Product Review: ThermoWorks ChefAlarm Cooking Timer

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Full Disclosure, folks – we’re huge fans of ThermoWorks’ signature product, the ThermaPen. We’ve got them in our homes, in the vending trailer, the competition load-out, just about everywhere. Jesse Black of ThermoWorks was kind enough to send us a ChefAlarm to review.

Having a drawer full of timers and temperature alarms, it’s plain that I’m a big believer in accurate temperatures and precision times.  I’ve had thermometers from all the big brands and digital timers by the handfuls.  Each have tried to fill a role in keeping the food I’m preparing on track and as good as it can be.  Some were pretty good, some were laughably bad but not one was a perfect fit.  Too short cords on probe, poor battery life, difficult to use or just lack of durability, they all leave me browsing Amazon for the next one all too often.  So it was with a mix of excitement and a little wariness that I started this review. 

First things first – the feel and look of the ChefAlarm are excellent.  Edge on, the unit carries the same design elements at the ThermaPen.  The ChefAlarm feels substantial without being really heavy.  And like the ThermaPen, the ChefAlarm is splash-resistant.Side-by-sideAll this speaks to the build-quality we’ve come to expect from ThermoWorks.  And the light weight means the two magnets on the back can keep it securely in place.

Durability was obviously built into the product but ThermoWorks went a step further.  They include what they call a “Padded Zip Wallet” but I call it armor.  It’s a rigid zipper case, molded to cradle the ChefAlarm and store all the accessories.  This is great for the comp cook who needs to keep everything together and well protected on the competition trail.ChefAlarm-Case

Included with the ChefAlarm and case is the temperature probe and a pot clip.  The cord on this probe is a generous 47″ long and can really take the heat.  The maximum temperature the cable can withstand is 700° F, well beyond what most of us would be doing and the probe itself can read temperatures from as low as -58° F to as high as 572° F.  And, of course, being from ThermoWorks, it’s insanely accurate.  It’s good from -4° to 248° F to within 1.8° F. Plan on incinerating something that was once food?  The ChefAlarm is accurate to within about 5° F up to an insane 572° F.  Chances are, if your brisket hits 572°, you’re probably not worried whether it’s actually 568° or 577°.  You’re looking for the fire extinguisher.

Of course it’s not just a thermometer with temperature alerting, it’s also a timer.  You can set this thing up to 99 hours and 59 minutes… into the future.  And you can have the timer running and a high/low temp alert at the same time.  The timer alert is 2 quick beeps, repeating, and the temperature alert is 4 quick beeps, repeating.  This makes it really easy to differentiate between the two.

Regardless of the type of alert, the ChefAlarm will let you know with a nice, loud alarm. And that alarm can get loud, like hear it from outside loud.  Like 92 dB loud.  I

All the controls on the ChefAlarm are clearly marked and easy to use.  The screen is easy to read and, thanks to a backlight feature, even readable during the wee hours of a cook.  The thermometer functions occupy the top portion of the screen while the timer features rest at the bottom.Tilt-up

Finally, a very clever feature, there are two configurations for this thing – the standard flat and also a “laptop mode” where the screen tilts forward toward the keys.  There’s a magnet on the back of each “half” of the unit so it’ll stay on whatever magnet-friendly surface in either configuration.

Overall, the ChefAlarm is packed full of well-executed features.  There’s no sense of compromise anywhere in the ChefAlarm.  ThermoWorks added all the stuff you need without cluttering up the device.  It excels at everything it does and boy, it does a lot.

If you’re in the market for *the* device to keep your cook on track, look no further than the ChefAlarm by ThermoWorks.

And if you want this very ChefAlarm as your very own, enter to win it at Draper’s BBQ’s Facebook page and again at Pap’s Beef Jerky Facebook page.  And if you’re at the Kentucky State BBQ Festival, stop on by and visit with both of us for another opportunity to win this ChefAlarm and a whole boatload of BBQ awesome!

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Official Rules and Regulations for the Big Giveaway

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This isn’t particularly fun but it is important if you wanna win!

Official Contest Rules and Regulations

Open to residents of the United States of America only and governed by United States of America Law

No Purchase Necessary.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. The Giveaway Contest on Facebook (the “Contest”) is sponsored by Drapers’s BBQ and Pap’s Foods (the “Sponsors”).

ELIGIBILITY: To enter and be eligible to win, a person must be a legal resident of The United States of America who has reached the age of majority at time of entry in the jurisdiction in which he/she resides and who is not an employee, representative or agent of The Sponsors, any independent contest organization, or their affiliated and related companies and, if applicable, their respective advertising or promotion agencies, dealers, and members of the immediate families of, or persons domiciled with any of the above. In these Official Contest Rules & Regulations, “immediate family” means mother, father, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and/or legal or common-law spouse.

HOW TO ENTER: During the Contest Period, you may enter the contest at The Sponsors Facebook page. During the Kentucky BBQ Festival held during the Contest Period, onsite entry may be made available at the discretion of the Sponsors.
Be certain you have read, and agree to be bound by, the Official Contest Rules & Regulations and indicate if you do not wish to receive future information from The Sponsors regarding upcoming events and/or promotions.

PRIZING: There is one prize available to be won, consisting of the following: one Pit Barrel Cooker of the Pit Barrel Cooker Co., one ChefAlarm by ThermoWorks, one Meat Maniac sampler back by Pap’s Foods and one Pitmaster Pack by Draper’s BBQ to include A.P. Rub, Moo’d Enhancer Rub, Smokin’ Sauce, team hat and 2 bags of Kingsford charcoal.

Total approximate retail value of prize pack is $500. To the extent permitted by law, The Sponsors makes no express or implied warranties, or conditions of any kind with respect to the safety, appearance or performance of any Prize. Prizes must be accepted as awarded without substitution, are not transferable, not for resale and have no cash surrender value. The Sponsors reserves the right, in the event that a Prize or any component of a Prize cannot be awarded as described for any reason, to substitute another prize without liability.

DRAW: A random draw (the “Draw”) will take place in Danville, KY on September 7, 2014 from among all eligible entries received by the Contest Closing Date. The odds of being selected for a Prize depend on the total number of eligible entries received by the Contest Closing Date. Each selected entrant will be contacted by email within three (3) business days of the Draw Date. If a selected entrant (a) cannot be reached by email within three (3) business days of being selected after reasonable attempts; or (b) fails to return the properly executed Release Form within the specified time (see rule 5), then he/she will be disqualified and another entrant may (at the discretion of The Sponsors) be randomly selected until such time as contact is made by email with a selected entrant or there are no more eligible entries, whichever comes first. The Sponsors will not be responsible for failed attempts to contact a selected entrant.

To be declared a Prize winner, each selected entrant will also be required to sign a declaration and release form (the “Release Form”) confirming compliance with the Official Contest Rules & Regulations, acceptance of the Prize as awarded, without substitution, and releasing The Sponsors, their independent contest organization, and their affiliated and related companies, their dealers, and their respective shareholders, directors, officers, employees, agents, representatives, successors and assigns, and, if applicable, their respective advertising or promotion agencies from any liability in connection with the Prize or this Contest. The Release Form must be returned within the time period specified on the Release Form or the Prize may be forfeited. Prizes will be shipped to each confirmed winner by The Sponsors to the address on the Release Form within six (6) weeks of being confirmed a winner. Limit of one (1) Prize per person.

NAME/IMAGE OF WINNERS: By entering the Contest, each winner consents to the use of his/her name, address (city and state) and/or photograph without further remuneration, in connection with any publicity carried out by or on behalf of The Sponsors with respect to this Contest.

The Sponsors and the independent contest organization accept no responsibility for loss, damage or claims caused by or resulting from the Contest or acceptance of any Prize.

The Sponsors and the independent contest organization are not responsible for: (i) entries which fail to comply with these Official Contest Rules & Regulations and all such entries are void; or (ii) any failure of the Contest Website during the Contest, including any problems or technical malfunction of any computer on-line systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email or entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or any combination thereof including any injury or damage to an entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from downloading any material in the Contest, all of which may affect a person’s ability to participate in the Contest. Entry data that has been tampered with or altered are void.

In the event it is determined that an entrant has entered in a fashion not sanctioned by the Official Contest Rules & Regulations, the entrant will be disqualified and all of the entries submitted by the entrant will be disqualified.The Sponsors reserves the right for any reason, within the U.S. Law, to terminate or suspend this Contest or to amend the Official Contest Rules & Regulations at any time and in any way, without prior notice. Without limiting the foregoing, if, for any reason, the Contest is not capable of running as originally planned, The Sponsors reserves the right to cancel the Contest and conduct a draw from all previously eligible entries received by the Contest Closing Date. The Sponsors and/or the independent contest organization shall not be held responsible for any problems, errors or negligence that may arise or occur in connection with the Contest.

In the event of a dispute, entries will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the person who is assigned an email address by an internet provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g. business, educational institute, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. If the identity of an entrant is disputed, the authorized account holder associated with the email account at the time of entry will be deemed to be the entrant. A selected entrant may be required to provide proof that he/she is the authorized account holder of the email address associated with the selected entry name change. The sole determinant of the time for the purposes of a valid entry in this Contest will be the Contest server machine(s).

All entries become the permanent property of The Sponsors and none will be returned. This Contest is void where prohibited by law and is subject to all applicable federal, state and/or municipal laws.

In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of these Official Rules and Regulations and disclosures or other statements contained in any Contest related materials (including, but not limited to: point of sale, television, print or online advertising), the terms and conditions of these Official Contest Rules & Regulations shall prevail, govern and control.

Personal information. By entering the Contest, each entrant consents to The Sponsors, the independent contest organization, their agents and/or representatives storing, sharing and using the personal information submitted with his/her entry. Entrants agree to receive promotional communications from The Sponsors, and have the ability to opt-out of promotional emails by requesting to ‘unsubscribe’ from any communication.

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BBQ Bonding by Wes Jurena

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One of the things that has kept me participating in what is a very expensive hobby with only limited success, has been the people. 90% of the people I’ve met who have a passion for food, especially BBQ are just overall great folks. Mike and Shane of DBQ are no exception.
I’ve been following DBQ on Twitter for some time now and they are also a spice and sauce sponsor for my competition team, Pappa Charlies BBQ.  We’ve chatted, emailed, phoned and DM’ed but never met in person. So, when I found out they were going to be in my hometown for a rib challenge I knew I had to be there.
We linked up the first time on Friday, the day prior to the event. They were committed to some press events for the show but had time for lunch so I treated them to what Houston is famous for… TexMex.  Now, I know you were thinking I was going to say BBQ but two things come into play here, 1. When your cooking almost every weekend, that is almost the last thing you want to dine on and 2. While the rest of the state does it very well, I will say the Que in Houston is well, just not that good.  We met at my local joint and chatted like we had known each other for years.
Saturday rolled around and my wife and I headed over to the Houston Hot Sauce Festival which was pretty close to my house.  For those who have never been here, Houston is big city and I was lucky enough to have this nearby so the commute was easy.  I had heard the festival was growing but I was surprised at the line to get in the gate.  It stretched around the corner and was about 50 people deep!
We followed the smell of smoke and made our way to the “line up” of cookers. Mike and Shane were knee deep into “Peoples Choice” which was one of 3 cooks they actually had to do that day.  I hung around their EZ up for a while, mooched a beer or two but tried to stay out of there way.  The line for this was even longer than the line to get in. During this time the wife and I tried some of the Hot Sauces and Salsas.  I must say, I like spicy food but some of it was obnoxiously hot!  Which of course meant a trip to the beer stand, or perhaps two. We did find a great local salsa and purchased a few bottles of that.
Corporate America had moved me to Phoenix a few years back and that’s where I started my competition Que career. So, I knew another team there Vince and Alexa of Rhythm N Que, so we bounced back and forth between DBQ and their tent.  That’s the thing, for us cookers, that could have been any competition anywhere.. its smoky and your under an EZ UP.  Could have been Arizona or Kentucky but in this case it was Texas and the BBQ Bonding was taking place.  I guarantee that if someone had left something at home, someone out there would have provided it for them.  It is the one thing that probably keeps me coming back more than anything else.
Though I will say, DBQ was right next to one of the 10% who can’t seem to quit babbling about how good their products are and how everyone uses and loves their stuff.  Sadly, the won people’s choice, but I’m out here cooking in Texas pretty regular and I’ve never seen nor heard of their product and I won’t seek it out if that’s the image the project at a very public event.
DBQ was gearing up to feed all the vendors for dinner so we had to go.  Shane loaded me up with products for my upcoming cooks and I said goodbye. They know if they are ever here again and want to compete, I’ll help them with whatever it is they need. While I have not verified this through them, I’m confident that if I went to Kentucky, I could show up with nothing more than a sharp knife and they would help me procure what I needed to compete with. Good stuff all the way around.
You can follow us on Twitter @pappacharlies or on the web at www.pappacharliesbbq.com
See you in the Smoke!

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Draper’s Spicy Cheese Snacks

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Draper’s Spicy Cheese Snacks

Serves 36
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Snack
I admit to being kind of a fiend when it comes to cheese crackers - Cheez Its, Goldfish, Cheese Nips - whatever the brand, I'm a sucker for crunchy, savory, cheesy snacks. And with football season looming larger, I know I gotta have my fix. Rather than opt for the store-bought stuff that tastes a bit like the box it comes in, I figured I had time to work up a kicked-up cheese snack that packs enough punch that I won't eat the whole batch before half-time.

Ingredients

  • 9oz Butter, melted
  • 1 1/2lb Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated (Room temperature preferably)
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour (11.25 oz for real accuracy)
  • 2 tablespoons Draper's AP Rub (More or less, depending on your taste)

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350
Step 2
Melt the butter and set aside.
Step 3
In the bowl of food processor or stand mixer, combine cheese, rub and butter.
Step 4
In three batches, add flour to cheese mixture and blend until fully incorporated.
Step 5
Fill a piping bag or cookie press fitted with a large star tip with dough.
Step 6
Pipe long ribbons about 2 inches apart on non-stick cookie sheet. Alternately, use cookie press to make individual portions about 2 inches apart on non-stick cookie sheet. Or just spread it out in one layer about 1/8 inch thick then divide with pizza cutter into 2 inch squares and place on non-stick cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Step 7
Dust the resultant dough, regardless of configuration, with Draper's AP rub, to taste.
Step 8
For ribbons, bake for 16 to 20 minutes. For cookie press crackers, go 18 to 22 minutes. The squares take about 20 to 24 minutes. The end result is a crisp product with slightly crunchy edges.

Let stand 10 minutes on the sheet pan then transfer to cooling racks. Store in airtight container for up to a week. But they won't last that long.

Note

This makes a LOT of dough.  If your food processor or stand mixer aren't the largest, you might break this out into two batches.

Because the dough spreads as it bakes, this recipe filled three sheet pans so plan accordingly.

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Extended Review: Green Mountain Grill Jim Bowie Pellet Grill

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As a companion piece to Ernie Rupp’s excellent review of the GMG Pellet Grill, I offer my thoughts on the Green Mountain Grill Jim Bowie Pellet Grill, which is part 2 in this series of 3.  If you would like to see Jason Baker’s response to our review please check out his post here.

Let’s start off with a quick overview of the differences – the Jim Bowie is the larger of the two standard models.  The main differences are strictly size specs- the cooking surface on my GMG is 600 square inches and the weight tips the scales at 183 pounds.   That’s a gain of roughly 70 square inches of cooking surface for an additional 30 pounds or so.  Both models feature the same pellet hopper/auger system and stainless steel grates for easy clean up.

After reading Ernie’s review, I noted a few more points where the newer and older GMGs differ.  The startup procedure for my cooker is different than for Ernie’s Daniel Boone.  After speaking with Jason Baker of Green Mountain Grills, we determined that my Jim Bowie is actually the newer model than Ernie’s.

Where the older model requires one to keep the “On” switch depressed for an extra second or two, mine just has a rocker switch for power and then uses the temperature “Up” or “Down” button to start the process of filling the firepot with pellets, heating them to ignition and then getting the temperature up to the default setting.   On my newer Jim Bowie, the default temperature is 150 degrees Fahrenheit whereas Ernie’s older Daniel Boone is 320 degrees.

My GMG was purchased in October of 2011 and there haven’t been too many weekends when it didn’t see some action.   The majority of my cooks have been more in the barbecue vein so it’s seen more briskets and butts than burgers and hot dogs but it’s a versatile machine.  The cooking surface will accommodate a ton of food and the height of the cooking chambers means turkeys or several beer-can chickens will fit easily.

When it comes to smoking and barbecue, the GMG is a wonder of convenience.  Like Ernie’s, my cooker has the remote which allows for easy monitoring of both the meat (via probe) and the internal temperature of the cooker itself.  Changes can be made to the temperature and you’ll be notified if your pellet supply gets too low.

Since I got my cooker so late in the year, I cooked a lot this winter.  It never really got very cold for very long in my part of the country but there were a few days of sub-freezing temperatures where the GMG saw use and invariably produced excellent quality food.

What was immediately noted and been reliably repeated is the consumption of pellets increases significantly when the weather is cold.  I don’t have an enclosed area for the GMG when it’s cooking so wind and cold really pull the heat out of the metal.  To offset this, I bought a wool blanket and some magnets at Harbor Freight and fashioned some insulation that would help with the cold.  Wool doesn’t combust until at least 570 degrees Fahrenheit and the blanket never saw use above 275 degrees.

With the magnetized blanket in place, fuel consumption dropped from about 1½ pound an hour to a much more reasonable pound an hour.  I’m estimating because I never emptied the hopper to weigh the remaining pellets – I’ll do a lot in the name of science and accuracy but standing in the cold, emptying pellet hoppers and weighing compressed sawdust isn’t one of them.

Update: I’ve learned that GMG makes a thermal blanket that provides all the benefits of my cobbled-together solution with a custom fit and much better looking.

The durability of the unit has been remarkable, even when stupidity threatens to destroy it.  I had put some meat on in the wee hours of the morning for a barbecue lunch.  I had just gotten settled into bed when I realized that I had left the wrong flavor of pellets in the hopper.

Knowing the auger was full of pellets, I figured I had time to empty the hopper and refill with the flavor I wanted.  So I drove both hands into the hopper, dumping the pellets into a box then topped the now-empty hopper with the right flavor.

Just as anticipated, the auger tube never ran out of pellets and the flavor was what I wanted.  Mission accomplished.

The lunch was so successful, I had folks asking for more.  So I obliged them, happy that my GMG and I could produce food that people enjoyed.  Two more cooks come and go and I realize I’ve managed to lose my wedding ring in the process.  I figured it was somewhere by the kitchen sink and would turn up eventually. After the second week, I was pretty sure it was just gone.

Wanting to cook again the next weekend, I took a weeknight to clean up the GMG.  I pressure washed the grates, stripped the heat diffuser and re-wrapped it in foil for easy clean up.  I dumped and cleaned the grease pail and vacuumed out the ashes and firepot – where I found my wedding band, now hickory-smoked and crusty with ashes.  It had fallen off while I was pulling pellets out of the hopper weeks ago, made its way through the auger tube and been cooking ever since.

That speaks volumes to the quality of this machine that it would take sizeable chuck of titanium through the auger tube and have enough grunt to push it all the way into the firepot without damaging any component in the cooker.  A panel for emptying the hopper would have prevented this issue but it’s a minor quibble for an otherwise rock-solid design. Oh, and the ring wasn’t damaged either and I can tell people that even my wedding band is a smoke ring!

My GMG has survived pop-up thunderstorms that drenched it but never a drop entered the hopper. The pellets were always dry as a bone.  For those unfamiliar with pellets, they’re compressed sawdust.  Water causes them to swell dramatically in size and then they dry, turning into wood-based concrete.   This is not what you want to happen inside your pellet grill.

So despite my best efforts to kill it, the Jim Bowie has survived without ill effects.  Obviously, I’m not the most careful cook but I do try and keep it inside when not in use.  For me, that’s my basement garage.  Like most basements, it’s a little dank and musty but the pellet hopper is always bone dry.

Speaking of damp, I’ve had very little trouble with rust.   There were a few spots starting to show on the side table but that’s entirely my fault – I had set a sheet pan with a wet bottom on it which trapped water against it.  I didn’t notice until weeks later as I don’t always raise the table.  A quick pass with sandpaper and a light coat of BBQ paint and it’s good as new.

After 9 months of ownership and countless pounds of pellets, I have to give my unreserved recommendation to these grills.  They really perform exceptionally well, are light enough to be part of your competition load-out, and have the best bang-for-your-buck value of any pit I’ve cooked on.   I simply cannot recommend them highly enough.

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Review – Oakridge BBQ Game Changer® All Purpose Brine

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Oakridge BBQ Game Changer All Purpose Brine

Like most on the competition trail, Draper’s competition team is always looking for some way to achieve a higher quality in the food we produce.  Being a sauce and rub company, we tend to focus on the outside flavors but try not to neglect the inside.

It’s with that in mind that I bring you my impressions of Oakridge BBQ Game Changer® All Purpose Brine.

The brine is actually a brine mix – you bring the water.  It’s packaged in a resealable foil bag (a personal favorite here at Draper’s) in 4 sizes, 1, 2, 5 and 10 pounds.  Larger sizes available but you’ll need to contact Oakridge directly.

According to the label, one pound makes one gallon of full strength or two gallons at half strength.  For our preparation, we chose the full strength brine mix.

We pulled the strip off the top of the foil pouch, opened it up and got a noseful.  It’s sweet and savory with a nice balance.  There’s definitely a lot going on in there.  If you haven’t eaten recently, it’ll make your mouth water.

When it smells that good in the bag, you know it’s gonna be good in the chicken or whatever meat you opt to use.  So we mixed it up, full strength and dropped the thighs in.  Per the instructions, we left them in for the maximum recommended two hours.

I’ve mixed up some brines that subtley tinted the skin or made the skin or meat mushy, rubbery and generally off, texturally speaking.  That was not the case here; what came out of the brine looked and felt pretty much like what went into the brine.

We were trying out a new technique with adding more defined grill marks on the chicken and left those thighs stay on the high heat to really develop some good color.  Unfortunately, the heat wasn’t high enough and frankly, we forgot about those test thighs for far too long.  Grill marks were lacking and I was sure they’d be terrible; dry, overcooked and chalky.

But in the interest of science, we persevered.  The chicken came off, a bit of rub and sauce went on and we took a bite anyway.  Remarkably, there was still plenty of juice in the chicken.  It was very flavorful despite being on the heat for twice as long as should’ve been.

The thighs we turned in were not overcooked and had that juiciness that brining brings to the party.  The flavor was right what we were aiming for, too.  With the chicken being fully rubbed, sauced and tweaked for competiton, I don’t know that I could really taste the effect of the brine on the bird.  That being said, it was a damn fine piece of chicken.

The first time out with Oakridge BBQ Game Changer® All Purpose Brine, we took 4th place in Chicken.  It’s a fine product, easy to use, does what it claims and earns a spot in my competition load out.

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Ultimate Rib Challenge – Accepted!

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Draper’s BBQ is proud to announce our acceptance of the invitation to the Chile Pepper Magazine Rib Challenge: Quest for the Perfect Rib competition.  Draper’s BBQ will be featured in an upcoming issue of Chile Pepper magazine in advance of the actual competition.

The event, sponsored by Chile Pepper magazine, takes place in Houston, Texas in mid-September. Draper’s will compete against barbecue luminaries such as Melissa Cookston of Yazoo’s Delta Q, Bill Milroy of Texas Rib Rangers, and Rhythm ‘N Que of Phoenix, Arizona.

To be selected to compete against five teams of this caliber is truly an honor.

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McKenzie’s Nights on Broadway BBQ Competition recap

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On Saturday, June 16th, The McKenzie’s Nights on Broadway BBQ Competition was held on the square in downtown McKenzie, Tennessee.  The square was surrounded on three sides the teams with plenty of room for everyone.  Water was easily accessible from several points around the square and each spot had power.

The organizers really made a good effort to make sure the teams had what they needed and felt welcome. This wasn’t the first year for this comp but it was a year of change, with some mixed results.

While most competitions have turn-ins in early afternoon, McKenzie opted to mix things up a little bit and push the turn in times back to the 5:00 to 6:30 range.  This was to get the barbecuers to hang out a little longer and sell some grub to the general public.  The story goes that in years past, only a crew or two stayed around to vend and this left some folks going hungry.

I can certainly understand the organizers wanting to make sure the public gets to enjoy the phenomenal food that was produced but it had the unintended side effect of keeping the competitors working over a hot pit during the hottest part of the day.  The National Weather Service may say it was only 92 degrees but the DBQ thermometer under the canopy was pegging triple digits.

Time for the first turn-in and another snag in the plan revealed itself – the people looking for barbecue were filtering in and looking for food while teams were shuttling boxes to the judges.

To my knowledge, no one was seriously hampered by this oversight but every competition cook knows that little anxious feeling during the walk – what if the box gets dropped, what if things get jostled?  Dodging people looking for a rack of ribs while trying to turn in does little to relieve that stress.

After the turn-ins were done and the crowds fed, people started packing up.  Results were supposed to be at 8 but, due to more than a few ties and other issues, results were posted two days later.  By way of an apology, the organizers offered free entry to this year’s competitors for the 2013 contest.

Congratulations to Splitwood Cookers on the GC.  Draper’s took 5th overall with 4th place in Ribs, 5th place in Pork and 10th place in Chicken.

We had a great time and look forward to seeing folks back there next year!

 

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Draper’s Peanut Brittle

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Draper’s Peanut Brittle

Serves 6
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Allergy Milk, Peanuts
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Occasion Barbecue, Casual Party
Good barbecue, heck, good food hinges on balanced flavors. Draper's Peanut Brittle balances the sugary sweet of the brittle, the earthiness of the peanuts with the savory, salty goodness of Draper's A.P. Rub. With some much flavor going on, it's a true crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Light corn syrup
  • 1 cup Peanuts (raw and shelled)
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon Draper's A.P. Rub (plus more to taste)

Directions

Step 1
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Step 2
Spray aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray.
Step 3
Combine sugar, corn syrup and salt in 3 quart microwave-safe glass/ceramic bowl.
Step 4
Stir in peanuts.
Step 5
Microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes, until light brown in color.
Step 6
Carefully remove from microwave and stir in remaining ingredients, reserving baking soda for last. This causing foaming with lightens the candy.
Step 7
Carefully remove from microwave and stir in remaining ingredients, reserving baking soda for last. This causing foaming with lightens the candy.
Step 8
Spread to thin the candy to an even layer then sprinkle with more A.P. Rub to taste.

Note

COOK'S NOTE:  Folks, this is molten sugar.  If you mishandle the mixture, it can seriously burn you or anyone near you.  Keep the kids and pets outta the kitchen until this stuff is cool and ready to eat.

With the warning outta the way, you can always dial in a little more flavor by misting the top of the candy with water and sprinkling more rub on.  The sugar melts just a touch letting the rub stick.  This is great if you're trying to accommodate someone with an aversion to awesome.

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DBQ Savory Ranch Dip

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DBQ Savory Ranch Dip

Allergy Milk
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Formal Party
This dip adds a new dimension to your everyday ranch dip and is fantastic as a topper to nachos. If you like a bolder, more savory dip feel free to double the amount of sauce and rub added. The mix in this recipe is a good baseline that won't offend any one, but can always be spiced up a bit for those that like it BOLD!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Draper's Smokin' Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Draper's A.P. Rub
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

Directions

Step 1
Stir all ingredients together and serve with veggies, chips or Draper's Sassy Sausage Balls.

Note

This dip adds a new dimension to your everyday ranch dip and is fantastic as a topper to nachos.  If you like a bolder, more savory dip feel free to double the amount of sauce and rub added.  The mix in this recipe is a good baseline that won't offend any one, but can always be spiced up a bit for those that like it BOLD!

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