Smoked Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chorizo Meatballs

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chorizo Meatballs

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Chorizo Meatballs is a really long name, but super accurate and perfect for this amazing appetizer.  This is an awesome appetizer that is perfect for tailgating, cookouts, sports games or any day.  The spicy, smokey and cheesey flavors are a great combination.  If you want a great appetizer and have access to an outdoor grill this recipe is for you!

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Pulled Pork Pizza

Pulled Pork Pizza

After Labor Day, I had a lot of leftover pulled pork. So I decided to use it to make my favorite dish, Pizza!  I make pizza with all of my leftovers.  However, this one was so good that I had to share.  I used my leftover sauce, some thinly sliced red onion, green pepper for crunch and of course some delicious pulled pork. It was one of the best pizzas that I have made. I love it!

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Thermapen Mk4 released today along with Timestick Giveaway!!!

Thermapen Mk4 released today along with Timestick Giveaway!!!

Today Thermoworks is releasing the new Thermapen Mk4.  This is like Christmas over here at Savory Reviews.  We love our Thermapen and Thermoworks products so much.  Just like most people can’t wait for the new Apple products, we can’t wait for new Thermoworks products.  The new Thermapen looks like the old thermapen, but has an auto-rotating screen, back-lit display and uses a common AAA battery.   No more searching for 2032 batteries.  We have AAA batteries everywhere.  The Thermapen Mk4 is going to be the coolest tool in my BBQ arsenal.  The best thing is that it is only $99.  The classic superfast thermapens are still available and have dropped in price to $79. Check out our Full Review Here!

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Easy Pulled Chicken

Easy Pulled Chicken

Barbecue

I love barbecue!  That meaty/smokey flavor that can only be accomplished after hours of smoking meat over hot coals.  I do it all of the time, but sometimes you want great barbecue in less than 8 hours.  That is why I love chicken.  It cooks fast (in terms of barbecue at least), takes on smoke easily and is super tasty.  The only real problem with barbecuing chicken, there are a ton of tiny little bones.  That is why I use boneless skinless chicken thighs to make my pulled chicken.  Just cook, smash and eat!

Easy Pulled Chicken

Trim as much of the fat as you can off of the chicken.

Chicken Thighs

Place the chicken in a disposable half hotel pan with the inside up.  This is the side that used to contain the bone.

Coat the insides first

Dust the chicken with your favorite rub.  I used Kosmos Dirty Bird for this post, but I usually use my basic bbq rub.

Form into rounded thighs

Flip the chicken over and form them into pieces that resemble the bone-in chicken.  See the pic above.

Coat with the rub

Then coat the chicken with more of the rub.

Place into the smoker

Place the chicken into a smoker at 225 and cook it for 1 hour.

Perfectly smoked

Remove the chicken, lightly coat it with more rub.  Then add 1/2 a can of chicken broth (approx 7 oz) to the pan.

Add the broth

Cover and place back into the smoker and cook at 250 degrees for another hour or until the chicken reaches 190 degrees.

Perfectly Cooked

Remove and then shred the chicken.  This can be done quite easily by just squishing the chicken thighs in your hand.

Pull it

Once the chicken is shredded, add a little of the chicken juice from the pan back into the chicken.

A perfect pulled chicken sandwich

Serve and enjoy!

Easy Pulled Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Quick and easy barbecued pulled chicken
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup barbecue rub
  • 7 oz chicken broth
  • 1 disposable 9x11; half hotel pan
  • 1 sheet aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Trim as much of the fat as you can off of the chicken.
  2. Place the chicken in a disposable half hotel pan with the inside up. This is the side that used to contain the bone.
  3. Dust the chicken with your favorite rub. I used Kosmos Dirty Bird for this post, but I usually use my basic bbq rub.
  4. Flip the chicken over and form them into pieces that resemble the bone-in chicken. See the pic below.
  5. Then coat the chicken with more of the rub.
  6. Place the chicken into a smoker at 225 and cook it for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the chicken, lightly coat it with more rub. Then add ½ a can of chicken broth (approx 7 oz) to the pan.
  8. Cover and place back into the smoker and cook at 250 degrees for another hour or until the chicken reaches 190 degrees.
  9. Remove and then shred the chicken. This can be done quite easily by just squishing the chicken thighs in your hand.
  10. Once the chicken is shredded, add a little of the chicken juice from the pan back into the chicken.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

 

We usually eat it as is, or serve it as a sandwich with a little barbecue sauce.

 

Prepare for the perfect 4th of July

Prepare for the perfect 4th of July

This week is the busiest week of the year for most grills and barbecues.  Happy July 4th to everyone!  Get out there and make some hamburgers and hot dogs.  If you are feeling adventurous try a few of the following.  I have prepared a list of some of my favorite summer dishes.

Main Dishes

Onion Slice Burger

Onion Slice Burger

It is a basic burger that impresses every time.  The onion is grilled directly into the burger.  Awesome!!  Onion slice burgers.

BBQ Ribs on a Gas Grill

BBQ Ribs on the Gas Grill

Ribs are great, but not everyone has a smoker.  So I have written up the step by step instructions for smoking ribs on a gas grill. Click Here to learn how.

Competition Beef Brisket

Competition BBQ Brisket

If you want to impress your friends and family, there is nothing that will do it faster than a perfectly cooked beef brisket.  This recipe will take you through process of cooking a competition grade bbq brisket.  Competition Beef Brisket.

Grilled Lobster Tails

Grilled Lobster Tails Quick and easy to do. The perfect summertime meal.

Nothing says summer like, fresh seafood on the grill.  Nothing beats grilled lobster tails. Click here for more information.

Grilled Lobster Rolls

Grilled Lobster Rolls
Grilled Lobster Rolls

 

Now that you have grilled lobster tails down, mix the meat up and make some amazing lobster rolls.  Simple and delicious.  Click here for the recipe.

Side Dishes

 Perfect Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad

There isn’t a single side dish that can beat macaroni salad at a barbecue.  It is an American tradition.  I have a few to choose from.

Awesome Cole Slaw

KFC Coleslaw
The Colonel’s Coleslaw

Another must have side is coleslaw.  I did my best and finally recreated the Colonel’s Coleslaw from the famous Chicken Restaurant.  So good you have to try it.

Condiments

Homemade Ketchup

Homemade Ketchup
Homemade Ketchup

If you want to spice up your barbecue, try some homemade ketchup.  You can add as much spice or herbs as you want. It will add a little twist to your favorite burger. Homemade Ketchup Recipe.

Homemade Mustard

Homemade Mustard
Homemade Mustard

Homemade mustard will definitely perk up your guests.  Using dark seeds will make your mustard spicier and the addition of honey can add a little bit of sweetness.  Homemade Mustard Recipe.

Cocktails

Grilled Vodka Lemonade

Grilled Vodka Lemonade Spritzer

While you are outside entertaining and have the grill hot, make a cocktail that will impress your guests.  Nothing does this better than a grilled cocktail. This cocktail is a hit each and every time that I make it.  Grilled Vodka Lemonade Spritzer.

 Passion Fruit Pina Coladas

Passion Fruit Pina Colada

Passion fruit pina coladas scream summer.  This is the perfect cocktail to start off the summer.  Passion Fruit Pina Colada.

Red White and Blue Layered Shot

Red, White and Blue Shooter AKA "Liquid America"
Red, White and Blue Shooter

In honor of this beautiful country of ours, have a shot.   A red, white and blue shot to be exact.

Tips and Tricks

Turn your Weber kettle into the best bbq smoker that money can buy.

Set up the weber

The recipe is for beef ribs, but the process to turn your Weber kettle into a power smoker is in there too.  Check it out on how to turn your Weber kettle into the best smoker around. Click to see how.

Have a happy 4th of July!  Enjoy the weather and have fun grilling.

-Rex

Competition Beef Brisket

Competition Beef Brisket

Competition BBQ Brisket

For the past couple of years I have been competing in Kansas City Barbecue Society competitions up and down the east coast.  Ever since I have started people have been asking me for a competition style recipe.  Well here is my brisket recipe.

Competition Brisket

The first thing required is a packer brisket.  They are sold at big box stores, butcher shops, and Walmart.  I purchased a nice 18lb choice brisket at Walmart.

18lb Brisket

Open up the cryopac and you will notice that the edges are a little grey.  It is perfectly fine.  You will trim them off.  You will also notice that the brisket is covered in fat.  Once again you will trim that off.

Brisket

The brisket is two separate pieces of meat that are connected together.  In the picture below you will see the leaner flat on the left of the brisket and the fattier point on the right of the brisket. The two separate muscles with various fat contents is why the brisket is a tad bit difficult to cook.  However, with this tutorial, you will cook a mean brisket no problem.

Trim off the fat

Starting on the side opposite of the thick fat cap, remove all of the fat and silver skin from the flat.  You want to get right down to the meat.  That way your brisket will have rub on the surface.  If you don’t remove the fat and membrane, then you may not get the flavor penetration that you want.  You also want to remove as much of the thick fat from the point as possible.

Cut of the tip of the flat

Flip over the brisket and remove the remaining fat from the point.  Make sure to leave the fat cap on the flat.  Flip the meat back over and cut the corner of the flat that runs perpendicular to (against) the grain of the meat.  Once cooked you will look for the cut corner to know which direction to cut the flat.  It is best to cut the flat against the grain.  Finally cut the edges straight, trimming off any of the grey parts.

Coat with bbq rub

Place the brisket in a shallow pan, fat cap down and coat with my basic bbq rub.  Make sure to do an even coat.  Also coat both sides of the point.

Inject

Split the brisket injection in half.  Place half in the refrigerator and inject the brisket with the other half.  Inject the flat every inch and then inject the point with as much as you can.  If all of the injection does not fit into the brisket pour the rest around the edges.  Refrigerate or keep on ice for at least 4 hours before cooking.  I have injected the day before, so do not worry about doing it too far in advance.

Fully injected

Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

I first set up the Weber for offset cooking.  To do this I placed two firebricks lengthwise down the middle of the grill.  Then I put about 8 lbs of unlit charcoal on one side.  Then I lit 7 brickets and placed them on one end of the pile.  This is a slow minion method that will produce just enough heat for about 10 hours.  I then placed a few wood chunks throughout the pile.  I wanted the offset side to read at about 250 degrees.

Set up the weber

Once you have your smoker at a steady temperature, place the meat on.  If you can place the point toward the firebox/heat source.

Cook for about 5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  At this time we are going to wrap the brisket.  On a flat surface place a couple layers of heavy duty aluminum foil down.  Place the brisket on top.  The pour the remaining brisket injection around the brisket and over the point.  Do not pour the injection over the flat as it will wash away the rub.  Then lightly dust the top of the brisket with a little more basic bbq rub.  Then close the foil around the brisket.

A perfect brisket

Cook for another 3-5 hours or until the temperature reaches 185 degrees.  At this point check the flat with a skewer or probe thermometer. If the skewer or probe slide through the brisket like a hot knife through butter then it is done.  If it does not then continue cooking and continue checking for doneness every 20 minutes.

I have had briskets done at temperatures as low as 185 and as high as 208.  This is where a little skill comes in.  You don’t want to pull it at a specific temperature.  You want to pull it when it is done.  Every brisket is different.

When the brisket is done remove it from the smoker and vent the foil to let steam escape for about 15 minutes.  Then tightly re-wrap the foil.  Cover the brisket with 3-4 towels and place it into a cooler for at least 1 hour to rest.  Trust me it will still be piping hot after three hours.  The brisket needs time to rest and since you vented the meat, it stop cooking, but it maintain its current temp.

After your brisket has rested remove the brisket and cut the point away from the flat.  You will see a prominent fat layer between the two separate cuts. Just slice the brisket at the fat layer.  Cover the flat with foil. Re-wrap with towels and place back into the cooler.

Separate the point from the flat

Time to make some burnt ends.

The point

Place the point onto a cutting board and cut it into 3/4 inch cubes.  Coat with my basic bbq sauce, dust with a little more basic bbq rub and then place the cubes in a foil pan.  Cover and place back onto the smoker for another 30-60 minutes.

Making some awesome burnt ends

When the burnt ends are done, remove and serve.  At this time remove the flat and slice against the grain.  Make slices that are about the width of a pencil.

Slice the flat

At this time you can coat the slices with a little brisket glaze.  (1 part basic bbq sauce, 2 parts water)

Sliced and ready to serve

Plate and serve.

Competition Beef Brisket
Author: 
Recipe type: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
The ultimate competition bbq brisket
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. The first thing required is a packer brisket. They are sold at big box stores, butcher shops, and Walmart. I purchased a nice 18lb choice brisket at Walmart.
  2. Open up the cryopac and you will notice that the edges are a little grey. It is perfectly fine. You will trim them off. You will also notice that the brisket is covered in fat. Once again you will trim that off.
  3. The brisket is two separate pieces of meat that are connected together. In the picture below you will see the leaner flat on the left of the brisket and the fattier point on the right of the brisket. The two separate muscles with various fat contents is why the brisket is a tad bit difficult to cook. However, with this tutorial, you will cook a mean brisket no problem.
  4. Starting on the side opposite of the thick fat cap, remove all of the fat and silver skin from the flat. You want to get right down to the meat. That way your brisket will have rub on the surface. If you don't remove the fat and membrane, then you may not get the flavor penetration that you want. You also want to remove as much of the thick fat from the point as possible.
  5. Flip over the brisket and remove the remaining fat from the point. Make sure to leave the fat cap on the flat. Flip the meat back over and cut the corner of the flat that runs perpendicular to (against) the grain of the meat. Once cooked you will look for the cut corner to know which direction to cut the flat. It is best to cut the flat against the grain. Finally cut the edges straight, trimming off any of the grey parts.
  6. Place the brisket in a shallow pan, fat cap down and coat with my basic bbq rub. Make sure to do an even coat. Also coat both sides of the point.
  7. Split the brisket injection in half. Place half in the refrigerator and inject the brisket with the other half. Inject the flat every inch and then inject the point with as much as you can. If all of the injection does not fit into the brisket pour the rest around the edges. Refrigerate or keep on ice for at least 4 hours before cooking. I have injected the day before, so do not worry about doing it too far in advance.
  8. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. I first set up the Weber for offset cooking. To do this I placed two firebricks lengthwise down the middle of the grill. Then I put about 8 lbs of unlit charcoal on one side. Then I lit 7 brickets and placed them on one end of the pile. This is a slow minion method that will produce just enough heat for about 10 hours. I then placed a few wood chunks throughout the pile. I wanted the offset side to read at about 250 degrees.
  10. Once you have your smoker at a steady temperature, place the meat on. If you can place the point toward the firebox/heat source.
  11. Cook for about 5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. At this time we are going to wrap the brisket. On a flat surface place a couple layers of heavy duty aluminum foil down. Place the brisket on top. The pour the remaining brisket injection around the brisket and over the point. Do not pour the injection over the flat as it will wash away the rub. Then lightly dust the top of the brisket with a little more basic bbq rub. Then close the foil around the brisket.
  12. Cook for another 3-5 hours or until the temperature reaches 185 degrees. At this point check the flat with a skewer or probe thermometer. If the skewer or probe slide through the brisket like a hot knife through butter then it is done. If it does not then continue cooking and continue checking for doneness every 20 minutes.
  13. I have had briskets done at temperatures as low as 185 and as high as 208. This is where a little skill comes in. You don't want to pull it at a specific temperature. You want to pull it when it is done. Every brisket is different.
  14. When the brisket is done remove it from the smoker and vent the foil to let steam escape for about 15 minutes. Then tightly re-wrap the foil. Cover the brisket with 3-4 towels and place it into a cooler for at least 1 hour to rest. Trust me it will still be piping hot after three hours. The brisket needs time to rest and since you vented the meat, it stop cooking, but it maintain its current temp.
  15. After your brisket has rested remove the brisket and cut the point away from the flat. You will see a prominent fat layer between the two separate cuts. Just slice the brisket at the fat layer. Cover the flat with foil. Re-wrap with towels and place back into the cooler.
  16. Time to make some burnt ends.
  17. Place the point onto a cutting board and cut it into ¾ inch cubes. Coat with my basic bbq sauce, dust with a little more basic bbq rub and then place the cubes in a foil pan. Cover and place back onto the smoker for another 30-60 minutes.
  18. When the burnt ends are done, remove and serve. At this time remove the flat and slice against the grain. Make slices that are about the width of a pencil.
  19. At this time you can coat the slices with a little brisket glaze. (1 part basic bbq sauce, 2 parts water)
  20. Plate and serve.
Notes
Smoker at 250 degrees Fahrenheit Aluminum pans are great as they don't need cleaning If you do not have heavy duty aluminum foil then use 4-5 layers or regular foil.

 

Sam’s Club Regional – Chesapeake, Virginia

Sam’s Club Regional – Chesapeake, Virginia

Sams Club BBQ Contest - Chesapeake, Virginia

This year I have competitively barbecuing and have been doing pretty good.  Back in August I won Reserve Grand Champion at a Sam’s Club competition in Medford, NY and received my golden ticket to compete at the Sam’s club Regional in Chesapeake, Virginia.  It was a great opportunity to compete against 29 other teams that had earned their way.  This contest was stacked with some of the best teams in the Mid-Atlantic.  This contest ended up being a huge learning experience for me.

Chicken – 8 out of 30

Chicken was once again one of our best categories.  We placed well and it was the start of a great cook.  If I could have gotten the chicken a tad more uniform, I think we could have been in the top 5.  Need to purchase more chicken next time, to make sure that they are all even.

Ribs – 20 out of 30

I thought ribs were going to be a bit better.  I purchased amazing ribs, they were huge with some of the straightest bones I have ever seen.  The size hurt us in the end, as they just did not get done enough.  Each rack was easily over 5lbs.   Those are some big ribs.  They were straight and beautiful.  If I had just had another 15 minutes they would have been perfect.

Pork – 14 out of 30 

Pork has been surprisingly good to us this year.  I have developed a nice sauce and rub combination that the judges seem to love.  It scored a nice 162.28 giving us a 163 average for the first three meats.  We were kicking it.  All we needed was a 159 in brisket to get us in the top ten with an automatic entry to the finals in Arkansas.

Brisket – 3o out of 30

Easily the worst score that we have ever gotten in any category a horrible 140.  This was my first DAL (Dead Ass Last) ever! After placing ninth in brisket in Medford, I thought I was on track.  The only major change that I thought we needed was a higher quality brisket.  Needless to say I was wrong.  I picked up a nice 15 lb brisket from Snake River Farms.  This is the vendor that the majority of teams use as they are known to have extremely good quality Wagu beef.  Due to the excessively high price, I thought I would get a great brisket.  However, my experience and brisket was far from great.  From the moment that I cut off the Snake River Farms cryovac plastic, everything went horribly wrong.  The brisket flat was 1 inch on one side and 1/8th of an inch on the other.  Due to the dramatic taper of the flat, it was almost impossible to cook.  If the 1 inch side was cooked then 90 percent of the flat would be over-cooked.  If the middle was cooked to perfection, the 1 inch side was underdone and the 1/8th inch side was over cooked.  No matter how I cooked it, I was screwed.  I almost picked up another brisket to cook, but knowing that I had already spent a fortune on this brisket I figured I would risk it.  Man was I wrong.  Still kicking myself in the butt for that one.

I do not mean to bash Snake River Farms, I know many people that use them and have huge success with their briskets.  They are the purveyor of some of the best beef around.  However, the brisket I got was horrible.  Their system works for a lot of people, it just did not work for me.  On a good note, if the brisket had been uniform, it would have placed awesome, due to the intense marbling.  In my case, the flat was so skewed that I was screwed from the start.  Needless to say I will never get a mail order brisket again.  I need to inspect each piece of meat before purchasing.  At least I learned my lesson now and not when a ton of money was on the line.  Oh crap, a ton a money was on the line.  Lesson learned, never test a new brisket when money is on the line.

Overall – 26 out of 30

Overall we did horrible due to the brisket, which gave us the worst score I have ever seen.  Heck we were on track for a spot around 10th place as long as we cooked our average brisket.  10th place was an automatic entry into the finals.  Well this was a learning experience for me.  I need to see the meat before purchasing it.

Hopefully next year we will come out swinging and take a couple more trophies home.  Thanks a ton to my Father Don for flying out to help me in the contest.  Sorry I screwed up the brisket.  Next year will definitely be better.

Beef Brisket Injection

Beef Brisket Injection

Beef Brisket Injection

A ton of people believe that all natural is the way to go to get perfect barbecue.  I used to be in that category until I started competing.  Then I discovered how much injections enhance the flavor, texture and overall quality of the barbecue.  This is my go-to brisket injection.  It is simple and delicious.

Beef Brisket Injection

Add 48 oz of beef broth and 24 oz of water to a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.

Boil away

Once the liquid is boiling, remove from the heat and add 3 tablespoons of beef base and 2 tablespoons of rub.

Beef Base

Mix well and let cool.

Beef Injection

Place the mixture in a covered container and refrigerate until you are ready to use.  I split it into two containers and use half for injection and the other for a marinade later in the cooking process of the brisket.

When you are ready to inject, remove the injection from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before injecting.  Make sure to dispose of any extra injection as the needle will contaminate the injection.

Beef Brisket Injection
Author: 
Recipe type: Injection/marinade
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This injection is a shot of pure beef flavor that enhances the overall look, texture and flavor of the brisket. Makes enough for two briskets.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add 48 oz of beef broth and 24 oz of water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
  2. Once the liquid is boiling, remove from the heat and add 3 tablespoons of beef base and 2 tablespoons of rub.
  3. Mix well and let cool.
  4. Place the mixture in a covered container and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
Notes
I split this injection into two containers and use half for injection and the other for a marinade later in the cooking process of the brisket.

 

This injection is a shot of pure beef flavor that enhances the overall look, texture and flavor of the brisket.

Base BBQ Sauce

Base BBQ Sauce


Basic BBQ Sauce

This is my go to bbq sauce base.  It is perfectly balanced and is the base sauce for all of my sauces.  Like a sweet and tangy sauce, add honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the sauce.  Like it vinegary then add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar.  Like it spicy add a pinch of cayenne, 2 tablespoons hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of chili powder.  If you just love a nice and well balanced sauce, eat as is.  This is why this sauce is the best sauce around.

Base BBQ Sauce

Like any great bbq sauce we need to start with a sugar/vinegar mixture.  I will call this a gastrique, however, I know this is more of a reduction rather than caramelized sugar being deglazed with vinegar.  In a large Saucepan over medium-high heat, make a gastrique by bringing the dark brown sugar, molasses, white vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to a gentle boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Start with the base

Once at a gentle boil, remove from the heat and add the mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, black pepper and paprika powder. Let sit for 20 minutes.

The spices

Stir in the ketchup and return to the stove, bring to a light boil and then reduce to a simmer over low for 30 minutes.  As you can see, I had to change pans.  I would suggest that you use a pan that is big enough for all of the ingredients.

Stir in the ketchup

 

Remove from the heat and add the basic bbq rub.

Stir in the rub

Let cool and then refrigerate for up to 1 month.  I like to store my sauces in squeeze bottles but any jar or Tupperware container will work just fine.

BBQ Sauce

 

Base BBQ Sauce
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
The perfect bbq sauce. This is the base of every bbq sauce that I make.
Ingredients
BBQ Sauce
  • 3 cups tomato ketchup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ⅛ cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ tablespoon basic bbq rub
Instructions
  1. In a medium Saucepan over medium-high heat, make a gastrique by bringing the dark brown sugar, molasses, white vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to a gentle boil.
  2. Once at a gentle boil, remove from the heat and add the mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, black pepper and paprika powder. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the ketchup and return to the stove, and simmer over low for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the basic bbq rub.
  5. Let cool and then refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Tips

I have found that the cheaper ketchup like Hunts will give you a nicer sauce.

You can change the flavor easily by using your own favorite rub instead of my Basic BBQ Rub.

 

Basic BBQ Rub

Basic BBQ Rub

Basic BBQ Rub

Ever since I started barbecuing in contests people have been asking me for tips on the subject.  So I decided to write up a series of posts regarding bbq.  I am totally going to be giving away my secrets, so keep a look out for new posts.

The key to great bbq goes well beyond the perfect sauce.  It starts with a great rub.  This is my go-to rub.  It is tasty and well balanced.  Plus it goes great on any type of meat.

My Basic BBQ Rub

I know it is a lot of ingredients, but it is worth it.  Plus, if you remove just one, the flavor changes dramatically.

It looks like a lot, but it is awesome.

Place all of the rub ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork to combine all of the ingredients.

Mix and store in an airtight container.

This rub is my go to rub for all types of meat.  It is great on pork, brisket, chicken and even seafood.

Basic BBQ Rub
Author: 
Recipe type: Rub
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This is my basic BBQ Rub. It goes great on everything!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs dried mustard
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs celery salt
  • 1 tbs granulated onion
  • 1 tbs garlic
  • 1 tbs seasoning salt
  • 1 tbs black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Place all of the rub ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork to combine all of the ingredients.
  2. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  3. Stores for up to 6 months if kept air tight.
Notes
If the rub clumps, just use a fork to break it apart.

 

Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour – Medford, NY

Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour – Medford, NY

Sam's Club BBQ Tour Reserve Grand Champion

I must say that I felt really good going into this contest on Long Island.  I reviewed all of my previous contests, tweaked all of my recipes and went in with high hopes.  We had a great cook.  Although it rained all night and we almost ran out of wood, we made it.  Bill and Billy were right on the fire.  We had a nice steady temperature throughout the whole cook.  Not an easy feat, especially when it was raining.  But the team did great.  We ended up with Reserve Grand Champion and an entry into the Sam’s Club Regional in Chesapeake, Virginia.

To start it was a nice contest.  It was small, efficiently ran and a delight to compete in.  When I pulled in on Friday morning, I ended up getting a nice spot only about 100-150 feet from the turn in tent.  This meant that we did not have to hurry or rush with out turn-in boxes.  Plus, it allowed us to be able to hand in the hottest food possible.

Chicken – 3rd out of 24

This was a wild card in my book.  I picked up the chicken from a market in Queens, so I was uncertain about how it would work out.  Further, I tweaked my chicken sauce based on the results from my earlier competitions.  Come to find out, the chicken was a winner, Literally!   It was moist, tender and had a great chicken flavor.  It was definitely the best chicken of the season.  The Judges totally agreed.  We ended up with 3rd place in chicken.  This was our first top five call ever as Rex’s Red Hot BBQ.  It was also our first trophy ever!  It was a blast.

3rd Place Chicken

Ribs – 4th out of 24

I knew we had great ribs.  We tweaked them for our last contest in Louisa, VA and ended up with a 6th place.  We were right on track.  I did a slight tweak this time around that was well received.  We ended up getting 4th place.  Although we did not receive a trophy, we did get a nice little check.  Not too shabby.  This was our second top five call.  Needless to say we were on cloud 9.

Pork – 2nd out of 24

This was our best category of the day.  After an erroneous attempt to improve upon my recipe in Louisa, I went back to my recipe from Annapolis that got us a 6th place call.  This time, I did a slight tweak to my sauce and hit another home run.  Our third top 5 call and second trophy of the contest.  Nothing could ruin this contest.

2nd Place Pork

Brisket – 9th out of 24

Brisket has been our worst category in every contest.  I just haven’t been able to dial it in.  However, I feel as if I am on the right track.  We had a great contest and received a call in brisket for the first time.  After returning to the audience after the pork call, I heard ninth place, Rex’s Red Hot.  At this point in time I felt we were going to do well overall, as we were one of only a few teams to get four calls.

Overall – 2nd out of 24 teams

They called all of the teams from 6th place on, and we ended up receiving 2nd place overall.  We got a sweet Reserve Grand Champion Trophy and an entry into the Sam’s Club Regional Contest in Chesapeake, Virginia.  Can’t wait to head to Chesapeake to see if we can repeat these results and get an entry into the Sam’s Club finals.

The Team Pic
From left to right: Billy, Bill, Rex.

We had a blast and are very happy that we had such a great cook.  I would like to thank Bill and Billy for being there and being a crucial part of the success.   Without them, I probably would have been disqualified for not handing food in.  Although the weather did not cooperate, we pulled everything together for the best cook of the season.  I can’t wait to compete in Chesapeake.

Tips for a Perfect Memorial Day Cookout!

Tips for a Perfect Memorial Day Cookout!

There are a few tips and tricks to making any BBQ the perfect BBQ.

Fuel

Make sure to have enough fuel.  There is nothing worse than running out of propane or charcoal in the middle of a cookout!  Everyone will remember.  Don’t screw it up!

Charcoal

With charcoal it is easy to determine how much fuel you have.  Just look into the bag and see how much is left.

If you need charcoal, memorial day is one of the best times of the year to purchase it.  Currently for Memorial Day 2012, the deals are as follows:

  1. Home Depot – 2 pack of 13.9lb kingsford blue for $5.88 – .21 cents per pound.
  2. Lowes – 2 pack of 20lb kingsford blue for $9.99 – .25 cents per pound
  3. Wal-Mart – 2 pack 15lb kingsford blue for $5.48 – .18 cents per pound
These deals are through Monday!  Wal-mart is the best deal.  I picked up 200 lbs yesterday.
Always start charcoal with a charcoal chimney.  Don’t use lighter fluid.  It stinks, takes forever to get great coals, and it can be dangerous.
Start the smoker

Propane

With propane it can be a little more tricky.  There are two easy methods.

  1. The easiest method to determine the amount of propane left in your tank is to pour warm water over the tank.  Then slowly swipe your hand down the tank.  Where the tank gets cool to the touch is the propane level.  You will want at least 1/4 of a tank for a nice bbq.
  2. The other method is to disconnect the tank and then weigh it using a bathroom scale.  Then subtract 18lbs to give you the amount of propane left in the tank.  On average you will get about 45 mins per pound of propane.  You will want at least 3 lbs for a party.  You will probably not use this amount, but it is nice to be safe.  It is noted that 18lbs is the average empty weight of a 20lb propane tank (some weigh more some less, +- 1/2 lb).

Cooking Zones

Always set up multiple cooking zones on the grill.  If the whole grill is on high, you will burn something.  It is just a matter of time.  This is simple to do with both gas and charcoal grills.

Propane

Turn 1/2 of the burners to medium high and 1/2 to medium/low.  Yep, that simple.  Sear over the medium high and then move the nicely seared meat to the cooler side to finish.  That way you control the temps over a manageable fire.

Charcoal

I like to set up three separate zone for charcoal.  Light the coals in a chimney and then pour them into one half of your grill.  They will stack on one side and a few will fall into the middle.  Then the other side will be the cool zone.  So you have one side hot, the middle is medium and the other side is cool.  Cook veggies and fish over the center.  Sear burgers, brats and steaks over the high side.  Finish cooking your meats and melt cheese on the burgers on the cool side with the lid on.

Prevent Sticking

This is an easy thing to do.  Scrape the grill grates clean with a brush.

Don’t use grill cleaner or any chemicals.  If you have any stuck on particles, crank the grill up and then scrape them off.

Finally, brush the grates lightly with vegetable oil before adding the food.

The other tip is to allow the grates to fully heat up before you add the food.  A hot grate sears and does not stick.

Prevent Repeating

Yep, this is the one where people get sick at your bbq.  You don’t want your food repeating do you.

Keep Things Chilled

Keep dips, condiments and toppings on ice.  The easiest way is the set up a shallow dish with ice.  Then place each item in a dish in the ice.  Most people at barbecues get sick from the sides and not from the main course.

This cheap and affordable inflatable buffet server is perfect.  For under $20 you can keep a whole table cool.  Plus you can load it with enough drinks for the neighborhood. When you are done you can just deflate it and store it.

Big Mouth Toys Inflatabuffet Portable/Inflatable Buffet and Salad Bar, White

Cook to Temp

Make sure to cook with a meat thermometer.  It is helpful and can be a lifesaver.  Make sure your chicken and pork are at least 165 degrees.

Also, if you are cooking steak you can give your guests perfectly grilled steak with the use of a meat thermometer.

Beef temps

  • Rare – 140 degrees
  • Medium/Rare – 145 degrees
  • Medium – 160 degrees
  • Medium/Well – 165 degrees
  • Well – 170 degrees

Cheap but effective meat thermometers:

Be ready for any weather

The key to a good bbq is to be ready for anything.  Make sure you have an umbrella or a ez-up for the grill.  Keep the grill dry and you will be able to have a successful bbq even in a storm.

K Mart has an EZ-UP for $75 right now.  Check it out here.

You also have to make sure you have your house cleaned, as you may have to serve food inside.

Season Your Food

The secret to a great steak or a great burger is seasoning.  The best out there, Salt and Pepper.  No joke.  If you season your burger it will taste better.  Your neighbors will wonder what you do to make your burgers so good.  The average person throws burgers right on the grill.  No seasoning at all.  If you take the extra step to season, you will be the grill master of the neighborhood.

There are a ton of pre-made burger seasonings out there.  I have found that they are not bad, but make sure to use them sparingly.  They are quite potent.  My favorite is a little kosher salt, pepper and a dash of seasoning salt.

Don’t Kill the Meat – It is already dead!

Use tongs for turning and a flat spatula to flip burgers and veggies.  Stay away from forks.  They pierce the meat and cause the juices to fly.  This then causes flare-ups which lead to burned food.  Forks are bad!

Also, do not use the back of the spatula to press the burgers.  This is not the 50’s.  It is not cool to do this at all.  Pressing the burgers causes the juices to escape, causing flare-ups which lead to burned food.  Pressing is bad!

Memorial Day Recipes

Check out my write-up on the best main dishes, sides, condiments and desserts for memorial day!  There is also a section with great cocktails.

Memorial Day Recipes

Have Fun!

Grab a beer and have fun!  Barbecues are supposed to be fun.  Make sure to set up your multiple zones for cooking and then you are good to go.  If you see a flare up, move the meat to the cool side until the flames go down.  Then bring it right back to the heat.  Setting up the zones is the hard part, but it is quite easy.  Remember these rules and you will be the grillmaster!