Thursday, September 17, 2009

BBQ Review of Dickey's Barbecue Pit

I had lunch today at the recently opened Dickey's Barbecue Pit located at the new Tiffany Springs shopping complex in Kansas City North. Dickey's is out of Dallas, TX and was founded in 1941. According to their website, they have been franchising out for the last 8 years and have doubled their size since then. There is another location in Overland Park, KS and one coming soon to Parkville, MO. As you can see by the photo, it's not a huge place and they probably have about 25 to 30 tables.

They offer 4 different sizes of barbecue sandwiches with your choice of pulled pork, sliced or chopped brisket, ham, turkey breast, chicken breast, polish sausage or hot links. Pork ribs are available as well. Prices range from $3.99 to $6.59 per sandwich. There are also meat plates available ranging from $4.25 to $7.50.

Sides are extra or can be purchased in a combo deal with your sandwich or plate. Sides offered are waffle fries, coleslaw, caesar salad, fried onion tanglers, grean beans, potato salad, bbq beans, jalapeno beans, fried okra, mac & cheese and baked potato casserole.

The restaurant is new and is decorated with your typical wood and metal decor. When you enter you line up, place your order and move down to pay and pick up your order. It is similar to the process at Oklahoma Joe's but was a little slower. It looked like they were still trying to work out their ordering kinks. I noticed all the meat was stored in a glass door warmer wrapped in plastic wrap. As you place your order, they remove the meat from the warmer and slice/chop to order. You then step to your right and order your sides. Then a final step to your right to choose your drink size and pay. This whole process took about 10 to 12 minutes from door to seat. I will say I was there in the heart of the lunch hour at 12:25pm.

I ordered the sliced brisket on bun, side of bbq beans and a large drink. The total was $7.85. After paying, I walked over to the condiment counter where they offered 3 different sauces (Hot & Spicy, Original and Sweet.) I took a sample of all 3 to try.

The brisket was tender and sliced fairly thin. It had a smoke flavor but I really didn't notice much of a smoke ring. There was not a lot of noticeable bark on the meat but that could be due to the thin slices and that there wasn't a lot of surface for the bark to adhere to once sliced.

The bbq beans were average. They were not sweet as most places sell them here. There was a hint of smoke flavor to them though.

All 3 sauces were thin and sweet. I think I like the Hot & Spicy the best. You can taste the sweet and tangy and then the bite of the heat hits you. I usually like my sauce just a little thicker than this but I still enjoyed it. As for the other two, the Original had the same sweet and tangy taste without the heat. I found the Sweet to be pretty similar to the Original. All 3 sauces were kept in warmers on the counter.

Overall, I thought the food was good and I will return to try the ribs and pulled pork before I make a final decision. The staff was friendly and the restaurant was very clean. The options of eating barbecue in the Northland are somewhat limited but I would place Dickey's in the upper part of my list.

BBQ at Kaufman Stadium

The Royal's had their employee picnic last night at the Stadium. I was expecting hotdogs but was surprised that we were served barbecue.

In the Outfield Experience, they sell barbecue which is actually smoked on the premises (I still need to verify this) by Aramark. I have been tempted a couple of times to go out there on my break and buy some. The high price has deterred me this season so far.

Before a rousing game of softball on the playing field, they served us ribs and chicken along with sides. The ribs were okay and were slathered in a sweet, mild sauce. The chicken had very little smoke or spice flavor. I was not impressed. Too bad Gates is no longer in the stadium. I guess I'll save my money and not buy any barbecue out there this year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Garnish Dilemma

I received the below email today from KCBS regarding a garnish issue:

PARSLEY Temporary Rule Change Effective IMMEDIATELY
The following rule change is being put into effect because of the RECALL of PARSLEY in 10 states due to the risk of salmonella contamination and food poisoning. The states involved in the recall include Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
As a result, the Board of Directors has issued the follow advisory and rule change for all KCBS-sanctioned contests held between September 16 and September 20, 2009.
The use of all types of parsley (including, but not limited to, curly, flat leaf, Italian or any other type) and cilantro is prohibited and shall constitute an illegal garnish and therefore be disqualified.
The decision to ban the use of parsley and cilantro is made out of abundant caution and concern for the protection of all participants, including cooks, judges and visitors, as well as the effect that the use of parsley could have on a judge who may be concerned the product he or she is judging could be contaminated. This decision is made in the interest of safety and fair competition.
This ban is only for the period stated and will not affect any other future competition unless the FDA or other authorities issue additional warnings.
Sincerely,The KCBS Office

I'm not a big fan of garnish and wish they would do away with it for turn-in boxes! We make parsley boxes and they are very time consuming. Things would be so much easier without all the salad in the way. It would leave more time for beer drinking!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Is Heating Up!

The month of September is a busy one on the KCBS circuit. There were 14 KCBS sanctioned contests the weekend of 9/11/09 across the country. Three of these were held in the Kansas City metro area. The Blue Springs Blaze Off, the Annual Charity BBQ in Leavenworth and the Cross Points BBQ Cookoff in Shawnee all took place this past weekend. Blue Springs is typically a big draw and was again this year with 80 teams competing. Congrats to the Plowboys for their Grand Championship win there! Likewise for the Crimson & Blue Crew outdueling 29 other teams in Leavenworth and Wild Blue BBQ 34 others in Shawnee to post their victories.

This coming weekend will see 11 more sanctioned events with 2 of those taking place in the KC metro area (Mission, KS and Kearney, MO.)

What the hell does this have to do with us?

Well, typically at this point in the season, we would be participating in one of these events to help get us tuned up for the Royal and shake off some of the rust. However, the economics of it have hit us hard this year and we have to skip the tuneup this year. There's always next year!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Our 9/11 Tribute

Countdown to the American Royal!

October 1-4, 2009
Kemper Arena
Kansas City, MO
The 30th Annual American Royal BBQ Contest is right around the corner. Once again, Holla-N-Swalla will be participating in the "Open" portion of this contest. This will mark our fourth year participating in this great event!
For those of you not familiar with the American Royal, it is the largest BBQ contest in the world and is sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society. There is an Invitational contest which takes place on Saturday (10/3) and involves approximately 100 teams vying for the top prize of ten thousand dollars. Since we do not meet the criteria to compete in the Invitational we will cook in the Open contest which takes place on Sunday. Typically, there are anywhere from 400 to 500 teams competing in the Open. The grand prize this year is $12,500 dollars and invitations to next years American Royal contest as well as the highly prized Jack Daniels invitational contest in Lynchburg, TN. There are also cash prizes, trophies and ribbons for finishing in the top 20 for each judged category.
With so many teams participating in the Open, you really have to be on your game to be lucky enough to have a Top 20 finish in any category. The subjectivity involved with judging , like most contests, makes this a real crapshoot. Often times, entries we think aren't very good tend to do well and the entries that we think rock are our worst scores. Take a look at last year's scores:
2008 Open Scores
Overall 135th out of 458
Chicken 322nd out of 458 (Ouch!)
Ribs 92nd out of 458
Pork 48th out of 458
Brisket 238th out of 458 (C'mon on judges!)
As you can see, Ribs and Pork weren't too bad but Brisket and especially Chicken killed us! The funny thing was our chicken had been our strongest finisher in all of our 2008 contests. Go figure?
We have really enjoyed cooking this event in the past and we are looking forward to this year. We will be in our same space, #756, this year as last year. Our space is located in front of Kemper Arena right by the Wyoming gate entrance. This year we also will have a very prestigious neighbor. Myron Mixon's team, Jack's Old South, who has won several world titles will be next to us. Hopefully some of their mojo will rub off on us!
If you are in the area that weekend, stop by and say hi. We love talking Q!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Brisket Cooking Tips

In professional BBQ competitions, brisket separates the men from the boys. Every team has their own special ritual to prepare the beef primal cut known as brisket.

Brisket essentials:
  • long slow cooking over low heat
  • internal temp of 190 F
  • achieve temp gradually
  • rush it & it tastes like rubber
How long do I cook?
  • some teams cook up to 20 hours
  • plan on cooking at least 6 hours

The Holla-N-Swalla squad cooked the brisket pictured above in approximately 7 hours.

For extra flavor & tenderness mop the brisket with a vinegar-beer mop as it cooks.

Approximately four hours into cook, wrap brisket in aluminum foil and place back on smoker. This helps keep the brisket tender during cooking.

Pulled Pork Tostadas
with Guacamole

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp prepared chili powder
1 boneless pork shoulder roast {Boston Butt}, about 4 pounds

  • 8 ripe avocados
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups good-quality spicy tomato salsa
1 large bag sturdy tortilla chips

1. To make the rub: In a small bowl, mix the rub ingredients with your fingers.
2. Coat the roast to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
3. Grill the roast over Indirect medium heat until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees about 4 hours. Adjust the grill's temperature so it stays about 325. The meat should be so tender it pulls apart easily. Remove the roast from the grill, place it on a cutting board, and loosely cover with foil. Let rest for about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the guacamole: Scoop the avocado flesh into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and salt and, using the back of a fork, mash the guacamole together. Stir in the cilantro. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent browning.
5. Using two forks, pull the pork apart into shreds, discarding any pockets of fat. If desired, finely chop the pork with a knife. Place the shredded pork in a large saucepan over medium heat and moisten with the salsa.
6. To serve, place about one tablespoon of pork on each tortilla chip. Top with about half as much guacamole. Serve while the pork is warm.

Or you could....

Come to the Holla-N-Swalla space at the American Royal. If we have any extra pork butt, your welcome to take some home. Just add the guacamole & salsa to the chips, and your good to go!

I got this recipe from Weber's Real Grilling.