Moist Heat BBQ

A place to post your drippings

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Big Pig Gig

This weekend, Menomonee Falls hosted The Big Pig Gig, a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned BBQ competition. Although Moist Heat did not compete, a few members were in attendance to check out the competitors and critque the smoked offerings.

Me and the Mrs. arrived at "The Gig" at 11:30am on Saturday morning and could smell the smoke as we neared the grounds. We were expecting to fight huge crowds as the local newspapers were predicting 50-75,000 visitors to the event. There was nowhere near that number of people at the event when we arrived or 3 hours later when we left. As we enetered the event, we walked down a strip of about 8-10 vendors selling evetything from ice cream to roasted corn to pork sandwhiches and ribs. The final vendor in the row, Big Daddy's who was last year's winner, had a line that was 20-30 people deep all day long. For $10 you could get 3-4 bones, a side of beans, and a side of slaw.

After watching the "celebrity" rib eating contest (mainly local radio personalities), we met up with T-Bone and the family and headed to get something to eat. None of us wanted to stand in the long line for only 3 bones so we decided to try one of the other vendors, Spur City BBQ. Me and the Mrs. had the ribs, T-Bone had the brisket, and Cody had the pork sandwich. The ribs were just ok. Flavor was descent but the bones were very short and the bark was a bit too tough. The sauce pretty much tasted like ketchup. T-Bone's brisket had no smoke flavor and tasted like beef roast. The pork shoulder sandwich also did not have much smoke flavor. As we were finishing up our lunch, an old man sat down next to use and told us that the competitors were all giving away free samples of the good stuff. We headed up to the competitor area and sure enough, they were handing out good portions of their left over brisket that they had made for the competition. Those samples were MUCH better than the vendor food and it was free!

We stuck around for another hour or so and watched the magic show for the kids but we did not stick around for the judging. On our way out, Cody decided to ride the mechanical pig and did a mighy fine job. Pictures to follow.

Overall is was interesting to see all of the competitors and their smokers (a few even had my Chargriller and we saw at least one Backwoods Smoker) but the event was a bit of a bust. The vendor food was terrible and overpriced and besides begging for scraps from the competitors, there wasn't a whole lot to do. I'm sure T-Bone has his own thoughts on it and will post them later this week along with the pictures he took.

We would probably go again next year but we would be smart and skip the vendors and head right to the competitors for food. Or maybe WE will be one of the competitors next year. You up for it Joe-Be-Wan?

Rib Eating Contest

A view of some of the competitors

A massive smoker that one of the competitors was using

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My new BBQ center (with pics)

I will make a disclaimer before showing pics of my new BBQ center- I was quite excited about posting these for my WI brethern (and whatever the feminine of that is- sistern?), but am disillusioned now. Many will remember pics of my youngest, Dylan, having ribs for the first time at a year and instantly taking to them, like a young tiger-pup to his mother's teet. BUT- tonight, as we are still satiated from my ribs the night before, I will admit that Dylan's entire dinner was dipping whole-grain, organic wheat squares into smashed avacado- what sort of vegan did I spawn.

But anyway, I'll quit trying to sound poetic like Ed and show pics. Due to the severe NC drought, the grass around my smoker caught fire, so I dug out an area for paver stones. Its working well and had enough space for the Weber kettle also. I did this several weeks ago, but was truly christened last night with some incredible ribs- did my normal spare ribs with the tips on but the large bone cut off (seems to be the standard cut down here). I used the last of some rub that Ed had mailed me when he was cleaning out his kitchen before his move (he never blogged even to tell us that he was safe in the home country- I actually spoke to him- he's having trouble finding good ribs).

Anyway, the ribs turned out great- to counteract the cholesterol surge, we did grilled eggplant and bok choy (I can hear it now: Andy-"BOK CHOY- WHATS HE THINKING!; Ed- "Oh, we call that blah, blah, blah in Jolly Old England"; Skippy- "Whaaaaaaat?"; T-bone-"Whats book choo?"; Andrew-"Bok Choy- that rocks. Can I get your recipe?"; MSB-"Bok Choy- thats got lots of calcium and Vitamin K!"). It all turned out great, and yes, bok choy with some home-made teriyaki on it grills up great- just cut off the thicker part of the stem.

We're about to put in our first order of spices from the spice house. My parents have fallen in love with the Bicentennial rub and blew through a cup of it in no time. We sure do miss the spice house, Cranky Al's, and knowing a lot of people to talk BBQ and Packers with. We have already gone through one tank of propane and propane accessories. I'm having an easy time maintaining temp in this warmer weather (got to the 90s here today), and no more flare ups around the smoker now.

Oh, I met someone that can custom make a 55 gallon barrel into a smoker, so if/when you guys come visit, you may consider driving so you can take one back and do a whole pig.

See yuns later!

(I'm the one in the.... oh, how does my wife so lovingly put it..."stupid-looking, Dwight Yoakum wannabe, no-really-you-look-really-stupid, hat." I don't care- I've always wanted one, and it keeps the sun off my neck during long afternoons of smokin.) The rest of the pics are taken around our house.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

West Texas Steakhouse

My camera is still not working, so no picks.

I recently was in Lubbock, TX (work, not pleasure), but was pleasantly surprised when I was taken to a classic West Texas steakhouse. It was out of town a-ways, and in some very rustic buildings. Cowboy hats were plentiful. I was leaning towards getting some brisket (there was only brisket and steak on the menu) but after seeing a steak, I had to have one. They only served ribeye, and you order by how thick it is sliced (3/4, 1, 1 1/2, and 2 inches). I went with 1 inch.

My friend (a native of West TX) advised me not to have red wine with my steak, as I could be identified as a tourist and be tarred and feathered. I went with one of the 2 Texas beers on tap- Shiner Bock, which is a personal favorite of my wife.

The steak is cooked over mesquite logs, no charcoal or gas. Absolutely fascinating. The steak was almost crusty on the outside, and perfectly medium rare (no blood) on the inside. Was in the top 5 of steaks I have ever eaten. It had the slightest hint of smoke flavor, but was not smoked. Discovered the seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a little cumin. The beer went well, and the side dishes (which you served yourself from the "chuckwagon") of beans, cornbread, slaw, and a potato salad made of mashed potatoes, complimented the steak well.

Given this experience and the writings of Bobbledog in England (well, his experience of his neighbors grilling in France) make me want to try this grilling over logs thing. I am presently getting a quote for a 55 gal barrel made into a smoker with wheels made by true Eastern NC BBQ-ers, so I may soon be equipped to try this type of high-end grilling.
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