Monday, December 28, 2009

Dr. BBQ -> Ray Lampe

Ray Lampe aka Dr BBQ is a BBQ friend of mine. Check out this video of him on Fox News. He is giving tips on tailgate parties.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hi gang! Christmas is less than a week away, so Im thought I'd wish everyone a Merry Christmas with this Bing Crosby version of White Christmas. Enjoy.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bon a Pit Grill and SmokeHouse

 The Dudette and I went to an upscale BBQ Restaurant called Bon a Pit Grill and SmokeHouse. Its located at 12200 S. Harlem in Palos Heights Il.

Needless to say that Bon a Pit is not a barbecue only restaurant. Besides barbecue their menu contains burgers, steaks and various Ciabattas, wraps and Baguettes. There was various desserts such as bananna splits, molten lava cakes and other ice cream dishes.

The Dudette had the BBQ Perfecta combo platter. It had ½ slab of baby back ribs, ½ BBQ chicken,  ½ ear of corn, homemade potato salad and oven roasted veggies. I had ½ slab of St. Louis cut ribs, beef brisket, ½ ear of corn, roasted veggies and cole slaw.


We expected to get regular restaurant barbecue. Meat that was dried out, oven roasted, boiled and soaked in barbecue sauce. We were very surprised! The ribs (both of ours) were very tender, not quite falling off the bone and very flavorful. The rub and sauce complimented each other. They weren't dried and chewy like I had expected. Seemed like the ribs came right out of  the smoker.

The Dudette said her chicken tasted like it was grilled, not smoked. She said it tasted good and tender, but it was a bit spicy for her. She thought it was probably the rub and not the sauce. She did ask for extra sauce. Also she loved the homemade potato salad. She liked it so much that she bought extra to take home.

I loved the brisket. It was tender with a good smoke ring. The beef just about melted in my mouth. I wish I could cook brisket this perfectly. The spicing was flavorful and it was lightly sauced. The only thing I could find fault with my meal was the cole slaw. I like tangy vinegar based slaw. This was creamy. Hey, its no big deal!

I have to mention our server. Her name was Ashley. She was cute, friendly and attentive. She kept my coffee cup and the Dudettes iced tea filled.

Now you ask, “Would I eat there again?” The answer is a definite, yes!

Da Dude 

Note: We paid for our meal and we are not connected in any way with Bon a Pit.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Saw this and thought it was cute.

Barbecue Friends

To all my Wisconsin friends (OK everybody else also)---

There is a brand new contest in Montello Wisconsin, June 11th & 12th, 2010 that you might be interested in. Its called the "Poor Que". The reason why its called the Poor Que is because the entry fee is $80! As you might guess the prize money is on the low side.

It is at a campground so your cooking space will be big with water and electricity to all sites. Hot showers close by and you can stay extra nights for $30 a night. It is a campground with all the campground amenities.

The good part is it is K.C.B.S. sanctioned and is a Wisconsin State Championship Contest. I also think that since this is a low money payoff, the big teams won't be there.

I feel this is a great contest for new teams or back yard cooks that want a taste of contest life. For little more than the cost of a camping weekend you can have fun, share comradery with fellow BBQrs and see how your barbecue stacks up against others.

No, I don't have anything to do with this contest. I may judge but I have no other interest except to promote BBQ and BBQ contests. It is being run by 2 good friends, Anita and Tony Moore. Great BBQ people that like to promote and cook barbecue.

Check it out at, Poor Que.

Check out the campgrounds at Wilderness Camp Gound. It looks like a nice place to spend a weekend. No, I don't have an interest in the campground either.

Da Dude

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pig Out on Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Today  is the big day that everybody was starving themselves all week. Its unofficially "Pig Out on Turkey Day". Everybody is going to eat their fill of turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy and who knows what else. Loosen the belt and prepare to be stuffed more than the turkey.

Now comes the big question, "What do I do with the left over turkey?" Most people eat turkey sandwiches until they are sick of turkey, bread and mayo. Let's do something different with the turkey. The Dudette says, "As long as it doesn't contain peas, go for it!" Sooo, how about..

Turkey Pot Pie (no peas)
4  slices of bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1  pound cooked turkey cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2  cans condensed cream of chicken soup*
1  1 pound bag of frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3/4 cup sour cream
1  can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Leave one teaspoon drippings and bacon in skillet.

2.  Add turkey and cook until browned. Stir in soup, veggies and poultry seasoning. Cook until bubbly, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 6 minutes or until veggies are tender crisp.

3.  Stir in sour cream and spoon into a 2 quart baking dish.

4. Separate dough into 5 biscuits. Cut each biscuit in half. Arrange the biscuits, cut side down, around the inside edge (in the hot mixture) of the baking dish.

5.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes un til biscuits are a golden brown.

* You could use fat free cream of chicken soup.

Turkey Hash
This kinda throw together dish for me. I don't really have an exact recipe.

Diced baked potato (or partially boiled potatoes), bacon cut into about 1/4 strips, diced turkey (cooked), diced onions, diced green peppers and whatever else you want to add.

Cook bacon until crisp, Remove, and drain all but 1 tablespoon of drippings. Add onions and peppers to drippings and cook until tender. Add remaining ingredients heat through.

Hope you can think of other things to make with left over turkey.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Brine a Turkey

With Thanksgiving about a week away I thought I'd share with you The CookShack method on brining a turkey.

CookShack makes some awesome smokers. I use their FEC100 smoker. Its a great pellet smoker.

The following video is from the FoodNetwork. Alton Brown  explains the brining process ojnly as he can do it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Music to BBQ By

In my earlier years, when I was this _ high, my parents made me learn how to play the accordion. I learn to love ->good<- music a lot. Maybe I live in the past but, this music sure beats "gansta rap" by a mile. The first selection is titled "Struttin' with Barbecue". Barbecue in this song doesn't refer to the hot licks play on the musical instruments. When this song was written Barbecue referred to women. Hot women! Hope you recognize some of the players..

The second selection was recorded in 1958. Sweet Greogia Brown was, and still is, the theme song for the Harlem Globetrotters. They just don't make music like this any more.

Hope you enjoy my little detour away from barbecue.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Barbecue Song

Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce inspired this song. Also a bunch of my BBQ buddies from the Chicago area are mentioned with their logo in the song.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day after Oct 31st.

I how everyone had a Happy & Safe Halloween. You didn't get sick from eating too much candy, did you?

Young 'uns like to play in water puddles. It doesn't matter who or what they are! I saw this at the Texas BBQ Forum. I decided to share with you.

Note: No camera men were harmed in the making of this video!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hey everybody! Have a safe and Happy Halloween.

If you have to drive through the neighborhood, drive a little slower. The little ones have a habit of dashing across the street to get to the houses with the best goodies.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cabin fever! Already?

I can't believe it! We've been doing BBQ contest every two to three weeks during the summer. Now, we have some time off and we can't wait to get back on the road.

Pat suggested that we just get away every couple of weeks so we don't get out of suitcase packing practice. LOL It is strange, when you go on the road, you can't wait to get home, and when you're home, you can't wait to get back on the road.

How do you explain it?

The above picture is from a couple of Februaries ago when we did the Winter Burn. Although we complain about cold weather we are somewhat ready for it!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'll live!!

As mentioned earlier, Pat and I had a doctor's appointment today (10/17/09). After spending two and a half hours in the office.. we were pronounced healthy. I think.

Granted Pat and I are both overweight and diabetic our doctor is convinced we are really sick but she can't figure out with what. Whenever we mention this pain or that ache, we get sent to a specialist almost immediately. The specialist tells us we are healthy.

Almost immediately except when we have a real problem. Then we have to wait 4 to 6 months. I don't think you want to read about when I had an ear ache and had to bully my way to see and ear doctor.

I know you don't want to hear about my health problems but BBQ season is over and I gotta talk about something. LOL The email addy is to the right. Drop me a line and I'll answer your questions here.

Da Dude

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Libertyville Illinois

If you are going to be near Libertyville this weekend (Oct 16th & 17th), stop by Lamb's Farm right off of IL294. The Barn Burner BBQ contest will be taking place. Friday evening (16th) will have a People's Choice Chili contest, a hot chili eating contest and lots more. Wanna talk BBQ? Friday evening is the time to talk to different teams and look at different BBQ cookers. It for a good cause, so stop by a spend a little money.

Saturday starting at noon will be turn ins. I'm sure there will be samples given out to interested spectators.

Unfortunately the Dudette and I have Doctor's appointment Saturday so we can't cook or even judge. Darn it!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All good things...

must come to an end. For me the 2009 BBQ Competition season ended with the Arthur IL. contest. I got an 8th place call for ribs and Pat got a 2nd place call in "sides" contest. Pat made a squash salad in her parmesan bowls.

The Arthur contest is a hard contest to win anything in. It sits between the American Royal contest and the Jack Daniels (aka The Jack) Invitational contest. A lot of these teams are nationally ranked, making last minute tweaks to their recipes to try and wow the judges at The Jack. Congratulations to Florida Skin & Bones for being Grand Champion and Quau for being Reserve Grand Champion.

Also, there were several teams fighting for the Illinois Team of the Year Trophy. In order to win that trophy you have to cook at least 6 contests in Illinois and be from Illinois. If you cook more than 6 contests they take the scores from your 6 highest. The Arthur contest is included for the current year so teams try to win, or at least get the highest score they can. Congratulations to Smokey Joel / Cubby Bear for being Illinois Team of the Year.

This was a good year for us. We got a "call" in every contest. Most contests 2 calls and some 3 calls in the regular KCBS categories. Pat had several calls in the "sides" categories at several contests. We got rained on, sun & heat on, we also froze at some contests. All in all it was a fun year!

I can't wait until next year! Pat thinks I'm crazy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Count down to Arthur..

One week from today we'll be in Arthur Illinois cooking in the Central Illinois Bragging Rights contest. Sadly, this will be the last contest of the year for us.

Our contest year started in Wamac Illinois in some cold wet weather and it looks like our year will end in cold wet weather. We've done 7 contests so far and averaged 2 awards a contest. We've had 3 top ten finishes in the KCBS part of the contests. Pat has won several awards for her side dishes and desserts.  We cooked in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. It has been a fun year BBQwise. We also made a little money.. very little.

Sadly, we hate to see it end for this year. Then again, it will give us a whole winter to try out new recipes and techniques. We'll take a look at the contents of the trailer and get rid of the stuff we never used. When spring comes we'll hit the ground running, maybe. If our retirement goes as planned we'll have the summer to travel and do more contest in different states.

I can't wait till next year!

Da Dude

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Chicken Recipe?

I've been thinking (and you know that's dangerous) about changing my chicken. Normally I don't marinade my chicken but I've come across a citrus 7UP marinade I'm thinking about trying.

We'll be cooking in Arthur IL October 9th & 10th. I may make two batches of chicken. One my regular way and the 7UP way with Wolfe Rub Citrus rub. The question is will it have the "WOW" factor that I need. Only time and tastes will tell.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Slide show


They put me on the CookShack web site Winner's Circle!

I'm excited! I guess the people at Cook Shack knows a quality cook! LOL ROFLMAO

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Silver Lake / Mears Mi.

Silver Lake Dunes Michigan is a pretty area. If you ever wanted to drive a dune buggy, in sand, this is the place to do it. Lots of sand, water and dune buggies. Being from the big city, Silver Lake / Mears seemed like a small Mayberryish tourist town.

There are several hotels with the name Sands in them and we stayed at one of them. It was right next the, are you ready for this, the Sands Restaurant. (BTW the pizza was very good there). The room was big and comfy.

Well anyway, we cooked in the Silver Lake Apple Festival near Mears Michigan. This was their 4th year and it seemed a bit disorganized on the side contests. Pat entered all the side contests. They were a apple salad, apple with pork dish, and apple dessert.

The BBQ contest portion was top notch. Jeff (the organizer) and crew did a great job. I guess 4 years of experience paid off there. Water and  electricity were near by. Trash pick up was timely. The only fault was ice. They were running / ran out Saturday morning. Then again, the weather was in the mid eighties Friday and Saturday and the vendors were selling food and drink like crazy. Jeff told us to expect crowds up to 1,000 people. I lost count at 276 (LOL) but I estimated the crowds to be 3,000. Streets were closed so spectators could walk to get food from the vendors. There were Ats & Crafts and apples for sale in booths set up in the streets.

OK, enough of the treavel info, you wanna know how we did. Well here are the stats..

Total team entries --  31
Chicken --  8th Place
Ribs --  9th Place
Pork --  19th Place
Brisket --  1st Place

Over all 4th Place

They didn't give a hand out for the side contests so we can only assume how Pat did on the other 2. They only gave out prizes for 1st Place.

Apple salad --  1st Place (Pat's creation)
Side Dish over all -- 1st Place

We figured Pat did pretty good in the other 2 categories to get the Over All win.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just about ready...

Just got back from Jewel Food Store getting the last necessities for our trip to Mears / Silver Lake Michigan. All we have to do in the morning is pack the coolers and we'll be off.

We figure it'll take us 5 hours pulling the BBQ Mothership. We have to swing through Indiana. Yuck! The expressway at the border sucks. I know there will be traffic backups. Oh well, that's life on the barbecue trail. Next time you read this, hopefully, we'll have a grand championship under out belts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pig Candy?

What is "pig candy"?

Basically it is a slice of thick cut bacon covered in brown sugar and cooked in the oven (about 400 degrees) until the bacon is crispy. Simple, right? I learned about pig candy several years ago on a forum (I don't remember which one).

Now it seems to be the "in" thing on the FoodNetwork. In the last week Paula Deen, Sandra Lee and Brian Boitano has made variations of it.

It was made with pure maple syrup and Sugar in the Raw, light brown sugar only, light brown sugar and chili powder, light brown mixed with white sugar, cayenne pepper and brown sugar or a mixture of the previous variations.

Is it the new in thing?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Getting ready..

This past weekend (Labor Day Weekend) we pulled the trailer out, unloaded, cleaned and reloaded everything. We made sure our supply of essentials was stocked up and added a new chair to the trailer.

Pat was practicing apple desserts, apple / pork main dishes and apple salads. Yepper, we are going to the Silver Lake Michian Apple Festival and BBQ cook off 9/11 & 9/12. Go to and check it out. Looks like its going to be a fun time. BTW they supply the apples.

I trimmed my brisket today. The brisket started out at a shade over 13 pounds. After trimming its about 11 pounds. Big drop due to fat. However, it looks like it has a bigger point and a smaller flat. We'll se how it cooks when the time comes.

Pat took the ribs and the last of the pork butts out of the freezer. I got a good deal at the beginning of the year on butts. They were 99cents a pound so I got 2 cases. When I buy spares, I buy them by the case for a better price. They come in 2 slab cryovac packages, 3 packages to a case. I cook 4 slabs and freeze 2 for later use.

This cook I'm going to cook 3 slabs of loin backs and 2 slabs of spares. Why? Because they were in the freezer and I didn't have to buy more. They'll get trimmed Tuesday evening.

The butts and chicken will get trimmed at the contest. It gives me something to do, to keep out of Pat's way while she does the side contests.

Da Dude

We are ready to kick butt... pork butt that is.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Da Jack!

3 of my BBQ friends made it to the Jack.

Scottie Johnson, -
Randy & Marla Twyford, - Ulcer Acres (Twyford BBQ & Catering)
Alex & Kate Cothell, - Dr Porkenstein

I know there can be just one winner :-(

Good luck to all!

Monday, August 31, 2009

O.. M.. G.. Its the Pork Police!

(make your favorite siren noise)

Let me preface this with, I think the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) is doing a great job riding herd on all the contests it sanctions. However, a recent rule clarification, or interpretation, has a majority of the contest BBQers in a tizzy.

KCBS rule 16 g) After cooking, all meat:
   i) Must be held at 140° F or above OR
      ii) Cooked meat shall be cooled as follows:
         (1) Within 2 hours from 140° F to 70° F and
         (2) Within 4 hours from 70° F to 41° F or less
         (3) Meat that is cooked, properly cooled, and later reheated for hot holding and serving shall be reheated so that all parts of the food reach a temperature of at least 165° F for a minimum of 15 seconds.

All the competitors agree with and abide by this rule with no complaints.

KCBS rule 10) The Four KCBS Meat Categories:
    CHICKEN: Chicken includes Cornish Game Hen and Kosher Chicken.
    PORK RIBS: Ribs shall include the bone. Country style ribs are prohibited.
   PORK: Pork is defined as Boston Butt, Picnic and/or Whole Shoulder, weighing a minimum of five (5)   pounds. Pork shall be cooked (bone in or bone out) and shall not be parted.
   BEEF BRISKET: May be whole brisket, flat, or point. Corned beef is not allowed.

KCBS rule 15) Each contestant must submit at least six (6) separated and identifiable (visible) portions of meat in a container. Chicken, pork and brisket may be submitted chopped, pulled, sliced, or diced as the cook sees fit, as long as there is enough for six (6) judges. Ribs shall be turned in bone-in. Judges may not cut, slice, or shake apart to separate pieces. If there is not enough meat for each judge to sample, the shorted judge(s) will score a one (1) on all criteria, and the judges having samples will change the Appearance score to one (1).

Now comes the problem, I as a competitor pull and chop my pork after cooking and am bound by rule #16. I want to keep my chopped and pulled pork at 140 degrees. When you pull and chop the temperature of the meat drops quickly. We are prohibited from putting the meat back in the cooker to warm it up to serving temperature or the minimum of 140°.

If we comply with rule #10 and not part the butt, the clam shell container will not close. If it is pulled and chopped, we serve it cold or room temperature. A conundrum for sure.

Then again, if a cook butterflies his butt for cooking, could that be considered parting?

Is there an answer? Probably not right away. I understand the KCBS Board doesn't want to change rules or interpretations in then middle of a contest year.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hey! Hey!

The BBQ contest year is slowly winding down for us. Bummer! We've got 2 contests left. Mears Michigan Sep 11th & 12th Apple Festival and Oct 96h & 10th, Arthur Il the Central Illinois Bragging rights contest. Then the BBQ year will be over. However, I'm still trying to talk the Dudette into doin The Barn Burner BBQ in Libertyville Il the week after Arthur. She doesn't want to do contests 2 weekends in a row. Oh well..

The count so far is 11 calls in 6 contests. Not bad but it could have been more. A couple of the non top 10 were out by just a point. It could have been a lot better.

How could these ribs come in 11th place? As Rachael Ray would say.. They were yummo!