Monday, December 12, 2011

…..boy, time flies when you are having fun

It is 2012 already.......

It is hard to believe the year is ending. It seems like I just wrote my resolution column for 2011 and now here it is a new year. I have hardly had time to disregard all of my last year’s promises and goals and it is time to do it all over again.

Of course as is always the case, I am exaggerating a bit when I speak of complete disregard of my 2011 resolution list. Upon looking back, I really didn’t do too badly when it comes to the results I desired, but as we all know, there is always room for improvement. More particularly, when you are talking about me, there is A LOT of room for improvement.

One of my sidebar goals I mentioned last year was to loose 10 lbs, I am happy to report, I lost a little over twice that amount. While some of my more comedic acquaintances would ask, where did it go? I assure you, the scale doesn’t lie, well most times it doesn’t. For me, a slightly past middle-aged, waistline challenged, wanna-be BBQ cook, this quest has been quite the struggle. So here we go with resolution #1 for the New Year of 2012;

1) Keep off the weight I already lost and try to drop another 10 pound’s. For you folks that don’t pack on the lb’s just by looking at a cheeseburger on a toasted bun this might seem like an easy endeavor, but I assure you it is not. One doesn’t have to look far around any BBQ contest to see there are many who are in the same struggle. This is particularly hard when the very center of our favorite pastime is slow cooking large chunks of meat, sometimes slathered in sauce and the occasional sipping of an ice cold beverage. Needless to say, for me, it’s a continual uphill battle.

2) Stay focused and work on contest preparation- Both of these items were a part of last years list in some form or another and I think I did a pretty good job, but again, I need work. I will continually strive to keep better notes on my cooks both contest as well as practice and to be more organized in my record keeping. I have been more diligent in doing some of my prep work while at home which has lessened the work after arriving at the contest site. I like the direction I am going here and will continue to work to improve.

3) Allow more time for socializing at a contest- Now, before you drag me before the firing squad for promoting drunk and disorderly behavior at a contest, please allow me to explain. How many times while reading the forum posts and contest wrap-ups do you hear some one say, “I wish I would have more time to get around and see everybody, but I was way too busy” or something to that effect? I feel the same way, and what is worse, many of the folks I have met along the BBQ trail are people I really enjoy spending a few minutes with. I hate it when I don’t get around to see everyone. This year will be different, if possible, I will try to arrive at the site earlier and make an attempt to stay later, not be so rushed. I also believe that by working on my ‘at home’ preparation (item #2 above), this too will free me up for a bit more ‘quality time’ while at a contest. By quality time, I am talking about SOCIALIZING TIME and who could argue with that?

Well, there you have it, my resolutions for the 2012 BBQ season, almost certain to be compromised in some fashion, but certainly made today with all good intentions. Time will tell, as it always does. One thing I know I will stick with, my wish that each and every one of you have a safe, healthy, prosperous, happy and competition successful 2012!

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting….

well you know……waistline challenged

I can hardly believe it; Christmas 2011 is just about upon us. As this much anticipated season approaches, one can almost say that we have had enough, even before the fat man slides down the chimney on December 25th. It seems the overly ambitious retailers in a continuing struggle to beat their competition to the punch have completely thrown the old fashioned notion that the holiday season begins after Thanksgiving to the wind. I think it was the middle of October when I saw my first Christmas commercial on TV and it has only gotten worse. I heard the other day that one of the big box stores plans to open for their Black Friday sale starting on Thanksgiving Day. My question is why bother closing at all, just give the employees 25 minutes sometime on Turkey Day to shovel down their family dinners and keep on selling, that’s what it is all about anyway right? Wrong. I feel bad for those that will have to work to accommodate this madness and hope someday soon that retailers will come to their senses, but this is a philosophical discussion better saved for the editorial pages or the funny papers, you decide.

The holidays to me are all about family, friends, good times and good food. What follows is what has become a holiday tradition of mine of sorts, my Christmas list for that severely addicted BBQ fanatic in your life, or for you, if the sauced stained tennis shoe fits!

1) As I am sure many of you already know, I have an affinity for searching for, collecting and playing songs about BBQ. In other words, I am a BBQ song nut. I came across this tune a year or so ago and thought I would drag it out again for this holiday season. The price is right; you can get the download the MP3 file on Amazon for .99 so it fits into anyone’s budget. The name of the song is Christmas by the Bar-B-Que by Lynn August. Be sure to spell the title as I have it written or search with the artists name. If you like a slightly different holiday tune, you’ll need this number on your holiday playlist.

2) Smokin- by Myron Mixon- Amazon $14.96. In addition to collecting BBQ tunes, I also collect BBQ books. I bought this book when it first came out and have enjoyed both reading it as well as trying the recipes. If you are a competition cook or just a weekend backyard warrior, you will find this book both informative as well as entertaining. Be sure to try the peachy baked beans.

3) The next book has not been released and is due out 3/1/2012. Wicked Good Barbecue is a book written by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and Andrea Pyenson or as they are known on the competition BBQ circuit IQUE. Anyone that has been around the sport has heard of these guys who cooked this past year in their 10th straight Jack Daniels World Championship. I think I should also mention these guys won The Jack in 2009, need I say more. The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon for $12.91, I have had mine ordered for months.

4) Thermapen Splash Proof Insta-read Thermometer- available from Theroworks $89.00. If you cook inside or out, you need one of these units. Handy, reliable and accurate. The company offers great support and customer service as well.

5) Grand 14” Brisket Slicer- Made by Wusthof- $139.000 – The information on this knife from the site states, “This knife is designed for both the professional and hobbyist cook. A 2mm wide blade with a razor sharp 16.5 degree beveled blade effortlessly slices through the softest meats without tearing. The radial curve of the blade and incorporated scallops will cut blemish free slices with ease.” Mike Faye, MABBQA President worked with Wusthof in the design of this knife and it looks to be just what the Doctor ordered when it comes to slicing brisket. For now, the knife is available exclusively through the store on the MABBQA web site.

I hope this list is of some help to you as you navigate the throngs this holiday season. As you do, please keep in mind the real reason for the season, as well as having a little patience for the folks that will be working during this holiday time. I would also like to take just a brief minute to thank all of my readers for their support over the years. I would also like to wish a happy, healthy, safe and fun filled holiday season to all of you and your families. Merry Christmas!