Tag Archive: pitmaster

  1. Considering Taking a Class in 2017? Now’s the Time!

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    Are you looking to up your competition barbecue game or become the grillmaster on your block?  Now is a great time to schedule a class.  And the Mid-Atlantic Barbecue Association website, mabbqa.com is the best place to find one!  Click here or go to the Events area on the website and hit Classes to check out all the competition and backyard classes going on in the Mid-Atlantic.  Search right now and you’ll find classes given by a former “Jack” winner, the defending World Food Barbecue Champion, top eight finisher in all of KCBS in 2016, and the 2014 MABA Team of the Year…how’s that for a lineup of top-notch pitmasters; right here in our region!

    So, sign up if you still can.  Some of the events still have seats.  Get that last bit of knowledge or technique you need to push your barbecue over the top this year.  And keep checking back as we’ll be adding classes throughout 2017 when we hear about them.  Or, if you’re a member and you have a class, let us know about it and we’ll post it here!

  2. Featured Recipe – Bacon Wrapped, Grilled, Stuffed Turkey Breast

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    This month we feature an incredible looking recipe submitted by Bob Trudnak, pitmaster of BBQ Guru out of Warminster, Pennsylvania.

    •    2 turkey breast portions
    •    12 slices of raw bacon
    •    2 cups of cornbread dressing
    •    BBQ Bob’s Alpha Rub

    Cornbread Dressing

    •    1 16 oz. box of cornbread mix
    •    1.2 C. chopped celery
    •    1 small yellow onion chopped
    •    2 tbs. butter
    •    2 eggs beaten
    •    2 cups of chicken stock
    •    2 tbs. dried sage
    •    2 jalapenos chopped fine
    •    Salt and pepper


    Turkey Breast

    Set smoker up indirect at 275°F
    Use Applewood smoke (approx. 2 medium chunks)
    Butterfly the turkey breasts carefully keeping the same thickness on both sides of the slice.
    Place about 1 to 1 ½ cups of cornbread dressing into each breast and fold the breast over.
    Wrap each turkey breast with approx.. 6 pieces of bacon to cover it completely then toothpick it to keep it secure. This will keep the cornbread dressing in as well.
    Cook for approximately 1 hour And 20 min. or until the internal breast temp reaches 165°F

    To make the cornbread:
    Cook cornbread to directions on box
    Sautee onions, jalapenos and celery in the butter and set aside.
    Once cornbread is finished and cooled, crumble the cornbread and mix it in with all other ingredients into a casserole dish.
    Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes

  3. Pitmaster Tip of the Month, David Bouska – Chicken Injecting!

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    by David Bouska, Owner of Butcher BBQ and Pitmaster of Butcher BBQ, contestant on _BBQ Pitmasters_

    After 34 years of running meat markets, sausage counters, selling wholesale, and running a custom meat processing plant, I started cooking in our local BBQ competitions. From my very first contest I used an injection that I had developed for our meat shop. Over the next few years I tweaked the ingredients to make it more user friendly for the BBQ comp world. From there we packaged our original Beef Injection. We listened to our customers and added our Pork Injection. I have used the Premium Rub since my very first comp and added our Honey Rub next. With all this life long experiences I decided to bring the science to bbq.

    In this video David Bouska will show us the right way to inject your chicken and illustrates his method by dying chicken blue…check it out here!


  4. Knifeworks 101

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    This is the first in a multi-part series on knife education by Mike Fay, MABA Past President and Pitmaster for Aporkalypse Now.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 2.15.40 PMThe cook’s knife.  No tool is as simple yet so complex. When you boil it down it’s nothing more than a shaped sheet of material with a handle that has had an edge put on it. From there we have evolved into an almost infinite combination of blade and handle shapes, materials and edge types yet it always comes back to two things; comfort and sharpness. We’ll explore blade and handle type in a future article but for this article we’ll explore the question I get asked the most. “What’s the difference between honing and sharpening?”

    To answer this we need to understand what makes a knife sharp. A knife blade is a piece of material (in this article we’re using steel) that has been ground to a point on its edge; usually at a specific angle based on the type of steel used and the manufacturer’s preference.

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    Looking at an illustration of the very tip of the blade (the cutting edge) shows that edges are usually expressed in degrees from center for half the blade (one edge), in this example this blade has an 18 degree edge.

    While the edge of a knife looks like a smooth surface, it’s really a series of microscopic teeth very similar to a saw. The size of these teeth is governed by many factors: the type and hardness of steel and the amount of polish on the edge. Softer steels have larger teeth while harder (and more brittle) steels have smaller teeth.

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    Remember that these teeth are very small and exist on the very tip of the edge as seen in the illustration above.

    When we cut with a knife those small teeth bend, flex and roll off to one side. The result of this is the blade becomes less sharp (notice I didn’t say dull) with usage.

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    This condition is easily restored by the honing or “steeling” process. This involves gently dragging the edge of the blade against a smooth, hard surface, usually a round butcher’s steel; A smooth, hard rod with a handle. You can easily make on out of a piece of $2 3/8” drill rod and a file handle. Gently (GENTLY) swipe the edge of the knife along the steel as if you were trying to cut a thin slice out of it. Repeat on the other side then alternate each side 6 or seven times to restore the teeth to their upright position. You should do this before you use your knife every time you use it. Remember it’s a gentle light pressure.

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    Much like knives there is a plethora of stick hones and steels on the market. The best choice is the one that will remove the least amount of metal (those small teeth) from your edge. As referenced earlier, a smooth round steel rod is the best choice. Many steels that come with knife sets or that you purchase have grooves pressed or cut into them. Avoid these. The grooves catch the teeth and tear them off, resulting in your knife becoming dull much quicker and requiring true sharpening.

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    So what’s the difference between honing and sharpening? Honing is the process of realigning the teeth on the edge of the blade while sharpening is removing metal from the blade thus creating new teeth.

    So how do we keep our knives in the best shape over the longest period of time? I typically only sharpen my knives (on a stone) 2 maybe 3 times a year. In between I prefer a hard ceramic honing rod. It   gives you the best of both worlds. It realigns the existing teeth and over time will remove just enough metal to keep all the teeth on the blade.

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    This is the MAC black ceramic hone and to me it’s the best hone on the market.

    I’m not a big fan of the oval diamond style hones; I think they remove too much metal.

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    One of the best sharpening / honing tools for the casual cook is the pull through sharpener. It’s a series of coarse to fine ceramic rods preset at the factory angle. This is one of those tools where you should purchase the pull through from the same manufacturer of your knives. Different manufacturers set different edge angles and using the matching pull through sharpener will give you the best service with the least amount of work.

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    To use simply pull the blade through the fine groove sharpener 5 or six times using light pressure. If this won’t restore your edge, make a few passes through the coarse groove followed by a few with the fine.

    This covers the basics of edge geometry and basic blade maintenance. In the next installment we’ll discuss tool selection, steel types and blade and handle shapes. Happy cutting!

  5. Don’t Forget the Pitmaster

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    by Dan Hixon, Pitmaster for 3 Eyz BBQ – 2012 KCBS Team of the Year and 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015 Mid Atlantic Barbecue Association Team of the Year

    3 Eyz logoCompetition BBQ is all about finding the right flavor profile, the best new sauce, a rub that complements that sauce and an injection that’s going to give your food an edge. And lets not forget the shiny new smokers and a trailer to haul everything. Add in a premium cooler and your good to go, right? Wrong.

    Many forget the most important part of the cook and that is themselves. You need to be on your game mentally and physically in order to make those critical  decisions on Saturday morning. In order to do that you need some “gas” left in the tank. Everybody is different, but for the most part that means metering out your energy expenditure. Here are some tips:

    -Make sure you eat enough and often. Wear a fitbit and just see how many steps you take. Its incredible. You need to eat to keep up with that calorie burn.

    -Make sure you drink a lot, especially when its warm. And not just water. Add in some Gatorade as well as water doesn’t replace everything you sweat out.

    -Limit alcohol as it will dehydrate you further. Better to drink at night when its cooler if you really want to enjoy a couple beverages.

    -Add in a protein shake on Friday and you tell me if you feel the difference come Saturday.

    -Be honest with what you can and can’t do. Remember you still need to get home safe after the comp is over. Add a teammate in order to help with the workload if need be.

    -Sit your butt down occasionally. That chair time helps you have fresh legs come turn ins.

    -Make sure your setup is organized. No reason to walk from the cooker, past 2 tables to wrap, then dodge 3 coolers to get back to the smoker. Be organized and efficient.

    The list can go on and on, but I believe these are the most important things. I also think contests are won and lost in those critical moments during turn ins and it is best to be as fresh as possible in order to make smart decisions. So, if you see me sitting in a chair drinking a protein shake, now you know why! Good luck and see you on the competition trail.

    Image of Dan HixonDan
    3 Eyz BBQ