Friday, May 29, 2009

Mainely Grillin’ and Chillin’ Country BBQ State Competition

This is just a heads up to all those teams that are going to this event, but have not sent in their applications yet. The deadline to avoid a late fee is June 1st. Laurel Pollard and Jane Faulkner, the event organizers, have been great. They have attended NEBS BOD meetings, NEBS events, and took the KCBS judging school. Any questions you may have about the Maine event are answered immediately. They seem very dedicated on making this competition a huge success. So, to show them how much we appreciate it, let's send in our applications this weekend.

Celebrate Maine Web Site

Info about the competition:

The Raitt Homestead Farm Museum is hosting the fourth annual Celebrate MAINE Festival (CMF) during the height of Southern Maine’s 2009 summer tourist season – Saturday, August 8th & Sunday, August 9th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is being held on the 33-acre Raitt Farm on Route 103 in Eliot - only 5 miles from the Kittery Outlets!

The 2009 Celebrate MAINE Festival is pleased to announce that they are bringing the "Mainely Grillin' & Chillin' Country BBQ State Competition" to Eliot! This event has been sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society (, the New England BBQ Society ( and has been proclaimed the "Official State of Maine BBQ Competion" by Governor Baldacci!

This event is a qualifier for the Jack Daniel's Invitational in Lynchburg, Tennessee ( and the American Royal Invitational ( in Kansas City Missouri!

We look forward to hosting competition-level BBQ teams from throughout the region and across the country. As one of those teams, you will be competing for over $3,000.00 in cash & prizes and the title of the 2009 “Mainely Grillin’ and Chillin’ Country BBQ State Competition” Grand Champion!

Paul Kirk, Baron of Barbecue (, kicks off the weekend by hosting his renowned Kansas City Baron of Barbecue School of Pit Master’s Class at the Farm. It begins at 7 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. on Friday, August 7th.

The weekend’s festivities kicks into high gear with the Beer, Blues and BBQ - A “Toot Blues” Viewing and Celebration. Reception, dinner and dancing will be held at the Regatta Room (, Route 236, Eliot, Maine. Tickets are limited and this is expected to be a sold out event, so reserve your tickets NOW!

100% of the proceeds raised from this event goes directly to The Raitt Homestead Farm Museum in Eliot, Maine. It constitutes our largest fundraiser for our Annual Capital Campaign. This is an integral part of executing our mission of educating the public with displays & demonstrations of antique farm implements & equipment for the purpose of keeping valuable farm heritage alive.

The CMF is an authentic family festival designed to celebrate the people, places & products that make Maine so attractive to visitors from around the world. We invite BBQ teams to compete, using the unique delicacies Maine has to offer, during the absolute PEAK time of the year to experience the Great State of Maine!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Roc City Ribfest
GC: Yabba Dabba Que
RGC: Mr. Bobo's

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Skillet Dogs

With the unofficial start of summer upon us, weekend warriors are breaking out their grills and cooking up some burgers, dogs, and chicken. But, if you're reading this blog, most likely you don't need a special day to fire up the grill. Just like me, you're cooking outside year round. Although I do love a grilled hot dog, these are not. Most of you know that I love cast iron cooking. I use my Lodge cast iron skillet for everything these days. Nothing will put a great sear on a thick rib eye steak better than a well seasoned cast iron pan. And I dare you to put a heavily buttered hot dog bun directly over an open flame of a grill. So, this weekend at Lakeside, it's all about cast iron, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, and doing lots of nothing. Have a great Memorial Day, everyone.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Any Results Yet?

As you can see from my posts below, I'm playing with a feature that lets me post directly to my blog from my cell phone. You can use text or email. Using email is great because you can upload a picture with your post. I also like the text feature because you can type something real quick and post it right away. Sometimes, depending on where you are, you can't always log on to your email account. So by using SMS to make a post you don't have to worry about that. I'm hoping to use this a lot while we're out at comps this summer. I'll try to get the GC and RGC up as soon as I find out. I know how much it sucks to be sitting home and waiting to find out who won.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mann Orchards

This weekend Mann Orchards in Methuen, MA will be holding the 1st Annual Apple-Wood Smoke Off. This event is definitely geared towards the first timer or the backyard enthusiast. It's not sanctioned, the rules are very relaxed, and has a low entry fee. If there is anyone that has been looking for a fun event with no pressure, this is the one for you. I will be there all weekend on NEBS behalf; I'll have the NEBS tent set up, handing out brochures and talking BBQ. Stop by and say hi. Mann Orchards will be selling BBQ and their famous baked goods. I've never had their BBQ, but the apple pies are ridiculously good! Some other vendors that will be there are Traeger Grills and Denny Mike's from Maine. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NEBS Cooking Class

Over the past two weekends I have been involved with two very different cooking classes. The first was at Lester's, a demo style class; the second was the NEBS hands on class this past weekend in Maynard, MA. Although you can learn lots of great info watching someone doing a demo style class, there is nothing like hands on. This is as close to a comp as you can get. The class started off with talks about food safety, demos on chicken, ribs, pork, brisket, searching the Internet for info, and judging procedures. Just when the students thought they would be sitting around all day, it was time to put them to work. Unload trucks, set up for a dinner service, set up cooking gear (theirs and ours), start prepping meats and get the cookers going. All this was done hands on. Right before we had our 9:30PM dinner, a massive rain storm moved through our area. My favorite part of the night was watching some of the students walk around asking:
"What do we do now?"
"We get wet..." I said "you didn't bring rain gear?"
Lessons like that can not be taught, they must be experienced.
After the rain cleared we split up the students into 4 teams and passed out meats. They even made up team names (my favorite was Meat Curtains). Each team was paired up with an experienced competition cook or two. We overlooked and made suggestions but the students did all the work. After the big meats were in the smoker, we sat around a blazing fire pit, and drank good beers into the early morning. With 3 hours sleep it was time to get the ribs ready. After breakfast, we had a quick demo on putting together turn in boxes. We passed out lettuce, parsley, and numbered boxes. We had everyone synchronize their clocks and had them get ready for actual turn in times. After all the food was turned in, and all other questions were answered, it was time to clean and pack up the gear. The students were wet, tiered, and some hungover. But after wrapping up the class and saying bye, I just knew that I would see all of them somewhere out on The Circuit this year.

More pics can be found here and here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

A Farewell?

On March 21, 2008 I started Friday Night Food Porn; it was my 4th post ever. I've posted 58 of them, and only missed one Friday night...because a tree hit my house. Over the past year FNFP has been the one thing you could count on from this blog. Good or bad, simple or complex, BBQ or most likely not, it didn't matter. The food would be here. Every Friday. Until now...and to me, now just seems about right. I have been giving it some serious thought for the past month. My original plan was to do FNFP for one year and then end it. I never thought it would be a hard decision to make, but it was. I know some of you actually look forward to FNFP. You comment, send emails, and tell me when you see me how much you enjoy it. Thank you. It was your kind words that sometimes kept FNFP going. I'd also like you to know that this does not mean there will never be pictures of food again on this blog. Without food porn, this blog is pretty much dead. It just means that on Friday night, instead of fooling with a flash and a tripod, I can sit down and eat my food while it's still hot. They say all good things come to an end, and nothing lasts forever. Those phrases seem a little too final, so I'd like to modify one of them: all things, good or bad, sometimes just need a rest.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

BBQ Workshop at Lester's

Last Saturday NEBS was invited to participate in a BBQ workshop at Lester's Roadside BBQ. The class was instructed by Steve and Scott of the competition team Meat at Slims. They covered the basics of backyard BBQ including ribs, chicken, rubs, and sauces. Doug Shaffer, owner and pit boss of Lester's, also spoke and shared with the class the in's and out's of BBQ on a commercial scale. Lester's manager, Dave, talked about pairing craft beer with BBQ and included some great samples. NEBS official spokesperson, Andy King, did a great job speaking on NEBS behalf. Both Andy and I fielded questions from the 30 students. The class lasted 5 hours and finished with a BBQ buffet, and gift bags for the students. It was a great class on a beautiful sunny spring day. Be on the lookout for more workshops in the future from these guys.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

Pork Jowl Bacon Sandwich

Pork cheek is very similar to pork belly, so it makes sense that it would make great bacon. Lots of fat marbled with meat. It's a shame you don't see it around here too much. But, if you look hard enough, and are determined, you can find it. This one came from Ohio. Kris has family out there and pork jowl bacon is a very common thing. It can be found in any supermarket there. So, Kris' Aunt was kind enough to bring some back with her from her last visit...Like I said: determined.

I was very excited to cook up this stuff and I researched recipe after recipe. But nothing really made sense to me. Then it hit me: simple. And what's more simple than a BLT sandwich? Well, in this case the 'T' stands for toast, not tomato, they just didn't look that great at the time. So, I sliced up the jowl, cooked it in the oven, and made a BLT.