Product Review: GMG Fruitwood Blend Pellets

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pellets

Our good friends at Green Mountain Grills supplied me with a 28 lb. bag of their new Premium Fruitwood Blend Pellets to try out and give a review on.  Now fans of Drapers BBQ know that we are huge GMG fans.  We love our Daniel Boone’s and our Jim Bowie’s.  I personally have held off using GMG’s branded pellets for 2 reasons.  Number one is there is not a dealer close to me and pellets are like propane when you need them you need them quick.  Number 2 was their lack of fruit-wood flavors.  I love apple, peach and cherry flavor pellets when cooking on my GMG.  The folks at GMG have heard our requests and developed a fruit-wood blend.   How would they compare to some of the pellets I have been using?  Well let me tell you.

I opened the bag for the first time and I was greeted with a fruity aroma.  I could not make out what fruit (as it is a blend) but it did smell sweet.  The pellets were lighter in color that the other brand I was using previously.  I don’t know that this makes a difference at all but thought I would report it anyway.  The pellets appeared to be well made.  They were solid and not crumbly and a variety of different sizes from half and inch to an inch long.  GMG claims that they have less dust than other brands of pellets.  I would tend to agree with that.  I have only ever used 2 other brands and GMG appeared to have less dust.  No scientific test to back that up just my 2 eyes checking.

I cooked 2 different meats with these pellets on 2 different days.  I had a 5 hour rib cook at 230 degrees the entire cook and a 12 hour brisket cook at 225 degrees the entire time.  I added a few different pellets at the end of the brisket cook just to make sure that I did not run out but do not think I used much if any of those.  All in all I got 17 hours of cook time from a 28 lb. bag.  I was pretty pleased with that pellet usage and the usage was right in line with what I usually use.

Results.  That is what we are all about at the end of the day.  Were the ribs and brisket good?  How was the smoke ring?  How was the flavor?  These are the true tests of how good the pellets really are.  rib 6-13Lets start with my ribs.  Excuse the bragging here but I do think these were right up there with some of the best ribs I have ever made.  Tried some new things with this cook.  I tried a new blend of spices (Drapers AP as a base), did not wrap them, and the pellets.  Look at that smoke ring.  It is huge.  The ribs did not have an over smokey flavor.  You could really taste the meat and the rubs used.  My eight year old son ate half a slab and he is like Mikey from the old Life cereal commercial.  He won’t eat anything.  Now for the brisket.  It was a good brisket not a great brisket but a lot factored into that.  I think I put a little to much rub on it and left it on about 30 min to and hour too long.  The bark was a little crusty and I don’t think I got the smoke penetration I was looking for.  It was a little roast beefy but good.

I have only one request for the good folks at GMG.  I would like to see the breakdown of the fruit-wood blend and what type of fruit-wood it contains.  The pellets performed very well during both cooks and I would not hesitate to use them again.  With the fact that GMG gives you 8lbs more that the leading pellet brand for the same price it is a no-brainer to go pick a bag up.  Check your local retailers for some new GMG Fruitwood Blend Pellets.  I highly recommend them.

 

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Code 3 Spices – Eating good with a cause

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While trolling through Facebook a few months back I came across a post from a company called Code 3 Spices based out of St. Louis, MO.  Code 3 has an always expanding line of BBQ rubs and they donate 10% of proceeds to charities involving the families of First Responders and the Military.  I contacted Chris at Code 3 and requested a sample to review for this blog and he was kind enough to send out a 3 bottle sampler pack containing Rescue Rub, Backdraft Rub and 5-0 Rub.  Here are my thoughts and how I used each.

Rescue Rub

This is Code 3’s all purpose rub.  It goes well on everything from veggies to meat.  I chose to use this to smoke 3 Boston butts for our upcoming Boy Scout camp out.  After trimming the butts and coating them with a little oil, I liberally applied about 1/3rd of the bottle over the entire butt.  I let the meat rest over night (5 hours) in the fridge with the rub on to let the flavors of the rub get into the meat.  Upon pulling the meat out of the fridge, I noticed that a nice kind of crust had already formed on the outside and that not a lot of fluid had been pulled out of the meat as some other rubs do.  I put the butts on my Yoder YS640 pellet grill using apple pellets for about 12 hours at 250 degrees until the internal temp of the meat was 195 degrees.  I then let them sit for an hour to rest and soak up some of the drippings in the pan.  I taste tested the pork while pulling it and it had a nice flavor with good balance and one heck of a smoke ring.  One ingredient did not stand out more than the other.  Overall a very solid all purpose rub.

Code 3 Rescue Rub Pork butt after being pulled.

Code 3 Rescue Rub Pork butt after being pulled.

Backdraft Rub

This is the spicy rub of the code 3 bunch.  While watching  a BBQ PItmasters marathon on Super Bowl weekend I got the idea from Diva Q to make chicken lollipops for the Super Bowl Party I was going to go to the next day.  This spicy rub was perfect for it .  It was not as spicy as a buffalo type seasoning but just enough kick for you to know it was there.  Coated half the lollipops with Rod Gray’s Eat BBQ The Next Big Thing BBQ (sweet) sauce and half with Angry Nephew’s BBQ (ghost pepper hot) Sauce.  The rub was complimentary to both sauces.  Backdraft Rub gave a little bite to The Next Big Thing sauce and gave a depth of heat to the Angry Nephew’s sauce.  Men liked the hot and Ladies and kids liked the sweet.   I received so many compliments on these that my wife made me make them again.

Chicken lollipops with Backdraft Rub.

Chicken lollipops with Backdraft Rub.

5-0 Rub

The last rub we come to is the 5-0 Rub.  It is a sweet and spicy rub.  I also detected a little bit of a smoky flavor similar to chipotle pepper.  I decided to use this rub on a tri-tip along with a little extra kosher salt.  I reverse seared the tri-tip and it had a really nice crust on it.  The combination of the smoke and the 5-0 Rub made this the best tri-tip I have ever made.  The heat was not overpowering and the sweet was very subtle.  I tasted beef first and spice second as an accent.  I really liked this rub.

All 3 rubs were great.  The only issue I had was with the clumping of the product.  It did clump somewhat in the bottle but a quick shake with the lid closed loosened it right up.  The rubs were very fresh, had good color and aroma and terrific taste.

Once again Code 3 Spices donate a portion of the proceeds to charities involving families of the Police, Fire, Ambulance responders and Military families.  They can also setup a fundraiser for your organization where the organization keeps 45% of what they sell.  This is good spice company, doing good deeds and making excellent BBQ rubs.  You can find them on Facebook and at code3spices.com .

 

 

 

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Intensity Academy’s Chai Chipotle Hot Sauce

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Hey folks it’s time for installment number two in my review series of the Intensity Academy line of products.  If you missed last week’s review and want the full story on how this series came to be check our my review of their Garlic Goodness sauce.  Don’t worry this week’s review will be much more concise and to the point since I won’t be retelling the full back story of me meeting Tom Was at the Houston Hot Sauce Festival.

chiachipotle

On my way out the door I threw Intensity Academy’s Chai Chipotle Hot Sauce in my backpack since I was taking some pulled pork sandwiches to work for lunch.  I wanted something that would complement the pulled pork and completely overrun it with heat.  I figured based on the name “Chai Chipotle” that I would be fairly safe on the heat front.

The first interesting thing I noticed about this sauce was right there on the label above the name “All Natural Carrot Based Hot Sauce.”  Now being a bit new to the hot sauce world I knew that some hot sauces use carrots for a sweetener and for color, but I thought it was interesting that this sauce was celebrating the carrot so to speak.

Before I knew it, it was lunch time and time to break the seal on the bottle and get down to business.  As always I started with the sniff test.  The first thing you get is definitely a full bodied note of carrots.  It’s almost a fruity note.  It smells very fresh if not refreshing.  There is some vinegar there, but its a light back drop vice being in the forefront.

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Next came the plate test and the finger taste test.  Chai Chipotle is neither what I would consider thick nor would I call it thin.  It definitely has some pureed carrots and a few flecks of habanero in there.  It’s a fairly tame and non complicated looking sauce.  If anything it’s lighter color and lack of variation is the story.  This sauce is what it portends to be, a carrot based hot sauce.

For the initial taste test I put a fair amount on my finger and gave it the ole college try.  At first you get hit by habaneros which kind of surprised me because given the name I was expecting that smokey mellow heat of the chipotles up front.  Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t call this sauce hot, because it’s not.  In fact I would only give it a rating of about 1.75 to 2 on my heat scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being too hot for me to enjoy.  This sauce has some heat and the habanero and chipotle are both there, but they are not searing or unpleasant in anyway.  The surprise for me was more from my preconceived notion of what I thought I would taste heat wise. This of course caused me to grab the bottle and check the ingredients list.  Sure enough chipotle is towards the middle of the list versus at the top of heap, which explains its background note instead of the foreground spotlight.

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As for what else I tasted you definitely get carrots.  A very nice fragrant and fruity full bodied carrot sweet flavor is front and center.  It is followed up with the chipotle smokiness that adds to the body.  And just when you start wondering where the Chai flavor is, you get it right there as part of the ending body note.

2013-03-04 11.14.35By this time I was hungry and it was time to load some on my sandwich and see how Chai Chipotle was on something better than my finger.  As you can see from the picture I did not hold back or shy away.  I wasn’t afraid of the heat element of Chai Chipotle at all.  This sauce is much more about flavor than heat.  I will admit that by the end of the second sammich (that’s right sammich, not sandwich… that’s how we roll here in the South) I was sniffling a tiny bit.  The sauce added a nice body to the pulled pork but in no way over powered it.  The smoke was not over shadowed by the vinegar tang or the heat in anyway.  While I am thinking of it one other surprising thing about this sauce is how much of a background note the vinegar is in Chai Chipotle.  I am so used to most sauces being nothing but peppers, vinegar and water that when that is not the overall flavor make up of a sauce it catches me off guard a bit.  Part of me thinks perhaps the sauce could have a bit more vinegar kick, but this sauce would be PERFECT for someone who doesn’t like that hyper vinegar hit that most hot sauces have as their predominant element.

The following morning I was eating a Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich that consisted of a sausage patty and egg whites on a croissant.  As soon as I took the first bite I thought “hmm I bet this would be better with some of that Chai Chipotle sauce on it.”  So I tried it.  And sure enough it was PERFECT.  Great flavor and just a touch of heat.  That is my problem with some hot sauces I use for breakfast they are just too strong for me in the mornings and my tongue just isn’t ready for them more times than not.

So what’s the final verdict?  Well, it’s another solid offering from Intensity Academy.  Not a thing wrong with this sauce.  It might not be my personal “go to” sauce to put on everything, but I can see why it would be for other people and it will be on my breakfast table from here forward.  It’s a unique sauce in that it strives to be a right down the middle honest offering.  Not too hot, solid fruity sweetness with full bodied flavors and a nice medium consistency.  If you are looking for a non offensive sauce to perhaps start someone on their path to becoming a chilehead, Chai Chipotle could very well be that gateway drug you are looking for.

Until next time folks….Love, Peace and Pork Grease!

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Gargantuan Garlic Greatness in a Bottle

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Every so often I come across a product that I think “nice idea, but I bet the final delivery is lacking.”  That happens to me a lot especially with hot sauces and rubs.  Everyone is trying so hard to just put out products that so many times the final delivery is something muddled and less than awesome.  This phenomenon evidently does not affect the fine folks at Intensity Academy.

I was first introduced to their line at the Houston Hot Sauce Festival in September, but more importantly I met Tom Was co-founder and co-creator of this line of products.  Tom told me how he and his amazing wife Michele started Intensity Academy as a part of their love for all things spicy.  I sampled a couple of products and quickly nabbed a couple of hot sauces (Hot Squared and Hot Cubed) and some of their Chai Thai Teriyaki.  Unfortunately I only had a couple of minutes to sample just a few products before having to run back to our tent since we were cooking ribs for the rib cook off we were competing in for Chile Pepper Magazine.

Later that night I was blessed with getting to sit down and really talk business with Tom and Tracy Carter (JAC’s Tailgaters) and some of their friends.  It was there that I really got to understand more about Intensity Academy.  If Tom, Michele and crew were a recipe for success in a cook book it would read:

  • 4 parts Passion
  • 3 parts No Comprised Ingredients
  • 2 parts Commitment
  • 1 part Perseverance
  • Combined for a perfect 10 of flavor

This recipe is the same one followed by every sauce, rub and bbq company I know of that are doing it right.  Tom and Michele really have crafted, what is in my opinion, one of the most comprehensive and different line of products available out there today.

Fast forward a couple of months to mid January, I was rifling through my cabinet and literally “clanked” into a bottle and looked to see what it was to find it was that bottle of Chai Thai Teriyaki that I bought back in Houston.  I was making some ribs and thought to myself “hmm I bet I could make some pretty bangin’ ribs with that.”  So I raided the pantry and pulled out some ingredients to make an impromptu rub with Asian flair to complement the Teriyaki.  Long story short those ribs were the hit of the night.  They got as much rave review as the Angus ribeye’s I did and that is saying something because those were some of the best steaks I had ever cooked….ever.  They were so good I dreamt about them that night and got up at 2 in the morning to raid the fridge for a couple of those ribs.  They were GOOD.  Stay tuned for more on those ribs in a minute.

Fast forward again about a month and Scott Roberts, blogger extraordinaire of ScottRobertsWeb.com asked me to do an interview with him as part of his Weekly Firecast Series.  I agreed and during the interview happened to mention some of personal favorite products that included Intensity Academy and JAC’s Tailgaters.    Tom happened to listen to this podcast and messaged me on Facebook wanting the recipe to the ribs.  I told him I would have to order more of the Chai Thai Teriyaki so I could formally write it up since I winged it and wanted to do it write if he was going to publish it.  I was planning on ordering more of IA’s products anyway since I had been really wanting to try some of their Chai Chipotle ‘Chup and Green Tea Gourmet ever since I saw them in Houston.

Well yesterday I get home to find a HUGE box sitting on my doorstep.  I was really taken back by it because I didn’t remember ordering anything that would be in a box that size.  So I glanced at the label and saw it was from Tampa, so I knew it had to be from Tom.  I wasted no time in ripping into it like a fat kid into a box Duncan doughnuts.  I found bottle after bottle of awesomeness and thought to myself that I might as well do a full review series of the product line since, well…I had pretty much the whole line right there.

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Being a Friday night it happened to be pizza night at our house.  Mike and Debra brought over some thin crust pie from one of more favorite joints, J. Bella’s.  As I was putting up the bounty of bottles from IA I spied with my little eye the bottle of Garlic Goodness and thought, “I bet that would work on pizza so let’s give a try.”  I was a little bit apprehensive I must admit.  Garlic is not one of my favorite flavors.  I am pretty sensitive to it and can pick it out a mile away typically and I personally think that it get’s used with a bit of a heavy hand by most.  Then I remember Tom mentioning something about there being like 100lbs of garlic in every 50gal batch of this sauce.  So now I was flat out worried that I would not like it, but knew I just had to try it because where others fail someone has to succeed and if anyone could pull it off Tom and Michele hopefully could.

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So I uncapped the bottle and give the sniff test.  All I can say is HOOOOOOOOOOOOLY COW the garlic was so stout smelling that it took my breath.  This stuff is so stout I swear you could just wave some french bread over the bottle and have instant garlic bread lol!  It is strong, it is pungent, it is GARLIC.  You can smell every ounce of the 100lbs of garlic they use in each batch.  It so fresh smelling it’s almost dumbfounding.  So then a small voice in the back of my head whispered “oh yeah fat boy I bet this gives you some wicked heartburn later.”  Irregardless I had to try it.  I just had to know did this taste of dark, murky, dank garlic or did IA manage some sort of culinary miracle and balance this into a great sauce?

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Next came the plate test.  So I poured a nice glob on a white paper plate.  A couple of things hit you right off.  Firstly the chunks of garlic in there.  Second is that this sauce has a enough body not to ooze all over the plate.  It expanded a little bit but held the shape you see in the picture.  The last thing you notice is what is not as over the top…the intense garlic smell.  Out of the bottle the garlic smell is tamed, it is not shocking, it becomes instead pleasant.  It smells like you chopped up a fresh clove only it smells even better.  If you keep sniffing you can pick up on the vinegar that is in the sauce.  Once I smelled this I had to check the label because it wasn’t just plain old vinegar it had something else going on.

2013-02-23 09.19.26Yup, it was Red Wine Vinegar, my personal favorite vinegar next to balsamic vinegar.  The ingredients on the list are as straight forward as they come.  Nothing you can’t spell, nothing unnatural.

Now came the time of reckoning….the taste test.  As always I started with it raw on my finger.  No, its not as sanitary or “pure” as tasting from a spoon, but I’m not a hot sauce purist, I’m a realist.  I’m real in that I don’t like hot for hot’s sake.  I NEVER like heat without flavor and you will never hear me say “the hotter the better” unless we are talking about swim suit models.  With the sauce raw on my finger I got an immediate garlic hit and it was a very solid hit, but not in any way dark or murky as I thought it might be.  The red wine vinegar does something amazing with this sauce, it allows the garlic to be pungent without being over powering.  It is the horn section to the garlic’s p-funk base line…it is the yin to the garlic’s yang.  Next you get hit with this sense of freshness and then finally some heat.  That freshness note I am betting is from the mix of the red bell pepper, onion and vinegar again.  It really makes the sauce have this lighter note in the middle which is great.  The heat is all habanero and black pepper.  On a heat scale I would say this is about a 3.2 on my scale of 5.  5 being too hot for me.  This is a solid heat that bites quickly and dissipates almost as quickly.  Overall this sauce is surprisingly good, even for someone who admittedly isn’t overly fond of garlic.

Finally was the food test on cheese pizza.  I loaded a fair amount on my slice and man oh man it was good.  It was VERY garlic but it was refreshing and unexpected.  I didn’t really any intense “heat” notes when I added it to the pizza.  So the heat while definitely present when tasted alone, tempers very nicely when added to food.

So where would I use this sauce?  Granted I have only tried Garlic Goodness on pizza so far but I can see this being a staple around my house.  I could see reworking something like 40 Clove Chicken with it or doing some over the top garlic bread by mixing the sauce with some butter.  It could easily be added to ANY soup that calls for garlic.  It would go a very long way on virtually any seafood.  That hit of garlic with a touch of vinegar would be a welcome addition in something like Shrimp Scampi (great recipe that Michele did).  You could very easily make a garlic aioli by replacing the garlic with this sauce and adjusting the amount of lemon juice to compensate for the red wine vinegar.  This sauce would be right at home in pretty much any adobo recipe.  Something like Garlic Chicken Adobo would be greatly helped out with Garlic Goodness.  This sauce in short is at home in ANY recipe that calls for minced garlic.  I plan on amping up some stir fry and some Italian dishes we are cooking this next week.

I can’t say enough how impressed I am by the entire Intensity Academy line, but also Tom and Michele as people and business owners.  Each product is a jewel on it’s own and needs to be tried.  So hit up their site or drop Tom and Michele a note on Facebook and tell them Shane at Draper’s BBQ sent you and you are ready to take some classes at the Academy.

Love, Peace and Pork Grease folks….until next time.

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Eating out of the Box.

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We all seem to find ourselves in a rut sometimes. Whether it is the clothes we wear, the work we do or the places we go out to eat.  Living in Kansas City gives us numerous opportunities to go out for really great BBQ.  Literally hundreds of BBQ restaurants are located in the KC metropolitan area.  Why is it that we tend to migrate to only 2 of them?  When my family goes out for BBQ we tend to go to 2 of the biggest names in KC BBQ Oklahoma Joe’s and Fiorella’s Jacks Stack.  We love them both, get great service and terrific food, but what about all of the others?  Through Facebook, I got back in touch with a friend from high school.  He noticed some of (most of) my posts are related to BBQ.  We wanted to meet up for dinner and he suggested a BBQ joint that I had never been to.  I did not even know it existed and I drive by the area every day on my way to work.  This is not a review of the restaurant, as I did not sample enough off of the menu to give a full review.  This is just about the experience of going to a new place and having things that you would normally not have.  Eating out of the box and getting out of my rut.

My friend, Mike Anani, and I had been trying to meet up for dinner for well over a month and something always seemed to come up.  Finally we found a clear Saturday and made plans.  He knew I really liked BBQ and so did he.  He actually eats at a lot more BBQ restaurants than I do.  He said he had been coming to a new place for a few months and really liked it and wanted to share it with me.  Brobeck’s BBQ is the name of the place. Mike said it was in my neck of the woods.  My neck of the woods?  I had never heard of the place and was very sceptical if I would like it.  How could it be any good if I had not heard of it?

Saturday came and I managed to find Brobeck’s.  It is not really off the beaten path but is tucked away in the back of a strip mall, hidden from the major road I use to get to work.  The parking lot was full.  That’s a good sign that the food is good.  Mike and I walked in and got one of the last tables available and Mike began to tell me about a Ham Salad appetizer they had there.  Ham Salad I thought?  Yuck!  That sounds like something old people eat.  I had never had it before.  We ordered some.  The waitress who was very very sweet, brought it to the table in a bowl about the size you would use for cereal in the morning.  It was a huge portion.  The Ham Salad was served with crackers and Brobeck’s very own potato chips that they make at the restaurant.  It looked good. So I spread some on the crackers and dove right it.  It was fantastic!  I did not ask but I think they used BBQ smoked ham in it.  It was so good if I could get the recipe, I would make it at home and have it every day for lunch.  This was very unexpected.  I never wood have thought that I would have liked that.

After the appetizer, the waitress came over to take our dinner order.  She explained that they were famous for there ribs.  Famous I thought?  I have never heard of you but if it is the best thing you make I am all in.  I ordered a half slab of spare ribs with beans and fries.  The waitress explained that the ribs will come out dry (with no sauce at all) because they are so good you do not need the sauce.  This showed me the pitmaster is very proud of his ribs.  The waitress stated they had 2 sauces on the table Brobeck’s original which is sweet and tomato based and also Brobeck’s mustard sauce if we chose to use sauce.  She continued to say that they had a BBQ sauce bar.  Yes a BBQ sauce bar.  Brilliant idea.  This was a table next to the kitchen loaded with a number of sauces from KC Masterpiece to sauces from many local restaurants including Oklahoma Joe’s and Jack’s Stack.  Honestly, even though it is a great idea and I would like to get Draper’s Smokin Sauce on that table, I did not use it because I wanted to try Brobeck’s Original sauce.  It was tangy, and sweet with good flavor.  Good sauce overall.

Our meals came and my plate was overflowing.  Six meaty spare ribs with a serving of beans and a side dish of steak fries.  Outstanding.  I tried the ribs dry first and the waitress was right, they stood on their own with no sauce.  You could taste the smoke and the rub as very mild.  Not a lot of heat in the rub.  A good solid rib.  I tried it with the original sauce and the sauce  enhanced the flavor slightly but I preferred the dry rib.  What really made the dinner was the amount of meat and the flavor of the rib.  Out of the six ribs I could only eat three and took the rest home for lunch the next day. Overall it was an excellent experience for me and I would not hesitate to go back and try other things off of the menu.  The Ham Salad was fantastic and I would go there just for that item alone.  Maybe get a to go order for lunch during the week.  It is really addictive.

I know everyone has a favorite BBQ joint to go to but with all of the great ones out there you may be missing something special just down the road.  Something you drive by everyday and would never know it was there if someone would not have told you about it.  Look around, slow down and stop and smell the smoke once in a while.  Get out of your BBQ rut and try someplace new.  You may find a hidden gem or a diamond in the rough.

I would be neglecting my duty if I did not give you some info for Brobeck’s BBQ.  Their website address is http://www.brobecksbbq.com/.  Their address is 4615 Indian Creek Parkway Overland Park, KS 66207.  If you are in KC, check them out.

 

 

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Brisket with Butcher BBQ products

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Injecting meat to add flavor for BBQ is all the rage on the BBQ circuit.  Almost everyone (except Johnny Trigg) on BBQ Pitmasters was injecting some kind of meat .  I personally have used injections on turkeys and pork shoulders.  Some injections I have made myself and some I have purchased.  I had never, ever injected a brisket.  I wanted to try this out so I emailed the man that I knew could steer me in the right direction.  David Bouska from Butcher BBQ was the man to help me.  David is the owner of David’s Processing in Chandler, OK, Pitmaster of the Butcher BBQ cooking team and creator of Butcher BBQ rubs, injections, sauces and marinades.  I have seen Butcher BBQ at many of the contests I have competed in and he has always had good showings.  Infact he just won Grand Champion in Liberal, KS this past weekend.  When I emailed David and asked if I could have some products to review for Drapers, he was more than willing to oblige.  I asked David for all the ingredients necessary to cook a competition brisket.  What I received was a bag of Butcher BBQ Brisket injection, a bottle of Butcher BBQ Premium BBQ rub and a bottle of Butcher BBQ sweet BBQ sauce.  Here are my impressions of each.

Butcher BBQ Bricket Injection

I mixed the injection according to the directions on the package.  I whisked the mixture until I could see no lumps.  It did not take long at all. The powder went into solution well and did not clog my injector needle.  The aroma from the injection was not what I had imagined it would be.  I expected to smell spices and a strong beef aroma and that is not what I received.  It was not a bad smell just not what I expected.  I went ahead and injected my brisket in a grid pattern all over the meat and let it rest overnight.  The package of injection stated to let it sit a minimum of four hours.  My brisket sat for about seven hours.  Overall it was a very easy to use product and any BBQ’r should have no problem including this in a competition or home cook.  I will give you my overall flavor review at the end of the article.  This is my brisket after it was injected.

 

Butcher BBQ Premium BBQ Rub

 

I was very anxious to use this rub.  It had sat in my pantry for most of the summer while I was at Boy Scout camp and on vacation.  I did not want to use it until I had time to cook a brisket.  This rub has a great color and added a beautiful bark to the brisket that I cooked that day.  It is a salty and sweet rub.  Salty at the beginning and sweet at the end.  No heat at all.  It was well balanced and I could see it complimenting  the meat not covering it up.  I gave the brisket a good coating of rub (I used almost half the 12 oz bottle) after I had finished injecting the brisket.  Place foil over the top of the aluminum pan and placed it in the refrigerator overnight (about 7 hours).  When I pulled the brisket out in the morning, I  re-coated lightly with more rub and on to the the pellet grill it went.

Butcher BBQ Sweet BBQ Sauce

I usually do not sauce the briskets I cook.  I just prefer to have my sauce on the side when eating brisket.  I used Butcher’s sauce the same way, on the side.  Butcher’s is a dark, rich looking and semi-thick BBQ sauce.  I do believe that it could be used in competitions and at home. I tasted it straight out of the bottle first.  The first taste I detected was the vinegar in the sauce.  The sweet came through next and the finish tasted like raisins.  I know that sounds a little funny to some people but it did give me that impression.  It was sweet with no heat at all.  The vinegar gave it a little bite but was not overpowering the sauce.  The color and the thickness would give a nice competition presentation.

Overall Impressions

The injection worked wonders for my brisket. I cooked it for 7 and 1/2 hours on the GMG Daniel Boone  untill it reached 204 degrees.  I cooked at 225 degrees the entire cook and wrapped when the meat reached 140 degrees.  I used BBQr’s Delight Apple pellets during this cook. The meat was very tender and juicy.  It would have been considered mushy for a contest but that is the way my wife and kids like it.  It had big beef flavor.  I do not think it would have been that beefy and flavorful without the injection.  I loved the rub.  The brisket had a nice bark that tasted great and I think the rub would go equally good on pork or chicken.  Now on to the sauce.  While it is not something I would dip my french fries in, it did taste great on the brisket.  Remember, I dunked mine as I ate and did not coat the brisket in it.  I tasted the sweet of the sauce first then the beef flavor of the meat came through second. Butcher BBQ has a full line of rubs, marinades, sauces and injections for you to try out.  I can attest they make one fine brisket.  This is my finished product.

 

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Product Review: Green Mountain Grill Daniel Boone Pellet Grill

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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.

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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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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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Father’s Day Gifts – 2012

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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

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