Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BBQ Pitmasters

On December 3rd, the "BBQ Pitmasters" show kicked off on the TLC network. This reality based show follows designated BBQ competition teams as they participate in various sanctioned contests across the country.

I have watched the first 2 episodes of the show and have enjoyed it. I know that on various BBQ forums there has been a great deal of support for the show but also some concern as well. Like BBQ itself, everyone has a different flavor preference.

I think the BBQ world is very lucky to have an advocate like John Markus who can help promote our sport. He is providing a window into the competition world that many would never look through. I look for the show to bring more people into the competitive BBQ field. In fact, I was hooked several years ago by that first competitve BBQ show that Chris Lilly hosted on OLN.

I have also taken particular delight in watching Myron Mixon tease the audience with some of his techniques (especially the cupcake chicken.) Having recently attended his cook school at his house, it's been fun to see all the cooks on the forums trying to backwards engineer his chicken process as if they were some sort of Cold War era Soviet scientist.

The show conveys that BBQ is something everyone can do but not everyone can win. Working through your processes, techniques and flavor profiles to come up with a winning combination is difficult. Then couple that with the subjectivity of the judges, well, things get interesting and that means anything can or will happen at a contest. This is a lesson that Pablo Diablo found out in the first episode.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

L.C.'s BBQ

I ventured out today into the cold today to meet some friends for lunch. My friend suggested L.C.'s BBQ at 5800 Blue Parkway in Kansas City, MO (it's just a couple of miles west of the Truman Sports Complex). I had heard a lot about L.C.'s but never had made the trip over until today.
Luckily, arriving at 1:15pm meant that the lunch crowd had cleared out and there was plenty of seats to choose from. The place is not very big so I can see where seating could become a premium during the busy lunch hour.
The order process here varied slightly from any other local BBQ joint. You place your order and pay at the counter. When your order is ready they call your number and you pick it back up at the counter.
The menu offered beef, pork, turkey, ribs, chicken, rib tips and burnt ends. Sides include baked beans, fries, slaw and onion rings. I ordered the 2 meat combo sandwich (beef and turkey) which came with fries. I also ordered a side of baked beans and a drink. The total was $16.43.
I sat down at a table and gave the place a quick glance. There was ESPN on the TV in one corner, a self serve soda fountain in the other and Mr. L.C. was sitting at a table pouring through paperwork while conversing with patrons. At the center of my table, there were a couple of rolls of paper towels, a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of L.C.'s BBQ sauce.
The wait for my meal was short. Probably about 4 minutes in all. The sandwich was served on white bread with a slice in the middle to seperate the turkey from the beef. The meat was served sauced which I was not aware of. Had I known, I would have asked for it plain so I could sample the meats on their own merit.
I enjoy turkey and it's hit or miss on whether the local joints carry it. I found the turkey today to be very tasty and had a good smoke flavor. The brisket mirrored the turkey and had a good smoke flavor as well. It was sliced thin which definitely helps make it that much more tender.
As for the sides, the fries were thick cut and very tasty. Just the right amount with the sandwich. The beans were thick with a touch of a sweet/smokey bold flavor and contained pieces of burnt ends. It was a good choice.
The barbecue sauce is tomato based and has a sweet, tangy flavor. It has a similar flavor profile to Gate's sauce but without the peppery taste. It complimented the meat well and was also great for dipping fries into!
I enjoyed my meal today. The portions are large and I was not able to finish my order of beans. You will not go away hungry here! I need to make sure I come hungry on my next visit.