Monday, April 20, 2009

Maryland, Crab, Hickory

My team-mate Kenny Goodman and I cooked the KCBS contest in Salisbury MD this past weekend which had 92 teams competing and close to $20k in prize money. I cooked this event in its first year and if my hazy memory is correct there were 18 teams. Amazing growth in this 'sport'.

We were pretty happy with our food but obviously still need to figure out the Jambo pit. The pit cooked great... no problem keeping a nice clean fire... but it does cook different from the Backwoods Smokers we are used to so I guess we'll have a bit of a learning curve. So no trophies but I did bring home some awesome fresh crabmeat that was loaded with nubs of roe. Wonderfully fresh and really didnt need any seasoning at all. We used some of this crab in our chefs choice entry, which was a riff on our winning Jack Daniels chefs choice entry back in October.

Got home, cleaned the pit and stacked what must of been 1.5 cords of green hickory with some oak and cherry mixed in. Joe Regan who has done some tree work on our property hooked us up. I'm hoping this wood dries enough to use by the end of the summer.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ready, set, Cook!

First big contest of the year in Salisbury MD this weekend. No real time to write much about it, I still have a lot of packing to do and an 8 hour car ride. Suffice to say, I can't wait to get out there and cook. Hope to post some updates over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter... Salisbury Practice

We have a crowd coming over for Easter.  I'm planning on cooking and prepping most of the meal - except for the meats- on Saturday so its just a re-warm job on Easter.  I'm pretty tired of the same old dishes for the Holidays.  I've been threatening to cook Peking Duck and Dumplings for Thanksgiving for the last couple of years... maybe it will happen this Fall.   Easter is going to feature some Indian flavors.  I do have some plain eaters and kids on the guest list, so I need work in some standard fare as well... here is what the menu looks like:

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Tandoori Dry Rub
Biryani Rice
Minted Eggplant
Sliced Melon
Onion Chutney

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Buttered Green Beans
Roasted Carrots
Duck Fat Steak Fries

I hope to also practice some competition barbecue on Saturday.  I have the Salisbury, MD contest coming up which is looking to have around 100 teams competing.  When I cooked this event in its first year, there were 18 competition teams... this sport has experienced amazing growth.  The goal for the practice session is to get down my timing on the new Jambo pit.  Also, the last few times I've cooked ribs on the Jambo they have come out a bit dry... so I hope to figure that out.

Monday, April 6, 2009

IQue Class

After a very chilly start the sun finally rose over the beer tanks at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston and warmed up the twenty students on hand for the IQue cooking class.   

Personally I had a great time.  But preparing for the class was a lot of work.    My career as a BBQ teacher may be very short.   We packed an entire contest timeline, including prep done at home in advance of a contest, into 8 hours.   So, it was challenging to keep multiple tracks - cooking, meat prep, presentation  - often all going at the same time and keeping the class on schedule.   Also, in addition to the KCBS Four, we demo'd one of our winning Chefs Choice entries.

By the way, Harpoon has a tasty new beer that goes great with BBQ...  UFO White.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cooking Class

If you think getting ready for a bbq competition is a lot of work... try a bbq cooking class!  

I'm conducting a class this weekend at Harpoon's Boston Brewery, basically in the courtyard area shown in the picture below.  Its a one-day demo from 8-5.   The logistics will be interesting as I'm planning to do briskets and butt presentations around 3pm so I'll need to fire those in advance of the class starting.  Finishing up the course syllabus is the priority today.   A bunch of competition Cooks, Fresh Beer, BBQ, hopefully some spring sun, at Harpoon... should be a great day.