Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's been awhile...

Sorry it's been awhile since I've posted to this blog.

I've done some experimenting with the pit this summer. Heating the pit with charcoal then switching to wood for cooking. Heating the pit with lump charcoal then switching to wood for cooking or heating the pit then cook with charcoal and wood.

Which of these methods works better? Well they all do...up to a point.

Lump charcoal and wood creates less ash to deal with in the fire box, can have temperature spikes when more fuel is added. The trick is to get your pit temperature were you want it, then go with a smaller fire during cooking.

A pure wood fire in the pit box will work but you have to have plenty of air flow to burn clean, unless you burn the wood first into coals, then add it to the firebox, this is something I have not done yet.

I do not have any fancy gadget's or gizmo's or guru's on my pit. I'm totally old school pit master, fire tender style of barbecue cooking. It's done when it's done.

I've tried different charcoals (from what can be found here in Nashville) and found a few that work well. I'll name and talk about these later in a different post.

It's 'bout time to ice down some brews and watch some football.

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.

Big Daddy

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rib Cook...

Always a stumbling stone somewhere...

I had talked about using the Nature-Glo lump charcoal and liking it a lot. Burns clean, very little ash, pure wood. I got it at Gordon Food Service here in Nashville.

Now...they don't carry it anymore. They stock their own brand of lump. I've used their charcoal before so I thought, what the hell, I'll give it a shot.

Never again...

It's true when they say you get what you pay for.

The Nature-Glo lump was $12 a bag, the GFS (Gordon Food Service) lump was $9 a bag.

Nature-Glo is good solid wood lump, no scrap wood. The GFS lump was trash wood kind of like Cowboy Lump when it started out. Cowboy has improved their quality some, but not enough.

GFS had a burnt smell to it too, I could tell it was scrap wood and not of very good quality scrap wood at that. So that brand will definitely not grace my firebox.

Luckily, I still had some Nature-Glo left to cook with...

The only other lump that is available around here is the Big Green Egg brand made by Royal Oak. A friend of mine cooks with it and he really likes it. It's about $15 a bag so I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Green Egg is a pretty big brand name. If I don't like it...I'll just have to order Nature-Glo on line and be done with it...

(I am not a sponsor nor a salesman for Nature-Glo. If I was, I would have a garage full of it and wouldn't be complaining about not being able to find it.)

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.

Big Daddy

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Charcoal...part II

I used this lump and I like it. I'll have to be careful though because it does burn hotter than regular charcoal.

The pit did want to run hot at first, until I got use to this, but it didn't take me long and it was my fault, but she calmed down and settled in.

And the price was good too.

12 dollars for a 22 lb bag is not bad at all.

I'll do a few more cooks as soon as work settles down and experiment a little more with lump to see how little is needed and how long it will last to get my firebox timing in order.

Cooking is like therapy, it keeps me from doing dishes...
Big Daddy

Saturday, April 26, 2008


The last cook was done with regular charcoal and it produced a lot of ash to be contended with. The next cook will be done with lump charcoal.

I've read the reviews and this can be purchased here locally with no problem, so I'll give it a try. I can't find Rancher lump around here and I would like to try the Weekend Warrior lump, but I don't think it would be worth the price of shipping it from New England to Tennessee.

So I'll just try the Nature-Glo and see what happens.

Cooking is like therapy, it keeps me from doing dishes...
Big Daddy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fire in the hole...

I fired up the pit and I was pleased by how she acted.

The only thing I didn't like was... I'm exposed to Mother Nature's misfortune and temperament and she showed me her butt by raining on my parade.

That... put me behind by at least 2 hours on cooking. That will not cut it in a competition.

The pit will be good for bulk cooks in decent weather, but if it rains...I'm screwed.

Some major work will have to be done to the trailer to cover this cooker up, or I might have to go a different route altogether for competition.

Everything turned out great...but by competition standards, I would not have made the turn in times...

And not good.

Cooking is like therapy, it keeps me from doing dishes...
Big Daddy

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Test Cook...

The weather has been the holdup for getting the jacks welded on the trailer and also, the hold up for me, on beginning any kind of test cook.

I'm really wanting to get started on that part of the game. Until I find out how this pit is going to cook and the time involved in cooking, I'm just dead in the water right now.

It's said, a good pit master can cook on anything. That I can do, but I don't want to go into any competition with out knowing my pit or without any game plan.

So... I may just run test cooks this year and bring Hillbilly Rib Runners into full competition mode next year. Right now I have my sauce and rub recipes ready.

I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

Cooking is like therapy, it keeps me from doing dishes...
Big Daddy

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Julie and myself went to the judging class today in Dickson and we are now official KCBS Judges. This class helped us out tremendously as to learning a vast wealth of knowledge taught by Bobbie & Lee McWright of Music City Pig Pals.

Lee was very helpful and a great man to listen to and his presentation on the facts was very good. We can now do competitions or apply to be a judge at competitions.

This is only one stepping stone on our path, but a well placed one to say the least.

We are now in the game and our quest for winning begins...

Cooking is like therapy, it keeps me from doing dishes...
Big Daddy

Sunday, March 9, 2008


The way things are going at work right now, I don't know if I will be able to compete this year or not. But we (myself & Julie) are still going to the KCBS judging class later this month.

It is taught by Music City Pig Pal (tag team duo) Bobbie & Lee McWright.

Dear Friends,
My wife Bobbie and I are known as Music City Pig Pals/Music City Catering*. We work as co-executive chefs of Music City Catering and have been in the food service business for more than twenty years. We are certified KCBS representatives and judges. We have competed in over one hundred barbeque related contests under the name Music City Pig Pals since 1992. In the first six contests of 2004, we competed in twenty-four categories and finished in the top ten fourteen times, as well as finishing in the top ten overall standings four times. In May, we won the prestigious Alabama Triple Crown. From September 2001 thru January 2005, we won 11 Grand Championships, 8 Reserve Grand Championships, 10 Reserve-Reserve Grand Championships, and in 2003, finished numerous times in the top 10. We were KCBS second runner-up for Team Of The Year in 2001 and 6th place in 2003. We also won Top five Chicken Team of The Year 2001, 2002 and 2003. We received 7th place Team of The Year Brisket in 2003. In 2003, I became the Executive Chef and National spokesperson for Fiesta Gas Grill Company.

I have heard, that these two are good folks. So, if it does just so happen out that we can't compete this year, we can still be judges at some contest. I would like to compete in at least one or two this year and try to make a full schedule of it next year. Or I may just become a full time judge.

Again, it depends on the numb nuts at work. Right now, they can't even blow their nose without having to ask 15 people for permission and I can't get a straight answer out of anybody about what's going to happen next and when.

Cooking is like therapy, it keeps me from doing dishes...
Big Daddy

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I got my certification for KCBS in the mail yesterday. We are now official.

This will open another door in my quest for blazing my own path into the world of competition.

Now comes the fun part...

Cooking is like therapy, it keeps me from doing dishes...
Big Daddy

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pass the Q please...

Ribs, are probably the most misunderstood meat when it comes to cooking competition. You could have cooked ribs for years and be fall off the bone consistent every time.

But that will not cut it in KCBS. KCBS teaches their judges that ribs are to pull clean off the bone at the point of where you bit into it. Not, fall off the bone, which many home cooks have done for years and years.

By doing this, you have to reinvent yourself in the art of cooking ribs. It's hard to do but you'll get the hang of it with plenty of practice. I have already done a few test runs and people tell me, they like the fall off the bone better.

So as a cook, you want to go back into old habits that work and make people happy. This is the dividing line between home cooks and competition cooks.

Competition cooks are home cooks that have advanced on to the next level of cooking. They have figured out what the judges are looking for, what will work and what won't work. Timing is everything in competition.

Home cooks can make mistakes and get away with it. Competition cooks can't. No mistakes can be made. Competition cooking is like bowling. Once you've turned that box in you have released the ball. If it strikes, that's good, it counts for you. But if you gutter it, it still counts, only against you and you don't get that second roll to try and spare that frame up.

Cooking is like any other sport. You compete against other people yes, but just like bowling, you compete against yourself. No one can beat you, except you. No one beats me in bowling, I beat myself. They may have had a better game than I did but they didn't beat me, I beat myself. I didn't adapt my game to the lane conditions so I beat myself.

Cooking is the same way. If I don't adapt to competition standard (lane condition) and my turn in box (ball) hits the gutter every time I'm going to beat myself hands down

To shoot a perfect score (300) in bowling, everything and I mean everything has to fall into place. I've only done it once and came close to it (299) twice more. That would have been a Grand Championship and two Overall Championships.

When we start doing test cooks this spring, smoke will fill the air with that sweet aroma of barbecue. We will be taking notes, drinking a few cold beverages and we will be enjoying life.

Look out world, here we come.

Cooking is like therapy, it keeps me from doing dishes...
Big Daddy

Big Daddy was a fire tender for Peg Leg Porkers. B.D. is now pit master and founder of Hillbilly Rib Runners Competition Bar-B-Que Team based out of Hendersonville, Tennessee

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Team is born...

This will be the readings of my team and our adventures into the world of KCBS and competition barbecue.