Monthly Archives: June 2011

Guest Post: Top Ten Reasons You Had a Cook Out Fail

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Today is another first for Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog.  I have been toying with the idea of having guest bloggers on occasion.  Today I’m pleased to bring you today’s post courtesy of my very first guest blogger, Cyndi Allison!

Top Ten Reasons You Had a Cook Out Fail

Cook Out Fail -- Don't Let This Happen to You

Cook Out Fail -- Don't Let This Happen to You

I see the freight train coming, but I usually don’t yell, “Jump off the tracks.”

Everyone has to learn when it comes to grilling, and being the backseat cook out driver can be more annoying than just kicking back and having a good time even when the food is awful.

Sure. If someone does ask (and they do pretty often since I’m a barbecue and grill writer), I will give pointers and help out. And, I always pitch in on clean up, because there is no glory in that, and someone has to do it. The cleaner uppers get invited back. Trust me on that.

After years of grilling, having teen boys, and teaching at a college, I have a pretty good idea of where the major grilling fails come into play. So, here is my top 10 list. If you have sinned as such, don’t feel bad. You are in good (or big) company, but most grilling problems can be fixed pretty easily.

Top 10 Grilling Fails

1.  Cheap Grill

Yes. It can be the grill and NOT you. I can handle most any grill, but some of the low end grills are too shallow or have other issues and are just hard to manage. I’m not saying spend big bucks. You can get a Weber Smokey Joe tailgater for $25 or so on sale, and that will do you proud and last for years for small cook outs.

2.  Lighter Fluid Flood

You may get the charcoal started eventually if you keep adding lighter fluid (or maybe not), but the food will taste like . . . lighter fluid. Buy a $12 chimney starter. It makes a huge difference. Or, you can buy some of the new starter paraffin cubes. Lighter fluid and instant light charcoal are way overrated and often lead to fails.

3.  Massive Amounts of Fuel

You can fill that grill up to the grate with charcoal or crank that gas grill up to high, but very few people really can handle high heat grilling. It’s a high end skill. Use less charcoal. Don’t max out the gas rate. Otherwise, you have burned food that is raw inside.

Don't Try This At Home...  At Least Not Like This!

Don't Try This At Home... At Least Not Like This!

4.  One Big Ball of Fire

Offset is a simple and means that you have higher heat on one side and lower on the other. With charcoal, just put coals over to one side. On gas, use part of the burners but leave an area that is lower or off to let food grill off to the correct doneness.

5.  Gotta Have Grill Marks

The fancy food photographs have raised the bar and ruined a lot of grillers. You do NOT need to have grill marks to have great grilled food. I can mark the food, but I have been doing this a long time. Unless you are publishing a cookbook, don’t worry about perfect grill lines on every piece of food on the grill.

6.  Cold Meat

Throw cold meat on hot grates… what do you get? Stuck meat. Thaw your meat and let it rest 20 minutes or so before tossing it on the grill.

7.  Getting Too Fancy

Far better (and cheaper) to nail hot dogs than to wreck steak or lobster. If you’re new to grilling, try something easy like hot dogs, brats, or thinner burgers. You don’t learn Bach before you learn the basic notes. Don’t try the hardest grill recipe the first time you crank up your new grill.

8.  Bad Food

If you get the low end steak, you will still have low end steak when it comes off the grill. There are ways to grill the cheap cuts, but be sure you know how to do so. Again, it’s better to do something simple and do it right than try to upscale and serve up shoe leather.

9,  Bad Hygiene

Check the food safety rules on grilling. I’m very laid back. But, I was at one cook out where the griller was turning the meat with his fingers. He dropped some food on the ground, picked it up and blew it, and put it back on. That’s pretty over the top. Other things like putting the grilled meat back on the same plate where the raw meat was resting and with raw meat juice on there can also cause a world of hurt and many visits to the bathroom. Keep it clean.

10.  Bad Company

One thing that will wreck a party for sure is if the host is in a heap bad mood. That just puts a damper on everyone. If things do go wrong, order in pizza. No shame in that. Guests will likely pitch in to pay (especially if you’re in the college crowd). No one is perfect. Practice up and treat again when you can. It is the thought that counts. If you roll with it and keep a sense of humor, everyone else will too (or your real friends will).

Be a Happy Host

Be a Happy Host

Those are the problems that I see most often when folks are grilling out. Most problems really are minor though can result in a total grill meal fail. The main thing is: Don’t give up. Learn from any mistakes. Get back on that horse and ride it. You will be a fabulous griller before you know it. It really just takes practice.

I want to thank my guest blogger for today, Cyndi Allison.  Cyndi has been involved with grilling and smoking barbecue for over 35 years.  She is a college instructor, freelance writer, and overall barbecue and grilling expert.  Cyndi is the mastermind behind the website Yes You Can Grill as well as the author at the blog Barbecue Master.

Book Review: Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned

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For my birthday last year, my wife bought me a couple of BBQ and cooking-related books.  Up until recently, I did not take the time to really look into them.  Then a few weeks ago, I picked up one of them and really started to check it out.  That book is “Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned” by Elizabeth Karmel.

Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned

Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned cover

Elizabeth Karmel is the executive chef of Hill Country BBQ (with locations in New York and Washington, DC) and founder of Girls at the Grill, a website that advocates women using the grill.  Her North Carolina roots give her an insight into BBQ, and she has become one of the primary grilling and BBQ  resources for food writers and cookbook authors.

If you are a fan of sauces, rubs, marinades, or vinaigrettes, then you will absolutely love this book!  Karmel has broken down the 400 or so recipes into logical sections, and each section has an introductory segment dedicated to the transfer of knowledge for that particular subject.  She also includes a “Grilling 101” section to go over the basics of grilling (including direct vs. indirect heat).

There are more sauce, rub, marinade, and glaze recipes than you can shake a stick at!  However, the absolute gem in this book is a small section at the beginning of the chapter for rubs where Karmel gives a chart for making your own rub.  It’s absolute genius!

While the book doesn’t necessarily have the down-home storytelling feel that Peace, Love, and Barbecue has, it does exactly what it’s advertised to do.  And it does it very well!

The book is available through most major book resellers such as Amazon.  However, you can purchase an autographed copy of the book through BBQ Pro Shop.

Best Of: June 19-26

With the weekend coming to a close, here are a few must-read items from this past week as it pertains to the world of BBQ and grilling…

  • Check out this guest post for Huck’s Hut written by Doug Francis of Hogs Gone Wild BBQ on how to conquer that bane of every BBQ competition team’s existance: chicken.
  • Jamaican Me Pineapple Burgers, you say?  YA MON!  BarBQBoozers shows you how!
  • Kevin Sandridge of The BBQ Smoker Site is running a series on 4th of July BBQ Recipes written by guest bloggers.  Of particular interest is this recipe for cherry smoked Atlantic salmon written by Shane Draper of Draper’s BBQ.
  • And finally, this one time, at bacon camp
Also, don’t forget about all the contests and giveaways galore that are running right now!  A list can be found here.  If I missed a giveaway, please let me know.

Giveaways and Contests and Prizes Galore!

Summer is in full swing, and so are all the great BBQ and grilling prize giveaways! So as a favor to you, here is a comprehensive list of BBQ and grilling prize contests and giveaways that I know of so far.

  • As I’ve recently posted, Kevin’s BBQ Joints is collaborating with to give one lucky winner a gift certificate of up to $100 to any BBQ joint in the United States!  Link to the contest is here and is running until July 1st at noon PST.
  • Kevin is also collaborating with Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, TX for a giveaway.  Prizes include brisket, beef ribs, and an assortment of sauces and rubs.  This contest runs through June 30th, and more info can be found here.
  • Canadian BBQ blogger Wilfred Reinke (aka the Oshawa Ogre) has teamed up with Grill Charms to give away a set of Grill Charms — the Spicy Collection, to be precise.  The contest rules are on his blog.  This one ends on June 27th at midnight EST.
  • Interested in winning $50 worth of BBQ sauce, seasonings, and rubs from Iguana Isle?  Check out this contest courtesy of Man Up: Tales of Texas BBQ.  It ends at midnight on July 4th.
  • Grilling with Rich is celebrating his one year anniversary of being on the Internets with a nice package giveaway.  Details for entering this contest can be found here.  Contest ends on July 4th at 5:00pm (I assume EST).
  • Huck’s Hut is looking for a good slogan for their site, and the best entry gets the winner an 18-piece BBQ tool set and Hydro Blaster Grill Brush.  Think you can come up with a good entry?  You can submit entries here untilJune 29th at midnight.
Know of a contest that I forgot to mention above?  Please leave me a comment below, and I will add your contest!  

Review: Williamson Bros. Original BBQ Sauce

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A while back, Kevin’s BBQ Joints hosted a contest in conjunction with Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q out of Georgia.  That was the first I had heard of them.  However, after reading about the history of their establishment, I knew I had to try their sauce out.

Williamson Bros. Original BBQ Sauce

Williamson Bros. Original BBQ Sauce

Getting this sauce was a bit of an ordeal for me.  First off, I was not able to find it anywhere in the greater Charlotte area.  While visiting my in-laws in Hendersonville, NC one weekend, I happened to stumble upon their original BBQ sauce at Ingles (a grocery store chain).  So naturally, I picked up a bottle to bring home… only to have it fall out of the car and completely shatter!  Just my luck.  However, the guys at Williamson Bros. were gracious enough to ship me a replacement bottle (along with a bottle of their Chipotle BBQ sauce).  For that I’m very appreciative and thankful!  Now, on to the good stuff!.

Naked Observations

Sauce closeup

Sauce closeup

I immediately notice three things when I look at the sauce.  First, the sauce is a bit thinner than your classic Kansas City style sauces, but not nearly as thin as your Eastern Carolina style vinegar sauces.  Second, the color of the sauce is not as dark as sauces that traditionally use more amounts of brown sugar and/or molasses.  Third, there are a lot of specks of spice in that sauce!

I took a taste test and found that while the sauce was sweet, it was not overly sweet.  The ketchup/tomato base is definitely the star here.  I could definitely taste the multiple spices in the sauce.  There were also some hints of chili powder as well.

To the Meat of the Matter

Unfortunately, there are no food photos today.  I decided to use the sauce on some smoked sausage I was cooking on the grill.  I went to brush the sauce on during the last few minutes of cooking on the grill.  Because the sauce was not as thick, it did not adhere to the meat quite as well.  I also used it as a dipping sauce while eating, and to me the flavors of the smoked sausage somewhat overpowered the flavors brought to the table by the sauce.

In my opinion, this is a sauce that would probably work best as a basting sauce (especially for ribs) or as a sauce used on pulled pork.  The sauce is thin enough to permeate the meat, yet not so thin that there is nothing left on the surface.

So in short, I did not have the best meat to use while reviewing this sauce.  If you are looking for a really sweet sauce, this is probably not the one for you.  However, if you are looking for a sauce that’s a little more mellow on the sweet side and is packed with spice, then this will be the sauce for you!

Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q has three restaurant locations in Georgia — Marietta, Canton, and Douglasville.  They have an online store where you can purchase their sauces as well as spices, bulk sauces, and fully cooked BBQ meats.  Their website is, and you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

LocalPages Fourth of July BBQ Joint Giveaway with Kevin’s BBQ Joints

Over the last several months, my good friend Kevin Kelly at Kevin’s BBQ Joints has hosted some really awesome giveaways.  I have to say that this one definitely takes the cake!  Kevin’s BBQ Joints is teaming up with LocalPages to give one lucky winner a gift certificate of up to $100 to any BBQ joint in the United States?  That’s not a typo.  You read correctly!

So you could be eating high on the hog at Sauceman’s or Midwood Smokehouse (both in Charlotte, NC) or chowing down on some succulent ‘que at Southern Soul Barbeque in St. Simon Island, GA.  Or perhaps you can make a decision as to who has the best BBQ in Austin, TX

The giveaway ends at 9:00am PST on July 1st, with the drawing to take place at 12:00pm EST that same day.  Enter today at and tell him that Big Wayner sent ya.

Review: Sauceman’s BBQ, Pizza, and Grill — Charlotte, NC

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I am always on the lookout for new places to try in and around Charlotte.  So when one of my employer’s clients suggested that I try Sauceman’s in Charlotte, I decided to give it a shot.



When I first pulled up the website, I saw that they also did pizza and grill-style foods in addition to BBQ.  I was a little concerned (unjustifiably so) in that the ‘que here was going to be sub-par.  Then I continued reading through their site to find out more about them.  Sauceman’s was founded in 2010 and specializes in North Carolina style BBQ (Lexington style, to be specific).  It is located in the South End district of Charlotte, NC  at the corner of Tryon St. and West Blvd.

At Sauceman’s, you place your order and pay for it, and then your order is brought out to you.  After browsing the menu for a bit, I decided to order the coarse chopped BBQ plate (which comes with hush puppies and slaw) with potato salad as my side of choice.  Less than five minutes after paying for my order, out comes my plate.

Coarse Chopped BBQ plate

Coarse Chopped BBQ plate

One bite into the pork, and my taste buds jumped for joy!  This was some of the most flavorful and moist pork that I have tasted.  There were nice big chunks of bark in the pork that were super tasty, and the meat itself was very moist!  The slaw (a red slaw — white slaw is also available) was very vinegary and peppery.  It may be a little too vinegary and peppery if you are not used to this style of slaw.  The potato salad was very delicious, with nice large pieces of potatoes that weren’t overly slathered.  The hush puppies were very large and very crispy!

I got to speak with Zach Goodyear, the pitmaster for Sauceman’s.  We had a very pleasant conversation and talked about some of the many good things in store for Sauceman’s.  After speaking with him, I decided to take a look at their sauces.  There are three different sauces available — a vinegar-based sauce, a sweet tomato-based sauce, and a mustard-based sauce.

Sauces from Sauceman's

Sauces from Sauceman's -- tomato-based on the left, mustard-based on the right

The vinegar-based sauce (not pictured) was a classic eastern-Carolina style vinegar sauce that was very tasty.  It  would work very well as a dipping sauce for the pork, if so desired.  The tomato-based sauce was very, very sweet with predominant flavors of brown sugar and molasses.  The mustard-based sauce was also sweet, although not as sweet as the tomato-based sauce.  It also had a little bit of kick to it in terms of spice and heat, though not enough to be overpowering and predominant.

I was getting ready to leave when I saw this beast of a sandwich show up at a neighboring table.  Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the Clark Griswald.

The "Clark Griswald"

The "Clark Griswald"

The “Clark Griswald” stands at a whopping 3 lbs of pork (although the guy working the register told me that it was 4 lbs) and is served with slaw, hush puppies, and choice of side.  And if you can finish this beast in 30 minutes or less, it’s on the house.  Otherwise, it’s $14.99.  That’s still a heckuva deal for that much pig!!

I can gladly say that I will be adding Sauceman’s to my list of places to visit over and over again for BBQ in Charlotte, and I suggest that you should too!

Sauceman’s is located at 228 West Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28202.  Their website is  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Sauceman's on Urbanspoon

Best Of: June 12-19

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers and fathers-to-be out there!  It’s a late night “Best Of” post for this week since my wife and I just returned home from the beach about 2 hours ago.  Let’s see what happened this week…

  • Grilling with Rich gets an interview with Chris Lilly — vice president of Big Bob Gibson BBQ, head of the competition team that won the 2011 Memphis in May World Barbecue Championship, and all around BBQ legend.
  • So did Tom Porter of Big Butz BBQ Sauce survive his first KCBS competition?  Check out the results in his own words here as well as the aftermath.
  • Looking for tips on how to make that perfect “putting green” competition turn-in box?  Check out this great how-to article from DivaQ!
  • Baked beans with my BBQ?  Why I believe I will!  Check out this guest post on The BBQ Smoker Site written by Paul Haight of No Excuses BBQ.
  • And finally, Robyn Medlin Lindars (aka GrillGrrrl) shows us some tasty wings using Draper’s BBQ Sauce and rub..

Results for Father’s Day Frenzy with Draper’s BBQ Giveaway

First off, I want to thank Shane Draper at Draper’s BBQ for asking me to help him out with this contest.  We had a good response to the contest with 63 entries!  Most importantly, I want to thank all of you for entering the contest.  Without you, this contest would have not been possible.

For the drawing, I took all of the entries, sorted them in alphabetical order, and then used to select three random numbers.  The following entries were selected in order of drawing:

  1. Winner of the 1-Pint Gift Pack (includes BBQ sauce, BBQ rub, and pint glass) — TheBBQDude (entered via Twitter)
  2. Winner of the BBQ sauce and BBQ rub bundle — Patrick Paquette
  3. Winner of a choice between BBQ sauce and BBQ rub — guardmp_MOM (entered via  Twitter)
If your name is listed as one of the winners, please contact Shane immediately at with your shipping information.  Thank you once again to everyone who entered the contest, and I hope you continue to visit Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog for more contests, recipes, and other interesting things pertaining to the world of BBQ.

Father’s Day Frenzy with Draper’s BBQ — Final Push

As you may know, there is a little giveaway going on right now on this blog, courtesy of Draper’s BBQ.  Draper’s BBQ is offering up three great prizes for three different winners:

  1. One-pint gift pack, which includes a bottle of sauce, a bottle of rub, and a great pint glass
  2. BBQ Sauce and rub bundle
  3. Your choice of BBQ Sauce or rub.
As I mentioned on the blog entry for the contest, there are three different ways to enter — Facebook, Twitter, or this blog.  Now it’s time to give a little incentive for entering.  The methods of entering will be the same:
  1. Twitter — spread the word on Twitter!  Follow Draper’s BBQ on Twitter (@drapersbbq) and then tweet “I just entered the Father’s Day Frenzy with @drapersbbq Giveaway!  @brownkw  #drapersgiveaway”.
  2. Facebook — become a fan of Draper’s BBQ on Facebook here.  Leave a comment on his page about the way you’d use Draper’s BBQ Sauce and Rub if you win.  AS A BONUS, if you post a picture of your grilling or BBQ setup on the Draper’s BBQ Facebook page, you will get an additional bonus entry.
  3. This Blog — Post a comment below or on the original contest blog on how you would use Draper’s BBQ Sauce and Rub if you win.
Here’s the added bonus: for every friend that you refer to enter this contest that says they heard about it from you, you will receive a bonus entry into the contest!  How do you like that?  Your friends will get a chance to win, and you’ll get even more chances!
This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada and will end on Tuesday, June 14 at midnight EST (tomorrow night).  Winners will be announced the next day.