Monday, February 21, 2011


I'm not sure if anything is more beautiful than a room full of aged beef. Right now that picture is just the background on my computer; I've been drooling over it in anticipation. But soon, real soon, I'll be there... I'll be sitting at that establishment, sipping a Jack, eating fresh made potato chips at the bar, and smelling that charcoal fire cook my steak.

Any guesses?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Maggie's Winter

Here's a few pics of Maggie trying to enjoy the New England winter we're having. She's originally from Arizona so she's still not in love with the cold weather here. But, once we get her off the heating vent and get her outside, she makes the best of it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rib Practice

Last weekend I was able to go outside and get some cooking done. After a few hours of shoveling I found my trailer and got to my BBQ equipment. Originally, Because of the winter we've been having, I was just going to use the oven to test out a few new flavor profiles. But we got real lucky last weekend with no snow and temps in the 30's. Perfect! Upon opening my trailer I realized that I have not cooked anything over fire since the Jack. That's 3 months! Not good.

I decided to use the WSM instead of my smoker. I gave the Bullet a good deep cleaning and got some Wicked Good charcoal going. Every time I use the WSM I'm always impressed with how good it works. Light the charcoal, get it to your desired temp, then close the dampers. It's a great little smoker and I plan on using it at some comps this year.

Our ribs were all over the place last year. We came out strong in the first half of the year; a few highlights was first place at New Hampshire and 3rd overall for NEBS Team of The Year in ribs. But towards the middle and the end of the season our ribs started to lose ground. I didn't ignore my notes or forget my timeline; I didn't change anything. Sometimes these things just happen. The judges might be looking for something new and different. What used to be original, now is the norm. Also, there are a lot of new teams out there armed with great cooking skills and no preconceived notions of 'what judges want.' So we all need to step it up. And that means practice.

Changing recipes can be a difficult thing. What do you change? Rub, sauce, technique? Foil, no foil? Everything? Last year our rib recipe contained 12 ingredients. Probably a few too many. So the first thing I did was review my notes and see where I can eliminate a couple ingredients instead of adding ones. I continued the theme of less is more and simplified a few other things too.

One thing I really wanted to change was the rub. I use a wildly popular rub on our ribs...that means so do a lot of other teams. So Kris and I took a ride to New England BBQ and Catering and stocked up on some staples and picked up some new stuff to try. I mainly focused on rubs and picked out 3 new ones to try. I loved the taste of the rub on these ribs pictured below. (Any guesses?)

I cooked the ribs with my usual technique with the exception of the WSM. It was a good cook and the ribs were done right on schedule. How'd they taste? Good, not great. To me they seemed a little lacking in flavor. They were tender but could have used...something. I'm hoping that over the next few months I'll find out what that something is. Because ready or not, these ribs are going into a 9 X 9 real soon.