Friday, November 25, 2005

Post Thanksgiving Thoughts

Picture compliments of Keri C. in Oklahoma. Check out her recipe for this turkey.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. I also hope that among all the distractions that accompany this time of year (getting the turkey right, getting the house ready for family, thinking about going shopping early Friday morning, etc) that you took time to think about all the things you have to be thankful for. Although I had to work on Thanksgiving Day I still had time to ponder all my blessings and be truly thankful for them all.

OK, enough of the mushy stuff – let’s talk some ‘que!

Turkey Talk: I had the chance to smoke two turkeys the past week. I did one at home for practice and then did one at work (for real). I brined both birds in Keri C’s Apple Brine and smoked them on the WSM using Kingsford and apple chunks. On the one at work I used a couple of packets of BBQr's Delight cherry pellets toward the end. I also smoked a ham to go with the turkey and really thought the ham would be gone first and I would have some turkey leftovers. Much to my surprise, the turkey was gone and I took some ham home for sammies. That’s why I am not getting paid to think.

Brisket Blunder: I smoked a brisket on the WSM Tuesday night. I had a 12-14# packer that I brought home from the MCPP class on the 12th. I trimmed it down and covered it with a mixture of ground black pepper with garlic powder and Bobbie McWright's Rub Seasoning then put it on the bullet. I removed it at around 165°F and basted with a combination of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and apple juice before foiling and returning to the cooker. Took it off at 195°F, foiled and coolered it for about 90 minutes before slicing. Sounds pretty much routine, right? WRONG! Check out the details here, maybe here or even here.

Pork Project: I took one of the 11# pork butts from the freezer this morning and put it in the fridge to thaw. I, most likely, will try to do it next week if the weather holds out. We are supposed to have some pretty hefty storms blow through Sunday and Monday then I go back to work on Wednesday. If I do get to smoke the butt, I’ll post some pics and let you know how everything ended up. I’m planning on experimenting with a new molasses brine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cooking Class Review

Last Saturday, I had the chance to attend a competition barbecue cooking class put on by Music City Pig Pals. If you have even half-way kept up with competition bbq over the last 15 years or so you have heard of MCPP. They hail from the Nashville, TN area and are some of the most wonderful folks I have ever met. Lee and Bobbie McWright are super competitors and have come up with a system for competitions that has proven to be very consistent. They have been one of the top 5 teams for the last several years with many Grand Championships and Reserve Grand Championships to their credit. Due to Bobbie’s recent health issues, she was not able to attend. However, Lee did a superb job and even I learned a thing or two.

This was my first ever cooking class so I was not sure what to expect. It started at 7am and by 7:30am we all had on gloves and were trimming briskets and butts to go in the
Ole Hickory smoker to use later in the day. BTW, those knives were sharper than the ones I use at home. I have a scar to prove it. Anyway, Lee then took several briskets off the pit that had been smoking for a while. We then discussed several techniques that can be used prior to foiling and putting them back on the smoker. We used several of the recipes given in the class (no I am not gonna give them away. You have to attend the class to get them). However, I will share this. One item that a lot of teams are using these days on their brisket that really surprised me was “Parkay”. Apparently teams are using this and having some success in doing so. On to the pork butts where we experimented with different injections, rubs and techniques. Later we worked on turn-in boxes that were judged by real KCBS judges (all but one). We did boxes for brisket and pork.

That is one thing I really liked about this class. It was very hands-on. We were not lectured, talked down to or belittled. We actually got in there and did the work. Everyone that attended came in with varying degrees of experience. Some were caters. Some were competitors who had only competed in a handful of contests. One couple was there to just learn more about bbq so they could outdo their neighbors on the weekends. I think everyone walked away with more than they expected. I know I sure did.

Over the next few weeks I would like to take little nuggets that Lee taught us about brisket, pork and presentation plus a few other things and expound on them in this blog.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bobbie McWright is finally home!!!

I will move this to other updates about Bobbie in a few days but I wanted everyone who logs onto this site to see and read this first. Lee posted this on The BBQ Forum late this afternoon. This is wonderful news!

"Bobbie return home after 36 days this afternoon. She'll start the Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Center at Vanderbilt's Bill Wilkerson Center on Monday. The Pi Beta Phi Center is one of the tip five rehabilitation centers in the United States. Over the next two months Bobbie will be focusing on speech, physical and occupatioal therapy. Bobbie is already working without the walker and doing a number of occupational taaks. Her neurological function is slowly starting to come back. The doctor notes that in some cases it my take 4-6 months or longer to recover from traumatic neurologically based disorders. Bobbie's strenghts are still her smile and big heart.Phone calls and emails are great therapy. So let the phones ring and the emails roll.Again thanks for the thoughts and prays. We're humbled by the cards, flowers, calls amd prayers."

Bobbie & Lee McWright
615-746-9986 home
615-330-4137 cell

PS: We'll both see you in January at the Awards Banquet

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Cooking Class this weekend

This Saturday, I will have the chance to go to a competition bbq cooking class in Huntsville, AL. The class is being put on by Music City Pig Pals from Nashville, TN. This class will cover all the aspects of competition bbq cooking and presentation.

MCPP teaches 2 different classes throughout the year. One class is centered around Ribs and Chicken. The one I am going to features Pork and Brisket. I even paid a little extra for a brisket of my own to bring home. Hard to find good brisket around here.

Cameras are not allowed during the actual class but I plan on taking good notes, asking a bunch of dumb questions and bringing home a bunch of new techniques and ideas. All I can say is those 2 eleven pound butts in my freezer better get ready. Daddy will be smoking' when he gets home.

I also have a 12# turkey drying in the fridge to go on the WSM tomorrow. This will be my only practice bird before smoking one for work on the 18th. More on that and some pics to come.

Now stop reading and go smoke something.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Good News from the McWrights

Posted by pigpal on November 03, 2005 at 11:37:38:

A very special thanks from Bobbie and I for all the prays and thoughts. Bobbie is starting week five with continaul improvement. She walked for the first time this morning without her walker and her arm strength is about 25%. With her physical condition on the upswing now the focus will shift to the neurological and speech therapy. She's starting to show a little progress in these areas. We talked this morning and set our fist goal, to be home by Thanksgiving.

It would have been impossible to have gotten through this without our friends. Your continaul prays are greatly appreciated. Starting this evening Bobbie is going to try to start talking on the phone, and we welcome calls (after 7:30). I would like to keep the questions limited for the next week. The basic how you doing, and is Lee treating you okay. Our hope is this will start renewing lost memory. The addres and phone;

Nashville Rehabilitation Hospital
610 Gallatin Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37206

Room # 145
Cell # 615-347-0242

I would like to thank Carol and Randy Bigler for being the best friends in the world, and Arlie Bragg who's always been a member of our family. These three have been personally instrumental in helping me with daily responsibiities, that have created more time I can spend with Bobbie. People change lives, not thinks.

Bobbie & Lee McWright

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