The Hampton Smoker

What's up wtih what's going down? Does a tree falling on the ocean with no one around make a sound? Barbecue, BBQ, Bar-b-que. It's all in how you sell it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Click Me!

Added a few more ginchy links to the list on the right side of the page:

The Hot Zone is a 'cool' place to peruse fiery flavors.
The Burrito Blog documents the search for a perfect pocket of food.
I Heart NYC is dedicated to...well, I think you can guess.

I would like to extend a special welcome to The Bacon Show which is a blog after my own heart-- no, wait, it's the thing that clogged my heart. Nevermind. Click the link to find an endless supply of recipes that center on the succulent porcine treat that I'll never tire of. If you are a bacon lover, this is the blog for you. Brandon also hosts events that celebrate the pig's ultimate sacrifice. Love it.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Street 'Que

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My 'friend' can't cook on a grill at his house, so he goes around the corner and cooks on the street in front of a neighboring building. Surprisingly, his grill looks alot like Willy, my new cheap cooker. Hmmmm.

There's been a recent debate over the term Urban Barbecue that has been popping up-- Blue Smoke, a popular bbq restaurant in NYC uses the term widely to define their version of pit barbecue which is served in a fairly cosmopolitan setting. The tag has been affixed to the new Dinosaur Barbeque restaurant and is part of the name of Paul Kirk's joint, Righteous Urban Barbecue.

Some claim that it is reflected by more exotic menu items, bolder flavors, or even the diversity of items served-- Blue Smoke claims to serve St. Louis, Memphis, Texas and Kansas City-style ribs. Could it be that atmosphere, attitude and style could transform a normally regional, often rural food into something different by transplanting methods and philosophy into a new environment? Is it imitation, re-creation or evolution? Is Paul Kirk's pastrami the ideal symbol of Urban 'Cue?

What does the term mean to you? How do you think it should be defined? Do New Yorkers have a new kind of 'que on their plates?

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Sunday, June 12, 2005


Bracewell family for taking time to talk with us yesterday-- and for the secret recipe for the Pinto Beans!

Mike Mills for sharing your babyback ribs, the nice words in my book, the pictures, and for being an outstanding 'que ambassador.

Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe for signing my book and talking with us during the filming of the All-Star Showdwown.

Fast Eddy Maurin for explaining the history (and future...) of the FE100, the pellet making process and standing in the rain with us.

Don McLemore and Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson for coming up and shooting the show here and promoting barbecue in NYC and taking time to talk between shots and while cleaning up after selling out of food (in 4 hours!).

Myron Mixon, Bart Clarke, Mike Davis, and Haywood Harris, Jon Marcus (Borderline TV) for letting us be a part of the behind the scenes at the shoot.

Garry Roark for sharing some secrets-- "I told my daughter that I taught her everything she knows....but NOT everything I know!"

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Block Party Report Pt. 1

No time to do a full round up, but it's been an action packed weekend so far! Here's a few images:
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Friday, June 10, 2005

3rd Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

Don't forget the block party. This weekend, June 11th and 12th.

New York City
Madison Avenue between 23rd and 26th.
Noon-6pm both days.
Each Plate $7

Come taste some of the best barbecue in the country.

Rain or Shine.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Firewalk with Me

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I've gotten alot of questions about how to 'make bbq' recently. I love showing people how to cook on the smoker, how to handle the fire and the meats, but explaining it all in email or on the phone can be tough. So, this begins what will (hopefully...) be a series of how-to's for cooking your own barbeque, whether on a little charcoal grill or a unit meant for the low-n-slow.

You don't need a big fancy grill, or any special equipment, just some beer, some time and some patience. The grill in these pictures cost me $25, the charcoal about $10 and a big batch of the cherry wood twigs you can see in the fire picture were given to me by a Farmer's Market vendor.

Our grill, Willy, the day he was born
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It is a big help to already know your way around the kitchen, what tastes good with what, how to spot a good cut of meat, etc....From that foundation the next steps are made a bit easier. Many of you will point out things that I missed or steps that I've left out-- this is meant as a very basic primer that assumes that anyone that absorbs all this and is hooked will pursue more info elsewhere-- the links on the right side of this page have tons more information.

Here's a piece from the New York Press that also has a good introduction to cooking your own: New to the 'cue

Start your engines!
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The most common barbeque meats to cook are pork butt (boston butt), ribs (spare ribs or babybacks), chicken, and brisket. If you are a complete 'newbie' pick something inexpensive like chicken thighs that are difficult to overcook and won't break your heart pricewise if you don't love your first attempt. The larger cuts, brisket and pork butt usually start around 6-8 pounds and take considerably longer to cook.

Assuming you have a grill or smoker to cook on, and that you have picked a meat to cook, then you are ready to move on to seasonings and other techniques. The foundation of your barbeque will be your dry rub. This is the spice blend you apply before cooking. There are many pre-made blends out there, and as many different recipes as there are stars in the sky. Here's a basic rub that has some heat and some sweet-- two key elements that you should always strive to balance.

Barbecue Spice Rub
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Combine all spices in a small bowl. Store in an air tight container.
To use: rub on meat before grilling.
Yield: 1 serving

Adjust the blend to suit your taste-- more heat if you like spicy, more sweet if that's your taste. Try to keep flavors in balance so nothing is overpowering. As you grow more confident, add and subtract flavors to put your stamp on things. Keep notes and try to make all your changes gradually so you can track what works and what doesn't. This holds true for tending a fire and other parts of the barbeque process-- don't try to change everything at once.

Beef ribs and an 8lb pork shoulder on Willy
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Next Up: Smoke Rises!

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

Gothamist has a piece on the recent 'cue craze in NYC

Barbecue in NYC

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