Monthly Archives: August 2011

Dimples BBQ Sauce Makes Me Smile!

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After reading a review done by my good friend and colleague Wilfred Reinke (aka the Oshawa Ogre) on this sauce, I knew I had to give it a shot for a couple of reasons.  First off, Dimples BBQ Sauce is a North Carolina product, and I’m always game for trying local products.  Second, if it gets a great review from the Oshawa Ogre, then I’m more eager to try it!

A few weeks ago, Dimples BBQ Sauce ran a contest on Facebook giving away a bottle of sauce.  While I did not win the contest, Rich from Dimples was gracious enough to send me a bottle to review.  I finally got a chance to try it out tonight.

Dimples BBQ Sauce

Dimples BBQ Sauce

A little bit on Dimples — the sauce is the brain child of Rich Campana of Raleigh, NC.  Like all good sauces, Dimples got its start from hearing people say over and over that they should sell the sauce.

Naked Observations

The sauce has a nice, smooth texture.  There’s not much in the way of spices or pepper flakes visibly present in the sauce.  Thickness is good… not too thin, but not so thick that it’s hard to pour out of the bottle.

Sauce Swatch

Sauce Swatch

So like I do with all sauces, I take a taste.  WOW!  This sauce has a great flavor!  It’s a great sweet and smoky sauce.  Not a lot of heat on this sauce.  All in all, my taste buds were jumping for joy, and I was looking forward to how it’d work on some meat.

To the Meat of the Matter

My wife pulled out some leftover pulled pork out of the freezer from a cook I did a couple of weekends ago.  So it was time for some pulled pork sandwiches!

Sandwich with Dimples BBQ Sauce

Sandwich with Dimples BBQ Sauce

Close-up of Saucy Goodness

Close-up of Saucy Goodness

The sauce blended very very well with the pork!  The flavors complemented the pork in a beautiful blend of BBQ harmony.  I could use this sauce with just about everything — especially a nice rack of ribs!!

This is a sauce that I wholeheartedly recommend with no reservations whatsoever!  Rich, if you’re reading this… I can’t wait for you to get your product into the Charlotte market!

Dimples BBQ Sauce can be found online at http://www.dimplesbbqsauce.com.  You can also find them on Facebook.

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A Sooie’t Time in Greer, SC

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So far in my KCBS Certified Barbecue Judge journey, I’ve had the opportunity to judge at well-known and established events such as the SC Festival of Discovery.  My journey now goes to the other end of the spectrum just 65 miles up the road from Greenwood, SC to the town of Greer, SC for the 1st Annual Sooie’t Relief BBQ Benefit!

Sooie't Relief BBQ Benefit

Sooie't Relief BBQ Benefit

The contest and festival is the brain child of the Greer Relief and Resources Agency.  Chartered in 1936, the mission of the Greer Relief and Resources Agency is to provide emergency assistance to families and individuals in Greer and its surrounding towns.  All proceeds from Sooie’t Relief BBQ Benefit go directly to aiding the agency’s mission.  The contest drew 27 competitors from as far away as Ohio.

BBQ Teams

BBQ Teams

As a judge, I confess to being a bit nervous.  This competition was a first-year contest, so I anticipated there being quite a few problems and snags.  Boy… was I ever wrong!  From this judge’s perspective, everything went as smoothly as it possibly could.

The venue for judging was The Cazbah, a tapas bar located in the heart of downtown Greer.  The decor of the restaurant provided a very different atmosphere for judging that I am normally accustomed to experiencing.

And, as with every competition, you always meet some characters…

This competition had the extra little touches that made the judging experience top-notch!  Some examples of this include providing each judge with a small cloth towel to use in wiping sauce off of their fingers and having volunteers walk around to each table to collect trash.  The judging process went so smoothly that no one would have been able to tell that this was a first-year event!

So I offer my sincerest thanks to all of the volunteers that made this event possible.  In particular, I want to especially thank Caroline Robertson and Thomas Wells for the extra special attention that was paid to the event!  Also a big thanks goes out to the two KCBS representatives for this event — George and Donna Baroody.

I know what you’re all asking…  how was the food?  Overall, the entries that I sampled were not quite up to par with entries at other contests.  The flavors were good.  However, the tenderness was off.  I had the chance to talk to a few teams after the competition.  The ones I talked to all mentioned that today’s cook was not an easy cook, and that things seemed to take longer to cook today than normal.

In addition to talking with the teams, I got to meet up with some blog readers.  I really appreciate you guys reading the stuff that I write, and I had an absolute blast!

Results from the competition were not available as of the time that this blog post was written.  However, when they are made available, they will be published on the KCBS website.  I was also able to get a few pictures.  You can view them on the Facebook page for Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog.  If you have any photos from this event, I’d love to add them to that album as well!

So as a judge, would I recommend this event to other judges?  ABSOLUTELY!!!

Review: Williamson Bros. Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce

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A few months back I did a review of Williamson Bros. Original BBQ Sauce.  Today I decided to try out it’s spicier sibling, Williamson Bros. Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce.

Williamson Bros. Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Williamson Bros. Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce

As I’ve previously mentioned, Williamson Bros. BBQ got its start about 20 years ago.  They are based out of Georgia with restaurant locations in Marietta, Canton, and Douglasville.  They have a wide variety of sauces and spices available for sale on their online store.  The star for today, though, is the Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce.

Naked Observations

Like the original BBQ sauce, the thickness of the sauce is a bit thinner than a typical Kansas City style sauce.  However, it is thicker than an Eastern Carolina style vinegar-based sauce.  The color of the sauce is a nice dark red color and just a bit darker than the original sauce.  Like the original, you can see the pepper flakes and spices throughout the sauce.

Sauce Swatch

Sauce Swatch

The sauce gives an aroma of sweet tomatoes and a hint of spiciness.  When I took a naked taste, I got the same tomato sweetness that the original sauce had.  However, I also got a hint of smokiness and a nice bit of back heat from the chipotle peppers being used.

To the Meat of the Matter

I actually decided to try this sauce on a couple of different things.  This past weekend I cooked a pork butt, so I decided to make a pulled pork wrap using this sauce for lunch.

Pulled Pork Wrap with Williamson Bros. Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Pulled Pork Wrap with Williamson Bros. Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce

I found that this sauce paired really well with pulled pork.  The spiciness of the sauce complemented the smokiness that was prevalent in the pork.  The tomato flavor tied everything together quite nicely.

For dinner, I had some leftover chicken cooked by my wife.  I took that chicken, chopped it up, and made a sandwich.

Chicken sandwich

Chicken sandwich

Close-up!

Close-up!

The sauce added nicely to the flavor of the chicken.  All in all, I was very pleased with this sauce.  In fact, I prefer the Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce to the Original BBQ Sauce.

Williamson Bros. BBQ can be found online at http://www.williamsonbros.com where you can find their sauces and spices available for purchase.

AlbuKirky Seasonings Bountiful Blog Giveaway

This is another “post and Run” about another great contest I came across today.  This contest is courtesy of AlbuKirky Seasonings (who I believe is currently a sponsor of one of my favorite online BBQ shows The BBQ Central Show).

AlbuKirky Giveaway Items

AlbuKirky Giveaway Items

The giveaway includes the following items:

  • One bottle of AlbuKirky Seasonings World Famous BBQ Rub
  • One bottle of AlbuKirky Seasonings BBQ Sauce
  • One AlbuKirky t-shirt (size large)
  • A copy of “Grill It” by Bobby Flay
  • One bar of Grime Soap by Buck Naked Stuff
The contest is easy to enter, and you can enter up to three times.  You can find the blog post outlining the contest details at http://albukirky.blogspot.com/2011/08/bountiful-blog-giveaway.html.  The contest ends at midnight MDT time on September 5th.  As always, let ’em know that Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog sent you.  I appreciate it!

Review: iGrill Cooking Thermometer

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For my birthday, my wife and mother-in-law went in together and got me an iGrill Cooking Thermometer.  I finally had the opportunity to use it this weekend and wanted to share my experiences with you.

iGrill Remote Thermometer

iGrill Remote Thermometer

At its core, the iGrill cooking thermometer is an excellent cooking thermometer.  It has two built-in-alarms for monitoring cooking temperatures and a very simple and sleek interface.  What sets iGrill apart from other remote thermometers is the remote monitoring is done via a Bluetooth connection to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.  It has room for two probes and boasts a range of 200 feet.

There are currently two apps in the Apple App Store for the iGrill — the iGrill classic app and the iGrill pro app (listed as just “iGrill” in the Apple app store).  My experiences have only been with the iGrill pro app, so if any of you have used the iGrill classic app, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

My test for the iGrill remote thermometer was on a pork butt.  I set the initial alarm for 185 degrees on the device, inserted the probe into the pork butt, and walked away.

The iGrill in use

The iGrill in use

As you can see, the display on the device is easily visible.  There are no mechanical buttons — the iGrill utilizes a touch interface with no visible seams.  The device can be set to be in a lying down, propped up, or hanging position.  After about 5 minutes, the on-screen display turns off, but any existing Bluetooth connections are maintained to allow for continued monitoring.

The iGrill app is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.  I downloaded the version for the iPad.  The interface has a dark color scheme with white and red lettering for better nighttime visibility.

As you can see, the left side of the app will show temperature information for probes that you have connected to the thermometer.  The right side of the app is for different tools contained within the app.  Those 2 tools are timers and graphs.  The timers do pretty much what you expect it to do.  What really intrigues me is the graphing capabilities.  The graph keeps a running track of probe temperatures against time.  It even allows you to export the graph results to PDF or CSV format (for custom manipulation within your favorite spreadsheet program).

So… back to the butt…  I injected the butt (appx. 7 lb) with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, BBQ rub, cayenne pepper, and tenderizer.  Then I rubbed the butt with a BBQ rub sent to me by Mick Chessor of Rub Won Out BBQ (thanks a bunch!).  Then on to the cooker at 11am.  The cooker was cooking hot today, so I decided to go with a hot and fast approach.  The average temperature ranged between 275 degrees and 325 degrees.  After about 5 hours, I pulled the butt off, let it rest for about 30 minutes, and then pulled it.

Butt's done!

Butt's done! Sorry about the blurry pic -- you get the idea...

All in all, I was very pleased with the results.  The pork was very tasty, and the remote thermometer was just really cool to use!  This is a great tool that is worth the investment, although I suggest spending the extra money to purchase the version with 2 probes included.

The website for iGrill is http://www.igrillinc.com.  There is a link at the top of the site to purchase the device.  The iGrill is listed at $99.99 for a single probe iGrill and $104.99 for a dual probe iGrill.  It is also available for purchase through Amazon.  The iGrill and iGrill Classic apps are available as free downloads from the Apple App Store.

Quick Contest: Free Dimples BBQ Sauce

This is a quick “post and run” blog post while I’m on my lunch break.  I just came across a great contest while browsing Facebook courtesy of Dimple’s BBQ Sauce.

Dimple's BBQ Sauce.

Dimple's BBQ Sauce. Image courtesy of Dimple's BBQ Sauce.

I have not had an opportunity to review this sauce yet, but my good friend Wilfred Reinke has given it a very good review!    The contest is for a free bottle of Dimple’s BBQ Sauce, and it’s super easy to enter:

  1. Like the Dimple’s BBQ Sauce page on Facebook.
  2. Suggest a new sauce flavor by posting on their wall.

Winner will be chosen on Monday by random number generation.  If you do enter, tell them that Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog sent you.  I would greatly appreciate it!

(NOTE: I’m not affiliated with the contest or sponsoring the contest in any way.)

Finding the Perfect Grill: There’s a Website For That

Last week I was approached by Noah Greenberg of FindTheBest, who told me about a new tool out on the market for comparison shopping for various gas grills called Grill Comparison.  Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know what you’re thinking…  gas = BLASPHEMY!  But hey, the majority of Americans prefer gas over charcoal (not that I do), so I can see where a tool like this can be very useful.

I took a very quick glance at it, and it definitely shows some promise.  I plan on doing an in-depth review in the future.  In the meantime, Noah was gracious enough to provide a brief write-up regarding Grill Comparison:


Getting a new grill is an exciting time for any true grill aficionado, but with the seemingly endless choices out there, it can be also be a bit overwhelming.  There’s no such thing as “overkill” when it comes to researching what barbeque you’ll be using for the upcoming years, and this Grill Comparison makes the whole process much easier, bringing all of the relevant information to your finger tips.

The free resource, published by FindTheBest, gives an objective way to compare grills by all of the industry’s top manufacturers.  You can search and compare by fuel type, use (i.e. freestanding, portable, or built in), price, features and more, so you can really narrow your options down to a few grills that truly meet your standards.

Looking for a portable grill with an electric ignition for under $200?  Just enter these criteria in the grill comparison, and see what pops up in your search results.  Want a grease managing system and at least four burners?  Just enter that into the grill comparison to see what your options are.

Once you’ve narrowed your decision down to a few different options, you can even compare grills side-by-side to see how they stack up against each other.  Next time you’re in the market for a new grill, don’t bother wasting endless hours Googling thousands of grills… Check out this gas grill comparison to find the perfect grill for you.


Thank you once again to Noah Greenberg of FindTheBest for writing this great summary.  I look forward to trying out this tool.  If you have tried it out already, let me know your thoughts.

Review: Kyle Fletcher’s BBQ — Gastonia, NC

Last weekend after work, I hopped on I-85 heading towards the mountains of western North Carolina to judge in Franklin, NC.  I couldn’t for the life of me decide where I should stop for dinner.  One of my co-workers mentioned that I should try Kyle Fletcher’s BBQ in Gastonia, NC.  Sure, why not?

Obligatory Signage

Obligatory Signage

Kyle Fletcher's BBQ

Kyle Fletcher's BBQ

Kyle’s is the quintessential barbecue joint.  It’s literally a little hole-in-the-wall building.  Parking is very much at a premium.  Kyle’s only accepts cash (so make sure that you make an ATM visit before stopping here).  Seating is done based on the honor system where everyone seats themselves.  And finally, when you step inside, you will have no doubts whatsoever that you are in a North Carolina BBQ joint — the interior decor is covered in all things UNC and NASCAR.

Interior

Interior

After browsing the menu, I decided on a large BBQ plate with hush puppies, fries, baked beans, and slaw (which ran about $7).  Naturally, I had sweet tea to drink (and quite a lot of it that night — I was really thirsty).  About 5-10 minutes after ordering, my food came out.

Large pulled BBQ plate

Large pulled BBQ plate

The slaw was a finely chopped slaw.  It was a faint pink color, caused from (I believe) mixing BBQ sauce into a white slaw mixture.  It had a nice balance of sweet and tang to it while maintaining a good texture.  The beans were nice and bold, although I would’ve liked to have seen some green bell pepper or onion in the beans.  The fries were nothing special, quite frankly, and the hush puppies were above average.

And now… the pork…

Pork close-up

Pork close-up

The pork was very moist and flavorful.  The consistency of the meat was between a coarse pull and a chop, so there was some texture retained.  There was a definite smoke flavor to the meat.  I also tried the pork with their two sauces — a sweet tomato-based sauce and a vinegar-based sauce that was supposed to be hot.  The vinegar-based sauce was not as hot as I thought it would be and did not add much flavor to the meat.  The tomato-based sauce, however, was quite excellent and would work well on any sort of meat.

Oh, and I did snag a photo of their cookers.  Kyle Fletcher’s cooks their BBQ behind their restaurant using hickory wood.

One of the cookers

The cooking area

So is this joint worth a repeat visit?  I’d say so.  And judging by the crowd I experienced when I was there, others are probably thinking the same thing.

Kyle Fletcher’s BBQ is located at 4507 Wilkinson Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28056.  They accept cash only.  I could not readily find their hours of operation.  If someone happens to know, I would certainly appreciate knowing as well!

Kyle Fletcher's BBQ & Catering on Urbanspoon

Pigging Out at Franklin, NC

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It’s another judging adventure!  This adventure takes me into the mountains of Franklin, NC for the Mountain High BBQ & Music Festival.

Franklin, NC

Franklin, NC

Located approximately 3 1/2 hours from Charlotte, NC, Franklin is nestled in the Appalachian mountains just minutes from the Georgia state line.  The contest was held at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center.  There were a grand total of 52 teams entered in this contest.  The festival also featured a car show and other attractions such as a cornhole tournament and several performance artists.

Car show

Car show

Competition area

Competition area

With every KCBS competition I have judged thus far, the theme has been the same in regards to the judges: seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones.  I can’t continue to stress how that barbecue people are just the nicest people on the planet by far!  I enjoy this aspect of the competition almost as much as I enjoy tasting the entries.  😉

Speaking of the entries…  I knew that the table I was at would be in for some good food when I took the first bite of the first chicken entry and was completely wowed!  Overall, the entries that came across my table were very good!  I was certainly not disappointed.

For the most part, the weather was not too terribly hot!  Just prior to brisket turn-in at 1:30pm, a torrential downpour came through the area that lasted about 15 minutes.  After that rainstorm, it was really, really humid!  Also, parking was very much at a premium.  At times navigating through traffic proved to be quite tricky.  Other than that, I thought the competition went pretty well.

For a few minutes prior to judging, I decided to check out some of the vendors.  As I was making my rounds, I came across an area for BBQSuperStars.com.  This site is a great resource for all things BBQ ranging from instructional videos to in-depth interviews with some of the most prominent teams on the BBQ circuit.  After judging, I got to meet the man behind BBQSuperStars.com, Darryl Mast!  And here’s proof.

Big Wayner and Darryl from BBQSuperStars.com

Big Wayner and Darryl from BBQSuperStars.com

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings on my latest judging adventure!  I’ll be judging a first-year contest in two weeks in Greer, SC!  Let me know if you’ll be there because I’d sure like to meet you!

I do have more pictures posted on the Facebook page for Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog.  You can get to the Facebook page by going to http://www.facebook.com/bigwaynersbbq.

Arrrr, matey! I be tryin’ Pirate Jonny’s BBQ Rubs!

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I had a chance recently to try out the Caribbean Cowboy Steak Rub from Pirate Jonny’s with quite a bit of success.  Based on how that turned out, I was really excited about trying out 2 more of their rubs — original BBQ rub and Caribbean Barrr-B-Q rub.

As I believe I mentioned before, Pirate Jonny’s is based out of Tampa, FL, and specializes in BBQ and Caribbean spices and seasonings.  Their offerings range from a basic BBQ rub to a Cuban Mojo seasoning.  The Caribbean Barrr-B-Q rub placed 2nd in the 2011 National BBQ Association Awards of Excellence for BBQ rubs.  Today I will be featuring the Caribbean Barrr-B-Q rub as well as the Original BBQ rub.

Naked Observations

When taking a first look at the rubs, they looked very similar to one another in terms of color and composition.  The original BBQ rub was a little bit clumped together due to the amount of brown sugar.  The Caribbean Barrr-B-Q Rub contained not as much in the way of brown sugar as well as other spices to give it the unique flavor that it has.

Original Rub

Original Rub

Original Rub Close-Up

Original Rub Close-Up

Caribbean Barrr-B-Q Rub

Caribbean Barrr-B-Q Rub

Caribbean Barrr-B-Q Rub Close-Up

Caribbean Barrr-B-Q Rub Close-Up

The next step, naturally, was to take a taste test.  To completely oversimplify it, the original BBQ rub trends on the sweet side while the Caribbean Barrr-B-Q rub trends on the spicy side.  However, to leave it at that does the spices injustice.  The seasonings have a lot of Caribbean influence, especially in the Caribbean Barrr-B-Q Rub.

To the MEat of the Matter

I’ve been on a rib kick lately.  I wanted to use this seasoning on some baby back ribs.  However, the sample packs that I had did not really adequately season them like I wanted.  Then a thought occurred to me…  use ’em both together!!  I slathered the ribs using Famous Dave’s Original BBQ sauce and then applied the majority of the original BBQ rub.  After refrigerating overnight, I then applied the Caribbean Barrr-B-Q rub to the ribs just before putting them in the cooker.

Seasoned Ribs, Ready to Go!

Seasoned Ribs, Ready to Go!

I went with a 2-1-1 cooking method for these ribs where I cooked the ribs uncovered for 2 hours at between 225 and 250 degrees.  Then I foiled the ribs and added some brown sugar and honey and cooked for an hour.  In the final hour of cooking, I unfoiled the ribs and added a glaze of BBQ sauce from Draper’s BBQ.  During this last hour, I also glazed the ribs with 30 minutes remaining.

Finished Product

Finished Product

The ribs had a beautiful dark red color to them, and they had an excellent flavor!  The seasonings did not overpower the meat but worked cohesively with the ribs.  Even my wife, who does not normally eat meat with bones in it, devoured her share of ribs.

The aftermath

The aftermath

Would I recommend these rubs?  Oh yeah!  If I had to pick a favorite, I would probably pick the Caribbean Barrr-B-Q Rub.  To me, that rub has an excellent balance of sweet, salty, and spicy to make it an excellent seasoning to use on your BBQ.

Pirate Jonny’s can be found on the web at http://www.piratejonnys.com, where they also have an online shopping cart.  You can also find Pirate Jonny’s on Facebook.  If you become a fan of  Pirate Jonny’s, tell ’em Big Wayner sent you!