28 October 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Smoky Mountain Smokers

Like many that we've reviewed before, this is a sauce by a competition barbecue team - and one of the best. Smoky Mountain Smokers, from Sevierville, Tennessee, have come on strong in the last few years, culminating in a 5th place finish in the overall KCBS standings in 2008. We often compete against them at contests here in Middle Tennessee, and to say the least, they are a worthy adversary.

And wow, do they make one heck of a sauce! It definitely has shades of Blues Hog, with its heavy sweetness and savory essence of tamarind. But it's definitely its own sauce. It's not quite as thick as BH, and there are subtle but significant differences in flavor. SMS' sauce has molasses higher in the mix, as well as prevalent notes of mustard, garlic and cumin. The pronounced cumin flavor plays especially well with the sweetness of the sauce. The sauce leaves behind a nice mild lingering burn that is also a nice complement to the sweetness. Overall, an excellent, very tasty sauce!

Grade: A

22 October 2009

Music Thursday: Ready Teddy for The Jack

This weeks music selection comes to you via Lynchburg, TN. The site of this weekends Jack Daniels BBQ Contest and the home of famed musician Little Richard.

Apparently Little Richard moved to Lynchburg in January of 2008, and has been keeping a pretty low profile ever since. Since we are headed down to The Jack this weekend, I thought I would bring you some old school Little Richard. I doubt he will be hanging out in the holler, but there might be some other B list celebrity spotting. Stay tuned.....

Little Richard - Ready Teddy

19 October 2009

BBQ IN THE NEWS: If it doesn't walk like a duck...

There was an article in last week's West Meade News, of all places, about Drifters - the new barbecue restaurant that has recently opened in East Nashville. While this site will of course reserve final judgement until we've had a chance to dine there, some of owner Matt Charette's comments in the article raised some red flags.

While most places smoke their meat, Drifters uses a roaster, which Charette says is the most expensive piece of restaurant equipment he's ever purchased. The method is said to preserve flavor.

"A lot of times smoking barbecue tends to dry it out somewhat, and that's why you have the sauces that go with it," he said. "We roast it so the meat stays nice and tender and juicy. Generally, when I eat it, I don't even need sauces."

Listen, I have absolutely no problem with roasting meat. You can make a pretty strong bird that way. But...is it barbecue? The "definition" of barbecue is something that will ultimately never be agreed upon. I realize that for the majority of Americans, barbecue is anything that has barbecue sauce slathered on it. And I begrudgingly accept that. But it seems to me that restauranteurs, especially ones in the South, where barbecue is king, should know better.

But who knows - maybe I'm the one who needs to get wise? Maybe my own personal definition of barbecue, which involves slow-cooking and using wood - is too narrow. After all, one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in the world serves ribs that don't fit that definition. You will notice, however, that Rendezvous never refers to their product as "barbecue", but rather "charcoal-broiled ribs" - the "barbecue" nomenclature has been applied by the general public. But I digress.

So what do you think? Is roasted meat barbecue? What are the unofficial requirements for calling something "barbecue"?

16 October 2009

Friday Night Slice?

I know, I know...more like Friday Night Slackers.

This week's pizza review takes us a little north of our normal sphere of pizza influence: Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is home to the famous Kentucky Derby, the Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory, the Bluegrass Balloon Festival, the world's largest Beatles festival, the original Lebowski fest, the former recipient of my paychecks: ear X-tacy, and the questionably safe Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

Louisville offers a wealth of local restaurants across every ethnicity and style. The streets are lined with unique bars, restaurants, bakeries, delis, and bistros in lieu of Logan's, Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday's and Chili's. And while Louisville also houses the world headquarters of Papa John's and Pizza Hut, there are an incredible number of local pizza parlors. After asking around and consulting Where The Locals Eat and the local alt-weekly, we decided to go with the 2009 people's choice winner.

Boom Bozz Famous Gourmet Pizza

In 1989, Tony Palombino opened Boom Bozz Pizza in Louisville. What began as a modest little parlor has evolved into a dominant force in the city with four packed locations where various local and international awards line the walls.

Boom Bozz, of course, does it all from scratch with a very thin and tangy tomato sauce base coated in 100% mozzarella cheese. The dense cheese has little pull away and gets a bit greasy, but boy is it tasty. The pepperoni surprises with its flavor and spice, building upon itself with a little heat as well. The crust is a little disappointing for a place that has everyone falling at its feet - it's a basic hand-tossed crust that's cooked well but has little to no flavor.

While I do it pepperoni-and-cheese-only-style for these reviews, it's clear that Boom Bozz brushes its shoulders off with its specialty pizzas. The D'Sienna (International Gourmet Pizza Winner) has a tomato cream sauce, mozzarella, asiago and romano cheeses along with fresh chopped spinach. The Pollotate (2008 International Pizza of the Year) has marinated grilled chicken with roasted potatoes and onions on a garlic olive oil crust with asiago and mozzarella. Boom Bozz offers starters (the fried ravioli is excellent), salads and sandwiches as well along with over 30 microbrews (the Magic hat has more than just a hint of apricot) from its new "Ice Bar" at the Bardstown Road location.

For the exotic specialty pizzas, I'll give it to you Boom Bozz...but c'mon Louisville, the hand-tossed pepperoni pizza just barely snuck above average.

Boom Bozz Famous Gourmet Pizza
Louisville: Springhurst, Clifton, the Highlands and J Town
dining in, delivery, carry out and catering

* * * * *

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)
Friday Night Slice, Part 10: Matteo's Pizzeria
Friday Night Slice, Part 11: Angelo's Picnic Pizza (Antioch)
Friday Night Slice, Part 12: Manny's House of Pizza
Friday Night Slice, Part 13: Nashville Pizza Co.
Friday Night Slice, Part 14: Brick's Cafe
Friday Night Slice, Part 15: Sal's Pizza (Hermitage)
Friday Night Slice, Part 16: Painturo's (Mt. Juliet)
Friday Night Slice, Part 17: Brothers' Pizza (Franklin)
Friday Night Slice, Part 18: Snappy Tomato, Roma Pizza and Jet's
Friday Night Slice, Part 19: Geadello's Pizza

While my pizza reporting will continue to be sporadic throughout the remainder of the year, the quest for the best pizza isn't dead! Got any suggestions for places that I should cover? Let me know!

15 October 2009


At first glance, Dinosaur Jr could probably be lumped in with the Nirvanas, Mudhoneys, and Soundgardens of the grunge movement, but in many ways they were actually the antithesis of that genre, with their sprawling arrangements, drawling vocals, and lengthy guitar solos.

Bandleader J Mascis is kind of like the Neil Young of Generation X, only without the commercial success - an introverted guitar anti-hero with a shaky voice and a deep catalog. The cool kids will tell you that the best Dinosaur Jr albums were You're Living All Over Me and Bug, from their days as indie darlings, and back when it was truly a band and not a thinly veiled Mascis solo project. But I think they did their best work later, in the early 90s, when they sold out and signed to Sire. Green Mind and Where You Been were the soundtrack of my early teenage years, and still hold up pretty well today.

Check out this extremely raw 1994 performance on British television programme The Word.

14 October 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Dinosaur Sensuous Slathering Sauce

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is a well-known barbecue restaurant that originated in the 1980s in Syracuse, New York as a small biker bar, but has now grown into a full-blown enterprise, with additional locations in Rochester and New York City. And they have reached that lucrative level of notoriety which brings with it...airmail revenue. Yes, like so many of the institutions in Memphis, you can have a rack of Dinosaur ribs packed on dry ice and shipped to you overnight.

So needless to say, they have their own brand of barbecue sauce.

It's a relatively thin sauce, vinegar and tomato based. It has lots of little pieces of garlic, onion, and green pepper floating around in it, giving it a chunky mouthfeel. Overall, the sauce has a very fresh, earthy taste, with the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and the tanginess of the vinegar leading the way, flanked by mustard and fresh onion and garlic flavors. It's a pretty mild sauce in terms of the heat level.

Grade: B

08 October 2009

Plow On Plowboys

Last weekend, the 30th Annual American Royal BBQ contest took place in Kansas City. This is the world's largest bbq contest with over 450+ teams competing for a chance at the $12,500 grand prize. There is also an invitational contest that pits grand champion bbqers from all over the country against each other. This contest alone has over 100 competitors and a $10,000 grand prize. This year the Pork Pullin Plowboys took home the coveted Grand Championship at the American Royal Invitational. Congrats to Todd Johns and his team for a great win. Check out the full results here: American Royal Results

Bob Dylan - Gospel Plow

07 October 2009

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Sticky Fingers Memphis Original

Without really planning to, I wound up at a barbecue restaurant in Jacksonville over the weekend. After watching the Titans get completely dismantled by the Jags, we headed for the airport and were looking for a quick bite before we returned the rental car. We wound up at Sticky Fingers. And I have to say - for a chain barbecue restaurant, they turn out a pretty good rack of ribs. I brought some sauce home to review.

The "Memphis Original" sauce actually reminds me more of Kansas City than Memphis. Although less thick than a KC-style sauce, it has the smokiness and the molasses sweetness that tend to overshadow the tomato element. Worcestershire and vinegar flavors are prominently featured too, as well as a light peppery finish. Overall, a pretty average, unspectacular sauce.

Grade: B-

02 October 2009

Interview with Tony Stone

Former KCBS president Tony Stone sits down with BBQTV for a one on one interview. Tony has been around bbq for a long time and he has some real interesting things to say about KCBS and bbq in general.