Mar. 26, 2015 – Pork Butts on The 22.5 Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Weather: Clear Skies: Outdoor Temp 38*. Expected high temp of 60*.

2 – Pork Butts 7-8 lbs each.

7:00am… Started the fire by lighting a full chimney of coals. Disassembled the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker (WSM) and cleaned out the ashes. Put Charcoal grate back in and added a full ring of charcoal.

7:30am Poured full chimney of lit coals on top of full charcoal ring of Kingsford Briquettes. All vents 100% open.

Assembled the WSM and added 1 gallon of water to foiled water pan.
Rinsed the Butts and Dried w/Paper Towels
Coated the Butts w/Canola Oil and then added a medium dusting of Savory Spice Native Texan BBQ Rub.

8am: WSM Temp 220*. Pork Butts On the cooker.

Added about 8-9 Wood Chunks. Combo of Hickory & Pecan.

Cooker temp dropped to 200* which is to be expected as I just put about 16 lbs of Pork Butts in the WSM.

8:30am. WSM temp 225*.

9:00am. Dome Temp 225*. Grate Temp 260*. Close all bottom vents to 50%. Top vent 100% open.

9:45am: Dome Temp 220* Grate Temp: 275* (Closed Top Vent to 50%) All vents now at 50%

image  image

By 3pm the Butts were at 200* (And I’m at 5300′ above sea level here in Boulder, Colorado.) I pulled them off and let them rest about 2 hours in my Cambro.

Made my own Cole Slaw and served the pulled pork on seeded buns with Head Country BBQ Sauce. The rub I used was “Native Texan” available at Savory Spice Shops. And no, I don’t get paid by these aforementioned companies. (Though I think I should 😉) I just really like their products.

IMHO – Pulled pork tastes better the next day. (Like Lasagna.) And it freezes and re-heats very well.

I used a combination or hickory & pecan chunks and spritzed liberally with apple juice every 90 mins or so. Sorry, there aren’t more pictures. We ate it too fast. 😄

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Peace, Love & Barbecue Heaven

22.5 WSM

22.5 WSM

To me, the words Peace, Love & Barbecue conjure up visions of some old BBQ joint located somewhere outside of Austin Texas. It’s funky, hard to find and possibly – slightly illegal. At this joint licenses and permits run a distant second and third to the preparing and serving of great BBQ.

The pit is handmade. No big commercial smokers for this place. They use hickory, apple, pecan, cherry. Whatever’s the cheapest – that’s what they buy. They’d rather take the money they’d spend on wood and spend it on high quality meats. Nothing against Sam’s or Costco, but you won’t see these folks shopping for brisket there. They seem to have their own secret butcher. If you ask where they get their meat, they say “Cows, pigs, and chickens.”

The menu is small, hand written each day and thumb-tacked to the wall. Similar to Louis Mueller’s in Taylor. The chairs and tables don’t match. Silverware is optional. And as for napkins? Here’s a roll of paper towels. Enjoy your meal.

This joint boasts of having the coldest beer and soda in the State. And who would argue. Because there’s just no arguing in a BBQ joint. Everybody’s too happy to gripe, complain or quarrel about anything.

There are many places like this scattered all over America. These little jewels, where profit is secondary to seeing the look on your face when you chomp down on one gargantuan beef rib or sink your teeth into a pulled pork sandwich piled higher than a Stetson hat.

Like I said, at these wonderful, out of the way places, Peace, Love and Barbecue are served up American style. Hot. Fast. And friendly. They do things the way they used to be done. Low and slow and a little bit sassy. Staying up all night, if necessary,so that your food comes right from the pit instead out of a warming box or steam table. Heck, they may only be open for lunch or on Saturday’s only. The owners of these little slices of Heaven have full time jobs. Their BBQ joint? Well, that’s pure love. Are you getting hungry yet?

At this BBQ joint their motto or mission statement is “ Food & Family First.” And to me, this is the essence of real Barbecue. Friends and family gathered around a picnic table. The aroma from the smoker sweetening the backyard air. There’s an abundance of smiles, hugs, peace and love. At this table everyone is welcome. No one gets turned away and they never run out of food or fun.

Sound crazy? Utopian? Nutty? Not to me. To me, this is Barbecue Heaven.

I have a motto… Family First! Nothing trumps family. Moms, Dads, Brothers and Sisters, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. Friends and neighbors. Barbecue Heaven. The kind of life and lifestyle that makes America great.

Now you might say I’m just a patriotic, flag waving, rib eatin’, old fool. And you’d be right. This is what’s missing in our world these days. In my humble opinion of course.

In far too may communities and households today, family members are scattered to the wind. Every body is busy, busy, busy. The Sunday morning kid’s soccer match has replaced Sunday morning church. And trying to round up the family for a backyard barbecue takes longer than cooking up a slab of Baby Backs.

Instead of talking, we’re texting. And it’s not uncommon to see entire families sitting around the dinner table locked in self-imposed isolation by their own individual mobile devices, rather than sharing experiences and stories that would and should be handed down from generation to generation.

But fortunately that’s where BBQ saves the day. Barbecue, aside from delicious, is also messy. It’s meant to be eaten with your hands. Can you imagine anyone chowing down with a well-sauced rib in one hand and texting on their mobile phone with the other? Okay, I can too. But that’s the besides the point. Barbecue is meant to be savored over conversation with family and friends. And even the occasional stranger.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that Barbecue is the ultimate street food. You can smell the smoke and neighbors come running from down the street. All carrying big smiles and healthy appetites. Barbecue is a natural binder. It binds people together in a way no other cuisine even comes close, except “maybe” Italian.

But arguments can erupt at an Italian dinner table. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. My mother was Italian. I’m half Italian and after enough pasta and wine anything goes. But have you ever seen a real argument during a barbecue feast? The only disagreements at a real barbecue or BBQ joint is whether one likes their Q with, or without. Sauce, that is.

I have a dream. That someday I’m President and our country’s in a heated squabble with Russia over Cuba. I invite Valdimir Putin over to the White House for a one on one conversation. I carefully plan a dinner of ribs, brisket, pork and chicken. (Hey, I’m the President. I can order whatever I want and people make it happen.) I have the National Guard round up Mike Mills and Myron Mixon to do the cooking. There’s lots of food and plenty of icy cold beer and, of course, lots of just about frozen Russian Vodka. Now I ask you. Who leaves the room with the political victory? I do, naturally. Because just as there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no arguing over barbecue. There’s just a big serving of Peace & Love in Barbecue Heaven.

I don’t know about you, but I can eat foods prepared on a smoker or grill everyday of the week. And I’d rather do the grilling or smoking myself. Too many BBQ joints around my house hire some kid to run the pit. And the food tastes like it. But in the hands of an experienced Pit Master a tough slab of beef get’s served up tender, juicy and unforgettable.

Example of unforgettable. Can you remember the best dish of Sauerbraten you’ve ever had? No! But if you’re a true barbecue fanatic, you can remember the best brisket or ribs you’ve ever had. You can even remember where, what time, the weather, the waiter or waitress’s name and what color socks you were wearing. Barbecue has that effect. Great “Q” is truly unforgettable!!! It’s also, dare I say, heavenly.

Barbecue changes a man. Or woman. Some strange chemical reaction or change takes place the minute I set foot in a BBQ joint. Maybe it’s the smoke. Maybe it’s the anticipation of the meal ahead. Maybe it’s the sight of the Pit Master carving up a brisket or chopping up a big, ol’ pork butt. Maybe it’s the atmosphere. It’s a place where everybody’s happy. My kind of place. Your kind of place, if your reading this.

Peace, Love & Barbecue Heaven. It’s a 3 guys in suits sharing a community table with 4 guys in overalls and trucker hats. It’s young and old. Conservative and Liberal. Saint and Sinner. Sauce and no sauce. All too consumed by their 5 senses to think much about anything except the next bite. And that’s the way it ought to be! Don’t you agree?
Until next time…Stay Blessed. Stay Busy.

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Some of the nicest people in the world are in the BBQ business.


Some of the nicest people in the world are in the BBQ business! How do I know this. I’m glad you asked. The encounters with the following 3 BBQ people are true.

A True Story about Mike Mills:
About 5 years ago I was thinking of getting into BBQ catering and had become interested in Ole Hickory Pits. While on vacation in Ensenada Mexico, I get this crazy idea that I’ll just ring up Mike Mills and ask him a few questions about this highly regarded brand. So I call Mike’s 17th Street Grill in Murphysboro Illinois and when they answer I say, “Can I speak to Mike, please?” As if Mike Mills takes calls from BBQ yahoo’s like me. The 17th Street employee says, “Mike’s busy right now. Give me your number and I’ll have him call you back?” “Sure.” I give her my info and hang up. “Give me your number and I’ll have him call you back?” has got to be the biggest brush of line in the world. Oh, well. I gave it a shot.

About five hours later, I’m driving around Ensenada when my cell phone rings. I answer.
“Hello Frank?” “Yes???” “It’s Mike Mills how you doing? I got a message you called and this is the first chance I’ve had to get back to you. Sorry it took me so long. What can I do for you?”

I almost drove of the road. I composed myself and pulled over. This was going to be no ordinary chat. I was talking to the Sir Lawrence Olivier of smoke. The Edmund Hillary of sauce. The Babe Ruth of rub. And the Michelangelo of meats. I’m talking to a 3 -Time Memphis In May Grand Champion! I was so nervous. My hand was shaking so badly, I’m surprised I didn’t chip a tooth.

I’m firing off questions and Mike is politely answering every single one of them – as if he didn’t have anything better to do except talk to me. Here’s the one key thing I remember he said… “Frank, you’ve got to remember there are 4 parts to great Barbecue. The smoker or smoke is only one. The others are the meat. The sauce. And the rub. If one overpowers the other, you’re going to end up with an inferior product. Practice hard and find a good balance of those four things. You do that and you’ll be turning out some tasty Barbecue. That’s Mike Mills.

A True Story About Johnny Trigg: The first BBQ competition I ever attended was just a mile from my house. It took place in the parking lot of a local supermarket. There were guys cooking on huge off-set smokers, pellet-cookers, Weber Kettles and old rusted out backyard barbecue grills. But this fun little event got me hooked on “Q”. A few months later my wife and I took in the Colorado BBQ Challenge. A KCBS sanctioned event in Frisco, Colorado. Elevation 9500 feet. We get there about 10am and start walking around. Since we’d had breakfast a few hours earlier we weren’t into eating any BBQ just then. So we strolled around checking out the various competition teams.

At about 10:30am I see this cooker that looks like it’s half smoker and half Corvette. The metallic blue paint was spit polished. It looked brand new. Like it had just rolled right out of the factory. A Christmas present in mid-June!

As I get closer and start to check it out, I notice a tall white-haired gentleman working away behind a table filled with “stuff”. He looks very busy. And very serious. I have no idea he’s preparing his turn-in boxes for the competition. Slowly he looks up. In his hand a huge knife. At first I thought he was going to say “Don’t touch that!” He had a Texas style stare that said, “I’m working here, sonny. What the heck do you want?” As he eyed me, I sheepishly blurt out “This is one sweet looking rig.” With that Johnny Trigg puts down the huge knife and strolls over.

He looks like a cross between former President Lyndon Johnson, Gregory Peck and Zeus. His eyes are “All Business.” He sticks out his hand and in a Texas drawl as thick as BBQ Sauce says, “Hi, I’m Johnny Trigg. Come on around here. You can’t see anything from over there.” And that began a 10 minute site tour and conversation with one of BBQ’s most recognized and successful competitors. He was all Texas class. A true Texas gentleman. I ask what kind of pit he’s cooking on. “Oh this is just something a friend made up for me.” Turns out that friend is Jamie Geer, creator of the now wildly popular Jambo Pits. Johnny tells me that he competes in about 40-42 events each year. Later I think, this man in his 70’s (with the energy and spark of a 25 yr old) is on the road with his wife, 9 months a year! That’s BBQ love.

So, there I was talking to Johnny Trigg on a Saturday morning of a BBQ Competition and he’s 90 minutes away from Chicken turn-in. And he’s acting as if has had nothing better to do than to talk to me. That’s Johnny Trigg. I’ll never forget it.

One More True Story: It’s 6:30am in Austin Texas. And somewhere, someone is dragging themselves out of bed when they don’t have to. They gulp down coffee, grab a lawn chair, jump into their car (rain or shine) and speed across town in morning rush hour traffic. They’re are hoping – perhaps even praying – to get a good place in line.

It’s now 7:30am in Austin, Texas. Our early-morning riser arrives at 900 E 11th St. A smile crosses their face as they settle into their rickety chair. They are “in line.” A mere 35-40 people away from the front door. They are pretty sure that today they will get a taste of what some BBQ experts call — the best Brisket on Planet Earth.

They sit back and sip from a styrofoam cup of diner brewed coffee. It’s 7:30am in Austin, Texas. Only 3 and a half more hours until the doors open at Franklin Barbecue!
I don’t need to go into the detail or lore or legend that surrounds Aaron & Stacy Franklin. They own the most popular BBQ joint in America. Maybe in the world. Aaron is (depending on who you talk to) roundly touted as the best Pitmaster in the biz. His wife Stacy is his partner.

One day I decided I wanted to do a podcast with Aaron about his meteoric rise to BBQ stardom and supremacy. A world-wide notoriety he enjoys even though he’s never (to my knowledge) competed in a BBQ competition. I call the restaurant. Stacy answers. I tell her my name and that I want to interview Aaron about his BBQ and restaurant.(I’ll bet she’s never heard that request before.) Ever so politely she say’s: “He’s really busy right now. Give me your number and I’ll have him call you.” Yeah, right! I hang up and think , Oh well. At least I gave it a shot.

A week or so later my phone rings. It’s 9:30am in Austin, Texas. It’s BBQ time. 90 minutes before opening, there has been a line formed outside Franklin Barbecue for over two hours. As I pick up the phone, I hear – “Hi Frank. It’s Stacy Franklin. Do you still want to talk to Aaron?” “Sure I do. Thank you so much for calling me back.” “Well, he’s at the restaurant. Let me give you his cell phone number. If you call him right now, he’ll have time to chat before it get’s crazy.” I thank Stacy profusely and hang up. I’m thinking, she just gave me the mobile phone number of the busiest man in BBQ, and said he’s got time to chat if I do. I do, indeed.

I dial the number. Within 2 rings Aaron Franklin says, “Hi Frank, Stacy said you might call. What’s up?” And with that we launch into a 20 minute conversation about all things Franklin BBQ.

Franklin’s Pit: Aaron has one he bought that once belonged to John Mueller. And he recently built another one himself, just to keep up with the demand. The pits at Franklin Barbecue run 24/7.

The Wood: “Just good old Texas post oak. First, I build a small fire outside the pit. When the wood has turned to burning embers, I shovel those into my forebox and add a few sticks of post oak. I try to maintain about 250 degrees.

Aaron’s Secret Brisket Rub: “Secret? It’s just salt & pepper.” “Really?” I say. “Really… Equal parts Kosher Salt & Black Pepper.”

Thoughts on expanding or franchising. “Everyday somebody calls and offers me the Moon if want to go national. Not interested! I like the day to day business of running a BBQ joint. I like building and maintaining the fire. I like working the service counter. Meeting and talking to my customers. If I go pro – I’ll lose all that. I’m doing okay financially and Stacy and I are happy with what we’ve got.”

On why he isn’t selling his rub or Espresso BBQ Sauce in supermarkets and grocery stores. “Same reason I’m not franchising. I’d have to spend my time running a company instead of running a BBQ joint.”

On his legendary battles with BBQ rival John Mueller. “A complete fabrication of the media. Mostly!”

On what tips he can give backyard BBQ Chefs like myself. “It’s all about the fire. Build and maintain a good steady fire. If your temps are all over the place, you’re going to struggle to put out a good consistent product.”

I thank Aaron for his time and tell him my wife’s son lives in Austin and I hope to visit soon. I say, “Look for me in line. I’ll be the guy with the starving look on his face.” “Oh, just come knock on the back door, tell them how you are and ask for me.” “Seriously?” I ask. “Seriously!” I can’t wait!

Aaron has a terrific video series on Youtube called “Barbecue with Franklin”  Check it out. Very, very informative.

If you’d like to listen to my podcast with Aaron Franklin, scroll down this page. Keep scrolling. It’s there.

If you’d like a copy of the audio file just email me.

Also, while you’re here check out the video, “Everyone Waits At Franklin Barbecue.” It’s hilarious!

Until next time… Stay Blessed. Stay Busy. Stay Safe.

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Everyone waits at Franklin BBQ… Everyone!!!

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The Snake Method of Low & Slow Cooking

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Tryin’ To Reason With BBQ Season w/Apologies To Jimmy Buffett

IMG_0210 While all you lucky Southerners get to enjoy Barbeque Season virtually year round, us Northerners have had to wait through 3-5 months of snow, sleet, rain, cold, freezing cold, bitter cold and too darn cold for BBQ Season to officially start.

Well, it’s almost May – National Barbeque Month. So if you notice a huge plume of smoke floating south from way up yonder – don’t worry. It’s just us!

Maybe it’s my advancing years, but I find myself enjoying winter less and less with each passing year. This past year winter seemed particularly long. And for the first time in decades, old man winter didn’t spare the southeastern states of its frosty nastiness.

Up here in Colorado – it was an unusually cold winter. Lot’s of snow. That’s not unusual – but snow usually melts fast here. Not last winter. The snow fell and it stuck around. It stuck around like a bad cold.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I ventured out in sub-freezing temps just to peak inside my Tuff Shed and look at my Pit Barrel Cooker. Or how many photos I took of my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker covered in snow.

To offset these winter doldrums I took to hanging out on various BBQ forums. If for no other reason than to see if anyone else was suffering the same affliction that had befallen me. It’s a little known illness akin to seasonal affective disorder called ABW – Acute BBQ Withdrawl.

Oh, there are plenty of fine BBQ eateries to satiate my BBQ jones. But, it’s the cooking, smoking, grilling, and sharing of the Q with others that I was truly missing.

All that began to subside on April 1st. That’s the unofficial start of spring here in Ski Country USA. It’s when we turn our thoughts to Backyards and Barbeque. And not necessarily in that order.

Since April 1st, I’ve been canvasing the local big box stores waiting for that big sale on Charcoal. I’ve become such a regular on internet selling sites hunting for BBQ bargains, my wife is now calling me Craig. (Should I be worried about that?)

I’ve slowly been straightening out the Tuff Shed. Scouting new locations in the backyard for that big offset cooker I’ve had my eye on. I’ve cleared my spice rack in anticipation of all the new shipments of rubs and sauces that will arriving on my doorstep. I’ve even set a date for the annual spit-shining of all grills and grills lids.

I’ve scanned the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association’s website ( checking the competition contest schedule just in case this is the year I take the plunge and go from BBQ connoisseur to BBQ competitor.

I’ve stored up enough wood chucks to make a Beaver jealous. My BBQ sauce is on order. Rubs are on the way. New shakers, industrial size rolls of foil and clear wrap and over 200 pounds of charcoal awaits the first flame.

I’d buy a huge restaurant-style refrigerator for the garage, but then I might need a divorce lawyer. And I’m dreaming about that gigantic Meadow Creek TS250 with the optional BBQ42 attached. Overkill you say? In BBQ? No such thing!

But even if I had all that equipment and supplies – even if I had a frig stocked with ribs, briskets, pork butts and chickens. Even if my backyard looked like a David Klose showroom, it would be all for naught without one thing… BBQ friends.

The BBQ friend is the most valuable of all things. It is only the BBQ friend who understands my strange malaise. Who knows that bigger is always better when it comes to smokers and grills. Who stays up all night thinking about firing up the grill on Memorial Day. Who, protected by only an apron and a pair on tongs, stands ready to take on the task of cooking great BBQ and then sharing all that incredible goodness with the neighbors.

And that is worth the long wait of winter. Here’s to a great Barbeque season for one and all. May yours last forever!

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Pork Butt – It’s Sooo Good! And It’s Easy.

Pulled Pork

It’s not often that my wife asks me to cook up Barbeque – so when she does – I jump.

Her request? 2 Pork Butts (16lbs). Some to be taken to her son’s house to feed him, his wife, their two year old and a brand new baby girl just over a month out of the oven. (She’s totally cute and likes me a lot. – I think.)

The rest to be put on ice and transported to family members at Bandelier National Monument and Cottonwood, Arizona.

So far the reviews have been stellar. And I beg them to be brutally honest. But you know family. They’ll always say it great.

The pulled pork turned out quite good. So I’d thought I’d share my methodology – especially with you Backyard BBQ Chefs who may be new to this amazing world of Barbeque! So here goes.

First I got my 22.5 WSM prepped and ready for the cook.

Then, since I was cooking 2 alb Pork Butts, I filled the charcoal ring with Kingsford Briquettes. Then I lit a full chimney of the same and waited for the coals to glow.

Meanwhile, I rubbed the Butts with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkled a liberal amount of Team Sweet Mama’s Kansas City Style Rub on all parts of the Pork. (Team Sweet Mama’s Rub is available through Savory Spice Stores. Here’s the link if you’re interested in trying it.

When the chimney coals were  glowing I spread them on top of the unlit coals in the charcoal ring and assembled the WSM. I foil lined the water pan and filled it with 1.5 gallons of hot water. (Many people don’t fill the water pan or don’t even use it at all. My philosophy is, if Weber designed it that way, I’m going to use it. I think it results in a nice moist product.)

I then hooked up my PitmasterIQ-110 Controller and set it to 275*. I popped on the lid and we were off and cooking.


The PitmasterIQ-110 Controller is available at I hate their slogan – “Blow Your Pit” but their controllers are awesome and truly take the worry out of watching the WSM and adjusting the vents. I admit that can be fun – but the IQ-110 is a terrific product. You’ll love it. They also have a new controller the IQ120. Check them out.

Once everything was in place and the WSM was doing it’s thing, I put the Butts on (Fat Cap Up) and added about 7-8 chunks of wood. Half Hickory. Half Pecan.

One of the most important steps in cooking great BBQ is to leave things alone and let the fire and wood do what they do. With Pork Butts, I’ll not open the lid until at lest 3 hours into the cook. If the rub is set – I’ll start the spritzing process. I use a spray bottle with half apple juice and half apple cider vinegar. You’ll want to avoid spritzing until the rub is set. Otherwise, you’ll wash all that wonderful seasoning off the butt and into the water pan.

I’ll then spritz the butts liberally each 60-90 minutes until I notice the fat cap splitting.

Once I see that, I’ll remove th butts from the WSM and double-wrap them in heavy duty foil. Before sealing them up, I spritz again and really get them wet. Them, I’ll wrap tightly and back on the WSM until they reach 195-200.

You can pull the Pork Butts off at 185-190, but I find leaving then until 200 or even 205 turns out a product that simply falls apart and shreds with tongs.

Once the butts come off I’ll let them rest for 30-45 minutes on the foil, but with the foil open. At this point I don’t want the Butts to continue cooking. Which they will do if you leave the foil wrapped and put them in a cooler.

That way works, but I prefer to let them rest out in the open.


Once the pork is pulled I add a good sprinkle of Team Sweet Mama’s Rub and a light drizzle of Head Country BBQ Sauce. I prefer the Hickory. They also have Original and Hot. All their sauces are terrific. You can find them in stores or go to

Well after all this it’s chow time. I like my pulled pork topped with my homemade cole slaw and a little Head Country Hickory BBQ Sauce. It’s heavenly.

This BBQ method I’ve written about is exactly how Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue does his pork butt. Next time I’m going to forgo the foiling process. I find with my WSM, I don’t need to use foil. You can use foil if you like. It’s your party. But cooking until done without foil results in a better bark that adds a nice texture to the finished product.

Back to my wife – she likes me to set some of the pork butt aside before I add rub and BBQ Sauce. She also makes an incredible Mango Salsa and Guacamole Dip. We often use these to serve Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa. It’s incredible.

More on that next time. Until then – I wish you blessings and amazing Barbeque!

Feel free to contact me anytime at

(I am not compensated in any way for the products mentioned above. Yet!)

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Spring Has Sprung. Outdoor Cooking Starts Today!

IMG_1866             ***Pulled Pork

Welcome To The Backyard BBQ Chefs favorite time of year. Spring. Why Spring? Because Spring leads to Summer. Summer leads to Fall. And that means you and I have about 6-8 months of great outdoor cooking ahead of us.

In order to not waste a moment, of this precious cooking time, I’ve found I need a rough schedule – a plan if you – will to guide me through the many opportunities that lay on the BBQ horizon.

Take some time over the next few weeks or weekends to map out a rough draft of your biggest outdoor cooking events. Then stock the garage, Tuff Shed and frig with everything you’re gonna need for the wonderfully long cooking/grilling/smoking season ahead.

Is all this a bit much? Yeah, maybe. But here’s some ideas or excuses you can call upon when you absolutely must make a fire and cook some meat over it.

*** Opening Day of Baseball Season

The Masters


Mothers Day (we’ll use any excuse won’t we?)

Memorial Day

Flag Day (another excuse – but a darn good one, IMHO!)

Father’s Day

4th of July (This year July 4th falls on a Friday – that means a 3 day weekend of grilling and smoking. Pace yourself. This is hard work.)

Then we hit August and a bit of a dry spell with no major holidays until Labor Day. That means we need to get creative. Below are a few fringe holidays – but holidays that scream out for a Backyard BBQ party nonetheless.

Aug. 3rd. – Friendship Day – (This is what BBQ is all about, right?)

Aug. 7th – 10th PGA Championship Weekend

Aug. 10th – National S’mores Day (If you get the kids excited you’re home free for a Brisket before the S’mores.)

Aug. 14th. – VJ Day (Thank you Veterans! Without your heroism – none of this is possible.)

Aug. 15th – Relaxation Day (As in, “Relax Honey, I’ll throw on a few racks of ribs!”)

Aug. 25th – Kiss & Make Up Day. (It’s time to let go of your hurt from that time your spouse suggested the bottom of your WSM would make an excellent flower pot.)

Aug. 29th – More Herbs, Less Salt Day. (I see a new rub on the horizon. Don’t you?)

Aug 31st. – National Trail Mix Day. (The perfect snack to keep your energy levels up while you sit around and drink beer waiting for that pork butt to come up to 195*.)

Then there’s the start of Tailgating Season.

Labor Day Weekend.

NFL Kick-off Sunday

And the majesty that is Autumn. Colorful trees. The lawn stops growing. There’s a slight chill in the air that is the perfect time to fire up the grill. For heat purposes, of course.

And farther down the line – the ultimate food holiday – Thanksgiving.

Wow! I’m feeling a bit exhausted already. There’s a lot of cooking ahead. But, that’s what we live for. A fire, and a few racks of ribs on the smoker. Family and Friends around the picnic table. And the only real cuisine we can claim to be All-Amercian. Barbeque! And when you realize that firing up the grill or smoker is the most Patriotic thing you can do in a non-wartime era, we really don’t need an excuse at all. Do we?

Happy First Day of Spring, my friend!

** A pan of pulled pork I cooked up on my WSM March 19th, 2014. Tastes great!

*** Opening Day of Baseball Season is my “official” first day of Spring!

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Maggie’s Ultimate Cole Slaw


My bride and I belong to the “Connections” group at our church. It’s a group of people between 35-65 (if you’re older, we won’t hold that against you.) who “Connect” once or twice a month for dinner, fellowship and fun.

At out last gathering someone brought a big bowl of Cole Slaw. Even though the main dish was Lasagne (you get very strange food combinations at potluck dinners) I had to have a taste or three.

Well, it was awesome. And I don’t throw that word around unless it’s true. After some inquires I discovered that Maggie had made the Cole Slaw. An intense interrogation ensued. And after much pleading and begging and a round of gushing compliments, Maggie caved in and gave me the recipe for this amazing Cole Slaw that I share with you now. So here it is,,,

Maggie’s Cole Slaw 

1.5 Bags of shredded cabbage (Or chop your own)

1 Bottle of Hidden Valley Cole Slaw Dressing (I know I couldn’t believe it either)

1 Granny Smith Apple – Very Finely Diced

1 Fuji Red Apple – Very Finely Diced

2 Bananas – Very Finely Diced

That’s it. Simple huh? Sometimes simple is very, very good.

Give it a try and tell me what you think in the comments section below. And if you like it share it.

Blessings All!

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Preparing For BBQ Season.


I know. There are still several weeks and a few snow storms until spring. So does that mean we can’t start planning for BBQ season? I do around my house. Here’s a few simple things to think about and get you ready and excited for warm weather and the smell of wood smoke wafting through your backyard / neighborhood.

  1. Clean out the shed. Right now there are all kinds of things in my shed that don’t belong there. Patio cushions and a few other things my bride snuck in last October when I was recovering from a knee replacement. They’ll be getting evicted to their rightful place in the garage. The shed is for BBQ equipment and supplies. Oh – golf clubs are always welcome.
  2. If you haven’t cracked the lid on your grill or smoker since that first snowfall, time to do it. Go ahead and throw out that rusty, moldy aluminum pan from your last cooking session back in October. Dump the used coals and any wood chunks. No – don’t save any slightly burned pieces of wood. Spring means new and we’re not going to use any “old” wood or charcoals.
  3. Look for late winter / early spring deals on charcoal. Some of the big box stores have killers discounts if you keep on top of it. Check local circulars or go to their websites and see what they have on sale.
  4. Clean out the spice/rub rack. Yes, you know what I mean. The stuff that you got for Christmas — 2011 — that’s still in your spice rack. Even if they’re unopened, toss ’em! This year you’re buying new spices and rubs. Or better yet, make you own rubs. And grow your own herbs. It’s easy and there a lot of rub recipes online.
  5. Buy 2 really good knives. That doesn’t mean expensive. Sam’s Club has kitchen knives that are every bit as good as what you’d find at Williams-Sonoma and only 1/10th the price.
  6. Pull everything out of your shed and sweep out all the dust and dead critters that didn’t make it thru winter. Then put everything back in a neat orderly fashion. Failure to put things back in an orderly fashion will result in a big hairy “the stink eye” next time I see you. And I WILL see you.
  7. If you can afford it, invest in a small frig. When I go shopping for BBQ meat, I can never get more than one rack of ribs in my frig without running out of room. Check local restaurant supply stores for deals on used equipment or find out where your local restaurant auction house is located. Restaurants are always going out of business and auctioning off kitchen equipment to cover back taxes. Good deals can be had if you act quickly.
  8. Buy a really good BBQ brush and some earth friendly grill cleaners and tackle the chore of cleaning your grill and smoker on the next warm day. For best results cleaning a neglected grill grate – take it to the local do-it-yourself car wash. One with those high pressure wands. They do a surprisingly good job.
  9. Buy a good BBQ cook book and/or enroll in a BBQ cooking class. For books, I recommend anything by Ray Lampe. Aka Dr. BBQ or (if you’re a bit more skilled) Adam Perry Lang. If you contact your states BBQ Association, they can turn you onto a good cooking class. Caution – some of these can be very expensive. Know what your getting for your money and who’s getting the money
  10. And finally – refill or buy a fire extinguisher. Then learn exactly how to use it. Keep it by your grill/smoker. Fire Extinguishers don’t cost that much and heaven forbid something or someone caught on fire. Be prepared! You’ll be glad you did.

That’s it for now my BBQ Buddies. I’ll talk to you again soon. If I can answer any question that didn’t get covered here, feel free to shoot me an email. Party on Wayne!

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