Moist Heat BBQ

A place to post your drippings

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The French Connection 3

To make up for the lack of finesse in the French grilling style we visited our local French butcher, Monsieur Maurice Hervy, to buy some ribs and cook them in Moist Heat Style. We found that ribs translate as travers de porc and Monsieur had some to die for – thick with meat these were going to take a very long cook. I used a basic rub of salt, pepper, brown sugar, mustard and garlic granules. For the mop sauce I modified that for maple glazed ribs (I couldn’t get any maple syrup in the local supermarket) using double the quantity of brown sugar instead. Smoke came from grape vine cuttings, the choice at the local shop was between that and corn stalks, I had some apple wood from last year but that has gone into our neighbour’s firepit. Since last summer I have modified the kettle grill be cutting 4 one inch air holes in the base. This grill is a cheap copy of the Weber made for B&Q (that’s Home Depot to some or Castorama in France) I didn’t realise it was cheap because it didn’t have air holes!

So the grill was setup for indirect cooking and after last years problems of the grill going out, my initial problem was to keep the temperature down to around 240. After mopping every half hour for 4 hours the ribs were wrapped in foil to finish for another hour and then rested. Mrs Bob agreed that our ribs surpassed the local offerings.

The French Connection 2

Our French neighbour cooks over a fire pit using just dry wood he collects from under our trees down by the road. Pork sausages, pork strips and a small cut of steak are the usual meats. After a few beers flavoured with tequilla these served with salad and mayonaise and crusty french bread tasted really good. The smokey flavour of the wood was good but not too strong.

The French Connection

Mrs Bob and I have just had a great trip across the English Channel (La Manche in french) to France. The weather even in Northern France is better than in England so grilling in France is very popular in the summer. There is hardly a house terrace without a grill. So when the French have a major event how else would the food be cooked?

Each Wednesday from mid July to the end of August the Brittany town of La Roche-Derrien ( has a fete of traditional Breton music and dance. The town squares are closed to traffic and filled instead with tables and benches. Local produce is grilled, the hogroast, see photos, starts early in the afternoon whilst salmon and tuna (saumon et thon, sorry Joe-Be-Wan, they’ll grill anything in France) compete for sales with sausages, see 3rd and 4th photos. You pay a fee at the grill of your choice, fill your plate with meat, salad and coleslaw and sit at one of the tables shoulder to shoulder with locals and tourists. French food is famous for its sauces but when they grill like this you don’t get a sauce except ketchup or mayonaise, however the meat is very good.
Local bars sell beer and soft drinks from tables set up outside and as it goes dark the pipe bands parade through the streets to the main square.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

T-Bone's Best Bark

I had the day off yesterday, so I put two small shoulders on at 8am for sandwiches later that evening. Each time I turned my little buddies to ensure even cooking on my weber, I sprinkled on a little more rub. The end result was an awesome, crispy bark. As you can see, my blackest bad boys yet.

When my daughter saw the unveiling after about a 2 hour rest, she thought I had burned and ruined them. But once she tasted a piece, she was ready to suck on the twine that contained these boneless boston butts.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pig In The Pines

Me and the Mrs. headed to the northwoods this weekend to attend the "Pig In The Pines Ribfest" in St. Germain. My cousins, who lives up there, looked at us kind of weird when we told them that we drove up (5 hours) just for the weekend to go the ribfest. After arriving at the fest, we could understand why.

As we made the 30 min. drive from our cabin in Lake Tomahawk, we expected to arrive at a site filled with plumes of white smoke, the smell of pork, and more rednecks than you would find at Joe-Be-Wan's family reunion. Instead, we found a rather small park site with 5 BBQ teams, one eating tent, a handful of other food vendors (corn, funnel cakes, etc.) and a band playing Margarittaville. We were also a bit surprised to find out that in order to sample any of the BBQ, you had to shell out at least $5 per vendor. After the $5 admisssion, you had your choice of BBQ from 5 teams, each selling the exact same items at the exact same prices. A 3 bone rib sampler, $5. A half rack, $10. And $20 if you wanted the full rack. And of course they were selling pulled pork, beans, and coleslaw. But who goes to a ribfest and doesn't get ribs?

After surverying each of the 5 teams, we decided to start with "Pigfoot". We got one sampler and shared it (of course I ate two bones and the Mrs. ate one). The ribs are served plain and you have your choice of sauce. Each team seemed to have at least 3 choices, most of which we sweet, mild, and hot. Pigfoot had a "new" sauce they called "Applelicious". We decided that we would try that one on their ribs. The sauce alone was not all that good, but on the ribs it was excellent! The ribs had a great rub and the perfect pull complimented by the sweet apple sauce. After finishing those off in under 2 minutes, we made our way to the next team.

This time we choose "Mojos". Same deal, 3 ribs for $5, so we got one sampler to share. This time I tried both their Hickory (sweet) and Smokin' (mild) sauces. Both sauces pretty much tasted the same with the Smokin' having a small kick to it. The sauces were good but the ribs were not quite as good as Pigfoot's. The meat was not as tender and took a little too much to pull. On to the next one.

Knowing that we wouldn't be able to sample all 5 teams, we had to make a decision. Would it be Sgt. Oinks, Texas Thunder, or Chicago BBQ Company? I thought, what would Joe-Be-Wan do? What do Texans know about ribs, their all about brisket. Their out! And come on, we all know not much good comes from Chicago so they were out too. Sgt. Oink's it was! They were the back to back defending champs of the ribfest so we had to see what all the fuss was about. Got the sampler and again tried the sweet and mild sauce. Sauces were good, meat had a nice flavor, but the ribs were cut kind of funny. They were very narrow and almost came to a point on one end. It was a toss up between Sgt. Oink's and Pigfoot but in the end we both cast our votes for Pigfoot.

We both enjoyed the ribfest but were a bit disappointed as we expected quite a bit more from the way they hype it up on the local radio stations. But I was rather impressed with the setup each team had with their numerous award banners and trophies. But none of the BBQ teams were smoking their ribs onsite. They all had pre-cooked ribs which they were heating in ovens and throwing them on the grill for a few minutes.
The only other food we sampled was the corn on the cob which was probably the best corn we have ever had. Super sweet, butter soaked, and popped off without barely bitting in to it.

We were both glad we decided to drive up but more so just to enjoy the nice weather and take a swim in the lake after the ribfest. So while the atmosphere of the fest wasn't all we were hoping, the quality of BBQ did make up for it.

I don't think we will make this an annual trip, but if just happen to be in the are next year, I'm sure we would go again.

We're also gonna be going to the "Big Pig Gig" in September which is a little bit closer to home in the Falls. That is a KC BBQ sanctioned competition so I think that will be a bit more of what we were looking for.

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