Friday, December 6, 2013

Is this really considered food??

If so, I guess it just means more BBQ for me!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

North Main BBQ, Euless, Tx 12/1/13

sampled 12/1/13

After 4 days in a row of outstanding Pecan Lodge brisket I had a need for a pork infusion.  Lucky for me it was on one of the 3 days a week my favorite local rib joint is open.  Best ribs in the world, as always.  Yummy yummy.  I don't know if they were using a new mayo base, or what was different, but their potato salad was extra creamy today, too.  I followed Rib Ryder's rules and Mr. Green lost money on me once again.
Addendum.  On another visit on 12/22 they confirmed they have a new potato salad supplier.  They said folks are actually coming in to buy tater salad by the quart.  It is much improved.

Thanksgiving leftovers


Finally got around to carving up the extra brisket we had left over from Thanksgiving.  It was just a tiny bit crispy on the bottom from being warmed up on Thanksgiving, but still full of moisture when hit with a quick microwave zap.  Plus the microwave smelled of smoke!  As usual I sliced it up cold to preserve all the moisture and the slices went straight to the freezer.  Way better then turkey sandwiches!!  Justin and his crew sure make some exceptional brisket.  It may be way more expensive than turkey but it sure is easier. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Things I am thankful for


I am thankful I live in the great State of Texas, home of the BEST BBQ in the world.  I am thankful that my wife decided not to do the usual big turkey Thanksgiving dinner, that we have done year after year, it seems, forever.  I am thankful that she liked my idea of having smoked brisket instead.  I am thankful that Pecan Lodge is nearby and took my order for two whole briskets well in advance.  I am thankful they were ready for pickup on time and were easy to warm up this morning.  But mostly, I am thankful my wife's relatives didn't even finish one brisket so I have lots of leftovers for my freezer!  Yes, we gave the bird the bird and I think there's no going back now.  At least I hope not!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Four Corners Brewery, Dallas, sampled 11/17/13

After missing out last year, Scott got very lucky and scored us VIP tix to Meat Fight this year.  We heard the event sold out in just 6 minutes.  Scott managed to log on at exactly the right time and squeaked in at just the right moment.  Thank you Scott!   This is a benefit event held annually pitting various high end chefs against each other in brisket, sausage, ribs, and a bonus meat.  They are organized into teams of 4 chefs with each chef responsible for one meat.  Real BBQ pit masters, other "experts", and celebrities choose the winners.  I have opined previously that I'd rather have the judges do the cooking and my opinion has not changed.  The website is here:
Our VIP tickets allowed us entry 1 hour before the hoi polloi and Scott and I showed up about 45 minutes early as we thought parking might be an issue.   We were plenty early and there was no pre-entry line like there is at the Texas Monthly fest.  This is also a much smaller event, 500 or so.  Scott inquired if we could go ahead on into the shade and, after the gate keepers checked, we were allowed in almost 30 minutes before the VIP gates officially opened. There was no food ready for patrons but the judges were already in action tasting and scoring the meats.  However our VIP tickets gave us free bar privileges at the Four Corners bar and I quickly availed myself of their excellent porter.  Something I did several more times through the afternoon!
The meat finally started coming out to the VIP patrons about 4:20 and our first sample came from the Cool Arrows team.  All 3 meats were outstanding.  Great smoke flavor in the brisket, fat rendered perfectly, tender and moist.  The rib and sausage were just as excellent.  Never did see the 4th "meat" which turned out to be salmon.  Now I'm sorry, you can smoke salmon, you can grill salmon, but it is NOT smoked meat so it is NOT BBQ.  It's fish.  Case closed.  The other 2 teams had salmon but who cares?
Our second sample came from the Notorious P.I.G. team.  Hmmm, seems somebody has been to the pig races at the state fair!  Doesn't matter because both their brisket and ribs were undercooked and a bit on the chewy side.  The brisket was straight out roast beefy.  The sausage had some salad stuff on it.  What's up with that?  Bringing vegetables to a meat fight??  Moving on.
The third samples came from the Meatallica Team.  Once again both brisket and rib were undercooked and a bit tough.  The rib was beautiful, but the bite told the tale.  The sausage was good, but not up to the first sample we had. 
There was a very clear winner in all 3 categories to our taste and the Cool Arrows took all 3.  It was not even close.  I had to sneak out early so I didn't see the winners presentation, but I do hope they went home with all of these.
In addition to meats, there were a few other booths with samples as well.  The pies, maple donuts with bacon, and popsicles were all excellent.
I had a great time and I hope Scott or I get lucky again next year.  I know we'll be online trying!  The event raised over $50,000.  Not bad for a bunch of carnivores.

Another post below features some more photos.  As always, click on any photo for a larger view.

MEAT FIGHT photos 1 11/17/13

Monday, November 4, 2013

2013 Texas Monthly BBQ Fest 11/3/13

Sampled 11/3/13, Austin, Texas
as always, click on the photos for larger views.

Oops we did it again.  The TMBBQ Fest, that is.  What a time, what a time.  This one started like the last one with my buddy Dave in Austin waiting around online to score us some VIP tickets when they went on sale several months back.  His good luck continues and we have been salivating towards this date ever since.

We arrived at the Long Center about 10:45 and were quickly informed scanning of tickets would not begin until 11 am.   We were instructed to join the VIP line and wait to be called forward.  Sorta weird considering they had booths full of people standing around waiting til 11 am.  We ended up about 15th in the VIP line and maintained that spot after finally getting called forward to get our tickets scanned.  Kind of a weird process, but whatever.  Then we sat in for the long wait til the gates were opened at noon.  I saw the BBQ Snob, Daniel Vaughn, wandering around, but he seemed to always be in heavy conference so I just hung in our spot awaiting the meat to come.  A little before opening, Daniel and the pit master from Snows went over to the start of the line for general admission and upgraded those first in line to VIP status.  Pretty cool, and those folks were very happy!

Dave's buddy Bill joined us in line a bit later.  Every once in awhile a few folks would be seen at the rail upstairs and someone usually yelled "throw us some ribs!", but no one ever did.  That hour of waiting seemed to take forever.  As usual, I had fasted the previous day in anticipation of a belly full of meat.  It had been a long time since those 2 tacos I had Friday night!
The gates finally opened at noon and the stampede up the stairs to the food began in earnest.  We had already picked Snow's, Franklin, and Pecan lodge as our starters and we made a beeline in that direction.  Just after topping the stairs I heard someone call my name and it was Daniel saying hello.  We shook hands and said "howdy" but that was about it as I was on a meaty mission!  Sorry if I ran off Daniel, but I am sure you understand if anyone does!

On approaching Snow's booth I saw they did not yet have their food out, so I detoured toward Franklin, only to find a line already wrapping around the side!  Gah!  So on to Pecan lodge I went.  Justin had a line, too, but much shorter than Aaron.

 From there we spent the day grabbing food from 2 or 3 spots at a time, then sampling and discussing what we had.  My main goal was to get through as many joints as possible before the general admission folks roared in at 1 pm.  I managed to get through 17 booths before the hoards descended and the lines got stupid.    I never did make it by Franklin's booth.  I have had plenty of his food before but I felt my time was better spent sampling all the other places rather than waiting in line for what I knew was good.  I think that was a good plan.  Especially when trying to score as much food as possible before the general admission folks flooded the place.
I did stop by later in the day and got myself a t-shirt.  Sampling 20 of the 21 joints represented made for a very good day indeed.

The food this year was a mixed bag, as it usually is.  The size of the sample varied widely among the booths.  Some gave you just a bite, others practically an entire meal.  As to the meat, some was great, some average, a few "bleh".  Yes that was actually what I wrote in my notes about a couple of the places I tried.  I know, that's not a very thorough review, but that pretty much covered it for those two stops.  "Bleh!"

The two top stops for me were Pecan lodge and Black's.  Both shared greatness in all of their samples.  I scored high individual marks for Buzzie's jalapeno sausage, Miller's brisket, a great brisket end from Cousins, Hutchin's rib, and Stiles Switch sausage.  I bagged a few leftovers to take home, but not more than a pound total.  At the other booths I had some very nice maple finish Crown Royale.  They made a sale there.  I will be purchasing some of that!  The fried pie shop was not around this year, but a developer was offering some free chocolate pecan pie.  I don't think it was anything too fancy, maybe just some chocolate chips thrown in with the Karo syrup, however it was mighty tasty.  I even went back for a second taste.
They moved the stage down the hill this year and there were several different acts scheduled.  However the one I wanted to see was the great Bobby Patterson, Mr. "TCB or TYA", "How do you spell Love", etc.   We wandered down and caught part of his set before calling it an afternoon and retiring for a well deserved meat coma.
I do have to crab about the t-shirt that came with the VIP this year.  After last year's outstanding "Smoke 'em if you Got 'em", this year's shirt with just a small front logo and no list of participants on the back, seemed very plain indeed.  Surely they can do better than that.

I never did see Drew and the Man Up crew or the Texas BBQ Posse folks, but I am sure they were all there somewhere.  We did run into Alice from the Meat Fight (Dave was wearing the shirt I got him last year).

The weather could not have possibly been better.
I finished my day with a nice belch about 10:30 pm with a wonderful smoke flavor.  A nice reminder of some mighty fine smoked meats on a beautiful day in Austin.

Below are a couple of posts showing booths and food samples from the fest.  It is split into two posts to make loading easier for slower connections. 

TMBBQ photos part 1