Saturday, March 21, 2020
Spring has sprung despite the California state shelter in place decree. Luckily Farmers Markets have been deemed essential. The Richmond Farmers market is open for business. The crops are still growing and we hope you come out to support your local farmers. Stay well.
Sunday, March 15, 2020
What crazy times we live in. Backyard on the Grape was not cancelled. Thanks for the brief glimpse of sanity. Backyard on the Grape was a practice contest held by a local promoter to hone skills of cooks and judges to prepare for the 2020 BBQ season. We would like to share some pictures with you.
Yours truly did not participate this year but did make an appearance to visit and take these photos. Today’s contest was unique in the aspect that judges judged verbally right in front of the cooks. The cooks would present their meat entry and sit and hear live critique and scores. This was a great opportunity for the cooks to get instant feedback and for the judge to verbally put their thought process into words.
It did start to rain but cooks need to be prepared for all weather conditions. Judges on the other hand are spoiled and need cover and comfort to provide an atmosphere conducive to judging. At least that is what judges tell the promoter. The judging did take place in a nice exhibition hall providing warmth and dry conditions.
It was fun to visit and see my bbq friends. We hope and pray the insanity passes in the near future and we can return to a degree of normality. We are looking forward to the 2020 bbq season. See you soon.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
I open today's post with not the most appetizing shot of some corned beef. It was the first plate of many dishes of corned beef for the month of March. This traditional plate was had at the Fratalanza Italian club. It was most likely boiled in a huge cauldron until limp and lifeless. It was served with boiled everything. It was pretty palatable when smothered with extra, extra hot horseradish, and mustard. It was served with some very stinky boiled cabbage and carrots. This is tradtiion.
I am not knocking our traditional corned beef served at the "Frat' because it also came with some great pasta and it is always fun hanging out with friends. What I am really excited about is this time of year Costco stocks up on Snake River Corned Beef rounds. This will be put into our smoker and turned into pastrami. This is a treat extraordinaire. Tis the season.
Friday, February 28, 2020
Yesterday was my birthday. They sure creep up on you quicker these days. I have an acquaintance from a Buck Knife Collectors group who lives in Virginia. She sent me a Milk Bar Pie through Fed Ex to celebrate this day. I have never had or heard of a Milk Bar pie sometimes referred to as Crack Pie. It is a dense cookie/custard textured, oat & vanilla flavored and very sweet. It is very addicting. I have never tried Crack but I do need another fis of this pie.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Our good friend Scott Simpson was presented a major award this weekend from the California BBQ Association. This award name is inspired by KCBS representatives Kelly and Kathleen Mc Intosh. CBJoY stands for Certified Barbecue Judge of Year. What is this award?
This judge has an exemplary record of volunteer service to CBBQA. The judge volunteers or judges at both sanctioned and backyard contests. Has well over 60 contests and reps say this judge will volunteer for any job needed in tent. Helps train new judges, is a member of CBBQA committees, participates in bbq outreach through volunteering at CBBQA & KCBS classes as a cook, leader, organizer, instructor, mentor and helper.
We are proud to call Scott a friend. He is well deserving and an inspiration to us all Congratulations Scott Simpson
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Here we are in Casa de Fruta California kicking off the 2020 competition bbq season. Today forty six teams from Northern and Southern California competed for cash and prizes. This was a California BBQ Association event that hosted a Kansas City Barbeque Society contest. The weather was mild with temperatures hitting the low 60's. It was perfect to cook and judge some great barbeque. We would like to share a couple of images with you.
I wanted to mention the Kids Q competition. This contest had children as young as 4 years old cooking on real barbeques which they got to keep after the contest. They were provided with a very high end steak from Snake River Farms. What a great idea to get the future bbq competitors involved. They disqualified my attempt to enter as a second childhood entrant.
The actual event took place in the motor-home lot. Casa de Fruta is a large resort with all the amenities. We judges had a nice office area and were very comfortable to achieve our judging duties. Needless to say it was a lot of fun reconnecting with our fellow bbq brethren.
You may recognize Rick, the Gary Wells award winner. He is with his son Matt and it is always a pleasure to see him at contests.
Today kicked off the 2020 bbq season. What a great event and a taste of what is in store for the rest of the year. Ms. Goofy and I are very lucky to be a part of this team. Congratulations to the Competition Team "Smoke Show" for winning the Grand Championship. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Rick Brandinii is the 2019 Award Winner “The Gary Wells Sportsman Award”What is the Gary Wells Award?: The recipient of the Gary Wells KCBS Sportsmanship Award will exhibit the exceptional qualities of the true barbeque sportsman. This award is given to a KCBS member who displays a high level of fairness, generosity, good character and observance of the rules.The recipient of the Gary Wells KCBS Sportsmanship Award exhibits these qualities on a regular basis and has shown particularly exceptional examples of good sportsmanship at one or more KCBS barbeque contests
Monday, January 20, 2020
I love bacon. I have to start out with this disclaimer. I have to admit my bacon consumption has declined over the years but I still love the smoky, cured, sweet/salty pork belly. We picked up a small slab of bacon from Willowside Meat Market in Santa Rosa California. It has great meat to fat ratio. All the ingredients of sugar, salt. smoke and good pork flavor are in balance. For some of you dedicated readers that remember my never ending search for the "Gold Standard of Bacon", this falls short. The meat rind is still attached to the belly. This is the actual skin of the pig which is tough, chewy and basically inedible. Meat rind is my personal pet peeve. This bacon is very good but not the Gold Standard.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Do you ever sprinkle pepper flakes on your pizza? I do and now I have a new go to pepper blend that will guarantee to shock your senses to new culinary heights. I was gifted a box of three different blends of pepper flakes from the Flat Iron Pepper Company. These are combinations of different peppers that are fresh, vibrant and is some cases wickedly hot. This box had the "Four Pepper Blend, Dark & Smoky and Hatch Valley Green blend. We sampled some Four Pepper Blend on some pizza.
The four peppers are habanero, ghost, jalapeno and arbol. The top is popped to reveal fresh vibrant pepper aroma. The smell is familiar to Chileheads. I can almost identify the different peppers just by the fresh smell. I sprinkled this on the pizza with a heavy hand. My folly is your warning. This is wickedly burning hot. It burns so good. Even though the initial ignition of heat will stun you the individual pepper flavors are present. The earthy flavor of jalapeno, fruit from the habanero, dusty arbol and a touch of bitter from the ghost announces and demands their individual attentions. I love it. Pizza and where ever these wonderful flakes land will transform dishes to new and flaming heights. Good Stuff.
Monday, January 6, 2020
The winter months are a little slow in the bbq competition world. This does not mean judges and cooks remain idle. In fact a white flag was raised and cooks and judges united to practice cooking judging and honing our particular bbq skills. This was all done at Dana Meyers house last Saturday.evening. Kevin from the competition team "Smoky Luv" and his new partner Brian Gutierrez brought their bbq trailer and parked it right in front of Dana's house. I am not sure what the neighbors thought.
During the competition year cooks complain about judges and vice versa. This was an opportunity to understand and learn about each other. Today Kevin and Brian cooked the four meats of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. We would judge these meats and give verbal comments directly to the cooks. This is different than actual competition because all judging is blind and anonymous.
As a judge this was a good way to verbally put together the thought process of why we assign the numbers we score. It is simple to just write a number down on a score sheet but when we are face to face with the cook you better explain this numerical critique.
The cooks like the instant feedback. They know how their cook went but are not sure how judges will score. This face to face interaction is positive for both parties.
Needless to say we ate and scored some fantastic bbq today. Kevin and Brian are a competition bbq team that will be taking a lot of walks this season. (Taking a walk is winning a meat category). This was a learning experience for both parties. It also was a good excuse to have fun and good eats.