The HOG DAYS OF SUMMER!!!

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Hog Days of Summer!!!!

JBS

John Brown Smokehouse & Arrogant Swine Presents

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An NYC Summer Celebration of Traditional North Carolina Whole Hog BBQ, Craft Beer Brewing & Heritage Pig Farming

  • Tamarack Hollow Farm Glocestershire Old Spot slow-smoked over hardwood embers
  • All the Proper Carolina Pig Pickin’ Garnishes AND Dessert
  • All You Can Drink Craft Beer
  • Live Bluegrass Band!!!

2 Sessions Per Event Noon (12pm – 4pm) & Evening Sessions (5pm – 9pm)

June 22nd in Long Island City, QUEENS – Purchase Tickets HERE 

June 29th in Greenpoint, BROOKLYN – Purchase Tickets HERE 

A Portion of all Proceeds donated to support Just Food NYC

Whole Hog Pitmaster Ricky Parker has passed

The Southern Foodways Alliance alerted us to the passing of Whole Hog BBQ legend Ricky Parker.

Mr Parker was taken far too soon from us. At 51 years of age he was still relatively young gentleman. With our country seeing a resurgence in interest and passion for BBQ, there was hope that he would be able to see a revival of a tradition he loved so dearly.

I wrote a bit about Parker HERE concerning his specific style of cooking and his preferred hog breeds.

Parker definitely wasn’t a celebrity pitmaster. He wasn’t particularly known save for a few foodies and even amongst those, very few understood exactly what he was doing and what he was preserving. When I was in college, my linguistics professor was collector of rare and dying languages. A brilliant man, he noted that we can collect data for future generations to study and make contributions to Linguistic Theory. However, any attempts to preserve dying languages are sadly futile. Regional barbecue styles are like languages. Even in its limitation of expression it can sometimes most clearly describe who we are.

Barbecue has become more popular now than ever before. Television shows, forums, Youtube videos, all point to the fact that people really care. Not only do they care they’re opening their wallets for good BBQ. Real BBQ. Parker sadly is no longer with us to see the next chapter. Hopefully he will have inspired the next generation in Western Tennessee to continue the art of whole hog cookery. Express to us the public and to themselves their heritage in the living language of smoke.

Rest in Peace Mr. Parker.

Whole Hog BBQ – Tools of the Trade II

Rammstein is a metal band based in Germany and one of my favorite forms of musical entertainment. I like them for their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, storyline rich music videos, heavy jams and their insane feats of pyrotechnics. It is further proof that adding a flamethrower to any situation makes it all that much cooler. I’m confident that if the US Federal government would mandate the use of flame throwers in our children’s math classes, we’re probably have the highest math scores in the world – we’d also need to hold math classes outdoors which wouldn’t be too bad of an idea.

The very first time I ever smoked a pig, I had a secret weapon. I found a massive bottle of Zippo lighter fluid which, due to its utility, has very little in terms of scent. People don’t like smoking anything that tastes like gasoline. I was a GENIUS! I had all the power of lighter fluid with none of the smell!! Well turns out I was an absolute MORON as we hosed down over 80lbs of charcoal with Zippo fluid, had a big poofy fire which lasted as long as a jelly donut at fat kids camp.

So we gave in and rushed to the deli for a jug of regular charcoal lighter fluid. Lighter fluid isn’t necessary a bad thing. I know it’s BBQ orthodoxy to hate on it, but plenty of the top cookers in the world use it to start their coal. I guarantee if I had you taste their food you wouldn’t taste the fluid. Plus I like the smell of burning lighter fluid on a small scale – reminds me of childhood summers (along with burnt chicken).

But burning that much coal with that much lighter fluid is not pleasant at all. Someone suggested one time I use chimney starters. Have you ever had to start 80lbs of charcoal with chimney starters? We’d probably spend the next 3 hours just lighting coal!

So in comes the solution – a baby FLAMETHROWER!!

More specifically it’s a Lincoln Electric Inferno Propane Torch.

Like everything with whole hog BBQ it’s a great crowd pleaser. The most popular photos people take are

#1 Them standing in front of my smoker

#2 Them holding a pig’s head

#3 Them shooting flames out of my baby flamethrower.

In the annuals of badassness, this tool ranks pretty high up there. When fired up it shoots out a jet stream of fire and will get your coal lit in almost no time. It’s actually kinda disappointing sometimes how effective it is as I’d love to just burn some more stuff. It even sounds like a jet! Make no mistake, it’s loud. The first time I had my buddy work it, he darn near wet himself. And my buddy’s a tough guy! Tatted up, big muscles, bald head – scary. I swear when that fire busted out he was ready run home to his mommy. You’ve been warned.

Breaking some Rules in BBQ for Success!

Recently a sport commentator remarked that the best thing you can learn from a sport is what’s illegal, specifically in combat sports. For example, we don’t let boxers hit each other while hugging because quite frankly it would be dull and it would sacrifice the development of beautiful crisp punches for the more effective “dirty boxing”. In high school wrestling, you were not allowed to lock your hands in certain positions because it gave an unfair advantage. The list of techniques banned in combat sports e.g. kickboxing, Judo, boxing, taekwondo etc, is filled with really effective moves. No amount of punching power will beat out a good ole “kick in the jimmy”.

So what does this have anything to do with BBQ? Contests are highly artificial. You will never find the world’s best chef in a contest. BBQ is no different. Take the top 5 best BBQ joints in the country by popular informed consensus and you won’t see a single big contest winner on there. They are solid and talented cooks but they’re not destination restaurants.

So what are the “illegal” moves in competition BBQ that would be effective for us to make superior BBQ? No too much is prohibited in BBQ contests but there’s plenty of implicit penalties for certain actions. So here’s a few.

Oil-based injections

Tony Chachere’s Injections are strange, slimy and very delicious. They’re also highly popular for one reason – they add great flavor to dry meats like turkey and pork loins. They’re also oil based. Oil based injections taste better because the vast majority of seasonings are fat soluble!!

Try this at home. Warm up some garlic powder in some water vs some oil. Which one would you rather slather on bread? The water will smell like a broth but the oil will smell delicious!

Pitmasters are not ignorant of this fact and yet inject their meats with liquids instead of lipids. Why is that? Why bother with the apple juice when some olive oil would throw in a nice garlic punch with little effort? In fact, liquid injections are highly inefficient for flavoring due to the fact that the muscles naturally just squeeze them back out.

The reason is largely cosmetic. Judges at contests will penalize a cook because the oil based injections will leave a streaky mark. There’s nothing in the rule book on this but still you’re getting marked down. If you are interested in boosting some flavor try injecting with fats.

Use less sugar use more tart

In the first season of BBQ pitmasters, newbie cook Harry Soo discovers that one of the keys to winning was to make their meats cavity-inducingly sweet. You will not win any contests serving tart BBQ. However this is not true in the general market place. Tart is big amongst consumers. Stubb’s BBQ Sauce is thin and tangy. It is also the #6 best selling sauce in the country grossing over $20 million in revenue a year.

It’s pretty clear that Stubb’s BBQ sauce being used to glaze ribs at a contest would lose and lose badly. Again there’s no rule against tangy sauces but the contests in general prefer it sweet and sticky. It’s worth going back to the original tangy sauces of the South. They’re a natural partner to BBQ .

Bring on the Mustard

Mustard sauces get absolutely no love from BBQ contests (unless it’s sauce contest). If you took 10 random turn in boxes from 10 contests, I guarantee you that you’ll get 10 boxes full of red glazed meats. Any of the yellow stuff would get your entry fed to the dog.

Mustard sauce is popular in central South Carolina and parts of border towns in Georgia. They’re a great compliment to greasy meat. Given that everyone’s secret sauce is more or less composed of ketchup and molasses, give mustard a try. I think you’ll like what you find.

Some BBQ Poetry

The Pitmaster’s Dilemma 

The alarm failed to ring, it’s a quarter past eight!

And our dear poor pitmaster was dreadfully late.

We are way behind schedule, we are way past dawn.

The wood must be fired, the hog must go on!

Well the pig has been load, the coals have been lit,

the smell of pork smoke surrounds me as I felt free to sit.

Dear Lord what happened? How could this happen to me?

I lit up my cigar and sipped from a brew. It then became all clear! I was beginning to see!

A poetry reading my wife told me! It would be fun and a date!

If you keep ignoring me for BBQ, we’re getting divorced at this rate.

So I put on a tie and shined up my shoes. Ready for readings on floral and fawn.

I prayed the good Lord to kill me as I fought off a yawn.

There were readings on zen and faith and overcoming our fears

If the reader’s bosom weren’t so huge, poems would have bored me to tears.

Then PETA came up and plead the rights of chickens! So passionate So bold!

Oh dear Jesus that was so boring, it knocked me out cold.

It’s not that I hate poetry. I love it I do!

No I’m not joking, I swear that it’s true.

Well my pig is done smoking and we’re ready to eat.

Glad my friends aren’t vegan cuz there’s a whole crapload of meat.

We chop and season and mix up our hog

A couple brought a salad! Which we fed to the dog.

The beer flows freely, the air thick with song and play

Disaster averted, the pitmaster saved the day.

So the morale of the story O reader, write this down too!

Avoid all poetry readings, they’re dangerous for you.