After enjoying the report given by Weber, that had some great information about our obsession. I decided to see if HPBA had anything for me to talk about, and they did! HPBA posts an annual report called “state of the Barbecue Industry”.
The most notable statistics, to me were as follows;
*More than 15,000,000 grills shipped in 2010, a staggering figure, but gas grills held 57% of sales, while Charcoal had 41%, while electric barely chimed in with 2%.
*82% of North American households own a grill or smoker.
*The majority of grill owners use their grills year round, this was 56%
*The meats that were said to be cooked (we have some work to do here), burgers a whopping 85%, steak 80%, hot dogs 79%, followed by chicken at 73%. What about ribs? They came in at 53%, and no statistics reported for boston butt, or beef brisket.
* The last, and most notable one for me was, Dry Rub usage was up to 44% from 36% 2 years earlier (this means a crusade for dry rub usage needs to be launched!).
In all seriousness, this is some great information provided by HPBA, and this was just the highlights. You can see the full report by going here: http://www.hpba.org/media/barbecue-industry/2011-state-of-the-barbecue-industry-report
By Kevin Bevington
When learning to cook barbecue, the one thing that everyone seems to learn quickly is to use wood, such as wood chips or wood chunks, or wood pellets, to give your barbecue a smoky flavor. What is not learned quickly enough is how much to use and most use too much, creating an over smoked, bitter piece of meat that is not very pleasant to eat.
Wood flavoring has to be considered similarly to a spice.
If you put salt on something, you are careful to add small amounts and taste, until you come up with just the right amount. The same thing applies to smoke flavor, start with a small amount of wood chips, or a wood chunk, and work your way up. You will find out real quick that people have much different opinions to yours, on how much smoke flavor should be there, so starting with a small amount is the best advice to give.
As many already know, Weber publishes a survey every year called the GrillWatch Survey, in fact this is the 21st anniversary of the survey (published in March). In the survey, there is usually some interesting statistics, and in this years, there were some interesting points again. Now, before I begin, as we all know the Weber grill, whether charcoal, or gas grill, has been one of the most popular brands of grills over the years, and this is their survey.
But as usual, I felt this survey had some real interesting points to share, for those of us, that love outdoor cooking. The first and most important point is they say we are using our grill more. Another notable point is we are spending more on our grills, meaning more features, and higher quality grills are starting to get the nod over lower quality grills, driving this statistic. But it is also important to note that 58% surveyed still preferred the taste of food cooked on a charcoal over food cooked on a gas (no surprise here). Maybe one of these years they will include some statistics including smokers.
If your interested in downloading the survey yourself, you can see the results of the survey here http://weber.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=154
By Kevin Bevington
There are many types of smoker you can buy, which include many shapes and sizes. When you’re purchasing a smoker there are only a few things that you really need to keep in mind.
1. How many people do you need to feed?
2. How much money do you want to spend?
3. How much work you want to do?
Just like you see on TV you can actually build a smoker for very little money however, you’re not going to want to use a very low quality smoker to cook for many people. If you plan on cooking professionally as a caterer or as a competitor, you will want to buy a smoker that will allow you to cook a lot of food at one time. If you’re looking to cook in your backyard perhaps for just your family or a few close friends a smaller cooker would be your best bet.
By Kevin Bevington
This is probably the single biggest obstacle to many beginner bbq’rs, in fact the unfortunate thing is many start out with the cheapest smoker they can buy, and don’t understand that they have just purchased a cheap piece of equipment, loaded with design flaws. However, they are fairly easy to overcome if you understand the basics to controlling heat.
First, heat is produced by fire, whether it is wood, charcoal, or gas (we will talk about electric in a minute). A fire needs air to stay lit, right? Most of us somewhere in life have attempted the experiment of putting a candle in a jar, and watched it go out, as soon as it ran out of air. The same applies to a smoker. We can now control the size of the fire, with the amount of air. Increase the amount of air, and you can increase the intensity of the fire (assuming you have enough fuel). Decrease the amount of air, and you reduce the intensity of the fire.
Second, you need to have somewhere for the smoke, and heated air to go. If you put an air tube in the jar with the candle, pushing air in, the candle would still eventually go out, suffocating from it’s own smoke. The same applies to a smoker, you need an escape (or vent) for the smoke and heated air.
As smokers and grills literally get the cobwebs cleaned out, and with others, it seems to becoming a weekend ritual, except there is an extra day. There are a few things we need to keep in mind, first what this holiday is all about.
Let’s take some time think about those who gave their life so we can enjoy a weekend like this.
Next, let’s talk about grill/smoker safety, there will be literally thousands of out of control, on fire grills/smokers today, mainly because they are not kept clean.
A great idea is to line the bottom of the smoker with aluminum foil, and after each cook, just remove and throw away. Those using a gas grill, and using ceramic briquets, if you use that grill frequently it is a great idea to change those out every couple of months, for those not so frequently once or twice a year.
Most of all, enjoy the time off, enjoy the day..
We have certainly seen high tech in BBQ the last few years.
With the Digi-Q II, the FEC 100, the Therma-pen, and the list goes on and on. Well, I received this email today from Humberto Evans with nerdkits.com regarding a DIY project that is near and dear to all of our hearts.. A DIY Meat Thermometer with Predictive Filter! uh… ok! I get it, I think.
Humberto Evans and his partner Mike Robbins, both MIT Grads create a video and web page that tells you how to do it. I will let Humberto’s own words explain this for you, and be sure to check out the web page at http://www.nerdkits.com/videos/meat_thermometer/
From Humberto Evans:
Even though cooking is an elegant art form, the at-home chef often has a number of fancy gadgets. From counter top grills to USB coolers, high end electronics have made themselves available in most aspects of modern food preparation and enjoyment. In keeping with our DIY spirit, and with Father’s Day and July 4th grilling right around the corner, we decided to build a DIY Digital Meat Thermometer using a temperature sensor, an LCD, and a microcontroller. To our delight, getting this project to work well required some interesting bits of engineering including advanced signal processing.
In this video tutorial, we outline the process for building the DIY Digital Meat Thermometer. In order to speed up the measured reading, we estimate what the transfer function of the system is and use a predictive filter to “guess” what the actual temperature is at the tip of our probe. The concepts, and the some of the intuition behind it, are presented in our video tutorial. The meat thermometer can be used with a computer to give a live temperature graph, or be used with just the LCD. Whether it’s a fathers day gift, or just a fun weekend project, this little gadget is sure to draw some attention at the next family cookout.”
HomeBBQ.com wins Grand Champion in this first ever Invitational event for the Florida Barbeque Association, that hosted 10 teams from each of the qualifying states of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.
Contest Results are as follows;
1 HomeBBQ.com 758.96666
2 Jus-Fer-Fun 758.84999
3 Bub-Ba-Q 755.95001
4 HoocheeQue 751.33336
5 Mount Dora Bar-B-Que Company
6 Forrest’s Fine Foods 747.90001
7 Munchees Smokehouse 747.83333
8 Jacks Old South 746.35001
9 Swamp Boys 743.46665
10 Pork Avenue BBQ 743.13333
11 J & J ‘s southern smokers 742.33335
12 Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 738.78335
13 GB’s BBQ 738.39999
14 Bubba Chuck 738.31667
15 Team Bobby-Q 737.28333
16 Big Papa’s Country Kitchen 735.95000
17 Tiger Creek BBQ 734.95001
18 Fine’ly Ready BBQ 732.59999
19 Red Baron BBQ 728.98333
20 This Butt’s For You 728.08334
21 Big Daddy Q 727.93335
22 The Ross Team 726.41666
23 Kick the Tire, Light the Fire 725.11666
24 Barbeque Crew 723.78334
25 Flirtin’ with Disaster 721.38332
26 DW’s Kountry Cookers 720.46669
27 Mr. Cook’s Portable Smokehouse 710.39998
28 Bethel Smokers 697.54997
29 Kinfolks BBQ 676.69999
1 Bubba Chuck 194.54999
2 Team Bobby-Q 194.28333
3 HoocheeQue 192.56668
4 Bub-Ba-Q 192.43334
5 RED BARON BBQ 191.36666
6 Tiger Creek BBQ 190.21668
7 Mr. Cook’s Portable Smokehouse 188.86667
8 Mount Dora Bar-B-Que Company 188.41667
9 HomeBBQ.com 187.65000
10 Munchees Smokehouse 187.06666
1 HomeBBQ.com 191.66667
2 Jus-Fer-Fun 191.43334
3 Forrest’s Fine Foods 191.43332
4 HoocheeQue 190.50000
5 Kick the Tire, Light the Fire 189.79999
6 Bub-Ba-Q 189.24999
7 Mount Dora Bar-B-Que Company 188.53333
8 J & J ‘s southern smokers 187.81667
9 Tiger Creek BBQ 187.00000
10 Fine’ly Ready BBQ 186.96666
1 Jus-Fer-Fun 194.49999
2 Jacks Old South 192.65001
3 Big Papa’s Country Kitchen 190.00000
4 Bub-Ba-Q 188.65001
5 Pork Avenue BBQ 187.40000
6 Munchees Smokehouse 187.26667
7 This Butt’s For You 186.93334
8 HomeBBQ.com 186.49999
9 J & J ‘s southern smokers 186.23333
10 Team Bobby-Q 185.75000
1 HomeBBQ.com 193.15000
2 Jacks Old South 192.16668
3 Jus-Fer-Fun 191.44999
4 Swamp Boys 190.56666
5 Pork Avenue BBQ 190.11666
6 Forrest’s Fine Foods 189.50001
7 Mount Dora Bar-B-Que Company 188.61666
8 Big Papa’s Country Kitchen 188.58334
9 Munchees Smokehouse 187.94999
10 GB’s BBQ 187.41666
It seems that fried Turkey may not be as popular as it once was, and turkey on a smoker may be coming back for some, and the usual way to cook Thanksgiving dinner for others.
A few imortant things to keep in mind when cooking a turkey in the smoker;
1. The best size to smoke is no larger than 14 lbs, above that, depending on the type of smoker you have, airflow, and consistent temp may be an issue.
2. If your cooking your bird on an offset cooker, consider putting cheese cloth over top of the turkey while it cooks. This will prevent ash and creosote from ruining your Thanksgiving Turkey.
3. Last, but certainly not least, be very careful with the smoke. Turkey is a very mild flavor, so a very light smoke is all it needs.
Below is a segment from my DVD “Backyard BBQ with HomeBBQ.com”, this segment is fixing Turkey. The video itself is from my channel on YouTube.. Enjoy!
The HomeBBQ.com DVD’s can be purchased through www.homebbqvideo.com or Amazon.com
As I try to shake the rust off, get the cookers cleaned, the trailer ready, meats lined up. We are cooking next weekend (9-27-08) at the Grant BBQ Fest in Grant, FL. If you are anywhere within driving distance to Grant Florida next weekend. This is one contest, you really should not miss. This is the same organizers of the famous Seafood Fest that is put on every year in Grant.
As always there will be a very strong lineup of teams trying to win this contest, and the chance to get invited to the Jack Daniels Invitational.
This contest also benifits a great cause, and that is Toys For Kids. There will be plenty of activities for kids, live music, and lots of BBQ to eat, as in this event many teams will be selling their BBQ, and the proceeds goes to this great cause.
As I said before. If your anywhere within driving distance to this contest, come over next weekend and check it out, and make sure you stop by us and say hi. You can find out more information about this event here http://www.grantbbqfest.com/
Not too often will you see me discuss outside of the realm of BBQ, but today you will. Those that know me, know that music is and always has been a big part of my life. And, for those that have known me for a long time know, that several years back (in the late 70′s, and early 80′s) a friend of mine named Al Brodie and myself, ran a small sound and lighting company, and in doing the sound and lighting for some small, and and even a couple of very well known groups. We also spent much time trying to promote local talent, and it was always exciting when you came accross an individual that you knew was something special.
But, back then was nothing like today, many very special talents went undiscovered. Where today, we have the internet, and something called reality TV shows.
There are 2 in particular that have really stepped into the forefront, and those shows are American Idol, and America’s Got Talent. I really enjoy these shows, because it really allows you to see some real raw talent, develop into stars. America’s Got Talent will be showcasing their Final’s for 2008 next week, and they have the strongest top 5 field they have had since the show started. There are at least 3 (and maybe 4) of the top 5 that have the potential to become superstars.
There are 2 acts I believe, have separated themselves from a very talented top 5, and in my opinion they are Nuttin’ But Strings, who bring incredible originality, and entertainment value to their act.
And my favorite in this competition is a young man by the name of Eli Mattson. Eli is truelly something special, a cross somewhere between Billy Joel, Elton John, Bruce Hornsby, and some Eddie Vedder mixed in, has shown he can take you on a journey into a song, like very few can. Good luck next week Eli, its time to become a champion, and good luck as well to the rest of the top 5 in this competition.
I will leave you with a very special performance given by Eli, on America’s Got Talent.