15 November 2012

As Not Seen on TV: A Restaurant Review

This has to be one of the greatest restaurant reviews of all time.

As Not Seen on TV: Restaurant Review: Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square

So what would you expect the response to be? A red-eye flight to get on the Today Show to defend yourself, well sort of.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

26 October 2012

Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue : odds

I love going down to the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue every year. The folks down there put on one of the best spectator bbq events in the World.

Another reason to love The Jack is that you can gamble on it. Here are the odds as per the BBQ Forum errr he Dusty Star Casino, Carwash and Laundromat outside of nuclear testing range in Nevada.

The Field, those teams not listed below are 75 to 1

10 to 1 Teams
Slap Yo Daddy
Smokin Triggers
Chix, Swine and Bovine
Caveman Cuisine

7 to 1 Teams
Jacks Old South
Meadow Valley
Bringing the Heat

5 to 1 Teams
A Boy and his BBQ
Little Pig Town
Pigskin BBQ

3 to 1 Teams
Butcher BBQ

2 to 1
Truebud BBQ

Even Money
3 Eyz BBQ

19 October 2012

11 October 2012

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken, a Memphis staple, has opened its first location outside of The River City. To top it of, they decided to open up in my neighborhood Nippers Corner. Last night I got my first taste of the crispy fried goodness that I had only experienced three hours from home.

The menu

They even brought the 40oz beers

The 8 piece family snack

10 October 2012

The Mind of a Chef - Preview

Yeah, so this is going to be pretty fantastic.

22 August 2012


testing some homemade donuts

10 August 2012


It's been quite a while since we've taken a look at the Nashville barbecue scene. There have been quite a few new places to open, and also a few to close, since the last installation of our 21 part, two year exploration of Nashville barbecue. I hope to try to take a look at as many of these new places as I can in the near future.

Stone House Q opened on the west side in late 2011. It's on the fringe of Sylvan Park, though it feels decidedly more connected to the blue collar pulse of Charlotte Avenue. True to its name, the restaurant is located in a restored old stone house, with a spacious deck on the front and side.

Stone House Q is the result of a partnership of restaurant industry veterans, who did extensive barbecue-related research before settling on the formula for Stone House Q. So how's the barbecue?

The pulled pork sandwich looked impressive - squishy bun, lots of meat, lots of bark. But I was frankly disappointed. Texture was a little drier than I like, and I found the meat to be underseasoned and relatively bland. Any flaws were greatly aided by Stone House Q's excellent barbecue sauce, which might be the best I have found in a restaurant. I chose the hot, which was legitimately hot, but had enough sweetness to play well with the heat.

Though there were some flaws with the pork shoulder, I found nothing to complain about with the ribs. Stone House Q offers both baby backs and spares.

The baby backs were especially great. They were perfectly cooked - very tender, but not falling off the bone. The flavor is excellent, with no sauce required. The generously applied rub yields a great savory-sweet-peppery blend of flavors, and a kiss of smoke adds a perfect complement.

The spare ribs were also excellent. Again, the tenderness was spot on, with the meat just barely clinging to the bone. Again, there was no sauce needed. The rub and the smoke do all of the talking.

It's good to have a new barbecue joint on the west side. If you'll remember, in our report on the west side in 2009, there was only one active local restaurant - Paradise Ridge - and it has since closed. Pig & Pie finally resurfaced on White Bridge Road, but it too quickly closed.

I look forward to returning to Stone House - not only for the barbecue, but for the side items. It's not usually our practice to include side items, beverages or desserts in our barbecue reports, but I've heard that the sides at Stone House Q are outstanding. Here's wishing them success!

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.

27 July 2012


Arkansas is in a unique position in the barbecue world. It's located right in between Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, which contain some of the country's great barbecue meccas. But Arkansas itself remains relatively unheralded as a barbecue destination. I set out for the weekend with my buddy Jeff to see how the barbecue in Arkansas stacks up.

Our first stop was Hot Springs, home of bathhouses and Bill Clinton's boyhood home. I'd heard good things about McClard's Bar-B-Q, and sure enough when we arrived just before they opened, there were already people waiting outside.

McClard's had that kind of well-worn and comfortable atmosphere that I love in a barbecue joint. It's been open since 1928. The McClards owned a travel lodge, and when one of their lodgers couldn't afford to pay for his room, he offered them the recipe for "the world's greatest barbecue sauce" as payment. The McClard's took that recipe and opened a barbecue restaurant.

The chopped pork sandwich came overflowing with meat and sauce - you've got to dig through some rubble to be able to pick it up. Also, curiously, it comes sliced in half. The pork itself was solid, if not great. It had a lot of well-done bark pieces mixed in, which I like. And it had a nice, simply seasoned, smoky flavor. But the tenderness was a little bit lacking. But that's why barbecue sauce and slaw are such great toppings, right? This sauce was a joy - very tomatoey, but with bright citrus notes, too. The slaw was crunchy and cool and added a rich mayonnaise-y accoutrement. Overall, a nice barbecue sandwich.

I apologize for the blurry photo. There will be quite a few in this report that way. I guess I am out of practice with the 'ol camera.

The ribs were big, meaty, untrimmed spares. They were cooked to fall-apart tenderness and were seasoned simply with no sauce. Nice hickory smoke flavor, too.

As good as the barbecue was a McClard's, this item right here was the real star. This is what they call a "Spread". It's a hand-rolled tamale, topped with chopped brisket, beans, barbecue sauce, onions, Fritos, and cheese, and I have dreamed about it every night since I ate it. Okay, not really, but it was really, really good - such a perfect combination of flavors and textures.

Our next stop was in Little Rock - Sims Bar-B-Q. Sims has been open in the Little Rock area since 1937. Though the original location on 33rd Street has since closed, there are still 3 Sims locations in the city. We visited the Broadway location, which was located at the end of a strip mall.

The dining room at Sims was rather spartan, but the service was extremely friendly.

The chopped pork sandwich was very generously stuffed and sauced. The pork was tender, but with some crunchy bark pieces in the mix, too. The sauce was vinegary thin, but slightly sweet - a nice complement for the meat. There was no slaw on this sandwich, and it's interesting that they use sliced bread instead of buns.

I always chuckle at the concept of the "rib sandwich". Obviously it's not meant to be eaten like a sandwich - usually the slices of white bread just serve as an absorbent staging area for ribs and sauce. Sims takes it to another level by actually placing the ribs between the slices of bread. There are actually 3 spare ribs on the sandwich - the ribs are cut, with the bone halves on top and the tip halves on bottom. The ribs were very tasty, cooked to a perfect tenderness and simply seasoned. Obviously they weren't stingy with the barbecue sauce!

Our final stop was in the tiny town of De Valls Bluff for Craig's Bar-B-Q.

Craig's is a dive in the truest (and best) sense of the word. They opened in 1947, and I would venture to guess that the wallpaper has been there from the beginning. They were doing a steady stream of business while we were there, with some people popping in to get a sandwich to go, and other lingering for a while.

Sliced pork is the specialty at Craig's. It's not a style of barbecue that I see often. Because it's sliced, it's not cooked to the same tenderness as pulled pork, so it is a bit toothsome. The flavor was good, but the generously applied sauce does most of the talking. The sauce is thinner and not very sweet, but with a tart and slightly savory flavor.

A sandwich seemed to be the most popular vehicle for the sliced pork at Craig's. It's laden with sauce and also topped with slaw. It's a sloppy mess of a sandwich that I would love to have again!

24 July 2012

18 July 2012

Asado Build

Getting closer to cooking that whole hog on the asado. Here are a few pictures of the asado build, and I just picked up this burn barrel to get my coals ready for the fire pit.

05 July 2012

More Pickles

pickled leeks on the left and pickled okra on the right, both very spicy

30 June 2012


What should I pickle next?

carrots with garlic, peppercorns, and habaneros

cowhorn, cubanelle peppers and jalapeƱos

sweet and spicy pickles

28 June 2012

The Iron Cross aka Asado

Inspired by the All Star BBQ Team The Fatback Collective, I'm building one of these puppies. Stay Tuned......

image via Chris Chamberlain

Music Thursday: Beachwood Sparks - Forget The Song

My friends Peter and Jeff have been trying to get me into Beachwood Sparks for years, and now that I have Spotify, I have been listening to them on the reg. It also just happens that they released a new record this week after a 10 year hiatus. Here is a track off the new album The Tarnished Gold.

07 June 2012

Music Thursday: Medeski Martin & Wood - Coconut Boogaloo

A great way to kick off your Thursday morning.

03 June 2012

Sweet and Spicy Pickles

I'm pretty excited about these....

28 May 2012

Hot Dogs aka frankfurters

those sheep casing are a bit harder to work with, but I managed to make a few hot dogs with some Bear Creek Farm beef

17 April 2012

Face Bacon

I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked, but the first thing that went into the cure chamber was a pork cheek. This pork cheek was cured and then hung to dry for 3.5 weeks. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was pretty fantastic. You may know this as guanciale, but I prefer to call it face bacon.

12 April 2012

Housemade Pastrami

trimmed brisket

brisket in the brine for 10 days

smoked and ready for the slicer

pastrami on rye

09 March 2012

08 March 2012

Lambchop (the band) - Gone Tomorrow

If you are looking for lamb chops, or any other lamb cut for that matter, check out Border Springs Farm. Otherwise, listen to Gone Tomorrow from Lambchop's newest album titled Mr. M.