1-800-507-4660


Charlie’s Hard Times Honey Mustard


Manufacturer Sauce Crafters
Website http://www.saucecrafters.com/

Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity *** (3 out of 5) This is a measure of thickness, not quality
Aroma *** (3 out of 5)
Appearance *** (3 out of 5)
Packaging *** (3.5 out of 5)

Charlie’s Hard Times uses their reasonable price point to link into the angst of the current economic climate. Everyone has an image of what the quintessential BBQ meal is. For me, the epitome of BBQ is a pulled pork sandwich on a soft roll, with coleslaw on top and a mustard and vinegar sauce. With my natural predilection for mustard sauces I have high hopes for this product.

The sauce comes in a relatively narrow glass bottle which still allows for easy pouring. The label has a light tan base that blends nicely into the thick yellow of the sauce. A caricature of a destitute broker is featured on the label and gives the packaging an ‘old timey’ feel. The labeling is distinct and yet still remains fairly restrained.

When you take a whiff of the sauce you immediately pick up the mustard and quickly after, the natural sweetness of honey comes into play. Although pleasant, the aroma lacks nuance. I would have enjoyed hints of the red wine vinegar that is a prominent ingredient.

The sauce is a rich, deep and somewhat dark yellow color. There are very, very slight variations in this opaque sauce. Some red and some brown specks provide a contrast to the yellow base, but these specks are so hard to differentiate that they might as well not be there.

Offering the basic taste that I was expecting, the sauce was a nice treat. As I’m sure that you are aware, the BBQ sauce field is dominated by products that offer slight variations on the KC style. Much the same as with the aroma, I would have preferred a stronger presence from the vinegar. The mustard and honey both offer very strong flavor profiles that would have benefited from the acidic tang of the vinegar.

There is a wonderful lingering heat that was completely unexpected. The manufacturer specializes in hot sauces, so I shouldn't be surprised at neither the presence of the heat or the quality. It's mild enough to not detract from the mustard or honey flavors, but strong enough to have a pleasant ongoing affect.

So, how can I best distill down this review? I’ve used the sauce three times in two days.


Repeated from 1st BBQ Sauce of the Month review:

The BBQ Sauce of the Month Club sends its constituents 2 sauces every month. The cost for a one year membership comes out to roughly $9.00 a bottle and that includes shipping. For quality sauces that are difficult to find elsewhere, it seems like a bargain. In early July I will have had enough of a sample to comment knowledgeably on their shipping.

Along with the sauce there is a brief newsletter that talks about the current months selections. The sauces arrive well packed in a cardboard box. Their site (see above for link) claims that they test dozens of sauces a month (at a minimum). This volume would seem to allow them room for selectivity.

Aside from delivery to your door and the screening by their tasters, you also have the benefit of receiving a discount on purchases of sauces that you particularly like and would enjoy more of. It seems that the discount varies, but the courteous salesperson I spoke with when enquiring said that they would be happy to let a member know what the discount would be if they gave them a call (see above for phone number).


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ramblings: Snapple Big Apple BBQ

2009 Snapple Big Apple BBQ Block Party



This weekend New York City will welcome pitmasters from across the country as the city that never sleeps hosts the Snapple Big Apple BBQ Block Party. The only local event that I can cover for the Home of BBQ, this event has premier artisans representing every style of BBQ.


Luminaries such as Mike Mills, Chris Lilly and Ray ‘Dr. BBQ’ Lampe will be brushing shoulders with hundreds of thousands of crazy New Yorkers as Madison Square Park becomes BBQ central. Smokers and rigs will be lining two of the four sides of the park as hungry locals clamor for authentic ‘Q.


In addition to the great food, there will be continuous live music in the park and seminars, book signings and demonstrations going on in the tents on a side street. As always, admission is free for the event, the seminars and the music. The BBQ is $8.00 a plate.


As we did last year, the Home of BBQ will be present to take in the event. We hope to get there a bit early and get a behind the scenes look at the event, the pitmasters and the experience as a whole.


Check back next Wednesday for the first recap.


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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Review: The BBQ Shack Sauce

BBQ Sauce of the Month Club
www.amazingclubs.com/bbq.html

1-800-507-4660


The BBQ Shack Southern Flavored



Manufacturer The BBQ Shack
Website http://www.thebbqshack.com/


Quality *** (3.5 out of 5)
Viscosity ** (2.5 out of 5) This is a measure of thickness, not quality
Aroma ** (2 out of 5)

Appearance ** (2.5 out of 5)

Packaging *** (3.5 out of 5)


The BBQ Shack


If you are a fan of the Food Network, there is a good chance that you have seen The BBQ Shack. Featured on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ with Guy Fieri, The BBQ Shack is located right outside of Kansas City. The location gives us hope for a quality sauce. Let’s see if they live up to that promise.


The sauce comes in a thick, glass bottle and pours out easily. Fairly loose for a KC style sauce, it’s still thick enough to avoid pooling. The bottle holds 16 oz of sauce, which is a generous amount and is on the upper end of most sauces. The labeling is a standout, with a folksy image of a shack and a wrap around label that stands out amongst other sauces.


When you smell the sauce, the first thing that hits is the ketchup. Following quickly is the ‘tang’ of vinegar, which makes sense as those are the first two ingredients. The aroma is fairly standard and aside from those two initial components, nothing really stands out.


A rich red color, the sauce has flecks of black pepper that are speckled throughout. There is not textural variance to speak of and the pepper is the only ingredient offer visual variance.


With a rich, earthy base; the sauce differentiates itself in taste much more than it does in aroma. Belying its rather mundane ingredient list, the sauce is a surprisingly good representation of the standard KC style. Not as sweet as most sauces of its ilk, The BBQ Shack’s sauce offers a mild spice and a deepness (possibly from the molasses) that is appreciated. As the sweetness is toned down, there is a lack of the treacle mouth feel often associated with glucose syrup (the fourth ingredient).


With a flavor that is strong enough to stand up to any meat, The BBQ Shack Southern Flavored would be a worthy addition to your cupboard.


Repeated from 1st BBQ Sauce of the Month review:


The BBQ Sauce of the Month Club sends its constituents 2 sauces every month. The cost for a one year membership comes out to roughly $9.00 a bottle and that includes shipping. For quality sauces that are difficult to find elsewhere, it seems like a bargain. In early July I will have had enough of a sample to comment knowledgeably on their shipping.


Along with the sauce there is a brief newsletter that talks about the current months selections. The sauces arrive well packed in a cardboard box. Their site (see above for link) claims that they test dozens of sauces a month (at a minimum). This volume would seem to allow them room for selectivity.


Aside from delivery to your door and the screening by their tasters, you also have the benefit of receiving a discount on purchases of sauces that you particularly like and would enjoy more of. It seems that the discount varies, but the courteous salesperson I spoke with when enquiring said that they would be happy to let a member know what the discount would be if they gave them a call (see above for phone number).


CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE HOME OF BBQ FRONT PAGE



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