Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kansas Masters BBQ Championship

This weekend we will be off to Wichita for the Kansas Masters BBQ Championship. A great little contest in Cowtown and looking forward to it. If you are in the area stop by and see us!

Pueblo Boats Bands and BBQ

What a weekend! We actually got to go to a BBQ contest with the whole family, yep Roni, Keelan and Kelsi all got to go with me and all at the same time.

We left for Pueblo Thursday afternoon and dropped a grill we sold to a guy in Garden City, and continued on to Pueblo. Got there about 6:30 MT and met Mark and Jen Welte of Carcass Cookers at the contest site to unhook trailers and set up. We suddenly realized that it was 8:00 pm and we wanted to get to LaTronica's for supper so we dashed on over and boy are we glad we got there in time.

We helped Frankie cater a 300 person prime rib feed in Pueblo a couple of years back and had never been in Pueblo when his restaurant, LaTronica's, was open. Great Italian food, homemade pasta, lasagna, chicken parm, bread, etc... Nothing fancy, but just excellent food.

Part of the reason we left early was to help Mark cook 120 lbs of brisket, 100 lbs of prime rib and 50 slabs of ribs for the VIP tent for the weekend. All we had to do was cook the meat, and the staff of the Marriott, one of the sponsors, did all the slicing and serving. We cooked the brisket Friday morning, and the prime rib Sat morning, and the ribs Sat afternoon.

All worked well with the VIP cooking. We had a little issue with one of Marks cookers that had the prime rib in, it did not want to get to 270 to get the prime ribs done. So at 11:00 we were scrambling trying to get a couple of the primes in a grill to get them finished, as well as trying to get chicken done for the contest.

We really appreciated Jen, Roni, Keelan and Kelsi since they seasoned and loaded all the ribs while Mark and I were concentrating on getting contest meats turned in.

The Pueblo contest has always been one of my favorites. I enjoy the atmosphere, the people, the teams etc. This year was no exception. Since we were cooking the VIP thing, I did not have a lot of extra time just to visit and hang with everyone, but we had a great time anyway.

The Denny Crane Moment at Dougs of Smoke N The Rockies was exceptional. I think half of the teams were there for a night cap on Friday night. Again that's why I like Colorado contests, no one is a stranger and all are welcome.

Was great to be neighbors to our friends from New Mexico, Mark and Gina Hufford or better known as just Q.

The contest went well. We placed 7th in chicken, 2nd in Brisket, 3rd in Dessert and 6th overall. Not a bad showing considering the talent of the teams that was there.

Our daughter Kelsi placed 2nd in Kids Q with her steak and shrimp. We forgot a couple of steps in the madness of the moment before turn in or I think she might have placed 1st. Although Chris Naslund always does a good job and is hard to beat and he did place 1st.

Got to hand it to Robert Hahn of Flat Broke BBQ out of Garden City. They placed 3rd overall and we were all really happy to see Robert and Jerry do so well!

Congrats to Jim and Adrian of Sweet Peppers for there Grand Champion win. Two great guys and they looked awesome jumping into the river as the tradition continues.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Cooker

Went to Kansas City a couple of weeks ago and picked up the first cooker that I have ever purchased. I have always built everything before, but when you start needing the big ones on short notice I had to break down and buy it.

We bought a used FE750. In fact it is one that Eddy had in his restaruant in KC. Eddy rebuilt it and put new burn pots and controllers in it before he sold it to Bill about 8 months ago.

I will try to get pics as soon as the camera gets here.

It cooks great, very even from one side to the other. I was a little suprised that the bottom rack cooks slower than product on the top rack even with as much seperation as there is, and with the convection fans.

Just need to get the carport ordered now to get it covered!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

510 lbs of Pulled Pork

A few months ago I had told my sons FFA Chapter that I would cook pork for them for cost and they could sell it as a fund raiser. We thought that if they sold 100 to 150 lbs they would be doing good. Well, Keelan came home yesterday and said they had orders for 510 lbs, I said BS, how much did you really sell, he said 510 lbs! So we spent most of yesterday afternoon working with the FFA advisor trying to figure out the logistics of cooking, pulling and packaging that much pork!

Next week is going to be fun! Along with the FFA pork, we have all the graduation meat and side orders going out. So I am thinking that sleep will not be an option at all next week. Plus we are down to 2 roaster ovens from the 4 that we usually have to do sauce and potato casserole in.

Ahhhh restaurant life, ain't it great!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

North Platte, NE

We will be in North Platte, NE at the Honky Tonk BBQ contest next weekend. Looking forward to seeing our Colorado friends there as well as cooking at "home" in Nebraska.

America's Best BBQ

Finally got my copy of America' Best BBQ - 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaruants, by Chef Paul Kirk and Ardie A. Davis.

We are proud that Chef Paul asked us to include our Prime Rib in his book. It has been exciting working on the recipe and our 2 page layout (actually Paul and Ardie did most of the work) and watching the book come together.

I have not had time to go through the book page by page yet, but it looks fantastic and I was drooling over the few pages that I have been able to look at. I really think that they should have included a roll of paper towels with each copy!

St Joeseph, MO.

What a great location for a contest. They had 50 teams all parked in the grass around the St Jo Civic Center and they actually had room for another 20 teams or so. I still can't believe that they would let all those rigs pull into the grass and make deep tracks, but they did. Even after all the rain there, everyone got in and out without problems.

Thanks to Tom Supple for putting on a great contest. Tom did an excellant job of making sure that everyone had everything they needed. He even made sure that Fred from 4 Mile Smoking Crew got a chance to meet us since we had not meet after the Jack Last year when Fred was Reserve. I think Tom and Fred spent a little too much time with the teams until the wee hours of Friday night, but thats ok!

I was looking forward to meeting 4 Mile Fred and had a good time visiting with him Friday night and Saturday morning. That is always the highlight of my time at a contest is visiting with old friends and meeting new ones.

Thanks to Andy "Gravy King" and Kim Groneman for the Friday night supper. Fried pork chops and gravy what more can you ask for! There was a lot of other good stuff on the buffet table as well, along with Val's bananna pudding - great stuff Val!

As the teams rolled in, it started to look like an invitational event. There were a lot of great teams there as well as several new teams. Congrats to my neighbors, Burnt Finger BBQ for their calls.

Congrats to JP Custom Smoke for a well deserved Grand Champion. We finished 12th in Chicken, 5th in Ribs, 16th in Pork, and 18th in Brisket with a 3rd place Overall. Thats the 4th contest this year that we have finished in 3rd place!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Feeling Better

Last week I finally started to feel good again. Hopefully over most of the virus stuff but still find that I need a little more sleep than I used to get to keep up with everything.

Have sauce cooking now, need to get 24 briskets sliced, and then need to get to Newton, KS to pickup 2 tons of pellets. All that while getting ready for the catering on Wednesday and for the contest this weekend.

Next Contest - St Joseph, MO

This coming weekend we will be traveling to St Jo, MO for their Apple Blossom BBQ Contest. We are looking forward to it and it is actually only 2 miles further than Sugar Creek, even though it is further north of KC.

Sugar Creek, MO Contest

Last weekend we traveled to Sugar Creek, MO (part of Kansas City, MO) with 50 other teams for their 6th annual contest.

I knew that I could not leave the restaurant till about 1:00, but it ended up being 2:00 pm before I got out of town. Then with the tremendous wind blowing out of the South, I had to slow down to at least the posted speed on I70. Then of course I hit Friday rush hour traffic on the toll road at Topeka, and then traffic backup on the east side of KC and traffic back up for the Royals game. With all of that I did not pull into the contest site until 6:45.

I do appreciate the event staff at Sugar Creek. I told them I would be late getting in and they were ready for me. I was parked, had meat inspected and meat prep started by 7:00 pm. I asked Doug about getting boxes and away he went on the golf cart and came back with my boxes for me. What a great job Doug did!

The main thing I do not like about getting into a contest that late is not being able to visit with all of our BBQ buddies. When I go east to contests, I don't know as many of the teams so I like to have a little time to visit and meet some new BBQ Friends, just don't have enough time to get that done when we get there that late.

I did enjoy Don and Sharron Will of Smokers Wild coming over on Saturday morning. They weren't cooking anywhere so they just came to hang out and help out.

Thanks to Brent Wilson for running boxes for me. Brent is a great kid, well adult now, and I appreciate his efforts because that was a steep hill up to the turn in area.

We placed 9th in Chicken, 15th in Ribs, 1st in Pork, 2nd in Brisket, and 3rd Overall and a 5th place in dessert. Out of 6 contests so far this year we have 1 reserve and 3 - 3rd place finishes.

Congrats to Rod and Sherry of Pellet Envy who were Grand Champions and All American BBQ as Reserve Champions.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Down and Out

Well I know it has been a while since I have blogged but I do have a good excuse (at least in my own mind).

We got back from the contest in Rio Rancho last Sunday washed the trailer out, prepped briskets, and over-slept the alarm by 3 hours to load briskets in the cooker Sunday night. Over-slept to get briskets out on Monday morning and then could do nothing but sleep most of Monday last week. Have slept more this last week than I have in years and still keep feeling like, crap.

We had the Country Smoker Grill Class to do last Saturday, so we worked on getting that class over so really did not get much rest. Felt pretty good the day of the class, but was just wiped out on Sunday.

The kids have had mono now for about 3 weeks so I just assume that it is my turn to have it as well. I have not gone to the doctor and am not going to spend $500 for them to tell me to stay home, sleep and drink plenty of fluids. First I don't have time to stay home and second, I don't want to spend $500 for that!

So anyway, I hope to be able to update everyone on Rio Rancho and the Cooking Class as the week goes by and before we head to the Osage City contest this weekend.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tast of Home Show

We are going to set up for the Taste of Home Show from 2:00 pm till 7:00 pm in Larned today. Just doing a small booth to display our Country Smokers. Will bake some peach cobbler in the cooker to use for samples. May even run some specials on some of the CS 450 we have in stock to get them moved out.

Little Rock

What a weekend in Little Rock. Keelan and I left Thursday night and stayed in the trailer at a truck stop just east of Tulsa. Back on the road Friday morning and got to Little Rock about 12:30. We missed all the rain, ice and snow that some of the other had to drive in and for that I am thankful.

We could not get into the contest site until after 1:00 so they put us in a parking lot near the site and Keelan and I walked in to visit with friends. At that point it looked like electricity and a few other things were going to be issues since all the power was in the center of the two parking lots. As we headed back to the pickup, the rest of our group that was waiting to get in were pulling into the contest site.

We got in line and waited a bit to find out where to go, the "parking attendent" sent us to the end of the street on the far south side of the parking lot and said go ahead and park somewhere here. That was really a great spot, since Doug and Douger from Smoke in the Rokies was right beside us. We finally got power off of one of the light poles on the other side of the building away from the main parking lot which was great since we did not have to rely on the main generator that everyone else had to use.

We brought a tent, cooker and quite a few things for Diva Q from Canada since they flew in, and got their stuff unloaded. Was great to see Danielle again and finally meet her husband who she talkes about all the time. What troopers they all were, cooking a contest on borrowed equipment in the cold and rain - I really do admire their love for BBQ and tenacity to do what ever it takes to compete and be part of this wacky world of competition BBQ

Supper was the Irish Buffet at the Slab spot, acutally it was at Transformer BBQ, but Steph got it all together so.... Any way we feasted in Steak Soup, Irish Stew, Corned Beef, Italian Beef Sammies, Cabbage and Sausage, Rueben Dip, and Pizza. I don't think I have eaten that much for a long time - it was good! I lost count of how many times Keelan went back to the table, and I forget how much a 16 year old can eat!

Overall things went well. We did loose power for a while Friday afternoon and got it back and worked the rest of the time. I didn't forget any major ingredient or to preform any major process. A couple of things I should have done different, but really pretty minor in the big scheme of things. These first contests of the season are always interesting untill I get my groove back. The more contests I do, the more comfortable I get of what to do when and just exactly how all the timing works for everything.

We did get breakfast delivered Sat morning. Danielle from Diva Q dropped of a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, coffee and they even made a fattie sammich out of a couple of doughnuts. She set them on the back of the smoker and didn't tell me so they were all cold by the time I found them. Put the doughnut - fattie sammies back in the smoker to warm up and the frosting kind of caramelized and oooohhhh those were good, Keelan is still talking about them.

We did not score so well. Finished 43rd overall and did not get a call. Been a long time since I have been a member of the No Call Club. I thought my stuff was good, and expected a call in the top 20 at least, but did not expect to win or anything like that. Just kind of suprised on where we ended up. But I have learned over the years of doing this that it works this way sometimes, you can't let it bother ya and you go on to the next contest and make sure everything is the way you want it. God is in controll and I leave it all up to Him.

It was great to see old friends that we haven't seen since last fall. I did miss seeing quite a few people as well, just never enough time to get around to everyone. I did miss seeing Lee and Bobbie McWright of Pig Pals, they always bring a smile to my face when they are around.

Rio Rancho next week

Life Gets Busy

I know it has been a while since I have been able to updat the blog. Last week was full of activity getting ready to go to the contest in Little Rock. Had to finish getting the trailer ready, pack for the contest to leave a day early, prep meat, and keep the restaruant running and trying to be a family. Sometimes all that activity just does not allow time to keep up with the blog.

Monday, March 2, 2009

BBQ Appetizers and Desserts

The Great Bend Recreation Commission does a weekly Lunch N Learn program where they offer 30 minute courses for people to come and learn while they are eating lunch. We had done the program for these a couple of times before and they are quite fun.
On Tuesday March 3rd we will be presenting BBQ Appetizers and Desserts for the Lunch N Learn. We will be showing the students how to do different appetizers and desserts on their smoker or grill. So far I am planning on doing bacon wrapped tater tots, monkey bread (the cinnamon and sugar coated biscuits in a pie pan), and chicken wraps. We usually try to get audience participation by having them help make the different items that we are showing.
I will try to get some pics of the class and post them later.

Creekstone Briskets Cooked

I just pulled 20 of the creekstone briskets from the smoker. They were trimmed and seasoned yesterday afternoon and went in the smoker at 11:30 last night. At 7:30 this morning, I trimmed the points off and left the points in the smoker to finish cooking and brought the flats in to start cooling off.

I am really happy to be cooking the Creekstones again. A lot of that happiness is probably because that is what I have been cooking for the last 4 years and I know how to trim them and how they cook. But they are a more uniform product, and tend to cook more uniform when cooking large quantities and I think they produce a more moist product as well.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Finally, we started getting our Creekstone briskets in again this morning. Last December, our supplier - Cash Wa out of Kearney NE - quit buying Creekstone briskets because they were just priced too high. I think Bob said his wholesale price for the packers was over $2.25 so he just quit buying them for a while.

Last week when I talked to Bob he said Creekstone had a little attitude adjustment and dropped the price on them. He is still not making any money on them, but at least we are getting them again.

They had been substuting CAB's, which are a nice brisket, but the Creekstones are still a better quality and are much more uniform in their trim. There is probably less trim waste with the CAB's but they also have a lot more exposed meat which I really don't like.

Bob told me he is looking into Preimum Protien out of Hastings Nebraska as an alternative to Creekstone. That will be interesting to see how their product stacks up.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Buns Buns Buns

Trying some new buns out today. Riches has a frozen preformed bun that you just pan and bake. They do turn out extremely good with a nice heavy texture, but not too heavy - ya know the type of bun that does not just melt away with a good jucy burger or stands up to great BBQ.

The buns on the right are before they were baked - right out of the freezer. The buns on the left are right after 18 minutes in the oven.

We had done a case about a month ago that was an Italian Herb flavor. They smelled wonderful and almost too strong on the Italian seasoning. But the Italian flavor was not as pronounced as the smell. We had many good comments about them in the restaruant, but the Italian flavor just was not what we were looking for with BBQ
The ones we baked today are just an Italian White variety. They smelled great, and a great slightly heavy texture and a slightyly sweet, wonderful flavor. They baked in 18 minutes from freezer to done.
We will be using these for our burgers. Now just trying to figure out if we want to use them in place of our hogie buns for the BBQ or not.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Starting to Blog

Welcome to the inagural post of the 4 Legs Up BBQ Blog. I am really amazed the this has only taken me a few minutes to set up and start posting, but hey, I got it done. Thanks to Danielle of Diva Q for "forcing" me into this and showing me all the good reasons to get it done, Ay!

All of this was really a result of attending the National Barbecue Association conference in Austin, TX last week. I really did learn a lot about marketing and how to easy and important it is to use Facebook and blogs. The conference was excellent in a lot of other ways as well. It was a great networking tool to meet other BBQ proffessionals as well as the excellant seminars. We managed to get in several BBQ Crawls to many "BBQ Joints" in and around Austin like Coopers, Muellers, The Tylor Cafe and Southside Market. It was a protien diet that all BBQ addicts would appreciate.