Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's been too long!

With work, weather, hunting, and a 16 month old I haven't been able to do much smoking. I'm having withdrawal! I did do several pork shoulders 2 weekends ago that were very good, it was good to be smoking again. I have taken several deer this year and wanted to take another run at summer sausage. The sausage I did last year was mediocre at best....

I took 7 lbs of venison and 3 pounds of pork and cut it into small chunks. Then I used the kitchen aid attachment to grind the pork and venison together. After it was ground I mixed it with a curing agent, summer sausage spices, and Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express. It smelled great.

Then the real manual labor started.....stuffing the casings. This is by far the most labor intensive part of the process. I used 1 inch thick pork casings for this sausage.

Once all of it was stuffed, I put it in the fridge for about 4 hours. After that I cooked it at 185 for about 3.5 hours.

This stuff rocks, it is much better than last year and the Dizzy Pig adds nice flavor. I will definitely do this recipe again.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blue Springs Wrap-up

I got into KC on Thursday night so we could get the ribs, chicken, and brisket trimmed and the trailer ready to go. Friday morning I had some last minute errands to run and left for the contest around 10, arriving at 10:45. To my surprise, I was the last team to check in. I had a hell of a time backing the trailer into our spot, but after about 5 attempts I finally got it. It only took me about an hour to get our site up and functional. Bayou Style BBQ was one of the teams right next to us and we hit it off right away. Sean and crew are a great bunch of guys and were really helpful with some seasoned pro tips. Most of Friday consisted of me loitering and drinking beer. Brad and Dad showed up around 4:30 and I think they were also taken aback at how big this thing was...80+ teams. The contest reps did a great job of having everything set and ready to go for the teams.
Friday night we walked around and sampled some of the other teams bbq via the Buck a Bone registration. Basically the teams can pay $50 and the general public can sample their food. My mom came out around 6:30 and hung out with us most of the evening. We got the smokers fired up around 9:30. We prepped the shoulders and the brisket and got them on the smoker around 10:15. We transferred one of the shoulders and one of the briskets to the egg around 1 a.m. Friday night/Saturday morning I spent with Bayou BBQ watching movies and preparing the garnishes for the turn-in boxes.
Saturday morning was a bit on the chilly side so Brad and I went to Starbucks and loaded up on coffee. We had our ribs on by 7 a.m, the chicken on at 9:30 and the sausage on by 10. Looking back we put the sausage on too early. By the time we cut it for turn-in, it was lukewarm/cold - rookie mistake. The preparation of the turn-in boxes went well for the chicken, ribs, and sausage but we realized that 15 minutes before turn-in time is not the time to be strategizing about how to do a pork and brisket box. Our pork shoulder box looked brutal. It was basically a lump of pulled pork in the middle of the garnish...oh well, we will get it next time. The brisket box actually looked decent with both burn ends and slices in the box.
Due to the number of teams and the seasoned veterans we were not expecting much come awards time. Chicken was the first category up and to our surprise we placed fourth in chicken! We were really proud of this because our chicken has not scored well in past non-sanctioned events and we have been working to improve it quite a bit. No calls for brisket, ribs, or shoulders. Ribs 32 of 80, Brisket 20 of 80, Shoulder 29 of 80. We took 10th place in sausage, which wasn't too bad considering we served it cold! We finished 13th out 80 teams, so for our first contest, we were really happy. All in all it was a great weekend hanging out with the family! We learned a ton and are anxiously awaiting our next contest! Unfortunately I left the camera at home! Sorry there are no pics to post from the contest. Here are pics of the ribbons.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blue Springs Blaze Off

Albino Rhino BBQ is going on the road to Blue Springs, MO this weekend for our first full sanctioned contest. We will be cooking the four competition meats plus the sausage contest. I'll post a full write up when we get back. There are 80+ teams so we aren't expecting much.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Pork Loin

I picked up a 7.5 lb pork loin this morning at Hy-Vee. I injected it with apple juice, brown sugar, and honey. I used Arthur Bryants beef and rib rub and smoked it at 200 degrees for 6 hours.

Finished it with Arthur Bryant's original sauce.

Whole Chicken

I hadn't smoked a whole chicken for awhile so I decided to do one for the kickoff of the college fotoball season on Saturday. I removed the spine and cooked the chicken skin side up. I used Gates Original seasoning mixed with Plowboys Yardbird Rub. This chicken was incredibly tender. The chicken breast melted in your mouth. I will definitely do this again soon!

Seafood Night

We've been cooking a lot of competition meats recently so we decided to switch it up a bit and do some seafood. We bought several pounds of king crab legs and a pound of 12 count scallops. I fired the egg up to 550 degree and cooked the scallops in a baking pan with butter, thyme, basil, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper. After the scallops had been on for about 8 minutes I put the crab legs on to warm them up, they were already cooked so I just needed to warm them.

I also cooked some fresh Iowa sweet corn to finish off the meal. Very tasty!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Practicing for Upcoming Contest

We are competing in a contest September 11-12 in Blue Springs, MO. In preparation for this fully sanctioned contest I headed to KC this past weekend to cook all four competition meats plus sausage with my brother and dad. We think our BBQ has been a little too spicy in the last two contests so we tried to sweeten it up a bit. I think we accomplished our goal but we will see what the judges say...

I forgot to take pics of the final product but will make sure to take pics at the contest.

We also had our Albino Rhino BBQ shirts delivered the other day, it's official...we have spent way too much money on this hobby!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

All Iowa Dinner

The other night we decided to have and all Iowa grown dinner. We bought pork chops from Iowa raised pork, sweet corn from Adel, and zucchini from Kathy's mom's garden. We threw it all on the egg and it turned out very tasty.
I rubbed the pork chops with Plowboys Yardbird rub and a little black pepper.

I put olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper on the zucchini.

As you can tell from the look on Graham's face, he thoroughly enjoyed the all Iowa dinner!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Evening Gumbo

I like to make a big Sunday night dinner and this week's menu was Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. I started off by smoking two Andouille link sausages and 4 chicken thighs on the egg.

Once I had the egg going with the meat, I started on the roux. I combined cooking oil and flour to make the roux which cooks for 4 minutes on high heat and then you reduce it to medium heat and have to constantly stir it for 15 minutes....15 minutes doesn't seem like a long time but try stirring for 15 minutes, it seems like an eternity. Next you mix the roux and chicken broth together and then you add onion, celery, okra, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, chicken, and sausage. Once everything is combined it needs to cook for about 5 hours.
I finished it with wild rice. Great flavor and very filling, I'm now in a food coma as I type this.

Borderline Brisket Disaster

I decided I was going to do a brisket Friday to get ready for a competition in KC next month. I got a large brisket from Costco and trimmed it and rubbed it Friday night for an overnight smoke. When I fired up the egg it was very calm outside and there was NO wind. Because of the conditions I opened up the air flow gauge more than I normally would to allow the egg to get up to 230-240. I put the brisket on about 9:30pm, checked it about 10:45, and everything was looking good....235 degrees.
I woke up around 3:30 to howling winds outside. I ran down to the deck to check out the temp and sure enough the wind had raised the temp on the egg all the way up to about 700 degrees. I have no idea how long it had been this hot but the internal temp on the brisket was 235 degrees, about 45 degrees over what I wanted it to be....boy did I have some choice words for the freaking wind.

To salvage the brisket I took it off the egg, wrapped it in foil with Head Country Marinade, and let it rest for about 2 hours. To my amazement, it didn't taste too bad although it was a little on the dry side.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday afternoon pork shoulder

So after a long couple of days at RAGBRAI I decided I wanted to fire up the egg. I got a 7.5 lb shoulder from Hy-Vee and got it on the egg about 9:30 this morning. I used Smoking Guns rub and injected the shoulder with apple juice, grape juice, salt, sugar, and Worcestershire.
This sucker took forever to get up to the temp that I wanted but finally about 10:00pm it was finished....a little late for dinner I guess. Kathy thought that this was the best shoulder that I've done yet. I liked it as well but it was probably a little too spicy for a competition.

Dakota was one happy dog after sitting by the counter while I pulled the shoulder, I don't think she even chews it, she resembles a vacuum.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Albino Rhino BBQ now has it's own Blog!

After several years of backyard bbq we decided to start competitions this year. We have only competed in 2 but have a blast in both of them. The first one we competed in was Smokin in the Junction in Valley Junction(Des Moines, IA). We didn't know what in the hell we were doing but we had plenty of beer, ice, charcoal, and food. The Junction event was a non-sanctioned event and consisted of chicken, ribs, and pork loin. Overall we finished in 9th place out of 32 teams. To our absolute amazement we got a call for 5th place pork loin. I think we thought they were kidding when they called our name! We learned a lot at this contest about what not to do...Next was the Pleasant Hill Summerfest this past weekend. It was in Pleasant Hill, IA and all of the Rhino's were there--Brad, Dad, and me. This was a non-sanctioned event as well and consisted of ribs, chicken, and sausage. This was the first year of this contest but it was still a fun environment. We got there about 5:30am and got our site set up by 6. The smokers were going by 6:30 and we put our ribs on around 7. Some of our friends were competing in this contest so it was fun to have someone else out there that we knew. We met several different teams that were very friendly to the newcomers. Big Moe from Ponderosa BBQ was vending his world famous Cheese Steak sandwiches so we had to go over and try them, they did not disappoint. On to the competition, we thought that are ribs and chicken were outstanding but we did not get a call for them. As they counted down the top 10 for sausage they read off #10, #9, this point I think we all felt like we were not going to place in this category either. Then they called off #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2 and we had all but solidified a no place showing for the contest. Then they read 1st place sausage....Albino Rhino BBQ. I think we all about fell over from the surprise. We ended up getting 5th overall and won money, a ribbon, and a trophy that will likely be pretty lonely.

I have been amazed at how friendly all of the competition teams are. You would think that in a competition environment there would be a little animosity amongst the teams but it is quite the contrary. All teams are willing to share some tricks of the trade(not all tricks but some) and they are all there to just have a good time.

I wanted to tip my hat to Rod from Buster Dog BBQ. About a year ago he told me about the ISU BBQ class in Ames so my dad and I attended. We have been hooked ever since. Rod has been instrumental in helping us figure out the world that is competition BBQ. Thanks Rod!