29 April 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Grendeddy Dave’s Hot BBQ Sauce

When you think of Wake Forest, you probably immediately think of Wake Forest University. The university is known for its high academic standards and sub-par athletic programs, but no one really associates it with bbq. Well the Merritt brothers are working on changing that. The three brothers are carrying on a family tradition by making Grendeddy Dave's BBQ Sauce.

Today BP gave me the opportunity to review Grendeddy Dave’s Hot BBQ Sauce. This is the spicy version of their traditional sauce that has won several awards including 1st Place at the 2007 Hot Pepper Awards and 3rd Place in the American Style Hot Category of the 2009 Scovie Awards.

Grendeddy Dave's Hot BBQ Sauce is a tomato and vinegar based sauce. The combination of the tomato sauce and three types of vinegar give this sauce a really good consistency. What I particularly enjoy about this sauce is the layers of flavor. At first taste you pick up on the sweetness that comes from honey and orange juice. Now oj is not a common bbq sauce ingredient, but I feel that the acidity helps balance out this sauce. Once the initial sweetness is absorbed, the heat really kicks in for a wonderful bite. If you like a hot bbq sauce you should definitely give this sauce a try. Be on the look out for it at your local Fresh Market.

Grade: A


We have a bottle of Grendeddy Dave's Hot BBQ Sauce to giveaway to one of our readers. All you have to do is visit the website and post a comment here. One winner will be randomly selected on the following Tuesday night and sent a free bottle of sauce. Just leave an email address so that we can contact the winner.

26 April 2009

Winchester Recap

On Thursday (April 16th), we packed up and headed to our favorite contest, Winchester's High on the Hog. It was a clear, cool night and the forecast called for sunny skies all weekend. This is only worth mentioning because it was the first time in the contest's 22 year history that the weatherman called for a rain-free weekend.

There are a few things that make this contest special to us. This was the very first contest for the Ulika BBQ team back in 2006. Also, I was born in Winchester and my grandmother lives about .25 miles from the park. Then there is BP's lake house that makes the trip all that much better. This weekend, we also had some friends from Atlanta visiting with us. All these factors on top of a top notch group of contest organizers and reps made for a great weekend. If you ever have the chance to cook in this event, take it!

We arrived around 9:00pm on Thursday night and parked in a new spot which was right next to the turn in area and a stones throw from the stage. One of the nice aspects of the Winchester contest is the 30 x 30 cook site and the large open area in front of our cook site. Once the trailer was setup, I worked on trimming the chicken while Peter and Natalina went fishing across the park in Tims Ford lake. BP soon arrived with the couch and we headed over to his lake house to get some sleep.

Friday morning, I headed back over to the park and got my meat inspected and began to prep everything. The park quickly began to fill up as the morning wore on, and we were glad to be setup next to our friends from Smoke Me Tender and new friend, Pete Moon of Bean Bandits. Saturday, we enjoyed the beautiful day as we hung out with our bbq friends.

We participated in the sausage ancillary this year so Friday afternoon we started prepping for our spicy pepper cheese dip with sausage and homemade tortilla chips. Peter manned the fryer and turned out some tasty chips. The Mrs. and BP made up the cheese dip while I smoked the sausage on the Egg. I thought it tasted pretty good and I liked the presentation. After it was turned in, I made the comment that it tasted like 5th place, and it turned out that I had some pretty good taste buds.

Jay finished off the cheese dip

On Friday night, Paul Hood from BigBriq.com had us over for some Ultimate Hoagies. These bad boys consist of thinly sliced beef tenderloin on a hoagie roll with stone ground mustard, horseradish, and Wickles. For those of you that have never had Wickles, I highly recommend them. They are sweet pickles with some garlic and red pepper to provide some heat. Mmmm.

After the butts and briskets went on, we took a stroll around the fair. While I have no interest in the rides or the games, there is some great people watching to be had. Some of our favorite things about the fair:

live bunnies

Did I win a girl or a boy?

Saturday morning started off with a couple of cups of coffee provided by P.S.I.P. and then I was ready to roll. Everything seemed to go just fine Saturday morning throughout turn-ins. We did kick off the morning with a 10:30 shot from the Jack Daniels Clonesicle I had made. Alan provided a toast and everyone enjoyed the smooth flavor of Tennessee Whiskey.

We got everything turned in OK on Saturday and felt pretty good about everything. I especially liked our brisket. I thought it was one of the best that we had ever turned in, but the judges apparently had a different opinion. I should have known not to mention any kind of brisket streak. In Clarksville, our chicken tanked us and in Winchester it was our ribs (40th place). We were thrilled to get a call for our pork - and to hear your name called among such an outstanding field of competitors is great. One of these days, we will get it all together in one contest. The most important thing is that we had fun and got to visit with several friends. The weather was perfect and it was another wonderful weekend in Winchester.

It was a somewhat emotional awards ceremony though as Mike Davis of Lotta Bull BBQ presented Linda Gould with a BBQ Hall of Fame plaque for her late husband, Fred Gould. Fred passed away in January 2008 and was named to the Hall of Fame later that year. It was a special moment to remember a great man who had been the contest organizer (among other things) in Winchester for several years.

Fred was "an organizer, promoter, meat inspector, electrician, RV mechanic, Master Judge, Table Captain, Contest Rep, and the list goes on...he was, in fact, the 'get it done man' rain or shine."

Currently we don't have another contests scheduled, but we are looking at several possibilities. Stay tuned to the Ulika food blog for any updates.

24 April 2009

Friday Night Slice, Part 10

Matteo's Pizzeria

Old Franklin faithful know the name Matteo's Pizza from its original location inside The Factory where this locally owned restaurant (and catering outfit) established itself as an outstanding place to get fresh, specialty pizzas. A local favorite, of course, is the Rocky Top pizza (Red Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Bacon, Mushroom, Onion and Black Olives), named for our state song and university anthem. Now in its tenth year, Matteo's serves pizza out of Cool Springs using pure Italian olive oil for their hand-made pizza dough, made on-site daily. They pride themselves on not cutting any corners, offering the finest quality and freshest cheeses, meats and vegetables.

But more than offering a tasty pizza, Matteo's strives to offer healthy pizza that is sensitive to the dietary needs of some of their patrons. A few years into the business, manager Peter Spellman decided to hone in on a market segment left mostly unserved in middle Tennessee: the gluten-free community. Individuals with wheat allergies and celiac disease often adhere to a gluten-free diet that excludes wheat, barley, rye and even some oats. Individuals following this diet steer clear of the direct gluten-based food items (such as grains, cereals, pastas and typical pizza dough), but they must avoid products that include gluten and even products processed on shared equipment as well.

Matteo's has undertaken the meticulous, precise process required to ensure that their pizzas are gluten-free. They have a separate gluten-free prep room with separate tools and sinks where they build pizzas that are completely free of fillers and additives. Seeing themselves as part of the middle Tennessee community, they wish to offer a tasty option for gluten-free dieters and a healthier option for all pizza lovers.

*NOTE: You can order either "regular" or gluten-free pizzas. Not ALL pizzas served at Matteo's are gluten-free.

It's an interesting niche market and one that continues to rise in popularity. While only 1% of Americans have celiac disease, using a gluten-free diet to treat self-diagnosed stomach ailments has become almost something of a fad. As in, gluten is the new carb, maybe? (read more about it here)

But enough about that...how did it taste?

We chose to "create our own" half-and-half thin crust pizza with, of course, pepperoni and cheese on one side, adding sausage and black olives on the other. Matteo's offers a true, traditional thin crust that is hard, flaky and very crispy to the edge. The pie was cut into party squares which surely measured no more than 1/2-inch in total thickness. The sauce was applied very, very thinly and from the small amount left to taste, it was light and tomato-ey with a tiny tinge of sweetness. It was a good sauce with noticeable but not overwhelming flavor. A thin coat of cheese covered nearly every inch of the pie. There was very little pull-away, but the cheese was distinct and delicious, thick and somewhat creamy. The pepperoni was good, just good, safe and predictably un-spicy. With pepperoni, most places stick to simple flavors that appeal to the masses.

Overall, Matteo's is a friendly, local establishment that serves a pretty good pizza at prices typically a buck or so lower than the monster chains. They're haunted by the many naysayers who claim that the quality declined with the move out of The Factory, but their newer gluten-free fans might be heard a little louder.

Matteo's Pizza
1800 Carothers Parkway, Brentwood, TN 37207 (map)
Mon - Thurs 11:00am - 8:30pm; Fri - Sat 11:00am - 9:00pm; closed Sun
Dine In, Carry Out, Order Online

* * * * *

Cold Pizza:
Friday Night Slice, Part 1: MAFIAoZA's and Joey's House of Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 2: Pizza Perfect and Pizza Perfect Kebobs
Friday Night Slice, Part 3: Rudino's Pizza and Grinders
Friday Night Slice, Part 4: Chicago Style Italian Beef
Friday Night Slice, Part 5: Pie In The Sky
Friday Night Slice, Part 6: Castrillo's Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 7: California Pizza Kitchen
Friday Night Slice, Part 8: Ahart's Pizza Garden (Murfreesboro)
Friday Night Slice, Part 9: New York Pizza Depot (Clarksville)

Got any suggestions for places that I should cover? Let me know!

23 April 2009

BARBECUE BANDS: Clue and the Honkytones

Clue and the Honkytones
High on the Hog - Winchester, TN
April 17, 2009


Folsom Prison Blues
Don't Rock the Jukebox
Love Me
Silver Wings
Country Club
Your Cheatin' Heart
Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?
Little Sister
Luckenbach, Texas
...went to get a corndog, missed a few songs...
Blues Man
Jailhouse Rock

Guitars, Cadillacs
Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House
One Night
Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound
Don't Close Your Eyes
Okie from Muskogee
These Boots Are Made for Walkin'
Luckenbach, Texas
Theme From The Dukes of Hazzard
Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
Highway Patrol ->
White Lightning
Silver Wings
If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me?

The Fireman
Your Cheatin' Heart

Elvis: 4
Waylon Jennings: 3
Hank Williams: 2
Hank Williams Jr: 2
Merle Haggard: 2

Throw in Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, George Strait, George Jones, Dwight Yoakam and Travis Tritt and nothing newer than 1991, and that's a pretty good set, isn't it? Clue himself had a voice that was very reminiscent of Waylon Jennings, so the Waylon songs worked especially well. And the band was kind of similar to the Waylors, too - efficient and confident in their playing, and very tight. The guitarist was especially great. My only real complaint was the repeating of songs. I would think that a band with a regular gig on Lower Broad would be able to fill a two hour time slot without repeating songs. But overall, this band was a nice change of pace from the classic rock norm.

22 April 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Grandma Foster's Smooth & Mild

"Smooth" is definitely an accurate description for this week's barbecue sauce. Grandma Foster's Smooth & Mild is about the consistency of Pepto Bismol - thick but never gloppy, and with a nice gloss to it. It's perfectly puréed, with nary a hint of anything floating in it at all.
As for the flavor, it is definitely mild, with little to no heat. But that doesn't keep it from having a nice flavor - tomatoey sweetness balanced with a little bit of tamarind savoriness. Overall, it's very well-balanced and a good M.O.R. sauce that will please a lot of people.

P.S. - I especially like the depiction of Grandma Foster on the label proudly raising a drumstick to the sky.

Grade: B+

21 April 2009

Music City BBQ Festival

I just read about a joint Memphis BBQ Network and KCBS contest that is going to be held in Nashville. The contest will take place August 28-30 at Riverfront Park. I am sure that a website will be coming soon, but here is the info that I found on Facebook:

Music City USA's first annual BBQ Festival will be held August 28, 29 & 30, 2009 downtown Nashville at Riverfront Park and First Ave.

The BBQ competition will host some 75 cook teams and has been jointly sanctioned by Memphis BBQ Network (MBN) and Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS). The Music Festival will headline local Music City talent. This Green event will benefit the Shriners Hospitals. http://www.shrinershq.org/Hospitals

Nashville’s Brian Hamilton, Tom Kiermaier and Frank Platt are organizing this event. Would you like to participate as a BBQ team, Judge or as a volunteer? Email us at musiccitybbq@comcast.net and we will get you involved.

This event is family friendly and open to all age groups. If you love BBQ, Music and Beer, plan a StayCation weekend of fun. We'll have interactive games for your kids along with food and crafts from local vendors and merchants.

I am not really sure how teams will get setup on the Riverfront, but I will leave that for someone else to figure out.

BBQ Sauce Winner

Congrats to Smokin Ronnie's Bbq for winning a bottle of Cajun Island Jazzy Jerk Sauce. Stay tuned for more sauce giveaways.

18 April 2009

Winchester Quick Results

We had a great time in Winchester this weekend. Here are the quick results:

Overall - 21st out of 47 teams
Chicken - 20th
Ribs - 40th
Pork - 8th
Brisket - 17th
Sausage - 5th
Desert - 7th

Check back later for a full review. Congrats to Wild Bunch Butt Burners for their Grand and Jiggy Piggy on the Reserve

15 April 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Cajun Island Sweet Blackened Sauce

It's time for another culinary buzzword - "blackened!" I'm not sure what blackened really even means. Wikipedia says Paul Prudhomme invented it.
"It consists of pieces of fish dipped in melted butter and then dredged in a mixture of herbs and spices, usually some combination of thyme, oregano, chili pepper, peppercorns and salt. The fish is then cooked in an extremely hot cast iron skillet."
Call me crazy, but if that's an accurate depiction of the technique, it sounds like something that was developed well before the 1980s. I mean, haven't we come to the conclusion at this point that the Chinese invented everything food-related?

Which is interesting, because this week's sauce - Cajun Island Sweet Blackened Sauce - tastes more Asian to me than anything else. It does look kind of Cajun - like funky Louisiana swamp water, I suppose. But it tastes like a slightly thicker, really pepped up soy sauce - sweeter and more spicy, but with the same essence - kind of like a distant cousin of Hoisin. And it's downright delicious. It's a very strong taste, more likely to take over, flavor-wise, than to complement. But on the other hand, you could put it on shoe leather and it would taste great.

Grade: A

WIN a FREE BOTTLE of the BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK! We have a bottle of Cajun Island Jazzy Jerk Sauce to giveaway to one of our readers. All you have to do is visit the website and post a comment here. One winner will be randomly selected on the following Tuesday night and sent a free bottle of sauce. Just leave an email address so that we can contact the winner.

BBQ Sauce Winner

Congrats to Joel Cook for winning a bottle of Grumpy's Private Reserve Bold XX Sauce. Stay tuned for more sauce giveaways.

13 April 2009

High on the Hog 2009

This week Team Ulika will be headed to Winchester, TN to compete at High on the Hog. This is our favorite event of the season and we are really looking forward to returning. Check out last years coverage of the event and stay tuned for more on the 2009 HOTH.

NASHVIILLE BARBECUE: Part 11 - Murfreesboro

Murfreesboro seems to have expanded every time I visit. There appears to be no limit to the growth of the Bucket City, along with the rest of Rutherford County. Did you know that Murfreesboro is now considerably larger than Jackson? Anyway, in a city of almost 100,000 people, there is surely no shortage of barbecue restaurants. Most of them we have already covered, either as chains, local chains, or Memphis imports. But there are a couple of Murfreesboro originals that are worth looking into.

Pope Taylor's Bar-B-Que is just outside the city limits on Woodbury Highway. It's in an old tin-roofed building next to a similar building that houses Pope Taylor's Market. I'm not sure if Pope Taylor's Market is still open. Anyway, the people that run the barbecue place are just as friendly as can be. It's a limited menu - pretty much just barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, and a few side items.

The barbecue sandwich is of course pulled pork. The generously portioned pork comes having been pre-sauced with a very vinegar-based concoction. As a result, the pork is very moist, but does not have much flavor beyond the vinegar and a little bit of smoke. Overall, a very average pulled pork sandwich.

Slick Pig Bar-B-Q is closer into town on East Main Street. They've been a Murfreesboro fixture since the Spongebath days, which, in Murfreesboro years, is like, a long time. No discussion of the Slick Pig is complete without mention of their smoked chicken wings (see photo at top), which have justifiably earned the place great acclaim. There is no sauce involved, and they are not spicy. They're just perfectly seasoned, slow-smoked chicken wings that are so tender that the meat pulls right off when you take a bite. The wings are so addictively good that in all the years I've been going there, I can't remember ordering anything else. Let's see how their standard barbecue fare stands up.

The pork sandwich came on a griddled bun, which is always a good thing. The pork was relatively tender, and with good flavor that was complemented by the Slick Pig's very good hot barbecue sauce. This was a very tasty sandwich.

The ribs were a winner as well. They were untrimmed spares which were cooked perhaps a bit too long. But hey, I would rather the meat be falling off the bone than be undercooked and tough. The meat had outstanding, rich flavor, and the sauce once again shined, providing sweetness and a little bit of heat.

So it appears that the Slick Pig does excel beyond just their chicken wings. Based on my experiences, this has to be considered one of the best barbecue restaurants in Middle Tennessee.

Highlights: Slick Pig pork sandwich (Real Good), Slick Pig ribs (Real Good)

Disclaimer: Please note that these reports are based on particular servings of barbecue at a particular day and time. Barbecue can be prone to fluctuation. Your experiences may vary.

More reports in this series:
Part 1 - The Legends
Part 2 - The Chain Gang
Part 3 - Local Chains
Part 4 - Jefferson Street
Part 5 - Clarksville Highway
Part 6 - East Nashville
Part 7 - The West Side
Part 8 - Memphis Imports
Part 9 - T for Texas
Part 10 - Williamson County
Part 11 - Murfreesboro
Part 12 - La Vergne & Smyrna
Part 13 - Wilson County
Part 14 - Catching Up in Nashville
Part 15 - Hendersonville & White House
Part 16 - Portland & Gallatin
Part 17 - Robertson County
Part 18 - Dickson County
Part 19 - "Barbecue by any other name..."
Part 20 - Places We Missed
Part 21 - More Places We Missed

10 April 2009

Friday Night Slice, from Clarksville

NYPD: New York Pizza Depot
in Clarksville, Tennessee

Even on the road, we keep pizza in mind. Last Friday evening in Clarksville, we decided to look for a local spot to continue our Friday Night Slice search for the finest pizza. Driving down the main drag of Fort Campbell Boulevard, we noticed several signs for interesting local pizza restaurants, but found many to be displayed in tandem with smaller "Space Available For Lease" signs. One sign for a local spot had an even worse banner alongside it: "Coming Soon: Little Caeser's Pizza!"

But a promising spot tucked away in a strip mall caught our eye: NYPD Pizza. BP and I picked up an extra-large pepperoni and extra cheese pizza (traditional, hand-tossed crust) and headed back to the barbecue competition site on the square.

While they offer the thicker crust Sicilian-style square pies along with calzones and stromboli sandwiches, quite obviously, NYPD primarily sells New York-style pies. They use hand-tossed dough and fire made-to-order pizzas in their authentic brick oven. In an interview last summer, owner Joe Nazar noted with pride the freshness of his ingredients and the lack of a big freezer in their restaurant for storing trucked-in frozen doughs or meats. All of his ingredients are sliced or chopped and made fresh daily.

The service was friendly and the pizza was piping hot as it was boxed and sliced for us to take away. We headed back to the Ulika living room.

NYPD makes a great slice of pizza. The cheese was hot, gooey and all over the place. Its sheer quantity helped it hang on to itself preventing much of a pull-away, but it was a fresh, tasty and creamy mozzarella blend. The pepperoni slices were smaller cut circles and NYPD certainly wasn't skimping as they were tossed all over the cheese sometimes three and four slices deep - it's a good indicator of fresh cut pepperoni when the slices stick to themselves. Indeed the pepperoni was fresh and spicy, nothing too hot or alarming, just good and juicy with enough flavor to make you stop and notice. The crust was middle-of-the-road, probably the least exciting element of the pizza. It was a good, hand-tossed crust without the excesses of flour and cornmeal that kill other pies, but without anything memorable either. The thin base and soft texture around the edges were perfect, and just a little more going on here would have sent the whole pizza into Hall of Fame territory. Overall, I was impressed and will look forward to a return visit next time I'm in Clarksville.

NYPD: New York Pizza Depot
3297 Ft. Campbell Blvd.
Clarksville, Tennessee 37042
Dine In and Carry Out

"We don't deliver. Our pizza is good enough to pick up."
I agree.

* * * * *

Cold Pizza:
Friday Night Slice, Part 1: MAFIAoZA's and Joey's House of Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 2: Pizza Perfect and Pizza Perfect Kebobs
Friday Night Slice, Part 3: Rudino's Pizza and Grinders

Friday Night Slice, Part 4: Chicago Style

Friday Night Slice, Part 5: Pie In The Sky

Friday Night Slice, Part 6: Castrillo's Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 7: California Pizza Kitchen
Friday Night Slice, Part 8: Ahart's Pizza Garden

Got any suggestions for places that I should cover? Let me know!

Friday Night Slice Bonus

vending machine pizza

You can imagine the quality of pizza you'll get when you press D9 and remove your cold, rubbery, ready-to-microwave pizza from the silver spiral arm of a vending machine. But how about a hot, made-to-order pizza that's ready in just three minutes...made with fresh cheese, flour and tomato sauce?

Claudio Torghele of Rovereto, Italy is currently manufacturing the world's first made-to-order pizza vending machines to be named Let's Pizza. The pizzas will sell for around $4.50 and while it was initially thought that they'd be a huge hit in America, Mr. Torghele has encountered difficulties breaking into our vast vending market and will instead begin placing machines around Italy. Now I'd be very interested to try these, but am skeptical of the success he will encounter on his home turf. My visits to Italy have taught me that Italians savor both the meal and the dining experience, with little interest in or need for fast, convenient food.

Purists say the Italian pizza -- invented in the 18th century in the southern city of Naples -- cannot be rushed: the dough must be mixed and left for 12 hours, the ingredients kept fresh, and the oven pre-heated to around 300 degrees.

"This machine is a toy," Pino Morelli of the Association of Italian Pizzerias said. "Perhaps it will find a niche overseas, but Italians are born with pizza: their mothers feed it to them as babies. They understand it."

Daniel Flynn (Reuters)

Read more about it:
- In Italy, a Vending Machine Even Makes the Pizza
- Pizza-making machine has Italian chefs in a spin

09 April 2009


The Beagles
Porkin' in the Park - Clarksville, TN
April 3, 2009
Openers: Southern Comfort, Mike Robinson

Brown-Eyed Girl
Gimme One Reason
Oh Lonesome Me
Piece of My Heart
Going Down
Little Sister
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
The Twist
I Saw Her Standing There
I Try
Somebody to Love
Johnny B. Goode
You Never Even Called Me By My Name
Feelin' Alright
Authority Song
I'll Take You There

Clarksville's very own Beagles were back for year two of Porkin' in the Park. Their set had some of the same songs as last year, but was mostly new material. They once again spanned several genres and several eras, and they were once again more than competent in their playing and singing. They seemed to thrive in the new downtown setting with the larger crowd.

Up next: Clue & the Honkytones at High on the Hog.

08 April 2009

Contest Review: Clarksville, TN Porkin' in the Park 2009

Last Friday, Team Ulika headed one hour north to Clarksville, Tennessee for the second annual Porkin' In The Park. This year the contest was being held in downtown Clarksville due to a tornado that wiped out the pavilion where the contest was held last year. Just like last year, Clarksville was our first event of the season and we were trying out some new equipment. Last year it was our new Stumps and this year we were debuting our new trailer. This off season we purchased a CM 16' v-nose trailer to haul all of our gear. It is very nice to have our own trailer because we can get loaded up throughout the week instead of getting everything together on Thursday night. We had enough time to get the sink mounted in the trailer, but there are still several "upgrades" that are going to be made as time and $$$ permit.

Holding a contest in a downtown area can sometime present some challenges. Particularly the parking situation. There was one main parking lot that several teams were setup in and other teams were scattered amongst the city streets. We arrived around 9 am and quickly backed into our spot. As we were setting up we couldn't help but notice a brand new Geer pit parked across from us, and we were quickly greeted by Walt and Teressa of Smokin' Scotsmen. They are from Michigan and had traveled to Hammond, LA the previous week to compete then decided to catch another competition before they headed home.

BP arrived shortly after the mrs. and I got parked and we unloaded the now infamous couch. That's right, we take a couch to the contest. We figure if we are going to be sitting around for a couple of days, why not be comfortable. I mean you can only sit in those camping chairs for so long. Once everything was in place I prepped the meats while BP and the mrs. walked around downtown Clarksville. The KCBS Great America BBQ Tour was in town, and Mike Peters was giving demonstrations throughout the weekend promoting the KCBS and its sponsors.

After a quick cooks meeting, we hung around waiting on the Low Country boil. Wayne from Bubba's Tennessee Smokers provided everything for the boil and it was a glorious feast. Shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes lined the tables for everyone to partake. Since the mrs. needed to catch up on the Friday night slice, we also took the opportunity to try a new pizza joint in Clarksville (check back Friday for more details on that).

Friday evening some friends Matt and Joel came up to take in the festivities. The previous week they cooked in their first KCBS backyard event in Auburn Alabama finishing 6th in ribs and 10th overall. As you can imagine, they caught the bug. They were a big help all weekend filling in for their cousins the Colvert brothers.

Friday night always gives us some down time to visit with friends and meeting new ones. We sampled some Apple Pie over at the DoRag camp, and we talked with Castaway Cookers (who were cooking in their first competition). I always try to talk with some of the teams that are doing their first competition, because if it weren't for other people helping me along I would have probably given up the competition bbq thing a long time ago. After roaming the grounds for a while I headed to the trailer to get some sleep. The air mattress and the space heater inside the trailer worked out great. I got up on Saturday morning and started to get everything in place to start the day. Luckily Teresa from the Smokin' Scotsman spotted me and realized I could use a nice hot cup of coffee. Then a few hours later The Scotsmen served up a nice breakfast which included biscuits and sausage gravy. These are some of the things that make it worth while traveling around to different contest.

Saturday morning started smoothly. The butts and briskets came off on schedule and Team Ulika didn't seem to miss at beat. We felt pretty good about everything we turned in and we did ok for the first contest of the year. Last year we received a first place call in the chicken category, but this year chicken ended up really hurting our overall score. After the fact, I realized there were some things I could have done better on my chicken. We did keep our steak alive in the brisket category getting our 6th consecutive call, placing 7th. Overall we finished 14th in a good crowd of cooks. Congrats to Smoky Mountain Smokers for their first place finish and to the Smokin' Scotsmen for their reserve championship. Also a big congrats goes out to DoRag for finishing in the Top 5. I have a feeling those guys are going to have a good year. Our next competition is quickly approaching as we head to our favorite spot, Winchester, TN. We have done well there the past couple of years and we hope to continue that this year. Congrats again to everyone who walked in Clarksville. Especially Swiggin Pig for the 1st place ribs and BigBriq for the first place brisket. We will see you all in Winchester.

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Grumpy's Private Reserve Bold XX

When it comes to barbecue sauce, the label is often under-appreciated. At its most basic, it's informative - name, barcode, contact info, ingredients, nutritional info. At it's worst...well, let's just say that there are a lot of poor design choices floating around out there. But at its best, a barbecue sauce label is an extension of the sauce itself, conveying to the retail browser exactly what they can expect from the contents within.

The label on Grumpy's Bold XX sauce nails it. Like the Dr. Katz-esque cartoon pig mugging front and center, this sauce is funky and playful. It starts out sweet, with plenty of tomato flavor and notes of mustard and citrus and other mysterious things hovering just below the threshold of apparency. Then comes the heat - definitely a step up from mild, but not quite hot. There is a slight smokiness present - it wouldn't be a "KC-style sauce" without it, right? Overall, a fun, slightly spicy sauce with lots of personality.

Grade: B+


We have a bottle of Grumpy's Private Reserve Bold XX Sauce to giveaway to one of our readers. All you have to do is visit the website and post a comment here. One winner will be randomly selected on the following Tuesday night and sent a free bottle of sauce. Just leave an email address so that we can contact the winner.

BBQ Sauce Winner

Congrats to Rue for winning a bottle of Bronco Bob's Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. Stay tuned for more sauce giveaways.

06 April 2009

Contest Results: Clarksville, TN

Here are the quick results from Clarksville:

Overall - 14th
Chicken - 25th
Ribs - 15th
Pork - 13th
Brisket - 7th

Check back later for a full report.

02 April 2009

Music Thursday: LGDTB

Packing up and headed to Clarksville in the morning.

Widespread Panic - Let's Get Down To Business

01 April 2009

April Fools

These are some of my favorite pranks:

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Bronco Bob's Smoked Bacon Chipotle Sauce

Chipotle is a word that has certainly come into vogue in the last few years as a food descriptor, but the chipotle pepper is hardly new. The Aztecs were making these smoked jalapeno peppers long before Hernando Cortez and his crew came dancing across the water. Though chipotles have traditionally been associated with Mexican cuisine, nowadays you will find them popping up in all sorts of places.

Bronco Bob's, a product of LWC Brands, is hardly a johnny-come-lately in the chipotle game, though - they've been at it since 1994. They have an entire line of "gourmet chipotle sauces," ranging from Roasted Raspberry Chipotle to Toasted Apricot Chipotle to our business at hand - Smoked Bacon Chipotle Sauce.

The packaging is simple and subdued, with colorful southwestern tapestry forming the background. There are a couple of recipe suggestions on the side, including Smoked Bacon Chipotle Cocktail Sausages Weenies.

Upon uncapping, the sauce yields a subtle smoky, vinegary aroma. The consistency of the sauce is quite thick, with bits of bacon suspended throughout.

Yep, that's right, there are actual pieces of bacon in this sauce. And while that is totally awesome, you should know that the bacon flavor is actually very subtle. More prevalent in the mix are the molasses sweetness, the tanginess of vinegar and the medium-grade kick of the chipotle peppers. As the name implies, there is a nice overall smokiness to the sauce.

Grade: B


We have a bottle of Bronco Bob's Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce to giveaway to one of our readers. This sauce is the reigning 2009 Scovie Award winner for fruit based barbecue sauces. All you have to do is visit the website and post a comment here. One winner will be randomly selected on the following Tuesday night and sent a free bottle of sauce. Just leave an email address so that we can contact the winner.