Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Appetizers / Pig Candy

Pig Candy is a great sweet and spicy treat to have around the house for the holidays. It is fairly easy to make and is a great snack and goes well with my other appetizers of Jerky and Smoked Cheese.

This cook is my no-carb low calorie version and I used the following ingredients.

4 pounds of the thick cut Country Bacon from Sam's Club

Sugar Twin Granulated Brown Replacement Sugar (Calorie free-no carbs)

Ground Cayenne pepper

Crushed Hot Red pepper flakes (in black pepper container)

I start by adding some Sugar Twin to a bowl and then adding enough ground cayenne pepper to make it as hot as I want it. I like it SCREEMING HOT and use way more than most folks can handle. For you folks that don't like it very hot, just add some cayenne and taste it and then get it as hot as YOU want. Some of the mix will cook and wash off of the bacon so do make it a little hotter at the start.

I would normally smoke this in one of my Backwoods cookers like you see in the picture but I cheated this time and did it in the kitchen oven so it won't have any smoke flavor but I was pressed for time and just didn't get the smoker out and fire it up for this treat. The Shame of it.....much better in a smoker.

I don't like this treat cooked in it's own grease so I use raised cooling grids in the pans to keep the bacon up and out of the grease.

After I apply the hot spices & sugar to the top side of the bacon, I placed it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

I pulled it out, and then turned the bacon over, and added the spices again, and placed it back into the oven for about 25-30 more minutes or until it is done to suit me.

This is the final product just out of the oven and cooling on the top of the stove.

I then cut each strip of bacon in half and this picture shows the results of my 4 pound cook.

I bagged up the Pig Candy and have it ready for the holidays.

Good Stuff!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Appetizers / Smoked Cheese

Real Smoked Cheese is a great treat to have around the house during the holidays. It is very easy to prepare and is wonderful with crackers and any smoked meat.

For this smoke, I used the following cheeses.

3.99 lb of Alpenhaus Switzerland Swiss Cheese (one of our favorites)

2.10 lb of Members Mark Sharp Cheddar

1.82 lbs of Dutch Gouda Cheese

1.23 lb Black Diamond 6 yr aged Cheddar Cheese

1.66 lb of Great Midwest 3 Alarm Colby Jack with Chipotle, Habenero, & Jalapeno

I cut the blocks of cheese into the smaller chunks like you see in the picture. The smoke doesn't penetrate the cheese but only builds up on the outside of the blocks and to keep the smoke equal in the pieces, it is better to keep the blocks no more than about 1 to 1-1/2" in diameter for the best results. This is also cracker size and will be perfect for this treat.

I got the Backwoods Chubby out for this smoke. I will run no water in the pan for this very low temp smoke. Placed about 10 Rancher Brickettes in the chimney and lit it off.

As soon as I had the coals all ashed over and grey, I place 6 brickettes in my pie pan and then laid a couple of chunks of fruitwood on top of the brickettes and placed it into the firebox of the cooker.

I loaded the cooker with the grids of cheese and closed it up. I must keep the temp inside the cooker to under 80 degrees for this smoke and with the cold morning of about 18 degrees, this won't be a problem with this cook. No heat is needed for smoking cheese but only the smoke for great results. In the Summer, I would have filled the waterpan with ice for the cook.

I let it smoke for 60 minutes and then pulled one log off to sample for the smoke. I cut the first piece off of the log and SET IT ASIDE!! I then cut the second slice off of the log and tasted it for smoke and found that it needed some more smoking. I then placed the log back into the smoker. I didn't taste the first slice off the log as it has way to much surface area (end piece) and would have given me a false reading.

I checked another piece at 90 minutes into the cook and it was perfect. Had a nice light smoke flavor and was good.

I pulled the cheese off of the cooker and shut it down.

I then vacuumed sealed the blocks in their bags. They will need to age about a week in the fridge as this brings out more flavor in the smoked cheese.

This will go over great with my Jerky and all I need now is the Pig Candy and it is up next.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

KCBS Judges / Judging--Thank You

The Ribs & Bibs Competition Barbecue Cooking Team would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to the Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified Judges. Without your support, we couldn't enjoy this great hobby of competition barbeque cooking.

I know it is a "thankless" task at times but we do want you to know it is appreciated by this cooking team. In our area of the Mid-West, I know many of you have to travel which means additional fuel costs, maybe a motel room, several meals, and we know this comes out of your pocket and again, it is appreciated.

Along with the cost of judging in our area, we also would like to thank you for your valuable time that you give up to judge the contests. Your dedication to this sport/hobby means the world to the Ribs & Bibs BBQ Team.

For any of the judges that might arrive early on Friday for the event, or any of the judges that might want to stay over after the judging and visit, we would be honored to have you stop by the Ribs & Bibs cooking site for a beverage. We always have extra chairs and do like to talk about our sport.

Just find the site with the red and white Ford pickup with the small white toy hauler and come in and introduce yourself and visit with us for a while.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Appetizers / Jerky

With the holiday season coming up, we always like to have some homemade appetizers, treats, and snacks available for family and visitors. We usually make up some holiday baskets for several friends as well.

This is one of our baskets from last year and it contains a package of my Pig Candy, a package of my Regular Jerky, and a package of my Hot and Spicy Jerky, a couple of logs of my real Smoked Cheese, and a bottle of Jack.

Now, dontcha wish you were one of my friends and received your Christmas basket???

CAUTION: This jerky recipe and method doesn't have a cure in it so it must be either refridgerated or frozen so it doesn't spoil after the cooking and drying.

This batch was 10 pounds of beef bottom round roast and I had the store cut it off of the full round in 1/4" thick slices for my jerky. This saves me a step in the prep of this treat.

I usually start by making up my marinade for the meat as it needs to soak a while so the sugar can dissolve. For this 10 pounds of meat, I mixed up this recipe...

3-1/2 Cups of Soy Sauce
3/4 Cup Dark Molasses
2-1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 TBL Onion Powder
2 TBL Garlic Powder
2 TBL Black Pepper
1 TBL White Pepper
1 TBL Ground Red Pepper
2 TBL Crushed Red Pepper

I make the marinade up in a large bowl and then throw the meat into the bowl as we trim it.

We trim as much fat out of the meat as we can and then cut it into slices like you see in the picture.

After the meat is trimmed, I place the meat and the marinade into a large stainless steel pot and put it into the fridge for at least 12 hours before it goes on the smoker. More time is even better.

On smoking day, I usually bring my cooking grids into the kitchen and then load them up. This was a large cook and will take both of my Backwoods Party cookers as I ended up with 14 grids of jerky meat.

I loaded up both cookers with some Rancher charcoal and then placed some hickory chunks over the top. I am running both with a dry water pan with my foil pan modifications as I sure don't need any moisture for this type of cook. After I lit them up, I cut the air back to about nothing on the intake vents as I don't want the temps to go over about 160 degrees.

The meat then comes out of the fridge and we load it on the cooking racks. With the Backwoods cookers, I can only load the racks about 65% full so the cooker can flow the proper amount of smoke and heat.

I ended up with 14 racks of jerky ready to go into the cookers.

Meat looked great coming out of the marinade.

Was a cold morning at about 18 degrees and I got the meat on the cookers at about daylight.

On my one cooker, I did my spicy hot jerky and for this, I sprinkled on some more ground cayenne pepper as I put the grids into the cooker.

It did warm up a little to I think about 28 degrees so it was a good day for my cook.

I had one cooker that did great and I was able to keep the temps where I wanted them at under about 160 degrees but the other cooker got a little hot and the meat got done a little quicker that I expected at about 4 hours. Didn't hurt the quality at all as the meat from both cookers came out wonderful. I need to adjust the door on that cooker and I am sure my next low temp cook will be fine.

My jerky started coming off the cookers at about 4 hours and continued to come off for another 4 hours before all of it was done.

Meat looks great and is now ready for the vacuume pack bags.

These are the first few bags off the cookers and are ready for the freezer.

Again, one last CAUTION, this meat must be refridgerated or frozen and it hasn't been cured. You can't just leave it set out on a table as it will spoil.

This is one great treat and will be a great snack for the holidays.

My smoked cheese is coming up next...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ribs & Bibs BBQ Competition Results / Year 2009

The competition BBQ team from Old Dave's Po-Farm (Ribs & Bibs Cooking Team) had a wonderful year. We competed in five Midwest states and covered about 4500 total miles on the Kansas City Barbecue Society trail in 2009.

The team competed in 13 contests was fortunate enough to win two state Grand Championships during the contest year. Out of the 4679 different teams that competed in the US in 2009 on the KCBS trail, only 29 of these teams won more contests than the two contests that Ribs & Bibs won during the year. We also had several other good finishes through out the contest year so it was a very good year for the Ribs & Bibs Cooking Team.

This picture shows Ribs & Bibs win at the "Wabash Ribberfest Barbeque Championship" in Mount Carmel, Illinois in September. The Gentleman on my far right in the blue shirt is Paul Everman who co-cooked the event with me this year.

We were lucky enough to get all four of our competitive meats in the top ten and did receive some nice trophys and a ribbon along with a little cash.

Ribs & Bibs Cooking Team consists of myself and usually one other member per cooking event. I am really blessed with some great co-cooks, friends, and of course my bride Janet who has put up with me for 44 years. There is no way I could do these events without all the wonderful support I received through out the year from these people. I just can't thank them enough for their help with this crazy hobby of BBQ competition cooking.

Steve Creech

Steve is from Columbus, Indiana and was a co-cook with the team during the year. He and Linda call their cooking team ZZ-Que and also compete on the KCBS trail during the year. Steve is great help and a pleasure to cook with. My friend, I sure appreciated the help this year.

Jeff Toler

Jeff is from the Westfield / Carmel area on the North side of Indy and co-cooked the Madison, Indiana event with me this year. Jeff with his wife Teri and family compete as Snake Pit BBQ. Jeff is a blast to cook with and is great with the preparation of our turn-in boxes. Thanks buddy.

Paul Everman

Paul is from Versailes, Indiana and has co-cooked with the Ribs & Bibs team for a couple of years when he is not competing with his own team. Paul and his good friend Pat compete as Hickory Flats BBQ. It is sure nice when he cooks with Ribs & Bibs as he is just too tough to beat cooking with his own team! Paul is a great cook and a joy to cook with as he is always one step ahead of this old fat man and sure keeps me on my game. What can I say Paul...Many Thanks!!!

Mike Zinkan

Mike is from Sheridan, Indiana and is a long time friend. He has co-cooked with me longer than any other cook and claims to be the Indiana State Micro-Wave Champion. At least, that is what he put on his resume. Mike is a great friend and keeps me in my place. Just couldn't find a nicer, easy going, and more liked fellow to cook with at the events. Mike is more than a co-cook, he is a life time friend. Thank you for putting up with me all these years and all the help with this crazy hobby.

I sure hope my co-cooks can find the time again next year to cook with the team again as this old fat man couldn't do it without the great help.

We had several friends and guests visit with us during the cooking year and also had two KCBS judges cook with the team early in the year to earn their Master Judge certification.

I know many folks visit this blog from all over the world and don't have the foggiest idea of how the KCBS barbeque contests work so I will try to give a brief discription of how they work and some information on the rules.

Most contests in our area will have about 25 to 60 cooking teams. They will usually compete for a prize fund of about $3000 to about $12,000 dollars. We cook chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder or pork butts, and beef brisket in these competitions. Our food is judged on Presentation, Tenderness & Texture, and Taste. We must turn in at least 6 samples of each meat and it will be judged by 6 judges. This means that all 4 of the meats will be judged by 24 judges. The judges will give out a score which is assigned to a point system and the winner in each class of meats will have the highest score with the judges. The overall score which determines the Grand Champion is the total score from all 4 meats.

We usually start prepping our meat after it is inspected on Friday morning and have it ready for the cooker in the evening. We cook 14 pieces of chicken, 3 slabs of pork ribs, 2 pork butts, and 2 brisket or brisket flats. We like to get the butts and brisket on the cooker by about 8:00pm on Friday evening as they cook overnight. We start both the ribs and chicken on Saturday morning. The turn in time is chicken at 12:00, ribs at 12:30pm, pork at 1:00pm, and brisket at 1:30pm on Saturday.

These are some typical presentation boxes for the 4 meats.

Chicken Thighs

Pork Ribs

Pork Butt

Beef Brisket

About 2 hours after the last turn-in, they have the Awards Presentations at the events. If we are lucky, maybe we will get our names called a couple of times and might win a trophy or ribbon with a little cash.

We now have enough contests in our area that we can kind of pick and choose the ones we like as we only do about two events a month. We prefer contests where we can arrive on the Thursday before the event, and then stay over on Saturday evening, and then leave early on Sunday morning. We also prefer a reasonable entry fee of $225 or less and will pass on contests that we feel try to hold you up. Another nice feature that we look for is inside restrooms and showers or someplace close we can go to get a shower. We need a large cooking site for our toy hauler so that as well is important to the team. I guess that the perfect contest would be in a RV Park with all the amenities including sewage hook ups.

A typical KCBS contest in our area is getting expensive and the teams are very difficult to compete against with all the cooking schools out there at the present time. We are not usually very serious cooks and do this for fun but sure find it nice to hear our name called once in a while at these events.

Typical Contest Cost..

$225.00----- Entry Fee
125.00------ Contest Meat
100.00------ Fuel for Truck
25.00------- Food on Road
60.00------- About 14 Total Meals at Cooking Site for 2 Team Members
75.00------- Thursday or Friday evening Party--feed 20
50.00------- Beer and other Beverage
50.00------- All Cooking Supplies for Contest-Rubs, Sauces, etc
25.00------- Misc

$735.00------Total per Event

Ribs & Bibs compete out of a small toy hauler as older folks do need their creature comforts!!

In 2009, we used both the Old School Fast Eddy Pellet Cooker and my pair of Backwoods Party Cookers for contest cooking. These are great contest cookers.

I did get a few pictures at some of the events this year and will share them with the people that read this blog.

Our cooking year started out wet!! As you can see, I am stuck in the mud before I even got backed into my site.

Some of these units needed a very serious wrecker to get them out.

This is Charles and Velma Krininger at the Fairbanks, Indiana contest. This couple cooked with the team to complete one of the requirements of becoming Master Judges. They just did it all!! From trimming up the meat, to the injection, rubs, sauces, wrapping, presentation, etc.. they were there 24/7 and did a great job with this contest cook. Really nice folks and a pleasure to cook with.

It can also be cold at the end of the year and this picture shows one of the teams co-cooks, Paul Everman, at the New Albany, Indiana event in October. His cooking partner, Pat, is in the background.

This is another gentleman that cooks with the team once in a while during the year. The picture shows Steve Creech with his better half Linda at an event in Southern Indiana late in the year.

This is a picture from our Grand Championship finish at New Albany, Indiana in October. The gentleman on my right and co-cook for the event is Mike Zinkan from Sheridan, Indiana.

This was a first year contest right on the bank of the Ohio river in New Albany, Indiana. Real nice setting for a contest. If you look close, you can see the river in the background.

We enjoy doing some kind of party either on Thursday or Friday evening at the cooking events. Some of the treats we have done in the past include pizza, jambalaya, several Mexican dishes, hot wings, hawg wings, and some other appetizers.

We are kinda known for our pizza and do this one often. Hickory Flats and Ribs & Bibs teamed up this year at the Madison, Indiana contest for a large pizza party.

We put some tables together for this event and the beautiful salad was made and brought to the party by Hoosier Crawdaddy's (Doug and Debbie Searcy).

Isn't that pretty...

This is a picture of Doug, Debbie, and Mom from the Hoosier Crawdaddy's cooking team.

My co-cook Jeff Tolar and Paul Everman made them up and I cooked them on the Backwoods Party cooker. At times, we had 4 pizzas in the cooker.

We also did some cajun pizza which is always a hit at these events.

Again, 2009 was a great year for Ribs & Bibs Cooking Team. Had a wonderful time getting to visit and compete against many great friends and also had the chance to meet many new friends and cooks and hope to do it again next year.

It's a great hobby but is expensive...but what isn't in this day and time??