Sunday, September 25, 2016

Troughed!

sampled 9/25/16 about noon
So what do we do the day after sampling BBQ from 16 different joints at Smoked Dallas?  You guessed it, we headed to Pecan Lodge for The Trough.  I was MEATing up with one of my online gaming buddies and I couldn't think of a better place to do it.  Sadly, they ran out of beef ribs just before we got to the express order desk.   We had to make do with extra brisket and ribs.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Smoked Dallas 2016

Ah, the Fall BBQ festival season has started and we were there for the third annual Smoked Dallas.  We are three for three.  They had added some of the best Dallas BBQ joints to their list including Slow Bone, 18th and Vine, Cattleack, and Lockhart Smokehouse.  The only one missing was Pecan Lodge.
As always we bought the VIP tickets.  We got there about 1 pm for a 1:30 entry and found ourselves about 30 or so back in the VIP check in line.  They came down the line with scanners and checked IDs for alcohol and fitted us with wristbands for each.  Their plastic VIP wristbands had 2 drink coupons already attached which was a very neat feature.  You didn't have to worry about losing them and they were right on your wrist when you got thirsty!  I hope some of the other fests take note.  The only downside was you had to go into the VIP area to get your drinks with the coupons.  It wasn't too bad, but I did see the line get 30 or so deep at times.
They opened the gates to VIPs about 5 minutes early and we followed our regular procedure of skipping past the booths closest to the gate then circling back to those later.  We were second in line at Louie Mueller's booth and watched as Wayne Mueller pulled out two gorgeous beef ribs, shook them off the bone, and started slicing.  My Mrs went on and on about how delicious that beef rib was.
As usual we went to several booths, gathered our samples, then went to a table for pictures and eating.  They had lots of small tables around and a nice VIP seating area behind the music stage.  We never had trouble finding a place to chow down.  It took us about 45 minutes to make our way through the 16 BBQ booths.
There were no real surprises or complaints for this fest.  They seem to have it down and the food overall was very good.  Highlights for my palate were Louie Mueller's beef rib, Black's brisket, Cattleack's brisket, Valentina's brisket and Heim's brisket.  Most of the sausage seemed to be cheese or jalapeno cheese and it was all pretty good.  Nothing of Kreuz quality though.  I did notice that out of 16 joints not a single one served pork ribs.  The decrease in pork ribs seems to be consistent across all the fests we have been going to lately.
Haute Sweets had the dessert table again and doled out a scrumptous chocolate pecan crunch with caramel topping.


Yes, I went back and got a second one.  
This is a great little fest and as long as they keep bringing such a great line-up of BBQ joints we'll be back again and again.  Looking forward to number 4 next year!

We left about 3 pm and there was still a line down St Paul to Elm for the tasting ticket patrons.

Below is a separate post with just food samples and some booth shots.  As with all photos here, you can click on any photo for a larger view.
A few food and booth photos from Smoked Dallas 2016.

Friday, September 2, 2016

It's Fall BBQ fest time!

Tickets are on sale for Smoked Dallas and Gettin' Sauced.  Texas Monthly tickets go on sale next week.  Who's hungry?





Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cheap ribs

Sampled 8/25/16
My Mrs spotted spare ribs on sale at Kroger for just $1.29 a pound.  As that was the best price we have seen in awhile we decided we needed some ribs.  We stuck with our usual methods; trimmed, cut in half for our little smoker, heavy dose of North Main All N One spice, then into the smoker for 3 hours.
After 3 hours on the smoker, this is what we had on the top rack.
Some of those little pieces of trimmed belly meat were a bit crispy, but they were full of smoke and mighty tasty.  Everything that wasn't crispy was coated in Dr Pepper BBQ sauce, wrapped in foil, and into a 250 degree oven for 1 hour.  They were pulled and re-coated , re-wrapped, then back in the oven for a second hour.  After resting for 30 minutes, slicing proved they were still not tender, so back they went for yet another hour.  
These seem to have taken a lot longer than our last couple of batches and I think that is due to ribs of lower quality.  Like Mr. Green likes to say, "Good stuff ain't cheap and cheap stuff ain't good". There were no grading mark so I assume they were Commercial or Standard grade ribs.  We've been using Choice ribs the last few cooks.  They were still a bit tough to slice but they had good flavor.  My Mrs dubbed them "a little chewy" but I was so full from snacking on the trimmings I never actually had one. From the way they sliced I suspect she was spot on.  We shall gnaw our way through these over the next few days and count it as another lesson learned in our great BBQ adventure.  Even the failures are very edible.
Addendum:  On warming some up a few days later I found the fears of toughness were not justified.  The ribs were tender and moist with plenty of good smoke flavor. Plus, they left an almost perfect KCBS bite mark and the flavor was wonderful.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Win VIP tix to Texas Monthly BBQ fest

Enter until August 7th.  Click on the banner for the entry form.  Good luck!

Monday, July 11, 2016

More back yard ribs

sampled 7/10/16
Since we enjoyed the ribs we smoked for the party my wife attended so much, I asked her if we should do some more for us the next day.  She agreed.  Unfortunately, when she went to two different Aldi's (which had ribs on sale), they only had one rack available.  Not wanting to just smoke one rack, she got another rack at Albertson's for a little more and we were on.  The difference was the more expensive rack was fully trimmed down to just the spare ribs.  Plus they were smaller spares.  Oh well, might as well get full use out of those coals and smoke.  Especially since most was going into the fridge for later anyway.
We followed the same methods we did on Saturday.  I trimmed down the large untrimmed rack, kept the belly meat, and gave everything a generous coating of North Main All N 1 seasoning.  We loaded up the coals and added oak and pecan from our yard.
Then into the smoker for 3 hours.  My Mrs noted the smoker was running a little hotter than on Saturday, but we kept the cooking times the same.
After 3 hours we had some nice smoked meats.  Next they were wrapped well in foil and into the oven at 250 for another hour and 15 minutes for some tendering.  After that, I slathered on some Dr Pepper BBQ sauce and they went back into the oven for another hour at 150.
The result was some very nice candy ribs.  The sweet of the DP sauce with the spicy and salt of the North Main rub made for some scrumptous eating.  Moisture and tenderness were excellent but they were just a tad overcooked as the bones slipped out easily.  Still, better than chewy ribs.  Good smoke flavor, too.
After eating a few too many, the remainder went into the fridge to enjoy for the rest of this week.
I had some again tonight with some of Vencil Mares' brisket and some Kreuz jalapeno cheese sausage and I can report that the result was one very happy tummy.  I plan to repeat that several more times this week!  When I took the lid off the rib container that had been in the fridge for a day I could still smell the smoke.  Now that's what I'm talkin' about!