31 October 2008

Football Saturdays : The Comeback Drink

Now that we are in the heart of the football season, we are getting into some really important football games. Most people in the South have a deep passion for their football, and on Saturdays it can get pretty crazy. There are the tailgates and co-eds, and there is always the booze. Whoever your team might be, at some point in the season they may be trailing in a game. Some people try the rally caps and others use good luck charms and there was that rally monkey. However, I have an age old secret that will work every time. Note: This has never been posted on the internet. This is a deeply kept and dearly held secret. I am revealing what some people never wanted others to know. It's called the comeback drink.

If your team is down by 14 or more points, it is time for a comeback drink. Making this drink will guarantee that either a) your team will come back and win or b) you will forget that you were watching a football game. Part of the comeback drink is believing in the power of the comeback drink, and the other part is whiskey (well really, six parts whiskey). Yes, that's right, a comeback drink is six parts whiskey and a splash of Sprite. It is guaranteed to work every time. If your team is really down, it may require more than one comeback drink (use your own discretion here).

Go Dawgs. Sic' em.

There is a reason they call this the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

30 October 2008

Luther Burger UPDATE

Ready to make your Luther Burger?

This Tuesday, Krispy Kreme is giving away a FREE doughnut in honor of election day. After you vote, take your "I Voted" sticker to the nearest KK establishment and get a free glazed goodie.

Check the press release:
Hot vote now.

Celebrate democracy and the rising obesity rates in America. Mmmmmm.

BBQ IN THE NEWS: P.S.I.P. Get Profiled

The Hendersonville Star News had a nice article last week about our buddy Alan Woodard and his Pig Smokers in Paradise cooking team.

Too bad the article repeatedly misreported the name of the team, not to mention Alan's first name. I know that the Tennessean (parent of the Star News) is not exactly a reputable source when it comes to barbecue, but this is just basic, right? I mean, I'm no journalist, but it seems like if the article is about a man and his barbecue team - you might want to make sure you've got the name of the man and his barbecue team spelled correctly?!! And what I don't understand is that the article says "Big Smokers in Paradise", but then proceeds to give the abbreviation as "PSIP"...and gives the website as "www.pigsmokersinparadise.com".

ANYWAY...congrats to PSIP for the publicity. They say any press is good press, right? Hopefully this will generate some catering jobs, or maybe even a venture capitalist for that new restaurant.

Music Thursday: Luther Burger

Ummmm doughnuts.....
Ummmm burgers.....
Ummmm Luther Burgers.....

It seems that if you use a sweet glazed doughnut as a bun for your burger, then you have a Luther Burger. This was the brainchild of the late Luther Vandross. Was it the cause of his death? Was it the inspiration for his hit Never Too Much? We may never know. Whatever the case may be, most people won't remember Mr. Vandross for his silky smooth voice, but for this culinary invention that packs in several thousand calories per bite.

I would like to see the Super Size Me guy eat these things for 30 days.

Luther Vandross's Never Too Much

29 October 2008

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Three Little Pigs Huff and Puff Competition BBQ Sauce

I always expect a little more when a sauce comes from a competition team. And especially so when that competition team has had as much success as Three Little Pigs Barbecue.

From the start, it's easy to see why this sauce has brought so much success. It's essentially a slightly thinner Kansas City-style sauce - dark burgundy, with a flavor profile that is rich and smoky and sweet. Strong worcestershire and garlic flavors produce a savory richness that is complemented by just enough hearty molasses sweetness. And it has quite a bit of heat for a competition sauce, but hey...I'm not complaining.

Rob and I tried this sauce on some smoked chicken wings last weekend and it was dynamite. And I have no doubt that it would be equally great on a rack of ribs. All in all, this is a great-tasting multi-purpose sauce that is truly competition worthy.

Grade: A

26 October 2008

The Jack 2008

A few photos from our lovely weekend in Lynchburg, Tennessee...

the 2008 logo (booooo, btw)

the welcome Jack

the single barrel club

the master rep, Linda Gould

the judging begins

Bob Battle labels his judging plate

Chef Michael Osborne, 2008 Middle Tennessee ACF Chef of the Year

the ribs

goo, goo, g'joob

the chicken

the pork

Team Bobby-Q...thanks for such gracious hospitality

Tennessee's own Dead End Society

Rob and BP with Mr. Billy Carroll of DoRagQ

the infamous Rod Gray of Pellet Envy

Mr. Johnny Trigg of Smokin' Triggers

Mike Davis, Lotta Bull BBQ

Troy Black, Learn2Q.com

hangin' with our buddy, Guy Fieri

Oh, there's more. Wanna see them all? Check out the slide show to see all of our photos from the 2008 Jack Daniel's World Championship Barbecue Competition.

It was nice to see so many of you, and nice to meet so many new folks as well! We'll see you again soon...

p.s. Happy Birthday, BP!

23 October 2008

Music Thursday: Jack Daniels If You Please

Jack Daniel's Smoker

This weekend marks the 20th Annual Jack Daniel's World Championship BBQ Contest. This is one of the premier events in all of bbq and it holds a special place in the history of Ulika BBQ. In 2005, the founding members of Ulika headed to Lynchburg to take part in the festivities. We knew nothing about the world of competitive bbq, but we were there to just see what it was all about. We arrived on a Friday evening and began wandering around the grounds talking with some teams and taking pictures of several pits. The first person we talked with was Jerry King from Midland, Texas. He explained to us how teams got invited to the Jack and which teams were the favorites to win on Saturday. He talk to us about how teams travel the country in hopes of an automatic bid to the Jack. We talked with another team from Texas that cooked with only mesquite wood and called all fruit woods "candy". We talked with a few of the International teams and we were very intrigued that people all over the world cook bbq. One of the things that makes the Jack truly unique is the international aspect. Seventeen teams from ten different countries compete in the same categories as the US teams, and they have an added category of "Home Cookin’ from the Homeland". This is where they make a dish native to their home country. I would love to judge that category some day. But anyway...

On Saturday, we hung around the judging area and got samples fed to us from one of the table captains. After all of the judging had been completed, we wandered around and got some samples from some of the teams we talked to on Friday night. We sampled some chicken from Jerry King and brisket from the guys from Texas. Later we were able to taste some Caribbean Jerk style ribs from the Jamaican team and they were wonderful. Big Bob Gibson was there and they were handing out samples of their sauces. This is when I first discovered white bbq sauce. We also purchased some bbq and ribs from some of the vendors including Texas Rib Rangers and Music City Pig Pals. Needless to say, we had a great time. It really opened our eyes to the fun that we could have doing something that we already loved doing. We never really knew that it would turn into such an addiction.

Here are some pictures from that weekend:

The celebrity judges are always a hot topic.

Silky O'Sullivan's Table

Bill Hall

Lynchburg's own Johnny Majors

Steve Gill

Some teams have upgraded their Land Yachts:

Lotta Bull in '05 at the Jack

Lotta Bull in '08 - that ain't a bad way to travel right there. The Geer Pit remains a staple.

Field of Smoke

Judging Area

The Texas Team's Pit

Slab o ribs

Chicken turn-in box

Well, the next spring we had a pit built (a custom-designed pit made from a 250-gallon propane tank) and headed to Winchester to compete at High on the Hog (where we proceeded to finish second to last). Clearly, our enthusiasm wasn't all we needed to make it in this sport. But we've kept at it and have just finished our third season where we got a call in every competition that we entered!

Now, three years later, we are returning as spectators with several friends that are cooking. This year's experience will be quite different than our first year, and we are really looking forward to the party. Hopefully some day we can return to cook in this event where it all started for Team Ulika.

Good luck to all the teams that are competing this weekend. We are looking forward to hanging out with some friends and meeting some folks that we have only communicated with electronically.

David Allen Coe - Jack Daniel's If You Please

22 October 2008

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Russ & Frank's Sassy BBQ Sauce

I love sassy as a food adjective. Sassy means it's got attitude. Sassy means, as my grandfather says, "it's got some wang to it." Sassy won't steer you wrong if you're looking for big flavor. And when it comes to barbecue sauce, sassy is most definitely a good thing.

This one by upstart Iowa sauciers Russ & Frank's is no exception. It's definitely not "mild", but not quite "fiery" either. Unscrewing the top of the mason jar style packaging releases a great robust aroma of sweet tomatoes and garlic. The sauce is moderately thick and has a dark reddish russet color. First taste reveals not the spice, but the sugar. It's a modest brown sugar and molasses sweetness - a pleasant introduction, enhanced by subtle onion and garlic flavors. Soon, however, this sauce is compelled to remind you that it's sassy, and that's when the mild heat of cayenne and black pepper sneaks into the room. It's just the perfect amount of burn, giving you that great flavor without completely dominating the experience. In other words, it's got some wang to it.

Grade: A

21 October 2008

Hats of Meat

The Brisket Yarmulke- Made of 100% kosher brisket.

From the files of the weird I bring you...... Hats of Meat.

Yes apparently some people enjoy wearing raw meat on their head. Is it a fetish? Is it a phobia? We may never know the true answer.

16 October 2008

Music Thursday: The Bomb Bomb Bomb

In light of the Best of Nashville, I wanted to bring you some local music this week. How I Became the Bomb came in third in the category of best local band, and lead singer Jon Burr won the award for Best Local Rock Dandy. For those of you that are wondering what the hell a dandy is, click here.

How I Became the Bomb - Action Lady

BBQ (BLOGS) IN THE NEWS: Nashville Scene 'Best of Nashville 2008'

It's that time of year again. The Nashville Scene has released its 'Best of Nashville' issue for 2008. I always look forward to the BON, because even as a lifelong Nashvillian, I can always count on the folks at the Scene to uncover some hidden local gems (culinary and otherwise) that I have never heard of. This year is no exception (Best Breakfast Buffet: the Airport Marriott - whodathunkit?).

For 'Best Barbecue', I think the editors have made a solid choice with Dee's Q. I'm in the midst of a re-evaluation of Nashville's barbecue establishments (more on that to come!), and I think that while Dee's might not be "the best", it is certainly "among the best". If nothing else, I respect the fact that Dee's is old school, cooking out back in old offset smokers. On another note, I like that the writeup paid homage to Martin's - that was a nice touch.

As for the Reader's Poll winners - they are who we thought they were. Whitt's...again.

Finally, it was a pleasant surprise to see that this very blog got a shout-out in the "Best Media Trend" award category, which highlighted local food blogs. Thanks for the mention!

15 October 2008

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Tony Roma's Original BBQ Sauce

I found myself over at Opry Mills not too long ago with some time to kill before my movie started, and I didn't want to walk the 2.5 miles to the food court, so for the first time in my life, I ate at Tony Roma's.

The less that's said about Roma's baby back ribs, the better. And that's all I'll say about that. But I did pick up a bottle of the house barbecue sauce, so...

The first thing that you'll notice about this sauce is that it's on the thin side - not nearly as viscous as you'd expect to find at a nationwide chain. Tasting it confirms that this sauce is heavier on the vinegar and lighter on the ketchup. As a result, this sauce is not very sweet at all, but rather tangy, with a little bit of heat. This is, in my experience, very atypical of national barbecue chains, which tend to employ thicker, sweeter, smokier sauces. Especially in this case, when the flagship product is ribs, it is surprising to come across a sauce of this kind.

In the end, there is just not enough depth of flavor to make this sauce interesting. You get vinegar and ketchup, but not much beyond that.

Grade: C+

11 October 2008

As in, made by a ho?

We stumbled upon this BBQ sauce in Publix about a year ago...


Pat's Ho-Made BBQ Sauce

Then today, I encountered yet another HO-MADE product...

Phil Rohrer's Ho-Made Soups. Four Ho-Made soups, to be exact. Available at Phil Rohrer's Lunch Restaurant in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

And it doesn't end there. There is apparently an entire line of ho-made fare available from Mrs. Bea...

Outstanding. Keep it up, hoes, keep it up.

09 October 2008

I Can't Believe It's Not Chicken

And for just $3.05 more...

Music Thursday: Tax Man

With the Presidential Debate in Nashville earlier this week, I have been in somewhat of a political mood. Before the debate, the PETA pig was wasting gas and emitting more carbon into the atmosphere by driving around Belmont supporting a "sin tax" on meat. They want the government to add a 10% tax on all meat, comparing it to alcohol and cigarettes, then using the ole "global warming" excuse. I don't think I have to get into how ridiculous this is...remember you're reading a bbq food blog. If this absolutely absurd idea came into effect, I would raise and slaughter my own chickens, pigs and cows. I think that the Ulika "bootleg" Slaughterhouse has a nice ring to it.

In this political climate, I just felt that this was the most appropriate song for music Thursday. Whoever gets elected as President, our taxes are going to go up. After all, the government does have to buy a new national debt sign.

08 October 2008


Big Rick's, which is owned and operated by Rick Doty of Wichita, Kansas, has a motto: "Big guys always have the best eats." In the case of his hot barbecue sauce, it's hard to argue that point.

This is a tasty barbecue sauce that packs some serious heat. Like so many sauces from this part of the country, it's very thick and dark in color. It has a good amount of finely diced onions suspended in it. The onions, though, along with a light smoke flavor, are mere complements to the featured players, which are SWEET and SPICY. The sweetness attacks first, resplendent with the taste of brown sugar. Right behind it is a fiery assault of habanero peppers. Not for the faint of heart!

Grade: B

01 October 2008

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Bob Evans Wildfire

There aren't too many Bob Evans restaurants in the South, so my exposure over the years has been very limited. From what I can tell, it's kind of like the Cracker Barrel of the Midwest (but without the Country Store). It's not the kind of place that I would think would have a barbecue sauce.

But to be fair, I didn't come across this sauce via Bob Evans, but rather via Paul Hood. As Rob mentioned, we got to spend some time in Cookeville with Mr. Hood, who competes under the name of his flourishing charcoal brand, Big Briq. At his get together Friday night, Paul had some barbecue-related products for sale, and one in particular caught my eye - Bob Evans barbecue sauce?!! Well, I came to find out that Paul Hood actually created this sauce. After his sauce recipe was successful at a competition, the people from Bob Evans approached him and ended up using the recipe for their own brand of barbecue sauce.

And you know what? It's a dang good sauce! It's dark and thick, and has lots of finely diced onions in it. The dominant flavor is a brown sugar and honey sweetness, nicely tempered by some mild smokiness. And yes, as indicated by its name, Wildfire does have a late-arriving burn, which is not overpowering, but does linger. It's a great execution of sweet-and-heat, rounded out by a nice onion flavor.

Well done, Bob Evans, and well done, Paul Hood.

Grade: A-