Official Rules and Regulations for the Big Giveaway

Share

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.

The Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Share

Draper’s BBQ Contest

Share

As the world well knows companies can live or die with social media.  We at Draper’s have been solid at social media when we really push at it and frankly terrible at it when we do not.  Case in point, we have over 2500 Twitter followers but only 850 likes on our Facebook page.  You can probably guess from those numbers were we spent our time over the past couple of years.

Given that Mike and I sat down and pitched a few ideas back and forth on how we can convert our Twitter followers into Facebook likes.  We quickly settled on the idea of giving something away as a membership drive of sorts for Facebook.  Everyone likes a good giveaway and honestly we like giving stuff away making people happy.

So from there we came up with a few things that might fit the bill.  I kept thinking back to the question I get asked via email the most “what is the best bbq/smoker on the market for a new team or for my backyard?”  With that in mind Mike and I thought it would be great to give away some sort of “pitmaster in a box” kit where the winner would get essentially everything they needed to either start competition barbecue or at least have a heck of a leg up to starting a team.

The hunt was short for what bbq/smoker/grill would fit the bill.  We naturally went with the one we recommend to 90% of the people who send us that email.  We turned to Pit Barrel Cooker Co and their Pit Barrel Cooker for this contest and new pitmasters.  And here’s why:  First it rings in around $300 which is a solid value given that most complete pieces of bunk from Lowe’s will cost you that much.  Second it has a good cooking capacity.  Third while it is simple to use it does introduce the budding pitmaster to fire and air flow management.  Fourth it helps the cook to learn the valuable trait of trusting time, fire and smoke to do the job without messing with the meat too much.  Fifth, its made in America and I can’t think of another complete functioning pit at this price point that is also made here.

Many people would recommend a pellet pit for a first pit but I just don’t think pellet pits or any device that controls the airflow and fuel for you helps make you a pitmaster.  That’s not to say you can’t create great food on them, but there is no way to learn the essentials of being a pitmaster if you are not actively managing that fire in my opinion.  I know I will get hate mail over that statement, but remember I come from a family who did barbecue for many, many years without the use of a thermometer or fans and burned down wood into coals.  The only tools my grandfather needed to be an amazing pitmaster was his trusty shovel and his old cinder block pit.  Never once saw him use anything else.  His lack of tools (read crutches) helped him develop those instincts that are so crucial to a pitmaster.  That my friends is being a pitmaster to me.

Don’t get me wrong, the PBC is dead easy to use.  Essentially you light the fire and walk away,  but it at least gets the pitmaster introduced to good old charcoal as a fuel and forces them to not rely on a temp gauge or digital control.  PBC will run at 275 degrees for 7hrs on a basket of charcoal without much fuss at all and turns out a fantastic product.

I could go on and on about the PBC and why I recommend it, but I think Meathead Goldwynn over at Amazing Ribs.com does a pretty comprehensive job at covering it:  http://amazingribs.com/bbq_equipment_reviews_ratings/smoker-pizza-oven/pit-barrel-cooker  and John Dawson with Patio Daddio also has wrote extensively about the PBC: http://www.patiodaddiobbq.com/2012/07/competition-bbq-pit-barrel-style.html

With that we called up Noah and Amber at PBC and placed the order.  They graciously decided to sponsor part of the contest with us.  The ordering process was dead easy and Noah and Amber are great people to work with.

Next to be a pitmaster in training you need a good temperature reading device.  I love my Thermapen even though my grandfather would have quickly laughed at how much I paid.  I now have learned to cook more by feel, but I always check my competition meats with a high accuracy thermometer.  So given that, the fine folks at Thermoworks gave us approval to give away one of their top of the line Chef Alarm units.

I won’t completely steal Mike’s thunder as he is doing a review of the unit as we speak.  But I will tell you this, no tricks were missed in the development of this beauty.  It’s a professional piece of gear all the way and all a budding pitmaster needs to help him dial in that time and temp aspect of cooking.  For $60 its a great value and worth the investment.

After some more discussion Mike and decided we should give away this awesome kit live at the Kentucky State Barbecue Festival in Danville, Ky on September 7th.  This is the last day of the event and we figured it would be fantastic to do the announcement on stage there since it is one of our favorite events each year.  This is our favorite event because we get to feed about 50,000 of our closest friends, fans, family and cook right along side the likes of Brad Simmons, Carey Bringle, Craig Kimmel, Mike Mills, Moe Cason and Shelly Fritch.  All superstars in their own right and we are humbled each year to cook with them.

This planted the next seed of what we should include.  The Danville area is home to one of my favorite snacks, Pap’s Beef Sticks and Pap’s CEO Rick Waldon.  So I called up Rick and asked him if he wanted in.  He was quick to pull the trigger and offered up a bevy of beef snacks to keep any pitmaster satisfied on those long cooks.  Go check out the Meat Maniac on the Pap’s site.  Seriously if you have not tried Pap’s, go order some or go tell your favorite store to carry some.  It’s seriously the best beef jerky around.  My personal favorite is the Pitmasters Barbecue, it is a awesome mix of smoky, sweet and heat.  Not to mention Pap’s ensures only the highest quality US beef is used.  Pap’s is legit and if you win this prize pack you will know why.

By now you have to be asking, well that is all fine and good but what does Draper’s BBQ bring to the table in this contest.  Well, we figure you have the pit to cook on, the thermometer to tell when it is done and even snacks to keep you happy while you cook.  So we are there to fill in the remaining gaps.  You will need some great rubs for your meat, so you get 1lb of our A.P. Rub and 1lb of our Moo’d Enhancer.  You need sauce to top that meat with, so you get a gallon of our Smokin’ Sauce.  But you also need something to keep the sun out of your eyes while you cook, so you also get one of our team caps.  These hats are nice adjustable flex fit hats with our logo embroidered on them so you can be apart of the DBQ crew.  We also toss in enough charcoal for your first several cooks on the PBC.

If you have been keeping up with the prices, this is a prize pack worth over $550 delivered to your door.  If you are within a reasonable driving distance we will deliver the prize pack personally.  All you need now is some meat, some free time, a frosty beverage of your choosing and a lighter and you are ready to start your trek towards pitmaster enlightenment.

So now you have to be wondering how do I enter?  Well, stay tuned.  July 25th at 5pm Central time the contest will go live on the Draper’s BBQ FB page and Mike will post the rules on our blog.  All you have to do to enter is Like our Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/DrapersBBQ  That’s it, we have made it simple.  Because it is so simple we would greatly appreciate it if you shared our page to your friends after you like it.  If you are one of the 830 people who have already liked our page you are already entered but again we would greatly, greatly appreciate you sharing our page as often as you can to help us out.

If this contest successfully generates the results we are looking for we want to do something like this once a quarter.  Mostly because we just like giving stuff away and making people happy, but also because we have LOTS of things coming up including a new video series that Mike and I are ironing out that we want everyone to see.  Draper’s is being reborn and we want to share everything with as many people as possible, so stay tuned!

Share

Barbecue Live…..Barbecue Legit

Share

I made the decision last fall that Draper’s BBQ was going to make a run at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Competition in 2015.  Now, some may think that is planning too far ahead.  I can tell you it is not far enough after being a part of a few teams that have competed at MIM it is barely enough time.  Even with a team of seasoned veterans of barbecue, you still need time to come together and learn how to sing and operate in harmony. 

So how does a newly formed team prepare for what many consider the biggest dance in all of barbecue?  First you practice, practice, practice.  Most good teams can get 90+% of what they need through research and trial and error, but even the best team needs a sanity check and some insider info to get that last 5-10%.  That last bit is what separates teams from placing in the middle of the pack at MIM or getting lucky enough to be in the top 10 or if the barbecue God’s smile on your team, make the finals. 

To get that last bit you either have to know some great pitmasters who are willing to mentor you or you have to find a class to gain that information.  Draper’s BBQ has a lot of barbecue friends who have done very well for themselves as far as winning is concerned and have shared lots of info along the way, but to be honest we still wanted to get more info before we take the MIM plunge again. 

Competing at Memphis in May costs literally thousands of dollars.  To be willing to write those checks without sponsorship you better know your team is good and you better have every ounce of information you can get your hands on.  That left me searching for a barbecue class, preferably one put on by some MIM veterans. 

My search was very short thankfully because I knew of Barbecue Live from being friends with Malcom Reed.  It is a relatively new class held by Mark Lambert of Sweet Swine O’ Mine and Malcom and Waylon Reed of Killer Hogs.  Two great teams and both have been on a tear the past few years collecting a lot of trophies.  It is one of the only classes ran by a committee of pitmasters who are willing so share all they know in order to help you bring home that Grand Champion call.  As if working with Mark, Malcom and Waylon weren’t enough they are still only part of the story.    

Barbecue Live also includes special guests at each of their classes.  In my class Danny Montgomery of Tuscumbia River Bottom Barbequers and Patrick Banks of Booty Que were there.  I know these names may not ring many bells so let me clarify just who these men are. 

Danny Montgomery is a personal hero of mine.  He is a legend to be quite honest, although he would never admit to it.  Danny has won ribs at MIM was the 2002 Jack Daniels International Grand Champion and only followed that up with winning Reserve in 2003 and 2004.  He has mentored numerous teams from all over the world and has been instrumental in making countless champions.  Danny, for those in the know, is one of the most sought after coaches in the world and still one of the top whole hog and shoulder cooks around.  Danny Montgomery might not be a household name, but he deserves to be.  He is one the best teachers I have ever met and I am proud to know him.

Patrick Banks is a recent Barbecue Live graduate who just so happened to win ribs at this year’s MIM only to follow that up with numerous KCBC Grand Champions.  To put it bluntly, 2014 has been Patrick’s year and he is quick to let you know that Barbecue Live helped light the fuse.  Patrick is also very active in Operation Barbecue Relief and just an all-around great guy.  Not many cooks would show you their exact recipe that just won them the big trophy at MIM. 

I only talk about Danny and Patrick to highlight just how comprehensive the knowledge base is at Barbecue Live, but it in no way is meant to take anything away from Mark or Malcom and Waylon.  Sweet Swine O’ Mine has won MIM several times and it has been hard to find a contest in recent memory that Killer Hogs entered where they didn’t come home with a trophy.

Knowledge base only matters though if that knowledge can be demonstrated and conveyed in a manner in which it can be learned and remembered.  I am glad to say Barbecue Live did a solid job of this, but even happier that they did it in a way that pushes the student to want to perfect a craft instead of just recreate it. 

What do I mean by that?  Well, I have taken a few classes now and many barbecue classes center themselves on providing you with an exact time line and procedure to perform every step.  Barbecue Live is willing to share this with you but they do not base everything on this.  They are more about arming you with a method of preparing your entries that judges can’t help but score well instead of creating a cookie cutter clone of their process.

Barbecue Live is also one of the very few classes that cover all four KCBS meats plus MBN shoulder and whole hog.  When you stop to think about that you really start to understand how much of a value this class is. 

How can they cover all of this in what amounts to about 18 hours of instruction?  First off this class assumes you can trim ribs, pull silver skin and do the basics.  They also have a squad of cooks who are running pits, assisting with bringing meats in and generally doing anything needed to assist Mark, Malcom and Waylon while they are actually teaching the class. 

Then there is Mrs. Rachelle Reed, I could spend a whole page telling you the enumerable things she does to make the class a success.  Chelle not only did the chicken trimming demonstration and parsley box builds, she was in constant motion prepping lunch, ensuring there was plenty to drink available and generally making everyone feel at home.  Rachelle is truly the matriarch of Barbecue Live and a force to be recognized.

I can’t say enough how valuable this support cast is to the overall success of the class.  They operate as an army providing meats to the instructors so they can demo every stage of the cooking process.  The timeline and attention to detail to make this possible is nearly mind boggling.   

While I won’t go into detail on the information covered I think it is important to give you an idea what each day is like at Barbecue Live.  Don’t mistake my lack of detail as lack of information, I do this strictly out of respect for the class.  Barbecue Live answers any and all questions and shows you everything, nothing hidden or reserved. 

The class didn’t officially start until 7:45am on Saturday, but Malcom and crew did something very nice on Friday.  They had a Meet and Greet on Friday evening that was a great old fashioned southern fish fry.  The Meet and Greet was a nice touch and the first glimpse of how useless my diet was going to be for the weekend.

 Day 1

The next morning everyone got registered grabbed a seat and settled in.  I will say this right off the bat, Saturday is a long, long day of information.  It is packed full but a great day.  Chicken is covered first and you barely get the first cup of coffee down before you get to try a piece of chicken.  Ribs are up next and in both cases it was very nice to compare and contrast how Killer Hogs does their entry vs Sweet Swine O’ Mine vs Booty Que.  You really come to understand that while each of the pitmasters do very similar things overall, they each have their own unique and identifiable flavor profile. 

In intermission of ribs lunch was served.  You will find a theme from this point forward concerning food.  The theme….no corners cut.  Every meal provided was awesome and done with care.  Lunch consisted of some awesome sides and headlined by Gus’s World Famous Chicken.  Gus’s is seriously the only place I stop at every time I am in the Memphis area.  Nope, not barbecue, Gus’s.  Gus’s isn’t the cheapest place on the block and it was very nice to have it brought in for the class instead of pizza. 

After lunch the remainder of ribs is covered along with getting to eat them.  Then it is on to whole hog prep, which was great.  Being a future whole hog team at MIM I can tell you even after cooking several and being mentored by some of the best, we learned some amazing tips from Mark Lambert.  I don’t think there is another person on the planet that knows the intramuscular structure of the hog better.  Mark is a credit to the barbecue world and does a great job covering the topic.

Next up is trimming of butts and shoulders.  Again, you typically will not get both in the same class and it was great.  Many times I found myself thinking that this really was two classes for the price of one.  There was so much covered between the butts and shoulders and all of it valuable. 

Then we moved into the first part of brisket.  Again, seeing how each pitmaster differed between their prep and products used was nice.  Better than that though was knowing that we would get to taste the two side by side to compare and contrast. 

Dinner is one of the last things on the docket for the day.   It was comprised of an amazing smoked skirt steak, smoked pork loin and sides.  To say it was fantastic is again an understatement.  I have never in my life been so sick from eating so much in a given day, but so happy at the same time.   We all had eaten so many of the ribs tasting the difference between Compart Duroc pork vs regular pork that dinner was nearly an afterthought for most of us.  That did not deter us from enjoying a great dinner though. 

After dinner there was a recap of the day along with a final Q&A.  I would like to say we all went out and had a beer after that, but seriously we all went straight to the hotel and tried to sleep off the food coma.  

After about 12 hours sleeping off the food coma and information overload from the previous day we started again at 8am.  Before I really get into Day 2 let me side track for a minute and highlight something that I really liked.  Barbecue Live used a camera focused on the presenter’s hands and this was shown on a 40in television.  This was great because in some classes a gaggle of students cram around the presenter and only those in the first row or two get to see precisely what is going on.  In this set up people could also sit back and check out the television which lessened the need to be shoulder to shoulder with the presenter.  That’s not to say you couldn’t literally stand next to Malcom and Mark during the whole class, you could, the camera set up just allowed a fair view for all.  So often times many would gather up close to the television as well, it was really neat to see. 

Day 2

First up was the wrapping of butts and briskets, followed by building of parsley boxes.  As with all previous topics everything was well covered and all questions answered including injection and mop recipes. 

Next pork blind boxes were covered in depth.  I will say this is yet another topic where the quote “we will show you how to build boxes that judges can’t help but score well” rang true.  Waylon spent a long time going over every aspect of exactly how he perfects his box and it was great to see firsthand the level of care that goes into that box. 

Whole hog presentation was next.  Mark went through basically a MBN presentation explaining where he would pull from and why.  He even managed to show me some cuts deep inside the hams that I never really noticed before.  Again, demonstrating his amazing knowledge of the anatomy of the hog and proving why he has won MIM a few times.

Lunch consisted of the whole hog and if you’ve never bellied up to a whole hog you are missing out.  To me it is still the pentacle of pork and why we cook whole hog.  It was awesome to contrast our flavor profiles with Mark’s and get a good feel for where we stand.  That piece of info alone was worth the cost of admission for us. 

The class concluded with barbecue business and marketing.  It was interesting to hear how different the paths to success were for Killer Hogs and Sweet Swine O’ Mine.  Again all questions were answered all things good, bad and ugly were discussed.  This info would be invaluable to new teams or a budding sauce/rub company.  This section alone if expanded on could be a complete day and honestly I would love to see it expanded and a few more sauce and rub companies invited to the table to add even more diversity to the conversation.  I for one would make the trek in a heartbeat to be a part of that panel. 

Conclusion

So what is the take away on Barbecue Live?  Honestly, it is one of the best classes in the country bar none.  While it may be a newer class, it is done right and doesn’t miss anything.  If I knew absolutely nothing about barbecue I might find the class, perhaps, a little advanced.  But if I knew that little about barbecue I would honestly be spending my time on the internet watching videos from How To BBQ Right, researching, reading forums and putting into practice what I found before I was willing to part with my money for an experience like this.  On the flip side of that coin, this class would put a fair pitmaster over the top and on the winning track quickly.  Some may find the level of information off putting since it is so in depth, but as someone who has done this for a long time I still found many tidbits of information that were well worth the cost.  The class does not pretend to make you a Killer Hogs or Sweet Swine O’ Mine clone, but they do promise to help you become the best pitmaster you can be and I think they more than deliver on that promise.  So hit up the website and sign up, you won’t be disappointed. 

Share

DBQ at the Ky State BBQ Festival

Share

 Hot off the presses from last night’s Getting’ Sauced with Draper’s BBQ and the Kentucky State BBQ Festival (so dubbed KSBF from here forward because that is a lot to read) webpage, I have been asked to do the cooking demonstrations for the 2nd Ever Kentucky State BBQ Festival.  I am both honored and humbled by being asked to do this by Brad Simmon’s and the organizers of the event.

For those that were not able to attend last year’s event and missed Brad and I talking about it last night on the radio show let me attempt to describe just what this festival is all about.  The KSBF is loosely based on the Big Apple Block Party.  The organizers invite the best of the best in the world of barbecue out to cook for thousands of new friends.  In short, Joe Consumer can come out and eat the barbecue of world class pitmasters.  The list of pitmasters for this event is impressive to say the least, a definite who’s who of Q.  To get to share an event with the likes of Carey Bringle (Peg Leg Porker BBQ), Moe Cason (Ponderosa BBQ), Pete and Melissa Cookston (Yazoo’s Delta Q), Shelly Hunt (Desperados Barbecue) and Craig Kimmel (Firehouse BBQ) is an honor.

Add to that being asked to sit in for none other than Dr. BBQ, mister Ray Lampe is humbling to say the least.  Ray did amazing cooking demonstrations last year and to say one could ever replace him would be a mistake.  Ray is one of my personal bbq heroes, I got to tell him that at last years KSBF when were vending barbeque sauce and rub.  Ray was such a great guy he even used our products during his demonstrations.  The first barbecue related book I ever read was Ray’s Big Time Barbecue.  Ray has had a great influence on not only me, but a whole generation of barbecue pitmasters and I will forever be in his debt.  I can only do my best to live up to the excepti”onal standard that Ray set at last year’s KSBF.

So what can you expect from the demos this year?  Great competition tips adapted for the backyard and awesome samples cooked on a pit that anyone can use.  That’s right we will have a limited amount of samples during each class.  Mike and I have been working on a curriculum for our classes that is based on our Salt, Smoke, Meat concept.  I took this simplified concept and compressed it even further to work in a 30min demonstration.

On Saturday, September 8th I will be doing the following demos:

  • 12:30pm – Chicken – I will show you how to make competition lollipop chicken legs and let you taste them.  You will also get recipes and instruction for whole and spatchcocked chicken as well.
  • 2:30pm – Ribs – We will discuss baby backs vs spare ribs, go over how to properly trim ribs and I will give you instructions on how to cook 4hr ribs.
  • 4:45pm – Pulled Pork – We will coverBoston butts vs whole shoulders, proper trimming, proper injection and how to cook including our competition timeline.
  • 5:30pm – Brisket – I will cover picking a proper brisket, how to trim correctly, injection recommendations and of course how to cook a great brisket.

On Sunday, Sept 9th I will be doing these:

  • 11:15am – Tailgating – It’s all about easy and great entertaining with this demo.  Moink balls, wings, bacon explosion I got it all covered.
  • 1:30pm – Holiday on the Pit – Give the oven a break, I will show you how to great turkey and ham on your smoker.

We will be cooking all of this on Green Mountain Grill’s pellet grills.  We are proud to be featuring the GMG as part of the cooking process because they are a very affordable, highly capable and easy to use barbecue pit.  These pits with just a little bit of know how and anyone can be a super star in their backyard.

In addition to the demo’s we will also have our booth set up selling our sauce and rub. Danvillewas great to Draper’s BBQ last year and we sold out of sauce and rub.  We are coming prepared this year and look forward to meeting even more new friends and visiting with the fans we made last year.

As you can see this year’s Kentucky State BBQ Festival is a big event for Draper’s BBQ and we have gone “all in” on it.  We can’t wait to get there and are proud to be apart of this event!  See you there!

Share

Product Review: Green Mountain Grill Daniel Boone Pellet Grill

Share

As a writer for Drapersbbq.com, it is my job to find interesting things to blog about.  Often I have to cold call different companies and arrange for samples to be sent to me to try out and review.  Small things like sauces or rubs are very easy to ship via what ever postal carrier you choose.  Grills and smokers on the other hand, those are a whole different story.  So right off the bat, I would like to thank Jason from Green Mountain Grills  (GMG) and Bob from BBQ Bonanza in Kansas City, KS for providing me this GMG Daniel Boone model to try out and review for our readers.  Jason made all the arrangements and Bob had the GMG delivered right to my front door, unpacked it and even loaded it with a few pellets.  They could not be nicer folks to work with.

The GMG brand is no stranger to us here at Draper’s BBQ.  Mike has owned a GMG for sometime now and I have a next door neighbor that has one as well.  Our intent is to give you a review through the eyes of a first time user (me) and a longtime owner (Mike).  We hope this will give you some helpful information if you are in the market for a new pellet grill.  You can read Mike’s long term review here.

Lets talk about the features of the GMG Daniel Boone model I cooked on.  The Daniel Boone features a 27×16 inch stainless steel grate for 432 sq inches of cook space.  Team that with a 13.5 inch clearance and you have a very large cook space.  The Daniel Boone weighs 152 pounds which makes it very portable.  Some pellet cookers can weigh over 300 lbs.  GMG gave this machine a digital control for easy use, a meat probe, utility hooks to hang your tools on and a thermal sensor to measure ambient temperature.  This thermal sensor tells the GMG to kick it into high gear if it is cold outside so you don’t have to wait for you grill to heat up in cold weather. GMG also equipped the Daniel Boone with a positive pressure hopper fan to prevent burn-back and a “fan only” mode with auto shut off to blow ash out of the firebox when you finished.  All of this for less than $800, making the GMG Daniel Boone one of if not the most affordable pellet grills on the market.  You can also purchase extras like a stainless steel (no warp) lid, a form fitting cover, a dome thermometer (to measure temps at the top of the grill) and a remote.  Bob was nice enough to include the remote with my Daniel Boone.  I was really excited to try that feature out.  Green Mountain Grills also includes an instruction/recipe book and an instructional DVD to help new owners.

Start up would have been easy if I would have read the instruction book that was given to me.  Being a man,  I did not read it until I became frustrated.  To start up the grill you must turn on the power switch then hold the increase temperature button.  I assume this is a safety feature so the grill does not accidentally get turned on by a child or accidental bump.  This is a very nice safety feature.  Once started, the grill begins to go through the motions of starting up and getting to temp.  The grill is automatically set to get to 320 degrees F, then you must set your cooking temp.  I lowered mine to 230 degrees F and opened the lid to help the temperature decrease.  This entire process took about 15-20 min.

Once I reached my desired temperature I put my brisket on and inserted the food probe so the Daniel Boone could keep track of the meat.  I turned on the remote control and headed inside to relax and watch the BBQ Pitmasters marathon on Destination America.  The remote worked flawlessly.  I could check the temp of my cooker and the meat with just the push of a button.  I waited until the meat’s temperature was 145 then I put it in a foil pan with some beef broth and covered it until it was time to take it off.  Total cook time for a 4.67 lb brisket flat was about 7 hrs and 45 min. This is a picture of the finished product. 

The next day, I wanted to test the Daniel Boone out as a grill.  I cooked a flank steak for fajitas.  I took the grill up to 500 degrees F (its maximum) for this.  The GMG took about 15 to 20 minutes to get to this temp.  I placed the steak on and heard the sizzle.  I could not wait to have those fajitas.  I took about 40 minutes to cook the flank steak to 155 degrees F.  This was longer than it would have taken me on my propane grill but the Daniel Boone cooked an incredible steak.  It was very juicy and flavorful and I did not have to worry about flare-ups with the GMG.  With the fan circulating the heat all around the food, I would almost call this smoke roasting vs grilling.  It takes a little longer to grill on the GMG but the result was just as good.  I did have substantial pellet usage while grilling at that high of temp so the cost to use the Daniel Boone as a grill is higher than a propane or charcoal grill but the products put out on the GMG were very tasty.

My overall impression of the GMG Daniel Boone model was excellent.  Start up was easy (once I read the instructions),  the cook was good, and the temp of the GMG only fluctuated a degree or 2 all day.  This was a very hot day in KC (high 101 degree F) and I did not use a lot of pellets.  My estimate was less than 5 lbs of pellets for the almost 8 hour smoke.  This pellet grill has a lot of high end features that you do not find on higher priced pellet grills.  I love the meat probe and the remote control.  I only left my recliner 3 times all day to check on the grill.  A few concerns I have about the GMG Daniel Boone are the thickness of the metal used in construction.  Will it insulate well enough in the cold weather months?  Will it warp and bend over time with the high heat of grilling?  Mike can probably address these questions in his review as a long time owner.  For the price,  I do not think you can beat this pellet grill.  It performs well under normal conditions, has some high end features that you wont find on higher priced pellet grills and the company has been very accommodating and easy to work with.

One footnote to my article:  The GMG Daniel Boone that I tested was an older model and may differ in specs from the current model.  Sorry for any confusion.

Share

Decisions, decisions……

Share

It has been said that in life there are no easy decisions.  I don’t believe that to be true.  I think the decisions are easy it’s living with the aftermath that is difficult.  The same is true in business.

This year for Draper’s BBQ has been a turbulent one filled with success, triumph and a few set backs.  We’ve hit a few home runs and we’ve also struck out on a couple of things.  All I can do as the CEO at the end of each day, week and month is accept what we have and do my best to aim the company where we hope to go and do my best to get us there intact.

We were recently blessed with being picked as the sixth, and final, contestant in Chile Pepper Magazine’s Quest for the Perfect Rib.  Mike Owings wrote up a post earlier this week in case you missed it.  We will be competing against some of the top talent in the country (literally) and it is a great honor to be included on the same contestant list with these other phenomenal pitmasters.

Unfortunately, the actual contest will take place in Houston, Texas right before Paducah’s BBQ on the River.  I know we have many fans, friends and family members that consider BBQ on the River the biggest and toughest event in barbecue.  They also fully expect us to return again this year and claim more of the top prizes there.  It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that we will not be competing at BBQ on the River this year.

The time table of events makes it impossible to do both contests at a high level and I refuse to allow us to do anything as a company without the ability to ensure it is successful.  BBQ on the River just takes too much in the way of man power and preparation for us to be able to do it well right after returning from Houston.  We are a very small team and do not have the people in place to make it happen.

I know this disappoints many of our fans.  For that I am truly sorry.  Believe me there is no one more disappointed than I am.  I love to compete and as crazy as it may sound I really felt like this was our year to win it all.

On a positive note the event inHoustonhas national exposure and will go a very long way in helping Draper’s BBQ to become more of a household name.  Every major sauce distributor in the country will be there along with Food Network and many industry bloggers.  To say getting picked to go out and compete in this event with Chile Pepper Magazine is big is an understatement.  This may well be the break we have been waiting for.

I want each of our Western Kentucky and Heartland friends and family to know that you are valuable to us, but we are first and foremost a sauce and rub company.  As the CEO I must keep that in focus as I make decisions concerning what’s best for the company.  At this point in time doing what we can to sell more sauce and rub nationally is of the utmost importance.  Achieving that will allow us to do things like hire local people to be apart of this company and our family.

We wish everyone at BBQ on the River the best and look forward to doing this event next year.  Remember when you are eating that pork sandwich that it typically supports a good cause and while we may not be able to be at this one event, we are here in West Kentucky year round.  Just email or call us and we will do our best to always support your Draper’s BBQ Addiction.

Peace, Love and Pork Grease my friends!

Shane

Share

Father’s Day Gifts – 2012

Share

Ok everyone one and their play cousin has published a Father’s Day Gift Guide already. In typical Draper’s fashion we are one of the last to post our recommendations.  It’s ok to save the best and most comprehensive for last though.  You would expect a barbecue company to give a Father’s Day Gift Guide chocked full of grilling related items, accessories and sauces.  You will find some of those here, but being the renaissance men that we are, we wanted to provide you  a list of items that addresses all the parts of good ole dad.  Dad isn’t a one dimensional guy and while he may love barbecue and grilling the most we are betting he also has a humorous side and an intellectual side as well.  So our gift guide was designed to address every side of your special guy’s persona and give you ideas in which we know he would love.

Idea 1 – T-Shirts

Before you think we’ve lost our marbles and have gone all cheap on dear ole dad hear us out.  If your dad is stuck in khakis or slacks and a button down all day, at that 9 to 5 grind he calls a job to put you through school, then I can promise you one of his favorite things to do is put on a pair shorts, a t-shirt and some comfy shoes and chill out.  To add to that putting on a funny t-shirt only makes it better.  So check out some of our favorites from Tanga.com all of which are under $10!

Idea 2 – Bacon

Dad understands that bacon is not a food it’s a lifestyle and we believe it’s one that should be celebrated in every way possible.  We firmly believe nothing says “I love you” quite like bacon.  So here are just some accessories that will be sure to please the giver-o-the-allowance.  If you want even more, even crazier gifts just Google “Bacon Gifts.”

The Bacon Wallet

Bacon Wallet – Because its cool! – $9

Bacon Hot Sauce

Bacon Hot Sauce – What’s better than bacon? HOT BACON! – $7

Bacon Bandages

Bacon Bandages – Because sometimes dad’s Ninja impersonation ends badly. – $5

Bacon Wrapping Paper

Bacon Wrapping Paper – Why? Because EVERYTHING should be wrapped in bacon. – $6

Baconnaise

Baconnaise – Want the ultimate BLT? Then you need this! – $15

 Idea 3 – Tech

Every dad is a tech dude to a certain extent, yes we know he still can’t program the correct time on the 15yr old VCR but we promise he will like these tech gifts.

Logitech Harmony 650

Logitech Harmony 650 – Because he deserves the remote control at all times! – $60

 Klipsch IMAGE S4 Earbuds

Klipsch IMAGE S4 Ear buds – Because yes your mother does talk too much…. sometimes.  shhh Dont tell! – $65

Roku LT Streaming Player

Roku LT – A Roku of his very own! He will love recording his favorite bbq shows on this! – $50

Idea 4 – Grilling

We know your dad is already the Greatest of the Grill Grates but just in case he isn’t or perhaps he just doesn’t have these items then you know what to do.  HOOK HIM UP!  These are the our personal favorite things from around the grill and we know your dad will love them as well.

Thermapen

Thermapen – Super fast and now even cooler! – $96

Firewire - Flexible Skewers

Firewire Flexible Skewers – These are awesome for those bbq grills that are tight on space! – $10

Victorinox Knives

Victorinox Knife Set – If dad travels to bbq competitions this is a fantastic set of knives to have! – $130

Grill Grate

Grill Grates – There arent many universal bbq tools that make everyone a better cook but this is one of them! – $55

MeatRakes

MeatRakes – Help dad stop fingering his food and RAKE some MEAT. – $20

Draper’s BBQ Moo’d Enhancer with Shaker – No list would be complete without some Draper’s products. This package contains our super successful beef rub and the best shaker dad will ever have! – $20

Yoder YS-640 Pellet Smoker

Yoder YS-640 Smoker – This smoker got the most votes on our panel for its combination of cooking size, features, build quality and pricing. – Starting at $1300

Idea 5 – Books

Before you start saying “books??? LAME!” Just wait and hear us out.  These aren’t regular books, they are reference/recipe books and are of course barbecue related.  These books represent a mix of our personal favorites along with the best that has been released this year.  I can promise dad will thumb through these books over and over again getting ideas and inspiration for his barbecue.  What we love about books is that they work just as well in great weather as they do in bad.  They are a year round gift that keeps us inspired and thinking about what we really love, barbecue.  :)  Oh don’t cry we still love you too.

Grilling & Barbecue - Cooks IllustratedSlow Fire by Dr. BBQ - Ray LampeWicked Good Barbecue - A. Husbands & C. HartBeerlicious - Ted Reader

Alright kids that pretty well covers it.  If you can’t find something on this list for the older dude in your house you call dad, well you just aren’t looking very hard.  We did our best to cover a wide price range and provide you with gifts that any dad would love to have.  In the end though we dads would prefer spending the day just hanging out, manning the grill cooking up something for those that love us and call us dad.  Of course doing that on a new pellet smoker, drinking a nice cold and frosty beverage, using new barbecue tools, to cooking up a new recipe from a book you got us wouldn’t be all that bad either.

Peace, Love and Pork Grease to all the men out there who go the extra mile to be involved in their families lives and earn the title Dad.

– Draper’s BBQ Staff

Share

Texas Jr Brush – Review

Share

I always seem to be the last to be in the “know” or at least the last to actually review / get the latest and best in barbecue gear. My introduction the Texas Brush is no different. I have seen them around on the internet and I’ve even seen some of my good friends, like John Dawson of Patio Daddio BBQ and Robyn Lindars of Grill Grrrl review them.

So when Jay Prince asked me to try out the Texas Brush in the Jr size and write a review I of course accepted. Jay’s idea was that I have several different types and sizes of barbecue pits that might be more of a fit for this hulk of a grill cleaner. For this review I decided to try the Texas Brush (TB from here forward) on our Old Hickory CTO, Tucker Cooker and Grilla Pellet Grill.

About Texas Brush
On the TB website there is a great story about where and how TB got started. I don’t think it needs too much added to it, instead I’d prefer to quote it.

“Founded in 1996 in Beaumont, Texas, the Texas Brush was the brainchild of two retirees eager to make a little golf money. What started as a few brushes, has evolved into a full-scale manufacturer with distribution nationwide.

The Texas Brush is no ordinary brush. Each brush is hand-crafted to achieve consistency and durability. All of our component parts have been carefully chosen and manufactured to our strict standards.

Each wood block stabilizer is cut from an actual tree, chosen for us in Gadsden, Alabama. We discard any discolored or blemished wood, then dry, cut and sand each block. Creating both an attractive and functional brush, for our customers.

Our handles are cut thick, 1-1/4″ and over 4′ in length, for comfort and safety. And as you may guess the handles are also made in Texas.

The brushes we use are tempered carbon steel designed to take the heat.

Our goal is to offer innovtive and durable products that exceed the expectations of our customers.

Thanks for your support,”

EC Tuttle and Alvis Garretson
“The Brushmen”

Initial Impressions
The first thing you will notice when you get the TB is the size of the box. It’s a pretty good clue that this is NOT your average grill brush. The TB is large, heavy and almost menacing in its simplicity. I’m pretty sure the TB shares its DNA with some sort of medieval torture device. Essentially as you can see in the picture the TB consists of a couple of large wood blocks sporting two kinds of wire that is attached to a heavy broom handle.

There is nothing overly complicated about the TB but it is very, very well built.  Holding this thing up is akin to raising Thor’s hammer to the sky and waiting for the God’s open the clouds in an attempt to get a glimpse of this mighty grime buster.  Ok, so that might be over stating it, but you get the idea.

The delivery of the Texas Brush occurred just before my trip to compete at the World Barbecue Cooking Contest at Memphis in May. So I did some basic testing with it and figured what better place to complete the review than at the competition since there are typically 4-5 Tucker Cooker’s there that need cleaning and about 15 different Tucker owners there to provide feedback.

Upon completion of the competition I posted on Facebook asking those that got some time with the TB to post the comments. Again, I think they speak for themselves.

“Well, I have to say this is a very nice brush for gettin’ the crud off… I used it over the course of Memphis in May on some grills that just weren’t going to get clean with some ordinary backyard grill brush. When you take a first glance at the brush you know it means business. When you put this brush in your hand you know you have a brush to clean with and it will get the job done! It wasn’t too heavy in weight but I didn’t have to use much pressure due to it had just enough weight but not overly weighted. You also have a choice of two types of bristles which to choose from aggressive and damn aggressive! The one side has nice stiff bristles to get the grime and caked on matter of the expanded grates with out effort while the other side you could use to get down deep and scrape off paint and rust if you needed too but your grill & grate would have to be a total train wreck if you need to use the side which these grates where almost to that point. It only took me a few minutes to knock out my job and got those cruddy grates nice and ready for the food to be cooked. When I get a chance one of the babies will be in my possession and you should get one too.”  – Capt Ron Worby

“I didn’t use it, but I have to say that thing was MASSIVE!” – Wayne Brown

“I used the brush at the site and ordered one on Monday– delivered yesterday.” – Jim Loggins

“I liked it and plan on ordering one.” – Hoyt E. Liggins Jr

My Thoughts
After Memphis in May and getting the chance to use the TB on a couple of our other pits I really like this brush. In fact it lives inside our Tucker Cooker now as part of our standard load out for cooking. The ultra stiff, thicker bristles will blast though any crud and took my grates down to bare steel with just a couple of passes. The finer, slightly less stiff bristles are prefect for every day clean up and are the side 98% of users will typically use.

The TB is large, that is true. Most who don’t have pro sized cookers will find it to be too big. For those of us though that have had to literally crawl inside of our cookers to clean them properly will love the size and reach of the TB.

The weight of the TB will turn off some, but while it is weighted I don’t find it overly heavy to use. That might not be the case for a petite woman, but I don’t think it would be that big of deal even then. The weight once you get the momentum going works in your favor and helps break up the crud even faster.

Texas is at the heart of the TB when you look at build quality. It is genuinely something you will pass down to your children and you can even order replacement heads and parts if you should ever need them. Seriously though I cant think of a way to use this thing enough to damage it though.

Some will balk at the price. I would equate the TB to the Thermapen. It’s just one of those things that until you use it or been around it you can’t understand how it’s worth the money. Once you have though, you get it and you order one without delay. When I consider that I have probably spent $100 in my life time on several other grill brushes, well the TB starts making a whole lot of sense. This is the last grill brush I will ever use or buy.

What I Like
– The TB just works. Simple as that. It does the job advertised with no fuss.
– Build quality – It’s built for a lifetime, literally. I will be passing this down to my children.
– Design – Simple, effective, heavy enough to be useful but not too heavy that its too big for larger pits.
– Modular Parts – If you ever some how managed to wear out a part of your TB you can order replacement parts, which is awesome.
– Made here – More things should be made in the USA, this is and I appreciate that.
– Options – You can work with the fine folks at TB and basically custom design and personalize your own brush.

What May Bother Some
– Size – Make no bones this thing is big. If you have a Weber Kettle this likely isn’t for you. This is for big pits weighing 100lbs or more. Otherwise I could imagine you could knock them over operating the TB.
– Price – It does have a high price of entry, but dare I say it’s the last brush you will ever buy. Try that with something you can get at Wal-Mart.

All in all the Texas Jr. Brush is a great product.  It is well made in the USA and is exactly what you would expect from something that carries Texas as part of it’s name.  Go buy you one, its the last grill brush you will ever need.

Shane

Share

Knives for BBQ – The Great Debate

Share

In the past year I have seen several articles, Facebook debates, forum rants and Twitter tussles over which knife one “must have” for barbecue competitions.  This debate is starting rival the wood versus charcoal versus pellet debate best I can tell.  I’ve read several articles and many blog posts on the subject as I have started to build my competition set.  So I decided why not throw in my 2 cents on the subject and cloud the issue even more.

The very first thing you need to consider when buying your knives is “how much knife can you afford?”  This will depend on how much money can spend obviously but for me it also is a factor of how much money can I comfortably live with if lose the knife or if they were to some how get damaged or stolen.  While I can afford a $200 hand made knife of the finest Japanese forged steel, I think it would be foolish to carry that knife and 3 or 4 of its friends to competitions.  If someone were to grab my knife case they would make off with $800 in steel and I would be crushed.

There is nothing wrong with spending that kind of coin on a knife, but in my opinion those knives have a place.  That place is at home in a fine walnut knife block or in your hand while you are using them.  I have a hard time believing that most real chef’s or people who work with blades day in and day out use these ultra expensive pieces.  To me it’s much like taking a $15000 ultra rare guitar and touring with it acrossEurope.  It doesn’t make sense when you can make the same music with a $1000 guitar and beat the crap out of it without the guilt and still cash checks.  The $1000 guitar is nicer than most guitars out there but isn’t an heirloom and it gets the job done at a professional level.  I think that is exactly what you should look for in a set of competition knives.  Something professional, cheap enough you can lose without too much guilt, but well built enough to take the hardships of real use.

The next thing most people consider is forged versus stamped or laser cut.  I used to believe I would only ever be satisfied with a forged blade and that I just HAD to have forged.  Let me just say I was wrong.  The new process of stamping and cutting is so much better than it used to be and they are putting out near forged quality at a small fraction of the cost.  Forged has it’s advantages, but I think more times than not it’s the perception that they are of higher quality that push the uninformed into thinking they have to have forged.  This article from Mark at Your Cutlery Helper has some great links and makes some great points in the forged versus stamped debate.  I won’t rehash all his points as he does a fine job laying out the argument.

My opinion on the debate between the two was settled when I got my first high quality stamped knife, a 6” boning knife by Victorinox.  I stumbled onto this knife during my research when I found a blog post by Danielle Dimovski (Diva Q) on her recommended competition bbq knives.  Admittedly I got a good deal on the knife as I only paid $18 for it, but I would have paid 3 times that much for it and still be happy with it.  This is the best knife I own for the money.  I feel lost when I am trimming meat without it.  It is simply awesome and means so much more to me than the money I paid for it.  What’s best is that if I lose I can get another one without guilt.  Heck, I could get a new one every year if I wanted to at that price.

Last thing to keep in mind when considering knives for competition is…YOU.  First and foremost do what works for YOU.  YOU have to use them.  YOU have to wash them.  YOU have to live with them.  It’s great to research and read, but never lose site that it’s your money and your gear.

So all of that said what knives do you “need” to compete?  I will be the first to admit I used to be a gear collector, I needed one of everything made and would pack that to the competitions “just in case” I needed it.  My load in and load out was nothing short of a beautiful disaster.  Thankfully, I took a class in this off season that drastically changed my perception of what I really needed to take to a competition.  I now do my meat trimming at home if at all possible which means much less gear and clean up.  That means I can make it through an actual competition with 3 knives, vice the 8 I used to take and much less to clean up.  I used to believe in using every knife for its specified purpose and only it’s specified purpose.  I have sense adopted more of an Alton Brown approach to things and I prefer devices that can “multitask” vice “unitask.”  For the purposes of this article I will include all the knives I use for trimming and turn in so you get a full picture of what is really needed.

Knife 1 – A boning, trimming knife.  You will use this knife to trim up your chicken before the competition, to get in tight spots on briskets and butts during trimming and also for surgical “clean up” cuts before turn in.  It’s small, sharp, pointed and easily maneuverable.  This knife for me replaces a pairing knife more times than not.  You may find you need a pairing knife; I don’t so you may want to add that one into the mix if you feel strongly about it.  As I already mentioned above the Victorinox 6” Boning knife, model number 40615 is the winner for me.  You may prefer a flexible boning knife vice the stiff one I chose.  Both work fine, I just prefer the stability of the stiffer blade.

Knife 2 – a long slicing knife with a granton edge.  This knife you will use to draw through brisket in one single motion for the cleanest cut possible.  It is a little more of a unitasker than I prefer, but a needed one.  You can use it for slicing money muscles in your pork butts and for dividing your ribs as well but its primary shining purpose is perfectly slicing wide slices of meat.  There is debate between 10in, 12in and 14in models and yes there are many perverted jokes about length that can be made here.  For most briskets and applications the 12in will do the trick best I can tell.  The 14in is great, but it can be a bit unwieldy.  No matter which you choose you will want to practice with it.  This isn’t a knife everyone can pick up and be a pro with.  Practice trying to make deli thin cuts on a ham, turkey or some roast beef.  It takes a little bit of concentration to break the habit of sawing back and forth like we are so used to.  That is completely opposite to this knife’s DNA.  It is purpose built for single drawing cuts.  Be forewarned granton edged knives in the 12in size range from $20 to $300 and vary greatly.  One of the best reviewed one’s out there that got the Cook’s Illustrated seal of approval is also one of the cheapest.  The Victorinox 12in Granton Slicer, model 47645 is a clear winner for the money.  For just under $40 it’s the best slicer you are going to find.  There are others that are awesome, but they are also in the $150 range.

Knife 3 – Utility knife.  This can be any size, any brand and any type you want.  I recommend keeping one knife in your mix that you can hack open bags of charcoal, cut rope with, stab creeping marauders who try to steal your ribs, etc.  This is the throw away knife.  You treat it like crap and go get another.  Some folks keep a pocket knife with them, some don’t.  I keep a cheap $6 chef styled knife in my tackle box that serves this function for me.  It doesn’t keep a good edge, it isn’t pretty but it works for opening packages and what not.

Believe it or not these three knives are all that I actually need for the competition.  I am working on becoming a true minimalist.  I know you are asking already what about shears, cleavers, a real chef’s knife, etc.  I have all of those, but they stay at home because the trimming is done at home.  Check out the next few knives for the one’s I would recommend in addition to the boning knife for trimming and prepping competition meat.

Knife 4 – Breaking Knife.  This knife can come in many incarnations.  What you need though is a larger knife that can break down meat and trim fat from briskets and pork butts adequately.  For some that is a nice butcher, breaking knife or cimeter (scimitar) knife.  For other’s a chef’s knife works.  While the chef’s knife is another great multitasker I don’t prefer it in this application.  For me it’s best for chopping and prep more so than breaking down large cuts of meat.  I much prefer the curved blade design of the other types of knives.  For me it really came down to the cimeter versus the butcher knife.  In the end the butcher won out.  It came down to pricing and I was already fairly attached to another butcher styled knife so I knew this one would be an easy transition.  I went with the Victorinox 10in Granton Edge Butcher, model 47638.  Be sure to shop around on this knife as I’ve seen the price vary as much as $30 on it, but for around $40 you will have an awesome knife to break down nearly anything.

Knife 5 – I will throw this one in just because this is the “go to” knife for most cooks.  The chef’s knife comes in a million incarnations and the trend now is between the santoku and the traditional chef design.  I’m not here to really say one is better than another.  For me it was the difference between rocking movements or chopping movements when using the knife.  If you are a rocker you want the curve of the chef’s knife.  If you chop faster than Morimoto then the santoku is likely more for you.  If you still have questions (and you should) as to which is right for you check out this article.  It is a good starting resource for figuring out which is best for you.  Which did I choose? All of them but in 3 incarnations.  I have a standard chef’s knife that I use.  I also own a straight handled traditional santoku.  Then I have what has become the rage in the last couple of years, which is basically a hybrid.  It has the handle more akin to the chef’s knife but a santoku blade.  This is the one I tend to grab out of the drawer more than the others.  I can’t any longer find it online to show it to you, but it is very similar to this one.   Again it’s nothing outrageously expensive, but it works and that’s what matters most.

Other Gear – There are 10 other kinds of knives and gear I could recommend.  Of those I would recommend a good cleaver, a good pair of kitchen shears, blade protectors for every knife and a good sharpening steel.  A quick word on each to help you in your endeavor to find the best your dollars can buy.  The cleaver in my opinion needs to have some heft and weight to it.  The idea is to be able to blow through bones when needed with it.  So keep that mind in your search.  They don’t have to be expensive to work.  The kitchen shears comes in a million varieties.  If you are going to be breaking down whole chickens with them get a hefty pair with good leverage and a set that breaks apart for proper cleaning if at all possible.  The blade protectors many over look, you shouldn’t.  This is for your protection as much as the knife’s.  This will set you back all of a couple of bucks per knife and will keep them from getting nicked and dinged as you toss them in a tackle box or drawer.  Last but not least, actually most importantly is the sharpening steel.  This is the one tool you will use EVERY time you use your knife.  Spend some bucks get a good diamond steel.  They aren’t cheap but makes your knives better and helps them last even longer in between professional sharpening.

Finally you will notice that pretty much every knife I recommended was from Victorinox.  Why?  Well, because they are doing it right at the right price.  They have great blades, non-slip grips and just plain work.  If I had to recommend another brand that is on par with the quality and pricing of this line it would be the Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe line.  Great knives, great value and easily found online or at any Restaurant Depot.

Happy cooking folks, I hope this has helped you make a decision that took me hours and hours of research to make!

 

Share

Some of Shane’s Favorites From Our Most Recent KC Trip

Share

I don’t often recommend products from other companies.  Its not that I don’t recommend other products or that I don’t find products that I like.  It’s just rare that it occurs to me to do so and when it does I don’t have the forum available to do it adequately.  Thanks to our new blog, where members of the DBQ Crew (name for the members of Draper’s BBQ) can post their thoughts, findings and musings, I do in fact have the ability to make those recommendations.

This past weekend Mike Owings and I took a competition BBQ class out in Kansas City.  It was a great experience, but I will save the actual details of that for Mike to write about from his perspective before I give too many details away.  During the course of this class we tried about 10 different sauces and rubs.  We also made a stop by The KC BBQ Store in Kansas City and tried another handful of products.  Note that all the links are to The KC BBQ Store….yeah they are our newest store so I got to support those that support us.

During the trip I found some products that I really liked.  So what better way to say I like them than to tell you about them so you may add them to your competition or backyard flavor arsenal.  I won’t go too in depth on each product, as this is more to alert you to adding them to your list of “really should give a try” products.

Product 1 – The Slabs Birds & Bones “Stephy Style” Rub
I am a rub and sauce snob, so let’s start there.  I find few if any rubs / manufacturers are taking the time to develop balanced flavors that are more than salt and sugar.  What I mean by that is that many products are developed based on a single flavor or ingredient and then other ingredients are thrown in the mix in a effort to flesh out the rub into something use-able.  I think The Slabs have struck a great balance with this rub and it is a great offering.  Not too salty, too sweet, too savory or too hot.  Just a solid rub that will work in almost any setting.  Very solid chemistry going on with it and I can promise you it is winning on the competition circuit.

Product 2 – The Roasterie Coffee Barbecue Rub
Some coffee rubs I have tried are just too heavy on the coffee and it comes off as almost left over or stale coffee.  That is not the case here.  The coffee is a real, balanced ingredient. In short it was used properly as an ingredient to add an “Earthiness” to the flavor profile.  I can see where it would have been so easy to say “hey let’s add some coffee to our rub” and then proceed to have a rub that just tasted like it had coffee added to it.  This rub is much more than that.  You can tell there was process of testing that netted a formula where the coffee added was just enough to make a difference…but not so much to make it bitter or off putting in anyway.  In the flavor profile you first get savory with a hint of coffee, then you get the typical barbecue mix of paprika, chili, garlic and onion and it finishes with a touch of sweet.  Very solid and unique rub, give it a try on brisket.

Product 3 – The Salt Lick’s Original Sauce
I have tried literally hundreds of sauces.  To the point I am nearly ok with the disappointment that is associated with the process.  So few sauces try to add anything more to the game other than just trying to get their brand on a shelf.  Most are so down the middle that its disappointing.  Those that do try to do more than that typically fumble the ball and end up with something that ends up being flavored molasses.  I like sweet as much as the next guy, but never at the sacrifice of balance and other flavors.  If you built your sauce to compete with or as a homage to Blues Hog Original I probably don’t like it.  I know that is very blunt and not very nice, but its true.  In fairness to those sauces and especially to Mr. Arnold of Blues Hog I do like his two other flavors quite a bit more than the Original as they accomplish more than just being sickeningly sweet.

Enter The Salt Lick from Texas.  I have read several articles about The Salt Lick and their sauce.  I have wanted to try it for such a long time but never ordered any.  Finally I had my chance at The KC BBQ Store and I was NOT disappointed.  This sauce is fantastic.  Its very much a mustard sort of sauce.  You can tell this sauce would be AMAZING on some brats.  It is different, in a good way.  My only criticism is that the first ingredient is Soy Bean oil (I think it was Soy Bean anyway, but I know it was an oil) and while that coats the tongue I can see where it might strike some as odd.  Aside from that though, seriously one of the best sauces I’ve ever had and will be a mainstay at my house from here on out.

Product 4 – Oklahoma Joe’s Restaurant
I know its not actually a product, but they deserve some props.  I have never been to a restaurant where I thought they were doing literally everything well.  I’m not talking competition barbecue, but just plain old good barbecue.  Most restaurants fail at this miserably.  The good ones manage to have 3 or 4 good things on the menu surrounded by 10 other mediocre offerings.  The great ones manage to be good across the board.  Well let me tell you Oklahoma Joe’s is one of the great ones.  I had the pulled pork, the brisket, the sausage, the ribs and the onion rings.  Yeah…I was hungry but hey I was there to see if it was as good as everyone said.

The pulled pork was done KC style.  Meaning it was pork tossed in a tomato based sauce.  Not my favorite way, but there was nothing wrong with the meat.  It was tender, moist and smokey so I have no complaints because most don’t get that much right.

The brisket was great.  Very smokey, nice smoke ring, nice flavor, nice texture and still moist.  Not dripping-ly so, but plenty moist enough.  I’ve turned in competition brisket less moist on a bad day, so it was good.  I had this on a sandwich called the Z-Man which combines brisket, provolone cheese and two onion rings on a nice bun.  Seriously one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.  The super crunchy onion rings were just the ticket on the soft bun and brisket.  Fantastic combo that I will steal and incorporate into our food truck.

The sausage was a nice offering.  Not my overall favorite but nothing wrong with it either.  Nice pepper coming through, good savory notes, but it begged for some of The Salt Lick’s sauce lol.

The ribs were well cooked.  Slightly overdone, but that is to be expected and ok.  They had great smoke which is so rare in restaurant ribs.  They were not overly saucy, but sauced.  Overall very solid offering.  I have had better, but these were in the top 5 of restaurant ribs still.

So if you are ever in KC hit up OK Joe’s.  Its a great joint and when I finally get sucked in to opening our joint I can only hope we can consistently do as many things right as they do.

Product 5 – The KC BBQ Store
I know this is going to sound like I am sucking up since I just mentioned that they picked us up as a new brand for their shelves.  That said, what a great store and great bunch of guys.  Each were knowledgeable about just about every product in the store, and yes Mike and I did test them.  If they didn’t know the answer, they found it.  If they had not tried a particular sauce they said so, more times than not they had and did a good job of figuring out what we liked flavor profile wise and steering us to some new sauces to try.  I can only imagine they do this for everyone that walks through the door as their wall of sauces and rubs is very daunting.  The huge glass refrigerator set right by the check out counter was filled with pretty much every brand they carry and they allow much sampling.  If you are ever in KC be sure to stop in and say “hi,” pick up a case or three of Draper’s while you’re there, because they are the best in KC period.

Overall it was a great trip and even though I came home with a literal bag full of different sauces, rubs and memories these in my opinion were the best in the bag.

Share