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!


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