Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog is Moving!

So I’m finally biting the bullet.  Over the weekend, I’ll be doing some website maintenance and migration.  So pardon the dust and the mess…

The end result is that Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog will have a new web address!  The new URL will be http://www.bigwaynerbbq.com.  A lot of work has been done already, but here are a couple of things you need to know about this move:

  • If you have previously subscribed to receive email notifications whenever a new blog entry is posted, you will need to re-subscribe.
  • If you are using the RSS link on the front page to subscribe, you will not need to change that.  However, any news readers you use may say that there are a bunch of new articles.

All in all, I’m excited about the move!  I’ll have a lot more flexibility to do much more cooler things to make your reading experience that much more enjoyable! Look forward to seeing you there!!

Holy Barbecue Chicken, Batman!!

I had chicken thighs.  I had BBQ sauce.  Lots of BBQ sauce.  And I have a Weber kettle.  Let’s cook some chicken!!

Bok bok bok!

Bok bok bok!

As you can see above, I took a value pack of chicken thighs and trimmed them up just a little bit.  I then seasoned the thighs both under the skin and on the skin with Draper’s BBQ A.P. Rub.

Seasoned Thighs

Seasoned Thighs

On to the grill they go!!  They were cooked skin-side down for about 5-10 minutes, then they were flipped and sauced.  Because this was a test cook for me, I ended up using several sauces.

Sam Dog Yellow Dog & Johnny Harris Carolina Style

Sam Dog Yellow Dog & Johnny Harris Carolina Style

Texas Tamale Co. Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce and Famous Dave's Devil's Spit

Texas Tamale Co. Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce and Famous Dave's Devil's Spit

Instead of my normal breakdown of individual sauces, I decided to do a foursome for this week in one post.  I’ll keep it short and simple for summarizing each sauce.

Johnny Harris Carolina Style Bar-B-Cue Sauce

Johnny Harris Carolina Style Bar-B-Cue Sauce

First up is Johnny Harris Carolina Style Bar-B-Cue Sauce from Savannah, GA.  As you can see from the picture above, the sauce has a yellowish gold color to it. A naked taste reminded me of a pale spicy mustard.  It didn’t really wow me.  It did just okay on chicken.  Again, nothing overly amazing.  But if you like a safe mustard based sauce, you may like this.

Texas Tamale Co. Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce

Texas Tamale Co. Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce

Next up is Texas Tamale Company Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce.  This sauce had a nice dark red color.  The flavors in the sauce emphasize savory more than sweet.  This could be a very versatile sauce, and I could really see this as an ingredient in someone’s prize-winning chili recipe!  Works great as a condiment too.

Famous Dave's Devil's Spit BBQ Sauce

Famous Dave's Devil's Spit BBQ Sauce

The next sauce is Famous Dave’s Devil’s Spit BBQ Sauce.  Just by looking at the label, you can venture a guess that this sauce has some heat to it.  And it certainly does not disappoint!  The sauce has flavors of molasses and pepper on the front end, and the heat comes up on the back end.  It’s potent, so if you’re averse to sauces with heat, you’ll want to avoid this one.  And when it’s cooked, the heat is even sneakier.

Sam Dog Yellow Dog BBQ Sauce

Sam Dog Yellow Dog BBQ Sauce

The final sauce is one that I have previously reviewed but decided to have again.  This sauce is Sam Dog Yellow Dog Barbecue Sauce.  This sauce won 1st place at the 2011 National Barbecue Association Awards of Excellence, and it’s very obvious why!  This sauce is a perfect blend of sweet, mustard, buttery, and rich flavors.  You would almost never guess that this was a mustard-based sauce.

Since this is my first time reviewing sauces using this format, I’d love to hear your feedback.  Do you like this style?  Or do you like seeing your sauces reviewed one at a time?  Let me know!

Review: Country Chef Honey Grilling Sauce

I’m a firm believer in Mike Espey’s line of Country Chef Grilling Sauces.  They stand out from other sauces because they really emphasize freshness in their flavor profiles.  I’ve done a couple of reviews on this line of sauces which you can view here and here.  Today let’s check out the Country Chef Honey Grilling Sauce.

NAKED OBSERVATIONS

The sauce pours out very thick, and you immediately notice the different spices and ingredients.  This holds true to how Mike constructs his sauces, emphasizing the freshness of the ingredients.  The color is consistent with a homemade tomato sauce, which works in the context that he is presenting the sauce.

I took a taste, and this sauce holds true with the other sauces in this line that I’ve tried so far.  This is a very non-traditional sauce in terms of consistency and taste, but it is very pleasant.  Again, it tastes very FRESH!  I could taste a very faint touch of honey, but it does not overpower everything else going on in the sauce.

TO THE MEAT OF THE MATTER

Yep… it’s that blasted chicken again.  This is the third and final sauce I used in the big test cook I performed over the weekend.  I trimmed up six chicken thighs and seasoned them with chicken rub from Bandiola Spice Co.  After grilling the thighs for 10 minutes skin-side down, I flipped them and sauced them.  The thighs using the Country Chef Honey Grilling Sauce are the two to the left of the mustard.

After about 20 additional minutes on the grill, I pulled them off the Weber kettle and plated.  While they were resting, I decided to grab a quick picture.

When I took a bite of the chicken, my taste buds started dancing in my mouth and jumping for joy.  The sauce really enhanced the flavors that were already present in the chicken.  The honey was more prevalent after cooking on the chicken than when tasting alone.  All in all, an excellent sauce!

You can find Country Chef Grilling sauce on Facebook.  I’m not sure if there is a website yet for this line of sauce, but you can connect with Mike on the Facebook page.  As far as I can tell, you can purchase six jars of sauce for $35.94 shipped to anywhere in the US.  This comes out to be $3.50 per jar plus shipping, which is a great deal!

The Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen: It is That Fast

If you are heavily involved in the food or BBQ industry, you know of the Thermapen.  If you don’t know of it, you should.  And let me be the person to introduce the Thermapen to you.  I want to give a big thank you to Jesse Black from ThermoWorks for sending me a Thermapen to review.

But First, About Thermoworks…

ThermoWorks, the company behind the Thermapen, is located just south of Salt Lake City, Utah.  The company’s focus is all things thermal and temperature related.  Whether it’s thermometers, sensors, or even calibration equipment, you can find ThermoWorks as an industry leader.  You can find their equipment not only in the food service industry, but also in other sectors such as pharmaceuticals, plastics and rubber, and road construction and repair.

Thermapen Physical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 6.1 in. long, 1.85 in. wide, 0.75 in. wide
  • Weight: 4 oz.
  • Probe Length: 4.5 in. long
  • Uses 2 CR2032 lithium coin cell batteries (can be found at most retail department stores)
  • Estimated battery life: 1,500 hrs.

The Story Behind the Colors

Big Wayner, you ask, why are there so many different colors available?  Well, I can answer that from you (with help from the product page for the Thermapen).  Once upon a time, you could order any color Thermapen as long as it was gray. ThermoWorks then decided to add the following colors to correspond with color coding used by many in the food service industry to assist in preventing cross-contamination:

  • Red — Raw beef & pork
  • Blue — Raw seafood
  • Yellow — Raw poultry
  • Brown — Cooked meats
  • Green — Produce
  • White — Dairy/Bakery items

In 2006, ThermoWorks added black and orange as available colors.  Purple and pink came along sometime later, and that is how the color choices came to be what they are today.  (Picture below is courtesy of Thermoworks)

Available Thermapen colors

Impressions

Before I even start to tell about my experience using this tool, I have to say I was already impressed.  On the back part of the packaging that lists out the specifications, there was a hand-written section outlining that the particular unit I had was calibrated at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 212 degrees Fahrenheit on September 29th.

This past weekend, I took the opportunity to cook up some chicken thighs to try out a few sauces in my arsenal.  As everyone knows, it’s very important to make sure that chicken is properly cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (as recommended by the USDA).  So this was the perfect opportunity to try out the Thermapen!

When I thought the chicken thighs were done, I pulled them off the grill, took them in, and decided to check the internal temperature using the Thermapen.  The first thing I immediately noticed: it was really fast!  I had an accurate reading of internal temperature in 2-3 seconds (much closer to 2).  In all things grilling and BBQ, this short amount of time usually means not drastically losing cooker temperature when on a tight schedule.

It was seriously easy to use — just flip open the probe to turn on the thermometer, and flip the probe closed to turn it off.

The only thing that I would suggest as an improvement for this tool is to make the LCD screen backlit for viewing temperatures in the dark.  And I’m not the only one to echo this sentiment.

Conclusions

I overwhelmingly endorse the Thermapen as the standard for measuring food temperatures.  The guys at ThermoWorks take their craft seriously, and it shows in the quality product they have here.  While you may be able to purchase other thermometers at a lower price, you will not find the same quality in those that you will find in a Thermapen.  It will make the perfect Christmas gift for the griller or BBQ pitmaster in your family!

If you are interested in finding out more about the Thermapen, you can go to its product page on the ThermoWorks website.  Right now ThermoWorks has prices reduced by $9 on the Thermapen, from $96 to $89.

And for the record, black is the fastest Thermapen…  ;)

Review: Doomer’s Hot & Spicy “Q” Sauce

Not too long ago, I did a review on Doomer’s Original “Q” Sauce.  When Todd sent me this sauce to review, he also sent his other two sauces — Dark and Hot & Spicy.  Today you’ll see what I think about his Hot & Spicy Sauce.

Naked Observations

Like the original Q sauce, Doomer’s Hot & Spicy “Q” sauce pours out not quite as thick as a typical Kansas City style sauce.  However, it’s a bit thicker than a pure vinegar-based sauce.  It has a nice dark red color.  You can also see specks of pepper and other spices in the sauce.

Sauce Swatch

Sauce Swatch

When I tasted the sauce, I again got the contrasting flavors of sweet and tangy working together.  The black pepper was definitely present and on the forefront.  However, unlike the original sauce, there was some noticeable back heat.  It was not terribly overpowering, but I definitely knew it was there.

To the Meat of the Matter

I actually tried this sauce in a couple of different manners.  The first was about a week or so ago.  I picked up a BBQ pork sandwich and some mac & cheese from Rock Store BBQ and brought it home.  I used Doomer’s Hot & Spicy Q Sauce on there.  In this picture, you get a better feel of the consistency and thickness of the sauce.

The sauce worked nicely on the sandwich.  It blended down into the meat, thus allowing some of the flavor to be distributed more.  The heat was noticeable but not overly prevalent.  Again, I definitely tasted pepper.

The second time to use this sauce was on some chicken thighs as part of a cook to try out multiple sauces.  I took some chicken thighs, trimmed them up some, and seasoned them with chicken rub from Bandiola Spice Co.

The thighs are then put on the Weber kettle grill skin-side down for 10 minutes (using Kingsford charcoal and wine-infused oak from Greenleaf BBQ).  Afterwards, I flipped the thighs and sauced them.  The thighs sauced with Doomer’s Hot & Spicy Q sauce are the two that are to the left of the ones sauced with the mustard-based sauce.

After about 20 more minutes on the grill, I pull them off the grill and plate them.  And I have to admit… I really, REALLY liked the look of the thighs with the Doomer’s Hot & Spicy Q Sauce.

I was very pleased with how these thighs turned out.  They had a great color.  The meat was very moist and tasty.  There was a little bit of heat, but nothing overly overpowering.  All in all, a nice flavor.

If you are interested in finding out more about Doomer’s Hot & Spicy “Q” Sauce or about any of the other sauces, you can go to http://www.doomersonline.com.  You can also find Doomer’s on Facebook and Twitter.

KLB’s “That’s Good Mustard” BBQ Sauce

A couple of months ago I won a bottle of KLB’s “That’s Good Mustard” BBQ Sauce in a Twitter giveaway.  I finally had the chance to do a big product test cook this past weekend, so let’s take a look at this mustard sauce from South Carolina!

KLB's "That's Good Mustard" BBQ Sauce

KLB's "That's Good Mustard" BBQ Sauce

The BBQ sauce is the creation of Kevin Bobo.  As a lot of you may know, a good portion of South Carolina is known for their mustard-based BBQ sauce, and Kevin’s creation embodies that style.  The sauce claims to work on virtually any meat — chicken, pork, beef, venison, even mahi mahi!

Naked Observations

The sauce comes in a 17 oz. bottle, so you definitely get your money’s worth from the bottle.  It is a golden color, leaning more towards yellow that some other mustard-based BBQ sauces I have used.  It pours out nice and thick, and you can easily see the various herbs and spices that are used throughout the sauce.

Sauce Swatch

Sauce Swatch

When I took a taste of the sauce, there was no doubt whatsoever that this was a mustard-based sauce.  This sauce is really bold by itself.  The mustard is predominant, but it isn’t completely mustard.  The other spices help mellow out the sauce and take a little bit of the “zip” out of the sauce.

To the Meat of the Matter

Chicken.  Lots of chicken.  With my wife being out of town for the evening, I decided to do a product review test cook.  Overall, I ended up using 6 chicken thighs and used 3 different sauces on the meat.  The thighs were trimmed and seasoned with chicken seasoning from Bandiola Spice Co.

Chicken Thighs seasoned with Bandiola Spice Chicken Rub

Chicken Thighs seasoned with Bandiola Spice Chicken Rub

The thighs went on the 18 1/2″ Weber kettle grill where I grilled them for 10 minutes skin-side down.  Then I turned them and applied the sauce.  As you can see in the picture below, I reviewed three different sauces.  You can probably guess which ones had the mustard-based sauce.

Thighs on the grill

Thighs on the grill

Twenty minutes later, I pulled the thighs off of the grill and let them sit for between 5 and 10 minutes.  You can see below how the color of the sauce darkened some, and it looked quite nice on the meat.

Yummy thighs

Yummy thighs

I took a bite, and it was simply amazing!  The mustard flavor blended perfectly into the chicken.  No one particular spice overpowered another, and everything worked in perfect harmony.  This sauce is the real deal!

The “That’s Good Mustard” BBQ Sauce can be ordered for $4.99 plus shipping from the company’s website (KLBFoods) at http://www.klbinc.ws/KLBs_BBQ_Sauce.  If you are in the Charleston area, you can find this sauce at a few local retailers.

Contest Bites: Dimples BBQ Sauce + T-Shirt Giveaway

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!  I’ve seen this contest mentioned over the last couple of days and wanted to get the word out.  Dimples BBQ Sauce is giving away a bottle of their totally awesome BBQ Sauce (which I’ve recently reviewed) as well as a t-shirt.  The contest ends today (November 6) at 8:00pm EST.

So how do you enter?  It’s simple!  You can enter in one of two ways:

Enjoy!

Contest Bites: Char-Broil “Big Easy” Oil-less Infrared Turkey Fryer

Most of you know that one of my favorite BBQ and grilling people on the Internet is Robyn Medlin Lindars, aka GrillGrrrl.  She is a great source of information for tasty recipes that anyone can cook on their outdoor cooker.  She is also running a contest Nov. 5-14 to giveaway one of these beauties: a Char-Broil “Big Easy” Oil-less Infrafred Turkey Fryer!

Details on how to enter to win can be found on the blog post for this contest.  Let Robyn know that Big Wayner sent you!

Review: Dead End BBQ, Knoxville, TN

For our return trip from Lynchburg, Jay Prince and I ended up travelling through Knoxville, TN.  Naturally, I sent out a tweet asking if anyone had any recommendations for good BBQ in Knoxville.  Within 5 minutes or so, I got a response giving me a place to try out.  So we made a beeline for Dead End BBQ in Knoxville, TN.

At the end of a dead-end street, a group of neighbors gathered to hone and perfect the art of barbecue.  From this group the Dead End Society was formed.  Owners George Ewart and Robert Nutt continued to hone their craft in the dead end as well as on the competition BBQ circuit, and the end result was Dead End BBQ located on Sutherland Ave. in Knoxville, TN!

The restaurant was very neat and clean when we walked in.  The kitchen is partially open, but the area where the smoker is located and the meat prepared is completely transparent and behind a glass window.  The walls are decorated with memorabilia from the area, and some of the walls contain relevant quotes from famous people in the world of BBQ.

I decided to go with a combination plate of pork and brisket with pimento mac & cheese and beans & smoked sausage.  While waiting for my order, I found that Dead End BBQ offers three different sauces, each varying in levels of heat from a mild sauce to a hot sauce.

After about 5-10 minutes, my order arrived, and I have to admit that the food sure did look tasty!  I couldn’t wait to dig in!

Both the pork and beef brisket had an excellent flavor, and I could tell that this was some serious ‘que.  The only drawback was that it was slightly dry.  Saucing the pork definitely helped.  I tried all three of the sauces with pork (because I just can’t bring myself to voluntarily sauce brisket).  All three of the sauces were excellent.  The mild sauce was sweet and reminded me of a sauce made from beer or some other alcoholic beverage (maybe rum or whiskey).   The medium sauce, my personal favorite, added a touch of heat on the back end to let you know that it was there.  The hot sauce packed more heat and flavor into its punch.

The sides were excellent!  The mac & cheese was a very tasty and rich mac & cheese.  The beans and smoked sausage — wow!  I could have made an entire meal off of a large bowl of that!  It was a perfect blend of proteins that complemented each other very well.

The price point was right about where I expected for a combination platter, so it wasn’t insanely expensive.  I think the guys who run this place definitely have a good thing going on with Dead End BBQ.  I just happened to get some meat that was a little dry, but I won’t let that stop me from recommending this place.

Dead End BBQ is located at 3621 Sutherland Ave., Knoxville, TN 37919.  You can find their website at http://www.deadendbbq.com, and you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Jack Part 2: Amazing People

Finally, the euphoria and adrenaline from being in Lynchburg last weekend is starting to subside, and now I can really start to reflect on just what transpired in the hollow.  In my last post, I attempted to portray the general overall sense of excitement and sweet smoke at the Jack Daniel’s distillery.  Today I want to tackle another aspect of the weekend — the amazing people!

Logo

Prior to this past weekend, I published a series of blogs highlighting some of the teams that would be attending the event.  This weekend gave me the opportunity to meet those teams in person, along with many others.  But first, let me give a shout-out to my travel partner Jay Prince, the tech/gadget reviewer for BBQ Sauce Reviews.  He drove the entire time and was really good company!

After doing the tour upon arrival and checking out the hardware store, we headed down to the hollow to visit the teams.  One of the first teams we spotted right away was Mike & Debbie Davis of Lotta Bull BBQ.  It is always a pleasure getting to speak with Mike & Debbie, and today was certainly no exception.  I consider Mike to be a legend in competition BBQ, and rightfully so!

Jay and I continued our walk around the competition area talking to various teams.  We got to meet TippyCanoe BBQ (winners of the 2011 American Royal Invitational and 2011 Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour), Smokey’s Competition BBQ Team (our good friends Charles and Alli of C-Dub’s BBQ Rub were competing with them), and numerous others.  We even got the chance to meet Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson BBQ and the Man in Black himself, Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South.

One of the teams we enjoyed spending a lot of time with was Pork Barrel BBQ.  Brett and Heath were very gracious and gladly spent a lot of time talking to the two of us about many different subjects.  It was great seeing them again (I had the privilege of meeting Heath at a competition in Lexington, NC).  We would have stayed and chatted longer, but turn-ins drew near, and it was crunch time.  Jay was even able to snag a bottle of Que Cologne to try out.

In general, I had a great time just walking around and chatting with the teams.  They all seemed to be having a great time and enjoying the atmosphere — relishing in the moment.  I enjoyed talking with Kit Rudd of Degüello BBQ and Mike Peters of Here Piggy Piggy BBQ.  It was fun chatting with the guys from Hot Grill on Grill Action and watching Guy Fieri prepping a turn-in for Motley Que BBQ.

Another thing that I discovered while in Lynchburg was that Canadian teams are by far the friendliest teams ever!  We had the privilege of talking to all but one of the Canadian teams competing at the Jack, and every single one of them were absolutely friendly and welcoming!  I was especially excited to get to meet the Canadian teams I profiled as part of my “Teams that Do Know Jack” series.  The first team we met was DivaQ, and that was nothing but sheer awesomeness there!

In fact, we had such a great time that Danielle ended up making me an honorary Canadian for the day!

Eh?

Eh?

We also had the opportunity to visit with Rob Reinhardt and the team from Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ.  With the time ticking close to turn-in, Rob was nice enough to come over and chat with us for a few minutes.  The whole team was super nice!

We also had the chance to visit with The Black Pig BBQ.  Wow!  These guys were the pure definition of friendly!  We chatted with various team members for at least a half-hour.  Even as chicken turn-in was approaching, we were taking team pictures and having a great time!

I also want to give a shout-out to Can’t Stop Grilling and Well Seasoned and the Canada Q Crew.  Thank you for taking time out to chat with Jay and myself.  We really appreciate it!

So there you go…  the mystique of the Jack is not only in the location and tradition of the competition, but also in the teams that are in the field.  I can’t wait to get back up to Lynchburg again next year!