Friday, 24 December 2010

Maverick ET-732

Unit: Wireless Remote Thermometer ET-732
Manufacturer: Maverick Industries
Retailer: 5-0 BBQ

Update - 18 Months On
I thought I would take the opportunity to give a brief update on the ET-732 after some intense usage. There are still a number of small issues with the unit but my recommendation stays the same, still one of the best wireless probes on the market.
- Signal will only do 300Ft if you have line of sight and new batteries. If you are in a building its going to be 100Ft or less
- The master units facia falls off periodically (especially in warmer conditions). This can be remedied by a bit of super glue. But dont let this happen in wet conditions as it can damage the LCD screen
- The probes, whilst can cope with higher temps have proven to be a little more delicate than the ET-73's. Best to get a spare set (about $20) and dont allow these cables to be pinched by your smokers covers.

Original Review -
I was lucky enough to be able to source one of the new Maverick ET-732's. This is only due to be released in the new year, but my new chums at 5-0 BBQ (or their facebook page) in the states were kind enough to arrange for a unit to be delivered to me while I was in Philadelphia.

I was itching to test out the new unit (which is a replacement to my aging and now well damaged Maverick ET-73) and the opportunity presented itself whilst I was in Toronto on an original Bradley electric smoker. I tested it on a full smoker of Ribs and chicken wings in -5°C (+- 20°F). The Bradley struggled in the cool weather but did a sterling job. It was easy to sync the units and even easier to get them up and running.

On first glance the unit is remarkably similar to the original units, however, they now sport a nifty aerial which allows for greater wireless distance (I tested to about 150 feet, line of sight, with no issues. The max distance is around 300 feet). The next noticeable difference are the waterproof buttons which addresses the biggest gripe about the original ET-73. Both remote transmitter and the remote receiver have waterproof external (yes, no more pulling the battery component off the the transmitter) buttons. I have not had time to review all the software features, but it seems like its the same as the original unit.

The probes have been uprated to support in excess of 600°F (which is about 200°F more than the original probles). The Remote Transmitter has the nifty clip and now has the prob mounts on the side of the unit rather than the back. On the whole (and after first usage) this is a worthy replacement to the original ET-73.

Recommendation: Buy Now!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Oklahoma Joes, pulling pork

Finally got round to encoding this vid for youtube - this is one of the chefs at Oklahoma Joe's showing us at the recent tour, how he pulls a whole pork shoulder in under a minute. I think he's done it before....

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Barbecoa My BBQ

Restaurant: Barbecoa
Date: 12th Nov 2010

Recently myself, Ben and some chums visited Jamie Oliver and Adam Perry Lang (famous for Daisy May's, one on NYC's finest BBQ restaurants). We kicked off with a serious whisky cocktail made with Sazerac (famous for being voted one of the most highly rated whiskys in the world from Buffalo Trace Distilleries). Then it was time for the serious business.

While we waited we had pork crackling with a chocolate spicy mole. Cracking was good but the star of the dish was definately the Mole... rich, sassy and oh so moresome.

The lads decided to order and share so we kicked off with the Hot Wings (sauced with a honey, soya and sesame seed - excellent, but definately not hot), fall off the bone, melt in your mouth chicken wings. The baby back ribs were a good shout, nice sticky sauce, well smoked, a touch over done, but with excellent flavour. We also had a side of seared chillis (hot but very popular) and probably the best of all the starters was the pig's cheek. I give it 5 thumbs up, packed with flavour.

We had a NZ Pinot Noir (Moko Black) very quaffable and certianly maintains my passion for New World Wines. Onto the mains and I believe this is where the team at Barbecoa really shone. We orderd 2x short ribs (basically a beef rib slow smoked till it literally falls off the bone. A rich beef flavour and possibly the best I have ever eaten) covered in a sticky spicy glaze over a bed of irish mash. MMMmmmm.

Beer Butt chicken, smoked and grilled. A little tip, if you enjoy sucking the bone, ask the team to leave the chicken on the table instead of them preparing it for you. It was well flavoured, juicy and had a sublte hint of smokiness. There was NOTHING left over. The chicken came with a side dish of black beans cooked and smoked in treacle. I thought the beans were the weakest dish of the evening. They had been cooked in treacle, and personally I felt they had been overcooked and as a result had become very bitter.

The final dish was pork belly, that was tender, juicy, not too fatty, well crisped skin with a lovely touch of aniseed on a bed of sauted apples... could life get any better? The meals were topped off by shoestring fries and mash.

To finish it off there was a round of whisky's and decadent knock your socks off 70% coco chocolate cake kissed with orange zest and a good selection of cheeses.

Rating - 5 out of 5 for food, ambience and definately worth a visit
Value - Medium to Expensive, expect to pay £40-£60pp
Comment - Fine dining, Michelin star BBQ.... there is irony in there somewhere? But I will be visiting again

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Photos from the American Royal

My photos from the American Royal are now on Flickr.  Enjoy!


Oklahoma Joes BBQ Restaurant, Kansas City

Just off the south bound I35 running out of Kansas City you’ll find an unassuming petrol station. If you don’t need to stop for fuel, you’d drive right by.   This green and white, no name fuel station sitting on 3002 W 47th Avenue, gives away its true treasures by the faint whiff of smoke, a parking lot filled with a cross section of society (RV’s, 4x4 and bankers beamers) and at lunch, a queue all the way out the front door. We found a spot, piled out and ambled into the hallowed ground, that is now known as the home of ‘the’ BBQ restaurant, Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ. This hidden gem, was made an international name by the ever popular Chef Anthony Bourdain in his article "13 Places to Eat Before you Die", published in Mens Health.

This Mecca for top quality BBQ was born in the 90’s by the Slaughterhouse 5 BBQ team, namely Jeff & Joy Stehney and Joe Davidson (The Joe in Oklahoma Joe’s).  Shortly after, Joe sold up leaving Jeff and his wife to take the reigns.

One of our party had contacted Doug Worgul, head of marketing at Oklahoma Joes and formerly editor at the Kansas City Star (more recently as author of the excellent “Thin Blue Smoke”). Doug met us as we entered the restaurant and we were clearly already overwhelmed by the massive queue, buzz of conversation and intoxicating smell of BBQ.  Doug was kind enough to take time out of his busy day and give the The British BBQ Society team members a personal tour of the restaurant.

Friday, 1 October 2010

American Royal BBQ Comp .... On your marks

The day has finally arrived. Many months of preparation by our intrepid team leader Toby, thousands of emails, phone calls, begging and a borrowing.Stealing and a loaning, the team has their site together, the pits are primed and ready to burn and the nerves are starting to set in.

As a team, the British BBQ team have travelled over 4800 miles to compete in the world famous Royal American BBQ Invitational and Open competition.
The team is made up of Toby Shea, Adie Platts, Steve Heyes, Chris McQuillan, Neil Welsh and our very own Cuan Brown & Ben Cops.

Thus far the team has managed to make a pilgramage to the world famous BBQ restaurant (A guided tour post coming soon) Oaklahoma Joes. Anthony Boudain's top 13 places to eat before you die.

We have visited Kansas City BBQ Shop and stocked up for the cold blightey winters and have scoured Walmart for all its deals. The talking is over, the proof is in the puddin'. Lets get a Cookin'.

Come down and see us we are on Stand 936 and we would love to chat.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

kansas city

Day two in Kansas City and we've had some awesome ribs in oklahoma joes, Cuan is a few kilos heavier in BBQ sauce and rubs, and we've smashed 96 wings in willies bar in minutes. The site is a massive car park with portaloos as far as the eye can see but the enormous smokers and pits are starting to arrive. Our FEC cooker and it's pal are already onsite as is our winnebego.

To the bar!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

One sleep 'til Kansas City!

God I can't wait

And then....

The American Royal Barbecue is the opening event of the American Royal and the season finale for the competitive circuit. Spreading over 20 acres in Kansas City’s historic Stockyards District, and with nearly 500 teams competing in four culinary contests, The Royal is the largest barbecue contest in the world. Combine this with a barbecue-related trade expo, this two-day food festival is truly the “World Series of Barbecue.”

Thursday, 5 August 2010

We're competing in the American Royal!

That's right, two of the BBQ Fanatics team are heading to Kansas City at the end of September to take part at the massive American Royal BBQ competition!  We're accompanying a slice of the competitors at the BBBQS circuit and the president (?) of the BBBQS on their annual trip.

As you can imagine this is a massive deal for us and we're very excited.  Its a great chance to learn loads and meet some of the most BBQ obsessed people in the world, not to mention to see some proper rigs and eat a LOT OF MEAT.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Boerewors Bacon Explosion

BBQ Date: Early July
BBQ Weather: Perfect!

After missing out on Ben's Bacon Explosion last weekend, I was determined to give it a go. However, I wanted a truly South African twist on the experience. A famous sausage from the Rainbow Nation is called Boerewors (pronounced 'bu-revors'), which is a mixture of Pork, Beef and at least 30% fat, loaded with spices such a coriander, pepper, nutmeg, cloves and garlic. Its truly a delight bbq'd and placed on a bun. Needless to say, I substituted pork sausage meat, with Boerewors sausage meat from my local provider 'The Savana' shop.

I followed the now famous Bacon Explosion recipe, but with a few of my own twists. The ingredients are as follows:

2xPack of Boerewors (I only used 1&1/2 sausages meat)
30xPeices streaky bacon
Memphis Magic Dust
BBQ Sauce of Choice - I used Mississippi Sweet Apple in the abscense of my own.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Apple & Chipotle BBQ Sauce (Award Winning)

BBQ Suitability: Use for everything

At the recent BBQ Society - Mayhem in May BBQ Fanatics performed well in the Sauces section. There were a few requests for the recipe, so here is it is. It does take some time, but I have found that if you are prepared to bottle it, it will last 3-6months in the fridge.

Monday, 31 May 2010

British BBQ Society Southern England Championships

BBQ Time: Late May
BBQ Weather: Rain.... and then Sun

Good news, in our first competition we placed in 2 of the 6 categories. We came in 2nd in BBQ sauces and 2nd in Chicken. Rob from up North pipped us on the sauces (he knows his chilli) and a bunch of crazy South Africans (Kalahari daredevils I think?) threw us off our game @ 2am with the cheapest tequila on the face of the planet to beat us in chicken. We had a great time and all credit needs to go to Toby and the team from the British BBQ Society for the amazing organisational effort. As a team we learnt alot from the other competitors and met some interesting characters to boot.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Beef Ribs

BBQ Date: Mid May
BBQ Weather: Bright but fresh
I stopped by the Ginger Pig in Borough Market the other day to pick up a couple of racks of baby back ribs – practice for the upcoming “Mayhem in May” competition being held by the British BBQ Society.  They didn’t have baby backs, only some mean looking shiners (ribs with the lots of bone shining through the meat), so I left disappointed.  But my subconscious had recognised something more interesting, which I couldn’t pass up.  I went back to the shop and bought this pair of racks of beef ribs.
The Ginger Pig is one of the best producers of meat in the UK and their beef is fantastic.  The standing rib roasts are glorious and cost serious money.  These bad boys were cut from the same, aged beef and despite their enormous, flintstone-like mass cost a mere £3.50 each.  They smelt absolutely beautiful – sweet, fatty, ruby red meat and great big chunky bones.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Overnight Pulled Pork Smoke

BBQ Date: Mid April
BBQ Weather: Clear night and bright, hot day
In preparation for the upcoming BBQ competition I thought I’d go for an overnight shoulder smoke to be ready for lunchtime, just like we’ll be doing for the first time at the end of May in Tongham.  Not a massive difference to the normal pulled pork recipe wise (well, none) but there are a number of important psychological differences;
  • You have too much, rather than too little time to get things ready.  It still takes 13 hours, its just that you get to sleep for most of them.
  • You don’t have to cut the rind off a lump of pork, apply mustard slather, and dust with garlicky paprika before breakfast, but just before dinner.  This makes a massive difference to the care and attention one pays.
  • You don’t have to light a fire in your pyjamas, but you do have to tend\save a fire in your pyjamas
  • You have time to allow the rub to form a bark before putting it in the smoker
  • You can allow time for the smoker to reach equilibrium before cooking (I didn’t do this this time, will do next time)
  • You can let it rest for 2 hours before pulling the pork
  • You can pull the pork sober
  • You can eat at lunch, rather than at 11:30pm
Massive downside;
  • You don’t get to stand round a smoker in the baking sunshine drinking beer and talking about smokers and meat.  I’m sure at the competition we’ll be sitting round the smokers shivering and drinking beer, in the dark, but its not the same.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Sunny Saturday & Grillpro's Vertical Smoker

BBQ Date: Mid April
BBQ Weather: OMG - Summer arrived without warning !
With the recent improvements in the weather, and the added bonus of the Icelandic Volcano "Crisis" clearing the Surrey skies of air traffic, I thought it was high time I dusted off my crumbling Brinkmanns & officially welcomed in the smoking season. Whilst jabbing at some home made burgers on friday night, I thought I'd get my ECB's serviced ready for the morning. Initial inspections were not good - rust holes in the water pan, thick layer of congealed crud on the grills, and what appeared to be volcanic rocks welded into the fire pans. But I'm a pragmatic sort of bloke & thought I'd be able to get a few more runs out of them before I gave them the Viking funeral they so richly deserved. Located a new supplier of smoking wood & fell asleep dreaming of smokey meats...

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Pulled pork

Its the time in April where we get a bit of decent weather, decide its summer and start making pulled pork!  More on that later, but for now here’s a decent description;

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Monday, 8 March 2010

The ProQ and a Pork Shoulder

BBQ Date: Early March
BBQ Weather Suitability: Sunny but very chilly day

A new year and a new approach, time to toss the Brinkman (AKA El Cheapo Brinkman smoker) that was modded and rusted to bits. Its always a tough choice, but basically it boiled down to charcoal, electric or gas. Based on previous experiences, I wasnt overly keen on electric, and gas is, well cheating. As a result, it had to be charcoal. The choice of smokers is vast (from the $70 Brinkman to the $2000 offset smoker). However, by sheer chance I stumbled across the ProQ Excel 20. Based on a hail Mary and a great price from Ebay (speak to Tony from British BBQ Society). It arrived 2 days later and what can I say... Its HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY ... A really good sign!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Baby backs

Originally uploaded by Copsey
I'm not sure its possible to become more eager for summer to arrive...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Red Lead

BBQ Date: February snow and paternity leave
BBQ Weather Suitability: Not going outside today... or tomorrow

Following in the tradition of me posting non-BBQ recipes in the freezing winter months, this one's another tomato based dish, this time adapted from the Baked Ziti recipe (with Sunday Gravy) from the Sopranos Family Cookbook (now sadly out of print and going for serious money on ebay).  Tony Soprano called his mother's Sunday Gravy "the red lead" in some episode or other, and here's my version.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Schmitty's Sausage Racks

Just idly surfing for pics on flickr and found these pictures of Kruez market - one day I hope to make the pilgrimage...

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Brown Sugar Ribs

BBQ Date: First BBQ of the year
BBQ Weather Suitability: Subzero temps, but who cares

The problem with cooking ribs on an open bbq is that it takes a real low heat and lots of attention to make sure they dont burn and dry out. This is a classic recipe I have used before to maximise the flavour and minimise the effort. The ingredients are pretty simple, pork ribs, apple juice, brown sugar, dry rub and bbq sauce of choice.

The preparation is easy, rub down the ribs with your dry rub of choice and leave for 2-3 hours.