Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shelby, NC

I know it is a little late, but I am finally getting around to writing about our trip to Shelby, NC. Hog Happenin contest.
     The trip started out on Wed nite around 11 pm, we hit the road. I was expecting to arrive down in NC sometime around 12 - 1 PM on Thur. We got there around 1:30ish, not too bad considering it rained pretty much from the time we got into PA until we pulled into the BJ's parking lot in Mooresville NC (The town that Dale Earnhardt JR lives in - right Shaune...LOL). We got all of our supplies, oh and by the way Yeungling was only $15/case and PBR $13/case  Yeeeee Haaaaa!!!, and headed into Shelby to drop off our stuff and set up the site.
     The contest is held at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds. They have all the teams (82 of them) set up around, and inside this oval track, the sites were very large, big enough for an RV if you had one. We had reserved a site on the outside ring, and we had a spot right next to Smoke on Wheels (Andy & Rob), I don't think that they will be the same after the Al experience. We got all set up, and headed to the hotel which was only about 2 miles down the road (Awesome). We ended up going to a BBQ place for dinner (when in Rome) called Big E's BBQ, we got there about 20 min before they were closing so we had to decide real quick what we wanted to eat, for me it was a no brainer, I love pulled pork. So, I got the LARGE pork dinner with and homemade mac n cheese and hand cut fries, which also came with hush puppies (deep fried corn bread balls) that's what I talking about. If you are ever down that way you have to check out Big E's.
     Saturday we get back to the site and start getting everything prepped and ready to go. Saturday was a lot of fun, we walk around and met some of the teams. One team that was real fun to hang with was Carolina Backyard BBQ (Jesse & Mike), After meeting Jesse for about 3 min Jesse says "hey, you guys want a drink?" I new right then we would get a long just fine, they even fed us dinner that night too, fillet Mignon with baked potato, Delicious!!!! Later on that night Shaune played in a corn hole (not what you think) tournament with our new found friends, unfortunately they got knocked out in the first round.
     It got pretty cold during the night on Sat in to Sun (35F-40F), I am just glad I brought the propane heater, we had all the sides up on our 10 x 20 EZup. We got the temp up to about 85 degrees on the low setting....that was Awesome.....all we had to do was set up the air mattresses and we were good to go.
     We got the Butts and brisket on the cookers about midnight, and got up every couple of hours just make sure things were going as planned. Everything was going good until I decided to look at how much charcoal was left in the smoker (at about 7AM) that's when I started to panic, the charcoal was nearly out. So, as you can imagine I started scrambling around to get some more charcoal going, after about an hour things were back to normal (thankfully!!), it actually work out kind of good because the Butts and Brisket we going to be done too soon. Everything else went on the cooker as scheduled.
     We turned in all of our entries in on time, and we were very pleased with how everthing came out, Although I am pretty sure I turned in the wrong side of the brisket. After the box left I continued slicing the rest of it and notice how much more juicy it was compared to what I had turned in the (I was kind of mad but what can you do). Everything had great flavor and was tender and juicy, very very happy with everything.
     We ended up 29th overall out of 82 teams, not to bad considering this was our first time cooking a new program. 12th in pork, 16 in chicken, 40th in ribs, 55th in brisket, and 6th in sauce.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Coming to an end

     Well this year has certainly has had its ups and downs as far as contest results goes. Apparently the BBQ gods didn't quite understand what I meant when I said that one of our goals was to be consistent. Well, we achieved that goal, and we were constantly mediocre all year long. We did have a few bright spots along the way, and we definitely learned a few lessons also. Overall we still had a blast, seeing old friends and meeting new friends, isn't that what it is all about anyway.
     We just got back from the Harvard Fall Festival. This contest was one of our high points of the season. We ended up finishing 4th overall in grilling with a 4th in sausage, 4th in dessert, and 5th in shrimp. We also finished 16th out of 44 in BBQ, with a 14th in pork and a 13th in brisket. But the real highlight of the weekend was the overall win in BBQ by our friends from Mighty Swine Dining, They took 1st in Chicken, Ribs, Pork, and 12th in Brisket, what an amazing accomplishment!!!!! Congrats guys on a job well done!!!!!!! Also, congrats goes to IQUE who took 2nd in BBQ and Lakeside who took 3rd in BBQ,  ISS for the overall win in grilling, and all the rest of the teams who got called to the stage.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Three in a row

     Back in January we started planning out our BBQ schedule, Roc City looked like a good place to start then two weeks later was Merrimack. Then when Peter's Pond was added to the NEBS schedule we thought, sure we can handle three weekends in a row, why not!! Man let me tell you, although we had an awesome time at all three, I feel like I have been run over by a convoy of tracker trailers, I don't know how all these teams can do 20+ contest a year, My hat goes off to all you.
Roc City Rib Fest
     Our first adventure started out memorial day weekend. Friday morning at 5AM, truck was packed and we were on the road headed to Rochester NY, for the Roc City Rib Fest, this was our first time going to this contest, we did not know what to expect. We got there around 1PM, first thing we noticed was the view of Lake Ontario, AWESOME!!!!! is the only way to describe it, we were literally about 100 feet from the beach. Brian from Good Smoke BBQ was the contest organizer, and he and his staff did an outstanding job making sure all of the teams feel welcome, Free ice all weekend, Trash removal, Pot luck dinner Friday night, Saturday night catered dinner, and a full breakfast Sunday morning, it was fantastic.
     Saturday was grilling, and a rib contest. We took 11th overall in grilling with a 5th in dessert, A big thank you goes out to Shaune for her Fabulous Peach Cobbler.
     Sunday was the BBQ, we didn't fair so well at this one, with a 49th out 69 teams and our best finish was ribs that placed 19th. Overall we had a great time, the weather was terrific all weekend long, and there even a sighting of two pasty white whales (AL and myself) swimming in lake at 7AM Sat morning, man was that water cold, but damn refreshing.
     Congrats goes out to IQUE for GC in grilling and 3rd overall in BBQ and Mr BOBO's for winning the Rib contest.
Peter's Pond
     Next weekend we had Peter's Pond, in Sandwich MA. After a year from being off of the NEBS schedule, Ted from Q Haven BBQ brought it back, better than ever. Thanks Ted, Fantastic job. This year teams had a choice to sign up for a site on the field or an actual RV site (full amenities), what a great option. Next year I am definitely getting the RV site.
     I really like this contest, for one it is close to home, and two it is at a camp ground which means they have full bathroom facilities (showers!!). The BBQ gods spared us for the most part, with the exception of Sat mornings rain storm. Sat night there was an anything Butt contest, which means anything but the 4 KCBS categories(chix, ribs, pork, brisket). we didn't do so well in that. I was a little heavy handed with the heat, oh well.
     Sunday was the BBQ, we were 22nd out of 33 team with our best finish being a 16th in pork. All in all we had fun and looking forward to next year.
     Again Congrats goes to IQUE for getting GC and Yabba Dabba Que for RGC
Merrimack, Rockin' Rib Fest
     Finally the third weekend arrives and we head up to Merrimack NH. We set up next to our friends Charlie and Alan from Mighty Swine Dining, we had a lot of laughs and a lot of beers, good times.
     Saturday was grilling, and we ended up finishing 16th out of 27 with a 1st place in Pork chops, WOOO HOOO!!! I know the presentation does not give these pork chops any justice at all, but the flavor was awesome!!! cooked perfectly tender and juicy. I have to give out an huge congratulations to Mighty Swine Dining for getting GC and Yabba Dabba Que for RGC in grilling. Awesome jobg to both teams.
     Sunday was again time to BBQ and again we struggled to get 26th out of 37, with the only highlight being a 7th in pork. Congratulations goes out to Lo'-N-Slo' BBQ for GC and T'N'T Dynamite BBQ for RGC.
     The last three weekends have been a blast, very tiresome, but a lot of fun. As for our BBQ, I think what we put out there for the judges is top quality BBQ. For all you judges out there, just remember how much time and effort each team commits to producing their BBQ.
    Lastly I would just like to thank Chad and Nicole from Humphrey's Chips and  Chunks for their continued support and confidence in Smokin' Hoggz BBQ. You guys are Awesome!!!! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Smoker Carrier

This is the new Cargo Carrier that is going to be used to transport the smokers to and from BBQ contests. It has been modified slightly by Chad Humphrey of Humpheys Chips and Chunks. We added 4 adjustable and retractable stabilizer supports along with shortening the insert that goes into the receiver on the truck. We also gave it a new paint job and added some Stainless hardware. We are also having a sign made up by Nicole Humprhey, that will be mounted on the back as well. The center is being saved for a new 22" Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) cooker. I am so excited about this because not only is it going to be easier to move the smokers around, it is also going to give me more room in the back of the truck for all the other stuff that we bring to a contest.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

First try @ Corned beef and Pastrami

Well seeing that I have had a large amount of time on my hands as of late, I figured I would try and make corned beef and pastrami by curing the meat myself. I bought a 15.5 pound brisket, I separated the point and the flat and trimmed off most of the fat. Instead of putting the meat in a brine for 10-14 days, I decided to dry cure the meat. I made up very simple rub of 1.5 cups of kosher salt and 1.5 cups of ground up pickling spice. I rubbed both cuts of beef with the rub and placed in to 2.5 gallon bag and put it in the fridge for 5 days. I took the meat out and rinsed off the rub and soaked them in water for a couple of hours (changing the water every hour). For the corned beef (point) I braised it in 24 oz of beer (Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale) 1/2 cup of whisky about 12 oz of water, 1 Tbsp garlic and 2 Tbsp pickling spice. I cooked it for about 3 hours @ 275, then I added about 2.5 lbs of potatoes and 2 lbs of carrots and let cook for another 2 hours. during the last half hour of cooking I took a head of cabbage, quartered it and seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled it. I must say that it came out pretty good for a first time, a little on the salty side but overall Good!!
For the Pastrami I used the flat cut of the brisket and coated with a 50/50 mix of my brisket rub and coarse pepper. I put it on the smoker for 3 hours @ 250, then wrapped in foil and back on the smoker for 2 more hours. I let the meat rest for about an hour then put it in the fridge to let completely cool. A few hours later I sliced it up and made a huge sandwich on pumpernickle bread ,swiss cheese, Jack Daniels old no. 7 mustard and Dr Gonzo's Smoke Isle Elixir. I must say very good. Would I do it again? of coarse I would. I think the next time I will try with the brine method.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Snowshoe 2010

Wow!!! what a great turn out for such a fun event. The Snowshoe raised over $700 and over 200 lbs of food and supplies for the Abington Food Pantry. Congrats to all the teams who got calls and to the top teams overall:
1. I Smell Smoke
2. QHaven
3. Lakeside Smokers
5. Meat @ Slims
All I can say is the weather could not have been better for the first weekend in March, a little cool and breezy in the morning, then around 11 AM it really started to warm up, it really made for an awesome day for grilling.
The Snowshoe is usaully the first event of the NEBS season, it is a one day grilling event, and is a very fun event to do. We did pretty well for our first event of the season,We place 12th overall in a very strong field of 21 teams and we got two calls:

7th in Ribeye

10th in Chefs Choice (Salmon)

We also placed 11th in Chicken wings and 17th in Sausage Fatty (think Jimmy Dean) for those who do not know what a sausage fatty is. All in all it was a great time, and it was awesome to see everyone again. Now bring on the BBQ!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tentative 2010 BBQ Contest Schedule

Here is the tentantive schedule of BBQ competitions that we will be doing this Year, you can get more information on these contest at or :

Mar 6 Snow Shoe Grilling-Abington, MA

May 28-31 Roc City Ribfest - Rochester, NY

June 5-6 Peter's Pond - Sandwich, MA

June 12-13 Rockin Ribfest - Merrimack, NH

July 2-4 I love BBQ Fest - Lake Placid, NY

July 24-25 Harpoon - Windsor, VT (only if we get selected)

Aug 7-8 Mainely Grillin' and Chillin' - Eliot, ME

Aug 20-22 Hudson Valley Ribfest - New Paltz, NY

Sept 18-19 Harvard Fall Festival - Harvard, MA

Oct 1-3 American Royal Open - Kansas City, MO

Oct 23-25 ??????

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Simply Salmon

One of my favorite fish to eat and cook is Salmon, it doesn't matter how it is prepared, from to sushi to lox and bagels or just simply grilled with a little lemon and dill.  There is just something about the flavor and the texture that I just love.
I decided to go to the local fish monger and pick out a nice Salmon fillet (about 1.75lb). It was such an awesome day, I thought it would be good to fire up the Weber and cook it with a little indirect heat with some sugar maple wood chunks for a little smoke flavor as well.
All I did to prep the Salmon was, first cut the fillet in half and then seasoned with a little bit of Smokin Hoggz all purpose rub and some brown sugar. I wanted to try out a new finishing sauce also. I made a nice Balsamic reduction glaze that came out very good, sweet with a little tang.
The salmon went on the pre heated grill (275-295) for about 40 minutes total cook time, about half way through (20 min) I applied some of the glaze and at the end of the cook as well.
The Salmon came out great, the flavor was awesome, the fish just melted in your mouth. Here are pix I took of it so you can get an idea, enjoy.