Thursday, August 16, 2012

Smokin' In McMinnville 2012

It was a successful day for Team Smoke Nation at our latest competition in McMinnville, TN.  We got a call as we placed 10th in chicken out of 33 teams!  We also had a respectable 17th place showing in brisket.  It was a great time and we are looking forward to next year!
My dad doing a little horsing around before the competition!
On the assembly line making the brisket box.
The finalized brisket box.

Getting down to business with some award winning chicken!

Our "major award"!!

Support your local, um, bull rider, or something.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bad Weather? Fire Up the Oven!

Have you ever had one of those days off that you have been planning to cook up some awesome BBQ, only to have Mother Nature change your plans?  That's ok!  It might not be what you were planning, but you can definitely make some very good tasting ribs in the oven while it is pouring outside.  By utilizing some of the high temperatures that can be easily achieved, you can put some great looking ribs on your table in just a couple hours.

A typical rack of ribs in the oven can be served from start to finish in about two hours.  The key to making ribs in the oven is to make sure you have a good combination of spices in your rub and a good finishing glaze to add that final touch.  After all, there is no wood to add that typical BBQ flavor, so it's all in what you do to the ribs with rubs and glazes that are going to add all the flavor and make all the difference.

Cooking ribs in the oven can be done quickly and easily at 350 degrees.  After adding a savory and/or spicy rub of your choice, start basting a sweet glaze on the ribs at about 30 to 45 minutes into the cook.  This will give the glaze to set up and sufficiently form a very nice crust on top of the ribs.  It will give a shiny and dark caramelization that will play very nicely with rub you added to the ribs at the beginning of the cook.

As you can see, the extra heat gives a dark, beautiful looking rib that tastes delicious.  It may not be the standard definition of BBQ, but it will definitely get you by on a day when the weather just won't cooperate!  Don't let the camera fool you, the darkness is just right.  However you do have to make sure you watch out.  There is a fine line between a nice dark bark that compliments the meat and a black, burned sugary mess that will ruin the day for everyone!!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Practice, and knives, make perfect (and makes us hungry!)

,Today I had a day off, but didn't feel like taking the time to do a full blown cook, so I did some more ribs.  The focus in recent days has been on the type of knives that are used in the smoking process.  It is very important that you have a knife that is really sharp when doing any job.  The sharper the knife, the easier any job will be.  I recently have been trying out a carving knife that my fiancĂ©, Amber, got me for Christmas.  It is a Victorinox 12 inch knife with a fibrox handle granton edge.

This is a great knife for slicing almost any meat, but it works really great on brisket.  Boxes at competitions are typically 9 inches across, so this knife allows you to be able to cut a large enough cross-section of brisket that will fit in the box nicely without showing any saw marks that smaller, less sharp knives might cause.

Today, for the ribs, we used a santoku knife.  Santoku knives typically have a very sharp edge that can be either straight or granton.  They have the indentions on the sides like the the Victorinox in the picture.  The indentions catch fat and other juices from the meat and serve as kind of a lubricant for the knife as you use it.  As you can see in the pictures below, it really makes a difference in the appearance of the ribs when they are cut neatly and uniform.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Preparing for the season

Even though we have just experienced some of the colder days of the season, we have been busy preparing for the upcoming competition season.  This year, we have added a smaller, much more portable, cooker to our fleet of smokers.  We got a Backwoods Chubby from our friend Lee McWright in Nashville and so far we love it.  It is very efficient and allows us to cook on a much smaller scale when we are trying new recipes or just cooking for ourselves.  We tried a some ribs a few days ago and we were very pleased with the results.  The cooker, combined with a BBQ Guru, held at a rock steady 225 as usual for as long as we needed it on about 5-6lbs of charcoal and produced very consistent results throughout the cooking chamber.  The product turned out very well as pictured below: