I have a friend at church who competes on the BBQ circuit. He typically mans the grill when the United Methodist Men (UMM) meet during the summer. Last month, after a succesful meal of grilled pork steaks, the guys decided they’d like to have ribs at the next meeting.
Well, that turned into a two man job. We decided that we would take the day off and plan to cook at the church. We also decided to press my Backwoods Pro Jr into service. Paul and I moved my cooker to church that morning and he trimmed the spare ribs down to St Louis style ribs while I put together 2 pans of my “magic” beans.
Paul uses Code 3 spices when he competes, so we decided to use them for this cook as well. We roughly followed his competition process, which means we wrapped the ribs in foil with brown sugar and butter, then finished them out of the foil and glazed them with sauce.
We also decided to do the rib tips at the same time, following the same process. It’s a good thing we did. We had a great turn out.
Here are a few shots of the finished product.
Everyone enjoyed the meal and fellowship. Next month, we’re frying fish!
It started a couple of years ago. A good friend of mine asked if I had room on the smoker for some pork butts to feed some of the guys at Scott Air Force Base during a fall exercise. I did, so we sent some BBQ to the base for the team. Four years later, it’s become a standing order and we’ve jokingly named the event “Operation: Hickory Smoke”.
Every fall, we send some BBQ to the folks involved in this exercise. This year I was able to visit the team and participate in the delivery. It was pretty cool to meet a few of the folks who were going to enjoy the meal. I also received a nice note from one of the officers.
Veteran’s Day may be next week, but I’m honored to have shown my appreciation in a small way with this annual event. To the team working the exercise and all those who serve or have served, I say thank you.
A couple of months ago, we became aware of a tough situation that a friend of one our church members was going through. My wife and I donated BBQ to a fundraising event by way of a silent auction item called “BBQ Feast for 20 People”. Apparently the item was popular and brought a sizeable donation.
This weekend, it was time to honor my end of the deal and cook for the auction winner who was hosting a party. I had committed to ribs, pulled pork, and pit beans for the event. So I was up early and cooking for a 6:00pm delivery time.
In the meantime, I had become aware of a couple of families who’d lost loved ones or were otherwise going through a rough patch. So with plenty of room to spare on the cooker and blessed with the means, we set about making food one less thing for some of these folks to worry about.
I’ve said this before; I don’t compete or cater. But I do get some personal satisfaction from seeing others enjoy the results. This is compounded further when I can help someone who needs a little “BBQ Pick-me-Up”.
Thanks to my friends and family for the assitane this weekend. I’m always ready to “Que-for-a-Cause”.
My family and I are blessed to be part of a growing, thriving church. Christ Church in Fairview Heights, IL has grown beyond the capacity of it’s real estate and has begun to sprout new churches in the Metro East area of St. Louis. Our satellite campus in Millstadt, IL recently held a church picnic and I was honored to be able to prepare the BBQ for the event.
They expected 80 for luch, I planned for 100, and we probably had closer to 70. Not to worry, I always travel with zip lock bags so folks can leave with a doggy bag. Heck, I even got to bring some home and feed my own family.
In any event, I fired up the big cooker on Saturday night for pork butts, chuck roasts, and my pit beans. After an all night cook, I had eveything ready around 9:00am. I even fired up the charcoal grill and roasted some hot dogs since I figured some of the kids might prefer that (I was right).
I had everything setup at the park when church let out shortly after 11:00. Folks seemed to enjoy the food, and I felt blessed by their compliments and for the opportunity to cook for my church family.
For the past few years, I’ve manned the BBQ pit in support of Jacob’s Ladder and their annual BBQ & music event called Pig-a-Palooza. The event has a lot of momentum and this year was the best yet.
For the second straight year, we’ve donated BBQ for a private party as part of a silent auction item. This year, it was part of an auction package that included a miniature version of the entire Pig-a-Palooza event including side dishes, wine & beer, pulled pork and ribs, and live entertainment. The lucky winner of this year’s auction item selected October 6th for the date of their shindig, and we put the wheels in motion.
So Saturday morning, I was up early stoking the smoker for the BBQ. Getting pulled pork ready for a couple of dozen people is pretty easy. Heck, getting ribs ready for a couple of dozen folks is pretty easy. But, my bride also chose this day as one of her customer appreciation days where we cook ribs for friends, clients, and colleagues of The Bradshaw Property Group. That means 24+ racks of babyback ribs. Now that’s a lot of work.
Pork butts went on the cooker by 6:00am and at 10:30am I began the prep of the ribs. Prepping that many ribs single handedly takes some time. Did I mention that it’s a lot of work? But I had ribs on the Backwoods by 11:30am.
My timing was spot on! I had the butts wrapped by 4:30pm and resting in the Cambro, and I began the process of glazing and finishing the ribs around 4:00pm. Friends, clients, and colleagues began pickingup thier customer appreciation gifts around 5:00pm, and I headed out to Mini Pig-a-Palooza at 6:00pm with a second Cambro full of BBQ goodness.
We gloved up and served the party goers to rave reviews while a friend of mine, Steve Reeb, entertained the good folks. My co-pitmaster, Dave Dey, and I took up the guitar for a miniature set of our own while Steve was on break (thanks for being so gracious Steve!).
All in all, we had a great time and look forward to next year’s Pig-a-Palooza.
When I crawled in bed on Saturday night, my wife asked, “Did you have fun at Pig-a-Palooza”? I informed her that the question wasn’t one that should be asked at the end of a 21 hour day. But, ask me again in a couple of days.
Well, it’s been a couple of days and I can finally say “Yes, it was fun”. I always enjoy cooking BBQ, feeding folks who have never had good BBQ, and seeing their reaction. This year’s event delivered on all three, and we raised money for a good cause at the same time.
My good friend (and fellow pitmaster) Dave and I arrived at the park at 2:30am. We had the cooker lit, the pork butt seasoned, and the meat on by 4:00am. I was figuring on an 8 hour cook time based on my most recent cook. I’d need the butts to start coming off the cooker at noon or shortly thereafter to make room for 24 sides of ribs (that’s 72 portions when you serve 4 bones/plate).
As noon approached, I began to get nervous. I wasn’t seeing the butts get to where they should be and we needed to get the ribs on. We got about 1/4 of the ribs on and I was out of space. So at 1:30, we decided it was time to start a fire in the grill that was provided for cooking burgers and dogs, wrap the butts that were close in foil, and let them finish there. Disaster averted. We were able to get all the meat done by serving time or shortly thereafter.
We began serving food at 4:00pm and saw a steady line of hungry folks for the next 4 hours. Now, we’d planned to serve BBQ as long as we could and then sell burgers and dogs when the band began playing somewhere after 7:30. Boy, did we misjduge the turnout.
In the first hour, we recognized that we were gonna be short on sides, burgers, dogs, soda, plates, and chips. We sent someone to the store for more food 4 times during the event. While I can’t make more BBQ in a couple of hours, we can keep grilling burgers and dogs. So we did. But even then, we were completely sold out by 8:00pm and couldn’t reasonably get additional product quickly enough to keep cooking. Hey, that’s a good problem to have.
All this just speaks to the turnout for this year’s event. I’d estimate that we saw at least double (if not triple) the turnout this year. I’ve thought some about why that it is, and I figure it like this. We experienced a perfect storm. The event has momentum. The band was very notable and entertaining. And, we had exceptional weather. All the ingredients to make the event a resounding success.
Brad & Cindy Simmons of Lucky Dog BBQcontacted me a couple of months ago about an idea that they had to create a festival atmosphere where competition quality BBQ was available for purchase by the public. You see, BBQ competitions are all the craze these days but you can’t sample or buy the BBQ that the teams prepare. They only prepare enough for the judges and since they travel all over competing, they aren’t certified by all the local health departments to serve the public.
Brad & Cindy’s idea was to emmulate the Big Apple Block Party format and have competition teams prepare their specialties and make it available for purchase by the public. They coordinated with a half dozen teams and the health department, and then threw the gosh-dangdest festival I’ve been to in awhile.
Big Moe Cason of Ponderosa BBQ, Craig Kimmel of Firehouse BBQ, Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porkers, Melissa Cookson of Yazoo Delta Q, Shelly Hunt of Desperados BBQ, and Brad and Cindy of Lucky Dog BBQ were the featured attractions, serving their competition grade BBQ. But there was plenty more to take in. Ray “Dr BBQ” Lampe was on hand for cooking demonstrations on the Big Green Egg. Shane Draper of Draper’s BBQ was there with his awesome new rubs and sauces. And there was a wide varity of vendors displaying their wares and an excellent selection of music throughout the day.
I spent some time getting photos and taking in the festival, but I spent a good part of the day on Saturday pitching in to help the Peg Leg Porker team handle over 1,000 customers. The festival began at 11:00am and by 4:30pm, Peg Leg was sold out of his Memphis style pork shoulder sandwiches. Lucky Dog was out of brisket about the same time, and all the other teams ran short on at least one item. For a first year event, the turnout was phenomenal.
Firehouse BBQ took home the People’s Choice award, but with the turnout and incredible November weather, all the teams were winners. I sure hope this becomes an annual event!
Through our efforts this weekend, I’m pleased to announce that Pig-Con Delta was averted. I received this traffic from the Kulinary Command Battle Staff (KCBS) commander to let me know that we have completed this exercise and that we’ll be doing it again next year.
EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE
TO: TASK FORCE BACKWOODS
FROM: KULINARY COMMAND BATTLE STAFF (KCBS)
SUBJECT: OPERATION HICKORY SMOKE III
1. BY ORDER OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL HARWOOD “LUMPY” CHARKOAL, COMMANDER KCBS, ALL “PRO JUNIOR” FORCES ARE DIRECTED TO STAND DOWN AND RESUME NORMAL OPERATIONS.
2. ASSUME POSTURE: PIG-CON ALPHA
3. THE COMMANDER AND HIS ENTIRE STAFF EXPRESSES THEIR DEEP APPRECIATION FOR YOUR PATRIOTISM AND DEDICATION TO THE MISSION (REAL WORLD). DUE TO YOUR EXORDINARY EFFORTS, ADVERSARY “GRUMBLING BELLY” HAS BEEN SUPPRESSED.
4. FOR FUTURE PLANNING PURPOSES, EXPECT AN RFF (REQUEST FOR FOOD) FROM KCBS ON OR ABOUT 23 OCT 2012. THIS RFF WILL INCLUDE DIRECTION FOR TF BACKWOODS TO EXERCISE DEPLOYMENT OF THE RAGING INFERNO BRIQUETTE SYSTEM (RIBS) AS A CONCEPT DEMONSTRATOR.
END OF MESSAGE
EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE
I never served, but I can support those who do. And the best part is that I can do it with something that I love to do; BBQ!
For the third year in a row, I’ve teamed up with a good friend of mine ( a retired Lt. Colonel in the USAF) to feed some of the troops at Scott Air Force Base. They seem to enjoy the BBQ, and I enjoy cooking it as my way of saying thanks for their service.
We fired up the Backwoods Pro Jr. on Friday night and had 7 pork butts on by 10:30pm. They started finishing up by mid-morning on Saturday, perfect timing to get them pulled and transported to the base. I hope they enjoyed the grub.