Wednesday, July 16, 2014

KCBS Certified Judging Class

Wife and kids sent me to school for Fathers' Day -- actually one class to make me a Certified BBQ Judge with the Kansas City BBQ Society. And though I wanted to go, I also had a million things to do around the house on Saturday -- other than driving 2 hours to go to Gettysburg, PA to spend the next several hours thinking about KCBS BBQ Competition rules.

So I was torn, but got up at 6 on a Saturday morning and headed north on U.S. 15, through Frederick, Emmittsburg, and into Harley Hell (a.k.a. Bike Week) in Gettysburg. I entered the room with  25 others who almost all looked largely like me -- middle to upper-middle class, generally chunky, white, middle aged men with circle beards. There were a couple of spouse-like female critters as well. Most of them went without the circle beards.

Once there we had the usual PowerPoint-driven lecture with stories of BBQ contests of the past sprinkled in. There was a heavy focus on the KCBS rulebook and a lot of explanations of permitted vs. non-permitted lettuce as garnish. Then we got to test our new-found skills by eating! Chicken, ribs, pork, brisket. Wash your tastebuds with water only. Don't eat too many crackers. Don't lick your fingers and then touch more food that your neighbor judges will have to eat.

At the end we had to take a semi-hokey pledge to defend truth, justice and the BBQ way.

And then we were told to go find some competitions to judge. Seems like their might be a database of judges that organizers could tap into to make that process a little more automated, but such is life...

Good class, interesting class. I learned a lot about competitions and what judges look for. Not sure I'm ready to jump into that work yet, but it's always good to be prepared. And now I have something new to add to my Linked-In and FB profiles! ;)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Plankies: Epic BBQ fail

So I'm going to be honest, I've not been blogging too much because I've been too busy cooking. And I'm getting pretty good at it, IMO. But this was a fail for me.

Ted Reader's Plankies:


serves 4-8


1 regular cedar plank, soaked in water
8 Twinkies (4 pkg.)
3⁄4 cup (175 mL) Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
6 Oreo cookies, smashed into chunks
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) mini marshmallows
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) chocolate toffee pieces
Preheat grill to medium-low heat. Arrange the Twinkies on the plank. Slather the top of the Twinkies evenly with Nutella. Sprinkle with mini Oreo chunks, marshmallows and chocolate toffee pieces.
Place plank on grill and close lid. Allow Twinkies to heat and smoke slowly for 15 minutes, until marshmallows are golden brown and everything is heated through.
Remove from grill and serve immediately with a big glass of milk.
So you can imagine: looks good huh? 
I followed the directions precisely. Everything looked spectacular -- but the taste: yuk! The cedar planks I purchased completely overpowered any other flavor. I'm not sure if it was the brand (Western from WallyWorld) or if I left them on too long, or what. But the woodsy flavor was just too much to enjoy the rest. 
If I ever do again, I'd just do on a foiled tray on the grill with maybe a couple of chunks of something lighter for smoke. Maybe oak or a fruitwood.  Also, one of my guests had a tree nut allergy and Nutella apparently drives him on a non-stop trip to the ER. I'll check for allergies next time too.

Oh well. Live and learn.
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