Saturday, April 29, 2006


I am sitting here at work watching the Bush race that is taking place just down the road at Talladega. All of a sudden, Tony Stewart gets bumped and spins around and goes airborne, landing on his lid and sliding for one heck of a ride. Thankfully, Tony is fine. I am sure that when he crawled into his car earlier today he had different plans of how to finish the race.

Well, yesterday I had the same type of experience. I started out with one plan and goal in mind and got upended finishing in a way I had not planned. Allow me to explain.

We had a cookout yesterday here at work. Yours truly was the pit master for this event. One of our volunteer HazMat team members builds bbq pits on the side and offered to let us use one of his to cook. It was an old 120 gallon LP tank he had converted into an offset smoker. It looks like a pretty decent smoker. However, I soon found out he knew nothing about getting the proper air flow from the SFB to the stack. Before I took drastic measures, I put 3 FULL WEBER CHIMNEYS of Kingsford in the SFB and the temp at the opening to the pit did not get above 160°. WOW! This little ordeal ran me about 2 hours behind schedule. Did I fail to mention that there were no vents or the like to adjust?

Anyhow, my drastic measure ended up being this. I put a couple of chimneys of coals directly in the cooker and the temp held about 225-240 for the rest of the day. I smoked 6 beer can chickens much to everyone’s delight. They love this smoking stuff. I also made a fattie and passed it around. Gone in a matter of seconds. I should have done about 2 or 3 more. It made great munching while waiting for the chicken to finish.

All in all it went well. Everyone was full and we had some leftover. I thought you would enjoy the story. I would have paid good money to get some of bbBob's 400° from Mobile.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I did not get a chance to fire up the smoker this weekend (too busy with life, you know how it is) but I did get a chance to make up a batch of wings on Monday night. I also got to do a little experimenting with a new rub. A co-worker of mine went to Gatlinburg a couple of weekends ago and went to this spice shop called The Pepper Palace. When he saw the bottle of Cooter Rubb on the shelf he knew he had to get me some. I had read about CR but had not actually used it. Their website says that it adds spicy zest to wings, meats and cooter (soft-shelled turtle). What other kind is there?

So I make up my normal batch of wings on Monday and decided that this would be a good time to break out the Cooter Rubb. Right out of the bottle, this stuff gets your attention. The mix of garlic, onion, basil, sage, SMOKED JALAPENOS and additional peppers really puts your taste buds on alert. There is also an unexpected heat factor that I really like. I do not like rubs or sauces that take you head off the moment they touch your tongue. I like to savor the flavors and then have the heat slowly intensify. To me, that is the perfect combination.

Anyway, when the Cooter Wings came out of the fryer I could not wait to crunch one of them. The wings were awesome and just the right amount of spice. The only thing I will do different next time is that I will not pre-bread the wings before adding the rub. I think this caused an uneven covering of the rub. The rub also burned some in the fryer but I’m not complaining. Now I want to make up a whole batch of Cooter Wings on the WSM. Might even be good on those chicken thighs and quarters I need to practice with for competitions.

Oh well, gotta go back to work today. Talk to you again soon.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006


Picture this. It is about 3-4 in the morning. Nothing is moving about. The wind has even died down and all is quiet. Until Bob wakes up. As he tells it, he could not sleep and had one of those feelings. You know the kind? The ones that eat at your gut and tell you something is wrong.

Bob woke up and, like any good pit master, went to check on his cooker. It was then Bob realized what was causing that bad feeling in his gut. His pit temp was holding steady at 400°F. I cannot repeat what I heard Bob say but that was my first indication that something was not right over at their site. The second clue was when I looked out from around our EZ-UP and noticed that a log propped up against the back of Bob’s cooker was on fire. I do not mean smoking, or smoldering or the like. I mean flames were rising off the log a foot or higher. I cannot repeat what I said under my breath when I saw that either.

Bob, being the professional that he is, was able to save the cook and get things back to normal. Bob is a super fellow (even if he is from Michigan). Hey, I lived there for about a year so I can talk about them. Bob, it was great to meet you in person. I have enjoyed your posts on the BBQ Forum and enjoyed the time we spent talking bbq.

Thanks for the cigar, too!

Ole Smokey

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Friday, April 07, 2006


To cruise on over to my poker blog and check it out.
Click here!
L8TR Yall

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I am not sure whether this is the case at every competition with lots of media coverage but I did see it happen at Mobile. Sometimes in their effort to cover a particular aspect of a competition they can become an obstacle. I have worked on the media side of things in the past (Radio and TV) and I can understand their zeal to get the story. But when the “story” gets in the way of the competition, I have to ask where do we draw the line. Let me explain.

As most of you have heard by now, Chris Lilly was late with his turn in box in the brisket category. There are varying stories on how this came about but I think when it comes down to what really happened, the TV crew was a major contributor. From what I have heard, the Food Network crew wanted Chris to be the last one to turn in his box. This was most likely in an effort to set up commentary about how strictly the time rules are enforced and the pressure put on the teams to comply with this rule (IMHO). However, it backfired for Chris. He was late to the turn in table and was not allowed to enter his brisket.

As I said in an earlier post, Chris handled it better than anyone I know. But the fact still remains, the presence of the TV crew played a role in the outcome of the contest. Would the final results have been different if he had made turn in? No doubt about it.

The Food Network Crew even interfered with one of our boxes but not to the point of getting us DQ’d. When I was turning in our pork entry, I was so focused on not dropping the box or shaking the contents that I was not totally aware of my surroundings. As I was making my approach to the table, I saw Byron Chism (eventual Grand Champion) out of the corner of my eye. He was between me and the table so I slowed to allow him to cross in front of me. As I fell in line behind Byron, I almost ran over the FN cameraman and soundman who were following closely behind him. Had I not come to a complete stop I would have ran right into them destroying our turn in box.

Please understand me – I am not bellyaching about the media coverage. I welcome and encourage it. Could I have been a little more careful and noticed the camera crew? Yes. Was it Byron’s fault I almost screwed up my pork entry? Absolutely not! Was it FN’s fault? No! I am not trying to place fault on anyone. Just relaying thoughts.

I received a very unexpected email from Chris thanking me and complementing me on my entry about him @ Mobile. In my opinion, he is still one of the best. And, based on an entry in the BBQ Forum today, the DQ in Brisket is working to Chris’ advantage. At least the story has a happy ending.

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