Check it out.
Food's Biggest Scam: The Great Kobe Beef Lie
This is a great 3 part article about the true Kobe Beef. Not the kinda-like-Kobe-beef or my cow was related to a sister's brother's uncle and he was a Kobe cow, kinda beef.
Check it out.
Food's Biggest Scam: The Great Kobe Beef Lie
Some good refresher tips can be found here. The government likes to over do it on everything - BBQ is no exception. Precook meat in the microwave? Oh no they did not!
BBQ and Food Safety Guidelines From The USDA
By Jacob Katel
Leave it to the nofunsters at the FDA to take a beautiful concept like BBQ, the most perfect cooking method in in the history of civilization, and ruin it with their salmonella this, and cleanliness that.
What they think is so hard about doing it right, I just don't know. My method is grab a chicken leg, dip it in Everclear, light er up, blow, repeat, slather with ketchup, enjoy.
But you amateurs out there who need the government tellin you how to do everything (communists) might just wanna check out the FDA's Barbecue and Food Safety Guide. It's full of tips that only a dumbass like YOU could ever appreciate.
I went ahead and cribbed it in full from the Food Safety And Inspection Service website for your reading pleasure. Copyright? It falls under the web definition of the freedom of information act: if you can get it without paying for it then you're free to do whatever you want with the information. Full guide follows here.....
Barbecue and Food SafetyCooking outdoors was once only a summer activity shared with family and friends. Now more than half of Americans say they are cooking outdoors year round. So whether the snow is blowing or the sun is shining brightly, it's important to follow food safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing foodborne illness. Use these simple guidelines for grilling food safely.
From the Store: Home First
When shopping, buy cold food like meat and poultry last, right before checkout. Separate raw meat and poultry from other food in your shopping cart. To guard against cross-contamination -- which can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food -- put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags.
Plan to drive directly home from the grocery store. You may want to take a cooler with ice for perishables. Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.
At home, place meat and poultry in the refrigerator immediately. Freeze poultry and ground meat that won't be used in 1 or 2 days; freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.
Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water. You can microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.
A marinade is a savory, acidic sauce in which a food is soaked to enrich its flavor or to tenderize it. Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days. Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it. However, if the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a boil first to destroy any harmful bacteria.
When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth. Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40 °F or below. Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving home.
Keep Cold Food Cold
Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill.
When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Avoid opening the lid too often, which lets cold air out and warm air in. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler.
Keep Everything Clean
Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. To prevent foodborne illness, don't use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.
If you're eating away from home, find out if there's a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Or pack clean cloths, and wet towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.
Precooking food partially in the microwave, oven, or stove is a good way of reducing grilling time. Just make sure that the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking.
SAFE MINIMUM INTERNAL TEMPERATURES
Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts and chops can be cooked to 145 °F. Hamburgers made of ground beef should reach 160 °F. All cuts of pork should reach 160 °F. All poultry should reach a minimum of 165 °F.
NEVER partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.
When reheating fully cooked meats like hot dogs, grill to 165 °F or until steaming hot.
Keep Hot Food Hot
After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served -- at 140 °F or warmer.
Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook. At home, the cooked meat can be kept hot in an oven set at approximately 200 °F, in a chafing dish or slow cooker, or on a warming tray.
Serving the Food
When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Don't put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Any harmful bacteria present in the raw meat juices could contaminate safely cooked food.
In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should never sit out for more than 1 hour.
Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).
Smoking is cooking food indirectly in the presence of a fire. It can be done in a covered grill if a pan of water is placed beneath the meat on the grill; and meats can be smoked in a "smoker," which is an outdoor cooker especially designed for smoking foods. Smoking is done much more slowly than grilling, so less tender meats benefit from this method, and a natural smoke flavoring permeates the meat. The temperature in the smoker should be maintained at 250 to 300 °F for safety.
Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature.
Pit roasting is cooking meat in a large, level hole dug in the earth. A hardwood fire is built in the pit, requiring wood equal to about 2½ times the volume of the pit. The hardwood is allowed to burn until the wood reduces and the pit is half filled with burning coals. This can require 4 to 6 hours burning time.
Cooking may require 10 to 12 hours or more and is difficult to estimate. A food thermometer must be used to determine the meat's safety and doneness. There are many variables such as outdoor temperature, the size and thickness of the meat, and how fast the coals are cooking.
Does Grilling Pose a Cancer Risk?
Some studies suggest there may be a cancer risk related to eating food cooked by high-heat cooking techniques as grilling, frying, and broiling. Based on present research findings, eating moderate amounts of grilled meats like fish, meat, and poultry cooked -- without charring -- to a safe temperature does not pose a problem.
To prevent charring, remove visible fat that can cause a flare-up. Precook meat in the microwave immediately before placing it on the grill to release some of the juices that can drop on coals. Cook food in the center of the grill and move coals to the side to prevent fat and juices from dripping on them. Cut charred portions off the meat.
We are not knocking anyone putting together a BBQ class, but we do like to point out what others charge for, you could learn right here for FREE.
Taking the unnamed class below for $75 will show you how to prepare chicken and ribs. The same detailed lesson here and here with pictures will cost you a whopping...Nada. Zero. Zilch.
Free BBQ lesson are just that, FREE.
Class schedule from their website:
BBQ classes make great gifts especially with Spring right around the corner! Call us today for more information on our classes or to reserve your space for the next class!
ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR: PITMASTER ********* Experience in food, hospitality and catering the best BBQ, I have decided it’s time to pass on my knowledge.
I was proud to put my years of grilling and barbecuing experience to good use: “I love sharing the knowledge I’ve gathered, and seeing people gain confidence. The pleasure they get from their own abilities, tasting food they’ve cooked and it tastes great, and knowing that they can do it again because they have the techniques and they can be creative with that, not just following a recipe.”
What I understand is that the Smokin’ Man BBQ course – the first of its kind in North Carolina – had to be structured and specific: “I didn’t want to create a course that just gave a few recipes – I really want people to learn everything they can: the how and why. Thus, the reason I wanted to do these BBQ classes for Raleigh/Triangle and Eastern North Carolina.”
BBQ 101: Ribs & Chicken
Each student will get his or her own slab of spare ribs learn to cut them down to St. Louis Style Ribs, a chicken breast and a chicken quarter to prepare. Chef Steve, will take you through the entire grilling process and cover topics such as different types of grills and smokers and common mistakes when grilling and smoking. Students will eat mouth-watering smoked chicken for lunch and take a “smoked to perfection” slab of St. Louis Style Ribs home.
Space is limited to 12 students per class.
BBQ Topics Covered:
Time: 10am – 3pm
*Includes one slab of St. Louis Style Ribs, one chicken breast and one chicken quarter per person. Also includes instruction, additional refreshments, rubs, sauces, tools and use of equipment.
I had a chance to judge my first KCBS BBQ contest this past weekend. The event was held at the Santa Anita Race Track and it was a simply perfect day for BBQ; aka typical California weather.
The judges were a mix of the what the stereotypical BBQ judge would look like if someone asked you to describe one - complete with a big belly and suspenders. But the judges also included tiny guys that looked like vegetarians (these little guys were of course the ones that could eat the most BBQ).
The BBQ was fantastic - just like you would expect from a stacked field of 49 professional teams. Chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket were all sampled and scored for appearance, tenderness, and taste. Slap Yo Daddy came out on top (no shocker). All the results can be seen here.
For a great set of pictures and a write up about the event check out the Meat Me Blog.
by: Jim Shahin
They arrived in southern California, some yearning to win the big prize, others content to watch and hope that one day they might be up on that stage.
No, the National Barbecue Association’s National Conference and Trade Show.
Held the past week in San Diego, the event was just like the Academy Awards — well, if Hollywood preferred downhome bonhomie over high-wattage glitz, big-bellied pitmasters instead of gorgeous actresses and belching wood smokers rather than celebs on a red carpet.
Regardless of the scenery, some barbecue bigshots were on hand to assess the state of the industry and give awards to what they believe are some of their best. They were also there to schmooze; the convention is a place where major players (primarily in the restaurant industry) can introduce new products, hold seminars and talk turkey. Well, ribs, really. And pulled pork and brisket.
This year’s keynote speaker was John Markus, executive producer of the TLC network’s “BBQ Pitmasters.”He talked about the upcoming “BBQ Pitmasters,” which will switch to a new network.
In attendance were such luminaries as Mike Mills, who, known as “The Legend,” has won several major championships and oversees the pits at six restaurants.
Pulling a last-minute no-show was Brad Orrison, pitmaster of the renown five-outlet chain, The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint. He’s no Woody Allen, though. Unlike the famed director whose absence from the Oscars is routine, Orrison stayed home to rebuild the original Shed location in Ocean Springs, Miss., which burned to the ground a couple of weeks earlier. In solidarity for their colleague, the NBBQA obtained a piece of aluminum siding for Orrison’s new place and asked attendees to sign it.
Among the issues discussed was the state of the industry; it was generally regarded as healthy, said Jeff Allen, NBBQA’s executive director.
“Barbecue restaurants are showing some pretty robust growth, despite the economy,” Allen said. “The question is, what is the quality of those restaurants and how long will they be around?”
Allen’s words struck Smoke Signals as remarkably candid. In the tidal wave of new restaurants, their quality is the big question. On the one hand, massive ovens, enhanced by a log smoldering in a chamber, has made it easier to turn out good, consistent barbecue. On the other, those technological wonders can result in mounds of inferior smoked meat.
Allen said there seems to be two trends in contemporary barbecue: a dilution of regionalism and a rise of competitions. “Convergence of all the barbecue styles,” he said when asked about trends. “The world is getting smaller and people are opening up to other styles. That is one of the reasons we came to California — to expose people to Santa Maria-style [beef tri-tips]. The regional styles are starting to pop up in regions all across the country. Tri-tips might be the next big thing.”
As for competitions, Allen called them the bridge between backyard barbecues and the restaurant industry. “It used to be this little subculture and now it’s become. . .hard to go to almost any town and not find a competition,” he said.
So, you’re wondering, great, but who won the big event, the Barbecue Awards of Excellence? Some 350 products were entered into the competition. There are too many awards to go into here.
This past weekend, we witnessed if you smoke it - they will come, as the Pitmasters traveled to sunny San Diego to partake in pure BBQ nirvana.
We attend the National Barbecue Association NBBQA annual convention. We pulled in early and immediatly knew were home. The smell of sweet smoke filled the parking lot. We walked around the pits and introduced ourselves to the competitors we did not know. They were halfway through a cook for the Peoples Choice competition that would happen later that day.
Two half day classes, and a smorgasbord of BBQ later, we were certified in Memphis Barbecue Network and as KCBS judges.
For a great detailed write up of our day check out Dirtysmoke's blog.
Limited supply...hot off the press...act now, blah, blah, blah blah...
We are not selling these (yet), but we think they are pretty cool.
Anytime you can mix Einstein and BBQ wisdom, you are doing something right, right? Check them out.
What do you guys think?
Made some killer tri-tip this past weekend. We are putting together the how to list and will post soon... stay tuned.
Click on the picture for more...
Buying a turkey to smoke for Thanksgiving
Don't wait until the last minute to buy a turkey. Frozen turkeys will take 2 to 3 DAYS to defrost in the refrigerator before you can even start to brine them for 12 to 24 hours.
A 10 to 12 pound turkey is the perfect size turkey to smoke. If you need more meat buy 2 and smoke 2 - it is better than trying to smoke a single 22 pounder.
Now, there are full blown fights going on between BBQ gurus as to which type of turkey to use to when smoking a turkey. The purest say nothing but a free range, nothing added, turkey will do. While we agree with them, we also know these turkeys cost 10 times what a minimally processed turkey* does. The 12 pound turkey used for this bbq lesson cost under $19 bucks. The same size free range turkey was on "sale" for $58! Furthermore, don't believe the hype that you can't or shouldn't brine a processed turkey - that's all we do and they turn our great! *usually says % solution injected, the lower the better, but no more than 8%
We have smoked tons of turkeys and have never had a complaint or a question about how the turkey was processed. Bottom line: brine, rub, and smoke the turkey correctly and the only thing yours guests will be concerned with is can they have seconds.
Brining the Turkey
There are Ph.D level dissertations on what brining is and how it works at a molecular level all over the web. If you're looking for the theory behind the brining process you're in the wrong place. The quick and dirty is it that brining really works. Brining a turkey makes it moist and tender throughout. It is the same trick that every high end restraunt uses to make their polutry so tender and juicy.
So, what the heck brine you ask? A brine is water and kosher salt. We like to keep our turkey brine simple. No bay leaves, no magic powders. Let the smoke and rub flavor the turkey.
Patio Pitmaster's Smoked Turkey Brine:
1 gallon water
1 cup KOSHER Salt (NOT TABLE SALT)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
mix until salt and sugar are dissolved
*Double recipe if needed to cover turkey(s)
Place turkey in an extra large (the huge ones) ziplock bag and stand up in a stock pot. Place in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
1 hour before your cook, remove from brine and rinse brine completly off your turkey. Every nook needs to be rinsed and hand scrubbed with cold water. Make sure to rinse the cavity several times with cold water.
Pat entire turkey complete dry with paper towels.
Rubbing the Turkey
After completely dry, brush turkey with a light coating of vegetable oil and dust with Patio Pitmaster Cheap and Easy Rub.
Smoking the Turkey
Prepare your BBQ using the minion method. Turley needs to cook at a higher tempature than any other meats that you have learned to cook here. For this reason, DO NOT add any water to your Weber Smokey Mountain water pan. This will allow the your smoker to cook at a higher temperature for a faster cook. We like to use chunks of apple or cherry wood for this turkey.
Place your turkey on the top grate - no need to turn or baste the turkey for the entire cook. Brining took take of all that.
When the internal breast temperature reaches 160°, it is time to pull your smoked turkey off the BBQ (anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours).
While resting, your turkey will rise to 165° (more like 170°) and will be perfect. Our free BBQ cheat sheet will give you chef recommend temperatures for every BBQ lesson we teach here.
This cook demonstrates another reason to invest in a remote wireless BBQ Thermometer set. Check the temp of the pit and your smoking turkey from the comforts of your home. We can't say enough about this handy device.
Resting the Turkey
Let your turkey rest on your cutting board for 20-30 minutes. If you cheat this step, you may undue all your work for the last few days.
Carving the Thanksgiving turkey
After resting, carve your turkey with an electric carving kinfe (if you have one) or a sharp carving knife. This turkey is guaranteed to be one of the best you have had. Moist, flavorful, and tender are just a few things that will come to mind when you bite into your smoked turkey masterpiece. Enjoy!
"Do you want to compete with the best BBQ cooks at the biggest BBQ contests? Have you ever wanted to be in the tent of a World Champion BBQ cook during a contest? Well, here is your chance to learn the competition secrets Competition. The class is $500 per person plus a $250 spouse fee if your spouse will be attending with you."
This is an ad for a real BBQ class. Sounds great, until you get to the price. Who is paying this kinda cash to learn how to BBQ? Not us and that's for sure. We have read tons of books on BBQing, grilling, competition BBQ, cold smoking, KCBS traditions, the list goes on. Finding, reading and really practicing what is in these books takes time, but we are giving you what we have tweaked over the years here for free. BBQ classes have there place, but so do free sites like ours that will teach you just as much as the one-day-give-me-your-wallet-and-everything-in-it class.