Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Greed-fo-graphic from CNN.

Greed-fo-graphic from CNN.

Right after the other important domestic wars, such as the War on Christmas, the War on Drugs, and the War to Prevent “Responsible” Citizens From Carrying Military Grade Weapons through Wal-Mart, there’s the War on Barbecue.

Every year I read an article that says something along the lines of “Wow, your meat is more expensive than ever.”  Take for example this latest interactive chart from CNN Money.  Uh oh, it says. Your Pork Chops are going to cost you 10.4% more, care of a virus that’s killing pigs. 

Setting aside for a minute that apparently we care more about the extra two bucks we now have to spend on our chops than we do about, oh, out-of-control piglet-killing viruses — Yikes! — as a former journalist, this kind of journalism really cans my Spam.

Can we please remember it’s Labor Day for second?  Preachy diatribe alert!

If you like barbecue, remember, the following people need to get paid: Farmers, truck drivers, grocers, farm hands, grain producers, inspectors, truckers, ranchers, fence builders, machinists, and don’t forget the dude mopping up at the butcher shop. There are also the people who build the roads, bring you electricity, provide irrigation, construct the ranches, barns, and farmhouses. I’m pretty sure none of those folks are part of the 1%. And if you’re like me, and buy local and/or organic food, then there’s the whole community to think about., too .

Quality meat costs more because there are a lot of people busting their asses to bring it to us, and I think we should be very happy to put some bread into the pockets of good people who are putting actual bread on our plates.

As an aside, I also can’t stand the lack of context.

I just dropped $70 on a 14lb brisket.  That’s a lot, right?  Except for one thing. It can feed half the neighborhood. I calculated that a 14lb brisket is good for 20 servings.  So, at $3.50 a sandwich, my barbecue still costs about one dollar less than an Ultimate Cheeseburger at Jack in the Box. 

So, for Labor Day, my suggestion is to pay an extra few bucks and quietly feel good about paying people for their hard work. 

Now that I’ve said all of that, check out my brisket!

I will labor to eat this.

I will labor to eat this.












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Hey! That’s My Barbecue Sauce!

Even better than seeing your name in the phone book for the first time.

Even better than seeing your name in the phone book for the first time.

Barbecue has always been a labor of love for me. A hobby with gut-busting benefits. It never occurred to me that something I created would end up on a menu somewhere.

But tonight, I got a wonderful surprise when I took a look at St. Cloud’s new menu.  After some emails and a few taste tests both private and public over the past few weeks, St. Clouds has officially added Whiskey Jack – my brand of barbecue sauce – to their line-up.

I can’t say enough good things about St. Clouds Restaurant. The food, the cocktails, the staff, the location, the ownership, the complimentary ice cream sundaes for the kids – it’s the perfect neighborhood restaurant, and my family has eaten there more times than I can count.

I’m blown away that an establishment that I love so much would even consider dumping my sauce on top of their ribs.  Thank you St. Clouds!

And as for all my local friends, if you go, let me know what you think!


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The End of the Kamado

TombstoneHave you ever held a cookie in milk for too long, and suddenly, half of it breaks away and turns into sludge at the bottom of your glass?

Well, that’s pretty much what happened to my big blue Kamado. Except instead of yummy wet cookie sludge, we were left with brittle, gray dust. Probably delicious dust, but we didn’t try any.

We’re doing a little construction here at Blue State BBQ, and the Kamado had to be moved. One push, and the whole thing split horizontally, as the bottom half had rotted away.  I suppose I thought these ceramic cookers would last forever, but that’s obviously not the case.

The bad news is, our dinner guests tomorrow are going to be subjected stovetop salmon. And honestly, that’s not such bad news, given we make a mean salmon here, even indoors. The great news is, I have my eye on a new ceramic cooker.  Let me know if you know anything about this particular brand, btw. Hopefully, this one will last longer.

Good bye old Kamado, and thanks for all the calories.

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Homer once said "All your problems can be found at the bottom of a beer can."  (Simpson, that is).

Homer once said “All your problems can be found at the bottom of a beer can.” (Simpson, that is).

There’s a story cooking out there about barbecue costing more than ever, and could put a downer on July 4th festivities.

“As of May, meat prices were up 0.6% over year ago, led by a 5.6% gain in  chicken, according to government data. Ground beef prices are up 1.1% and are at  record levels in inflated adjusted terms, according to Richard Voipe, an  economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

Well, listen up, Agriculture man! There is a simple solution. Two words: Generic Beer.

That’s right, at $3 a six-pack, you can drink this fresh, tinny brew all night, for a fraction of the cost of those micro-brews that fill the grocery coolers these days.   Mmmm!

Now, pick up the phone and reserve your pork butts, folks.



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Whiskey Jack ribs at St. Clouds restaurant.

Whiskey Jack ribs at St. Clouds restaurant.

I’ve written about St. Clouds before — our awesome neighborhood restaurant.

Well, the good folks at St. Clouds humored me, and gave my barbecue sauce a test.  Here’s how it looked on their ribs, which are served on top of a big pile of greens.

This is the first time my sauce left my own kitchen, and it was pretty intense having actual chefs and professional restaurant people giving it the once over.  While it’s possible the team at St. Clouds was just being nice, they did seem to really like it.

I got at least one “that’s awesome sauce,” so here’s to hoping it wasn’t just a case of the customer always being right.

Thanks St. Clouds!

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There will be a dog parade and fashion show, too.

I was driving to Fremont to get to Ballard, and I see this big banner that reads “BBQ Extravaganza.”  And this made me wonder two things. First, what exactly is an extravaganza, and secondly, how could this be happening in my backyard and I hadn’t heard about it?

Well, the first thing is easy: Lavish, spectacular entertainment. Which sounds great, but I’d point out that this doesn’t by definition mean “delicious” or “gluttonous” or “eat so much, you have to crawl into a hole and hide.”

As for the second thing, well shame on me, and thank goodness for Fremont banner makers.

“The Fremont BBQ Extravaganza, a festival and fundraiser featuring Seattle’s largest BBQ competition, will be held Sunday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the corner of Dayton Ave. and 36th Street.”   You can read the rest of the PR here.

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PollanStarting at about the 9 minute mark of this podcast, you’ll hear 4 or 5 interesting minutes of author Michael Pollan’s historical perspective on BBQ.

In short, slow cooking meat is basically a religious experience.




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