Fri 30 Dec 2005
Posted by Hayden under Hayden Powers Restaurant ReviewsComments Off on THE BRICK PIT-MOBILE, AL.
THE BRICK PIT
5456 Old Shell Rd.
Mobile, AL 36608
Well Iâ€™m on the way to visit family in Pensacola, FL for the Christmas Holidays and thanks to the screwed up airlines I have to fly into Mobile, AL to get the best possible airfare. Now Mobile is only a little over one hour from Pensacola by car yet the good folks at Northwest Airlines want to charge me over $200.00 more to fly into Pensacola vs. Mobile. Doesnâ€™t make since to me. What it does allow me to do is to make a stop at a barbecue restaurant that Iâ€™ve heard about for several years and have wanted to check out.
I head out straight to The Brick Pit from the airport, not too long of a drive, and thanks to â€œMapquestâ€ directions Iâ€™m there pulling into the front parking area in a matter of a few minutes. Now let me say a couple of words about first impressions. The Brick Pit is not a fancy multi-unit franchise, cookie-cutter, prefab barbecue restaurant. No sir, The Bick Pit is located in what used to be a residential neighborhood. Most of the buildings in the immediate area are former homes that have now been converted into businesses. As you pull into the parking area you notice a beat up bullet style smoker next to the road with smoking bellowing out of the top vent. A welcomed sight to us bbqholics. As I make my way inside the front door several people are exiting carrying numerous boxes and bags with carryout meals. I enter the restaurant and Iâ€™m greeted with that heavenly scent of burning wood and smoked meat. I look around and quickly see the â€œorder hereâ€ window. The young lady behind the window is helpful answering my questions and I also view a menu. The menu is simple and straightforward. There are three meats offered here: Pulled Pork, Ribs and Chicken. You can order lunch size plates â€œBig portions served with Texas toastâ€ or Dinner â€œReal big portions served with Texas toastâ€ Side orders are Cole Slaw, Potato Salad and BBQ beans. Sandwiches are also available for Pulled Pork, Chicken and Sourdough Brick Bites in Pulled Pork and Chicken. Beverages offered are Iced Tea and Soft Drinks. The only dessert listed is Mrs. Waits Homemade Banana Pudding. And thatâ€™s it folks.
After I place my order I have some time to walk around and read the hand written comments left on the walls by visitors. There are numerous newspaper clippings and photos of the famous and not so famous. One area of particular interest is the â€˜Alabama Wallâ€ with comments left by former University of Alabama sports stars. Iâ€™m sure there was one for the Auburn folks, but I didnâ€™t care. As Iâ€™m reading the comments Bill Armbrecht, owner of The Bick Pit, comes over and we start talking BAMA football. By that time my order comes out and I head to the nearest table. Bill joins me as Iâ€™m eating what has to be some of the best pulled pork barbecue Iâ€™ve ever tasted. Now thereâ€™s no fat in this meat just lean, flavorful, moist barbecue. The sauce is wonderful adding a nice tart/sweet tangy bite to the meat. I had ordered two sides of Cole Slaw and Baked Beans. The slaw was very good with a sweet mayonnaise base dressing. The baked beans did not stand out but hey; I didnâ€™t come here for baked beans. As Iâ€™m eating my meal Bill comes out with a huge monster rib on a sheet of aluminum foil. Oh boy, my tongueâ€™s slapping my mouth in anticipation of what we are about to partake. The rib meat is perfectly cooked. A nice little pull, not fall off the bone tender. The flavor is outstanding, nice hint of smoke, not overpowering, just right. The smoke taste comes from a combination of Pecan and Hickory about Â¾ Pecan to Â¼ Hickory.
Now Bill and I strike up a conversation about barbecuing and how he got into the barbecue business. Bill is a former Yacht Captain who grew up loving barbecue. Over the years he became an excellent backyard BBQâ€™er and became frustrated that there were no decent barbecue restaurants in the Mobile area. So Bill opened up The Brick Pit several years ago. Billâ€™s cooking methods are simple and basic. No rubs or seasonings are used on the meats. He wants the smoke to add the flavor to the meats. Ribs are smoked for 12 hours, pork butts for 30 hours, and chicken for 6-8 hours. With these long cooking times the balance of woods used has to be just right or the smoke flavor will be too harsh. This explains the Pecan to Hickory ratios mentioned above. The sauce is homemade and adds just the right complement to the ribs and pork. Bill shows me a photo of â€œBig Redâ€ his smoker. There are no ovens or fryers used at The Brick Pit. All of the cooking is done on Big Red, sauces, beans etc.
Bill does not compete on the BBQ Circuit, probably a good thing for all the other competitors. He says he just doesnâ€™t have enough time. He does like competition though. When a well-known Alabama barbecue restaurant opened a location in Mobile Bill quickly developed a sign to hang out in the front for passersby to see. â€œThis ainâ€™t no Dream, Just the real thingâ€. Well said.
I would highly recommend The Brick Pit to anyone who is looking for authentic Southern Barbecue cooked the old fashioned way. Itâ€™s at the top of my list.
Sun 25 Dec 2005
Posted by barbqr under Ken Johnson RecipesComments Off on Creamy Potato Soup
It’s Christmas Eve, and some of you are knee deep in snow and cold as all get out. Well here is an outstanding Potato Soup recipe for all of you to warm up with.
What you need:
8 slices of bacon, cut up
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup of water
2 cans cream of chicken soup (small cans)
2 soup cans of milk
1 tsp of salt
pepper to taste
What you need to do:
In large sauce pan, cook bacon until crisp. Set bacon aside. Pour off all but 3 T. of bacon fat, add onions and brown them. Add potatoes and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add water and cook covered 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Blend in soup, milk,salt,pepper. Heat but do not boil. Add bacon.
Care to Share?
Tue 20 Dec 2005
The following review was submitted by “Glenn in MD”, with minor editing by the reporter.
Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but wanted to pass on a great little BBQ shack in Georgia.
My wife and I initially found this place in July 2004, driving home from a week in Disney World. Today, I flew into Jacksonville, FL for a business meeting and headed North from the airport to see if it was still there… Turns out it’s still there, and is as good as ever!
The place is called Blues BBQ, and is located on I-95 at exit 3 in Georgia (Kingsland, GA). It’s only 25 miles North of Jax, so it’s an easy drive from there. It’s a small place, no tables really to eat at, but you can’t miss it. It’s located right next to Wendy’s.
I’ve had the pulled pork sandwich both times I’ve been there, and it’s just great. He has two big offset style pits to cook on, but only had one fired up today, using all oak wood for cooking.
Has anyone else tried this place? If you haven’t, put it on your short list, and enjoy! Good stuff. The owner, “Blue” is a good guy also and a pleasure to talk to.
Tue 20 Dec 2005
Posted by Hayden under Hayden Powers Restaurant ReviewsComments Off on SLOW’S BAR B Q in Detroit, Michigan
The following review was submitted by BBQBob, with minor editing by the reporter.
Slow’s BBQ in Detroit, Michigan
2138 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI. 48216
Major disappointment with the foods. The building itself for this area was a nice change for an area of town that is trying to get built back up to bring suburbanites back to the city but the food needs to be worked on some. I think if the foods were better it would really be great for the city. The restaurant itself has a very nice bar that people can sit at while they eat if they choose to do so. Lots of wood in the place with the original brick walls showing. Made it kind of a semi-rustic looking place yet it also has some class about it also. Certainly a place a guy could take his wife to for dinner. This place is very close to where to original Detroit Tiger Stadium was.
My friend Dave and I have heard about this new BBQ place opening here in Detroit so we decided to take a run down and try it for ourselves. We both had high hopes for the place since real BBQ isn’t too popular here yet. Their valet parking was a nice touch for any BBQ joint. Our first impression was a good one. Staff was friendly, the place was very clean. The booths we sat in were as comfortable as booths can be and they helped make the place. We looked over the menu trying to make up our minds on what to have. After a bit of discussion we made up our minds and placed our orders.
I got their sampler plate (brisket, pork and chicken) and two sides. Dave got their 2-meat meal (spares and brisket) along with two sides. The brisket Dave and I each had was mostly point which for me wasn’t bad since I always enjoy point. We each had some slices of flat (2 for me) along with 3 or 4 slices of point. Mine came with pulled chicken and pulled pork, Mac and cheese and cornbread. Dave had spares, brisket and cornbread, and waffle fries. Dave a diet coke and I had sweet tea.
They offered a NC vinegar sauce, a Slow’s sweet sauce (KC style), a Slow’s spicy (Texas style as they called it), an apple BBQ sauce (my favorite one of what they had), a mustard sauce (I couldn’t tell you it was mustard if I had to do a blind taste test). All served at the table. No sauce was on the meat.
The brisket was actually good enough to go back for again assuming this would be served as it was again since who’s cooking and the time of day can effect foods. No smoke at all but it did taste like beef at least and what we had was moist and actually fairly tender, more tender than many places I have been to so far. Dave cut (with a knife of all things) me a couple ribs. They were dry and almost chewy for our 12:30 lunch. Seems they were reheated on a char grill, which gave them that burnt flavor that for us wasn’t pleasant to the taste buds. Very little flavor in the ribs. No smoke what so ever. Even just the smell of them was like a burnt grilled rib with no sauce.
My chicken was dry and tough/chewy with a very off taste from a seasoning they used on it. I only ate a few bites of it and left most of it on the plate. Even the sauces didn’t help it along. Dave wouldn’t go back for a 2nd taste. No smoke flavor or smell. The pulled pork was also dry. By dry meaning in texture not meaning any sauce. Actually tasted like oven roasted pork and it too had an odd tasting seasoning put on the meat after it was pulled. We both ate a few bites but most got left on the plate. I did try some of the NC vinegar sauce on it thinking it would be better and just as quickly as the meat hit my mouth it was spit back onto the fork and put back on the plate. Just a real nasty flavor when put together and I do like vinegar sauces very much. You guessed it no smoke flavor.
Dave commented that the meats looked like just what they were…. dead animal flesh.
Their ‘new’ recipe of cornbread was kind of like a cake, springy in texture and to me had very little corn flavor. It did look to be cooked in a cast iron skillet at least. It wasn’t a sweet cornbread either but for me in lacked flavor. For the decent wedge we each were served, Dave ate most of his and I ate less than half of mine. Mac and cheese seemed to be a real deal recipe but it too had what I felt was an off spice/seasoning in it that over took the cheese flavor. For me it wasn’t pleasing. It sure wasn’t like some of the good soul food places serve in the town. I’d try it again but I’d really like to know what that seasoning was first.
The waffle fries were actually pretty darn good. Even their version of sweet tea wasn’t as good as what I had in many area/places in the south.
Oh we had their appetizer special of 2 brisket enchiladas. 2 little 3-4 inch long deals on a plate with cheese over top for $6. We had a difficult time finding the brisket in them and what we had had very little flavor. Also they did have on their menu a version of an ABT but without the pork (6 for $5.95). Seems they stopped making them due to how labor intensive they are to make!
With the owners having restaurant know how and 2 of them being chefs maybe their 8 weeks in business so far will get better over time? From what we found many things should have been better after this amount of time in business.
If I go back I may just get a plate of brisket and waffle fries and maybe a sweet tea.
Sun 18 Dec 2005
Posted by Hayden under Hayden Powers Restaurant ReviewsComments Off on Henry’s Smokehouse-Greenville, SC
Woodruff Rd. location
We made it to Henry’s for lunch today. I had the two meat combo with pulled pork, ribs, beans, and slaw. The pulled pork and ribs were both served without sauce with a mustard sauce and tomato/vinegar sauce on each table. The meats were excellent. Very moist and tender with good smoke flavor all around. Both sauces were very good. Beans and slaw were also good. This was some of the best BBQ I have had in South Carolina so far. Thanks to Rocky of Big Drum Smokers for recommending it. The others with me had a sandwich plate with fries and hash on the side and a combo plate with pork and chicken. The chicken was a boneless skinless breast filet that was cooked like BBQ, but was not one of the better items at Henry’s today. Everything else was reported to be excellent. Prices are very reasonable and you can get a whole slab of ribs meal for only $12.95. The two meat combo was $6.75. Overall a very good meal of Q. I will return to Henry’s Smokehouse next time I am in Greenville.
Fri 16 Dec 2005
Posted by Hayden under Hayden Powers Restaurant ReviewsComments Off on Little Pigs Barbecue-Columbia, SC
The following review was submitted by Mark Delashaw-“QN”.
Little Pigs Barbecue
We got there for a late lunch about 1:30pm this afternoon. They said just come on in and eat and pay when we left. WOW! I looked around and didn’t know what to try first. It is an all you can eat buffet for a total of $7.15 which includes everything; vegetables, meats, drinks, and dessert. Here is a run down of what I can remember; collards, green beans, mac & cheese, fried okra, pulled pork with mustard sauce, pulled pork with vinegar sauce, pulled pork with tomato base sauce, BBQ chicken, ribs, fried chicken, fried livers and gizzards, fried catfish fillets, hash, rice, hushpuppies, rolls, and on a separate stand in the middle of the room they had most of a hog where you could pull your own meat (hams and shoulders). The pulled pork with all three sauces was very good; moist and tender. The pull your own with no sauce was excellent; moist and tender. The fried chicken and fish were both very good. I could not eat like this very often. We had to try dessert to top everything off; banana pudding with vanilla wafers was our choice, but they also had a chocolate thing and something else. Overall, this was a great BBQ joint I would visit again. We hope to try Henry’s Smokehouse in Greenville tomorrow.
Thu 15 Dec 2005
Carolina Wings and Rib House
1712 W. Palmetto St.
Florence, SC 29501
This is a South Carolina chain; they seem to have locations in most major areas of the state and are expanding into North Carolina according to Larry Fries general manager for this location. All their BBQ and other foods are cooked at each location from scratch. With a name like Wings and Rib House that is exactly what I had to try; wings and ribs combo. They offer quite a variety of different wing flavors and five different BBQ sauces; one option is dry rub only. I went for the hot wings and dry rub ribs. I was served a platter with 6 wings and 1/2 slab of ribs. The wings were fairly typical buffalo style chicken wings. They had good flavor and I would order them again. I was pleasantly surprised by the ribs. They were actually slightly crispy outside with the rub cooked into them to give them some bark, but very moist and tender inside. The bite came clean from the bone with just a little tug and their rub gave them good flavor along with the smoke. I tried a couple of the sauces on the side and all were quite good. All in all Carolina Wings and Rib House was a good choice for a late dinner. I would definitely eat there again. Several forum folks had suggested I try Roger’s Bar-B-Q House in Florence. Unfortunately they are only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so I had to miss out on that one. Tomorrow I hope to try a place in Columbia called Little Pigs that the locals highly recommend.
Wed 14 Dec 2005
Posted by Hayden under Hayden Powers Restaurant ReviewsComments Off on Maurices at Piggie Park
Maurices at Piggie Park
Had a late lunch at Maurices; had to go for the Big Pig – no relation to Buddy Goodwin. Chopped pork with Carolina mustard sauce; gave the meat a sort of strange yellow tint. Ribs and hash over rice with a roll and two hush puppies on the side. The pork was moist and tender and not over sauced even though the sauce had been mixed in with the meat. I actually added a little more to get more of the mustard sauce flavor with the meat. The ribs were OK, but a little on the tough side, but did have good flavor and the mustard sauce was good on them. I don’t know what all was in the hash, but it was served over rice and was very good. The slaw was a finely chopped type with mayo base. It was good and complemented the pork and hash very well. The hush puppies were golden brown spheres of cornmeal and onion and excellent; crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Overall a good introduction to South Carolina BBQ and hash since this is a first for me. I plan to try several more samples of South Carolina BBQ the rest of this week.
Wed 14 Dec 2005
Itâ€™s cold outside. Itâ€™s snowing and they talk about more snow. As I was cleaning snow and ice off my car on a recent subzero morning, all I could think about was a warm mid-summer Friday evening, smokers billowing, beverages flowing, laughter all around, and I vowed to myself that I wouldnâ€™t complain one time next summer about being too hotâ€¦yeah right.
Hereâ€™s the second installation of the 3-part series on competitions. This oneâ€™s all about Friday night: characterized by intense packets of activity followed and extended durations of loafing, visiting, eating, and soaking up the BBQ experience. Friday is the fun part of competition BBQ. The timings below are my basic targets, otherâ€™s schedules may vary significantly, but then so does everyoneâ€™s BBQ.
11a â€“ 1:00p â€“ Arrival. The first thing I usually do is berate myself for not being earlier. Regardless of my arrival time, I always wish I was two hours earlier. As you arrive, youâ€™ll seek out the organizer or a delegated check-in person. Theyâ€™ll point you to your site and explain any other tidbits you should be aware of (water, restrooms etc). This person should also be able to inspect your meat. The meat inspection process is simple, they peek in, make sure everything is appropriately handled, and there has been no spicing or marinating etc. This task is best dealt with ASAP, just eliminate that stressor. Otherwise, youâ€™re constantly looking over your shoulder for someone to look at the meat, silently letting your stress level build and build. Best to dismiss it as you arrive.
12:00-2:00 â€“ Site Setup. Accomplished teams will give you one golden nugget of information, get yourself organized. Some are organized in large RVs, others in trailers, others, such as our team, are in a minivan. Knowing where things are, and an order of how things must progress will expedite the set-up process tremendously. We donâ€™t have a punch list, but it wouldnâ€™t hurt, especially for the first time Newbie. Weâ€™ve cut our set up time from 3.5 to 4 hours at the first contest to more like 1 to 1.5 hours by the end of the season. The objective of the competition is to prep, cook, and serve the best BBQ you can produce. The sooner you get to those tasks, the more enjoyable the entire event will be for your team. And the sooner your done with the first task of prepping, the sooner youâ€™ll be visiting friends, eating dinner, and assuming that BBQer position of sitting down, propping your feet up, sipping on a beverage. The EZ-ups raise, the tables go up, the cookers get positioned, and the place begins resembling one of those images weâ€™ve seen on TV, a BBQ contest. Adding to the authenticity, youâ€™ll smell someone cooking some kind of BBQ already.
Go greet your neighbors. They will be around you for the next 24 hours and most important, you will finally meet folks that share your passion for BBQ. Family, friends, co-workers express interest in your passion, but few understand why we go through the efforts we do. Youâ€™ll finally come face to face with other folks who do understand. Like everything else BBQ, this feeling of camaraderie cultivates â€œlow and slowâ€, developing its print in your mind as you meet more folks, cook more contests, and sit still in the night, hearing only the opening and closing of pit doors or lids. No itâ€™s not a sudden initiation thatâ€™s over after one ceremony, but instead is an evolution defined by a series of events that have no clear ending. This journey starts by meeting your neighbors.
1:00 â€“ 3:00 â€“ Meat prep. This effort ranges from just rubbing or injecting to having to do all the trimming. Late last season, I followed the advice of veterans and did my trimming at home. Trimming meat in less then ideal conditions is a stressor that is easily eliminated. This gets back to the underestimated aspect of BBQ, you have to be able to relax. And the sooner you can get to relax mode, the better the whole event will be. This whole meat prep thing now takes us around 1.5 to 2 hoursâ€¦and it includes visiting with teams, tracking down water, and heating water for washing. Although my biggest motivator may be my rule: I donâ€™t allow myself any â€œadult beverageâ€ until the meat is safely tucked back into the coolers. That rule doesnâ€™t apply to the rest of the team.
With the meat prepped, rubbed, marinating, whatever, youâ€™re able to finally crack that beverage, sit down, take a deep breath and relax. No work worries, no worries about meat suppliers, no shopping. So 3-4 hours after arrival, you find that first lull period.
4:00 â€“ 6:00 â€“ Cooks Meeting. This is another contest feature that differentiates newbies from veterans. Vets have heard the CD so often, they can recite it by heart. The CD includes an oral reminder of the rules of a KCBS contest, and at this meeting youâ€™ll also receive your turn-in boxes. Veteran teams just want their boxes, while as a newbie, youâ€™re inclined to pay attention to everything going on at the meeting. While the vets are cutting up and trash talking, newbies have a serious look about them. Or at least they should. Itâ€™s a GOOD thing to take this meeting seriously. Listen to the CD, reread the rules, understand them and ask questions if you have them. Nothing could make a competition experience more disappointing than to have the contest rep walk to your tent after turn-ins to inform you of a DQ, a disqualification. When the reps ask for the new teams to identify themselves, donâ€™t be shy. That way, as the evening wears on, folks will be inclined to stop by and see how things are going. Get your turn-in boxes, put them in a safe spot, and go enjoy the rest of BBQ Friday night.
6:00-10:00 â€“ Visit, fraternize, eat dinner, relax. This is one of the finest moments of a competition. Old friendships are reestablished, new ones are made, buzzes come and go, and the â€œbullâ€ runs thick. This is also when a newbie can go to school. Talk to teams, learn what contests they attended, what they like, learn about cookers. But this is also where things can get out of hand. At some contests, youâ€™ll run across teams that have fully stocked bars with nothing but the most premium â€œbeveragesâ€. Thatâ€™s part of the fun granted, but you canâ€™t let it get in the way of the primary objective, prepping, cooking, and serving meat. Eventually, a happy medium will be established, and/or youâ€™ll gain an understanding of how to cope with cottonmouth and a pounding head. Legends on the circuit that have done their best work hungover, but there are also examples of some bad product getting put out by the team that had one dozen too many the night before. This is an area that you and you alone will have to figure out. For me, I know my limits, and sometimes feel quite obliged to step right over them.
Itâ€™s also during this time frame that most cooks will fire up their cookers. Hereâ€™s where another golden nugget of information comes in, know your cooker, and cook the way YOU have decided to cook. You cannot be worried that the team next to you put on pork at 6:00pm, and you think it needs to go on at midnight. People will be putting their briskets and pork on at all sorts of hours. But only you know how you want to cook. Come with your cook plan in mind, and stick to it. If it needs modified at a later time, do so, but donâ€™t be intimidated by what others are doing.
Etiquette, another topic that isnâ€™t discussed much. These are the unwritten rules of behavior at a contest. You will find yourself talking about BBQ in a way you never have. Youâ€™ll learn new techniques, rumors of secret recipes, legendary cooking approaches that will assure a call on Saturday. Itâ€™s OK to ask questions, but a good rule of thumb is to use your ears more than your mouth. Donâ€™t expect detailed descriptions of rub ingredients, or application tricks. Honestly, over time youâ€™ll learn a lot about those, if you listen. Respect your neighbors. Respect the quiet hours. And try to watch out for your lighting too as your bright halogen lights might be glaring right into someone trying to catch a little snooze.
10:00-1:00a â€“ Sleep. Again, opinions differ here. Some swear they can function just fine with cat naps, while others might get more sleep than they do during the week. Donâ€™t forget that the ribs will have to go on the cooker at dawn. If you function best with several hours of sleep, plan accordingly.
BBQ Friday nights are special. You may find yourself star gazing while in the middle of a ball field, or huddled under a canopy watching buckets of rain come rushing through your cook site. I think one allure of BBQ is the peer acceptance of nomadic behavior you and your fellow BBQers exhibit. BBQ Friday night is when these nomads come to foster the camaraderie with fellow BBQ gypsies.
In the deep of winter, its OK to fantasize about competitions later in the summer. And your fantasies will most likely include fond memories of BBQ Friday night. Merry Christmas fellow Qers and please have a happy and safe holiday season.
Tue 13 Dec 2005
Many of you who read the forum may recognize Rub’s name because he maintains a great website with photos of so many teams’ banners, but this week’s profile gives a little more info on Rob Bagby, who also works with students and kicks some butt on the circuit down in Florida and elsewhere.
Rob “Rub” Bagby
Where From and/or where do you currently live?
Born and raised in central Florida, currently live in Winter Haven for the past 27 years except for 4 years at UF.
Married, kids, etc…?
Iâ€™ve been happily married for 9 years, and have a 15 year old (step) daughter who Iâ€™ve been with since she was 2, and a 6 year old daughter.
Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please
I am in my 17th year as a special education teacher, working with 6th â€“ 12th grade mentally, emotionally, and physically handicapped kids. I also cater on occasion, and vend most every chance I get at contests and local festivals. I do the vending in order to be able to pay for the competitions. My barbecue hobby has to be self-sustaining. If I donâ€™t make the money vending, I donâ€™t compete.
# of pits and what are they?
I have a WSM, which was my first pit, a reverse flow 24×50 stick burner, and a Stumpâ€™s Smoker CB 234. All three get a lot of use.
Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles?
I have made 2 reverse flow stick burners. The first was a 10â€™x39″ giant that we built at my school to use for bbq fundraisers. I raised the money to build it by taking orders for pulled pork and smoked chickens from the staff once a week. Iâ€™d cook it up on my WSM, and all of the money earned would go towards materials for the pit. I liked that big one so much that I built a second, smaller one to use myself for competing. There are pictures of each in the Image Gallery.
Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved?
I didnâ€™t start barbecuing until I was 17. We would get a bunch of pork butts, season them up with salt, pepper, and whatever else was in the cabinet, wrap them in foil, and cook them over a bed of oak coals in a brick pit. Thinking back, I guess they didnâ€™t get much smoke, but they did cook slowly. Weâ€™d also roast a box of corn, tap a keg, and invite over a bunch of friends. These became known as “Robâ€™s Backyard BBQs”, and weâ€™d do about 2 a year.
Favorite thing about bbqing?
Thereâ€™s a lot I like about barbecuing. I love being outside. I love the smell of the smoke, especially after about 5 hours when the juices start to sizzle. I love the camaraderie, friendships and atmosphere that you get at cookoffs. I part I love the best is the feedback I get. Having someone come back and compliment my food or getting my name called at a contest is a great feeling.
How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)?
A friend of mine from a cigar bulletin board told me about this forum, and I started checking it out in December of â€™02. Back then I would not post often, and when I did it was under the name “UFreak”.
What was your first pit?
My first pit as an adult was a WSM.
First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)?
My mom taught me a lot about cooking growing up, but the first thing I remember cooking on my own was little freshwater clams. Weâ€™d go down to the lake, dig up a bucketful, boil them to open, scoop out the meat and pan fry in some butter. We thought we were living like kings.
Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc?
I like to use pecan and oak for my wood, and I use Kingsford mostly because itâ€™s easy to get and itâ€™s cheap. As far as rubs and sauces go, when Iâ€™m cooking for the public I mostly use Byronâ€™s Butt Rub and KC Masterpiece sauce.
Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name,
That would have to be the first time I competed on my own. I had been a part of The Dixie Boys BBQ Team for about a year helping out where I could, and picking their collective barbecue brains. I had gathered a bunch of great information and was anxious to see what I could do on my own. The Lakeland Pig Fest had a Backyard category, so I decided to give it a try on my own as the “Swamp Boys”. I cooked on my homemade stick burner and ended up getting a 1st, two 5ths, and a 12th, which was good enough to win GC out of 42 teams. It was my first and last time I would enter the backyard division. Iâ€™m still working on winning my first GC as a “pro”.
Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why?
Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you
want to include.
Music â€“ southern rock, some bluegrass, some Zydeco.
Books â€“ I liked all of the books by John D. MacDonald, and more recently I enjoyed reading Angels and Demons, and The DaVinci Code.
Iâ€™m not much in to movies. About the only thing I watch on TV is college and pro football.
Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often
when not eating bbq)?
Everything seafood, especially raw oysters, clams, crabs, and lobster. Itâ€™s hard to beat a good homemade fresh grouper sandwich too.
Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food?
Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)?
I used to get a real kick out of the replies written by Stumpbaby, who “comes from a long line of circus folk”. Donâ€™t see much from him any more.
Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)?
No specific one, but for a while there were a ton of judging threads that seemed to over-analyze and argue the obvious to death. Those became tiring.
Do you have a web site and when did you start and why?
Yes, www.SwampBoys.com is my website. I started it probably around January of â€™04 as a way to try to drum up some business, and also to chronicle the contests Iâ€™ve entered. I also collect bbq team banner pictures from people who post on the various bbq bulletin boards, and Iâ€™ve devoted some space to displaying them with their teamâ€™s information. I get a kick out of some of the names and artwork that they use.
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