How We Do ‘Beer Can [style]‘ Chicken

GQ4U!:

OK…after some requests following the ‘Pulled Pork’ Re-Blog…here’s some insight as to how we do our Chickens on the smoke!

Originally posted on GreatQ4U! BBQ Blog:

Given the inadvertent direction of the Blog this week has been to talk about the History, Methods and Techniques of BBQ and how they apply to our situation here at GreatQ4U!, I’ve chosen to talk about how we do whole chickens on the smoke.  Lest I lend myself to someone thinking of the age old adage; ‘Those who can DO…those who can’t TEACH!’ – All due respect to teachers and instructors everywhere…I have taught thousands of folks LOTS of stuff over the years and I’ve always believed strongly that being able to DO what you teach is the ONLY way to be credible.  I learned that from many more mentors who thought and did the same…but enough about philosophy and onto the Chicken!

We have, since our beginnings, had what we call ‘Beer Can Style’ Chicken on our menus and it’s a very popular selection.  In fact…it was the ONLY way that we…

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BBQ is about MUCH More than Style and Technique.

Originally posted on GreatQ4U! BBQ Blog:

By, Jim Knepper

I spend probably more time than I should watching ‘trends’ and ‘data’ about all kinds of foodservice operations across the country.  I watch the Independents, MUFSO’s, QSR’s and Catering of all types closely.  I have seen many food ‘trends’ come and go over the year, some of them only to re-appear on the food scene years later!

All that said, I have begun to read, hear and feel an undercurrent of questions about theBBQ! ‘State of BBQ in America’ as it exists today and where it’s heading.  I’ve read more than one eloquent ‘foodie opinion’ or industry ‘expert’ suggest that the ‘BBQ trend is unsustainable’ and that it is ‘on its way out’.

Well, with all due respect I could not disagree more with those assessments!  I mean, I buy that the era of the ‘celebrity chef’ may eventually become far less prominent in our country than it…

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Learning to Cook Smoked BBQ At Home

It’s not as difficult as it may seem to learn how to make your own, wood smoked BBQ at home!  Nor is it an expensive technique to learn, although it can become a ‘habit’ and we all know that they can get expensive as we progress with our skills!  In fact, Jim’s alwaysGQ4U! Competition BBQ heard saying that ‘BBQ is easy to learn to do, but takes a lifetime to master’!  So, perhaps all you need to get started is some basic information about equipment and meat selection and the process itself!  Perhaps you’re already equipped to cook indirect using the low and slow technique, but you need to dial in your skills a bit?  What about cooking the ‘whole hog’…a popular concept on the BBQ TV shows and not too tough to do at home with a small hog!

No matter your interest, as the Catering season begins to wind down, the BBQ Classes begin to crank up here at GreatQ4U!  We’ve already scheduled September dates for our ‘BBQ101‘ and ‘BBQ 201′ as well as our ‘Whole Hog’ and ‘BBQ Business’ classes, they can be found on our website: www.greatq4u.com/BBQ_Classes.html where by choosing the ‘Pay Now’ option under each class, you can sign up and save your spot as they are limited attendance events!  If those dates don’t work for you, we should have October dates up by the end of cropped-butts.jpgthis week!  In addition to the ‘Master Class’ series of programs, we will also be scheduling ‘Wednesday Night Workshops’ where in 3 hours, we will cover basic BBQ Recipes; preparation, cooking and best of all tasting!  So…stay tuned to the Website or our FaceBook page for more details!

Why learn to BBQ in the Fall?  Well, you can browse back through years of posts here on the Blog to read Jim’s thoughts on BBQ in the cooler months and how it’s even BETTER!  We believe strongly that BBQ is not just for the Summer months and that the cooler cropped-alabama-ribs.jpgtemps of the Fall and Winter lend themselves to some AWESOME product!  SO…check out the classes and save your spot soon, we would LOVE to have you join us at the shop in Mechanicsburg, PA!  We’ve structured the BBQ101 and 201 classes so that you can take a whole weekend and learn all four types of meat cooked in Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned competitions!  Again, the classes are available to sign up for on the site: www.greatq4u.com/BBQ_Classes.html

For more information, feel free to e-mail Jim: Jim@GreatQ4U.com – Thanks for reading along and we hope you make this an AWESOME week!

How WE Do Pulled Pork…kind of…

Originally posted on GreatQ4U! BBQ Blog:

…OK,  so I may leave out a tip or two and you won’t find any ingredient lists in this post, but it will cover the ‘Basics’ of Pulled Pork!  I just know that I will be typing this again, but to get it out there up front…there are LOTS of different ways to do Pulled Pork…I’m not sayin’ that ours is the BEST…(I think it is, though! :)…I’m just sayin’ that this is Kinda’ how WE do it!  Also…you could use the same techniques with just about any cooking method capable of maintaining a temp for long periods of time! SO…once again…as with all things “Q”….experiment and find out how YOU like it…this is just a place to start if you want!

OK, so most folks (including US) use primarily ‘Boston Butt’ or ‘Blade Roast’ to do Pulled Pork.  I’ve mentioned before that this is the top half of the…

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Cooking on a Wood Fire at Home.

By, Jim Knepper

While it may sound daunting or a bit difficult to do, cooking on a wood fire at your home is probably easier than you think!  In fact, there have never been more options than there are today for you to easily and with minimal effort, enjoy that same wood fired taste that’s so popular with restaurants in your own kitchen!  Well…you wouldn’t want to start a wood fire in your kitchen (unless you’re lucky enough to have it properly equipped)…so here are some pointers on how to get ‘er done!

Without question the easiest way to accomplish this is to purchase a Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker which are available from a variety of manufacturers in all kinds of shapes MM Q3and sizes!  Wood pellet grills use 100% (food grade) wood pellets with no glue or binders, just pressure to shape them.  They are REAL WOOD and accordingly come in many varieties; Oak, Hickory, Apple, Mesquite, Cherry, Alder..you get the point!  You can even find them with ‘flavors’ added such as Garlic or Onion, however I prefer to control the spices I use by application of rubs, mops and sauces.  As the actual logs would burn, so do the pellets…in other words, Oak burns hot and fast, ‘fruit woods’ not-so-much, etc.  Wood pellet Grills are quite versatile and the air blowing into the fire pot that heats the stove creates a natural convection and even heating.  You can use them to Grill, Smoke or Bake and the results will surprise you!  A whole new dimension of flavor to dishes that you are used to coming off a gas grill for sure!

Another common method of cooking with wood is by using charcoal.  Not Briquettes so Primo OVAL XL Grillmuch, but more commonly ‘Lump Charcoal’ which is actual wood and not highly processed.  There are MANY ways to cook with charcoal from the good old Weber Kettle to the modern Ceramic Grill/Smokers that are commonly found in Green and Black colors.  Each has its strengths and weaknesses.  I would start by suggesting that when using lump charcoal, DO NOT use lighter fluid or for that matter, ANY form of ‘accelerant’ unless that’s all you wish to taste on your food!  This is especially important when using ceramics into which any type of liquid accelerant will soak leaving you with a lifetime of ugly flavor.  There are quite a variety of charcoal lighting tools available today from the common ‘chimney starter’ and ‘Hot Rod’ to the more recent hot air lighting devices.  Cooking on charcoal requires some effort, but you are rewarded with a flavor that is unmistakably good!  Like the wood pellet cookers, the Ceramic Charcoal units are well insulated and retain moisture quite well, so they can Grill, Smoke and Bake quite well!

If you’re looking to drop some BIG BUCKS and go with whole logs and real wood coals, there are a growing number of Freestanding Wood Grill manufacturers out there willing Grillworks42to take your money!  It is the ultimate way to cook over an actual wood fire and typically has a suspended grill with a crank wheel to move the grill up and down so that you can control the heat and cooking process.  This is the real deal and doesn’t deviate very much from the techniques used to cook over a camp fire.  Although, the grills tend to be quite expensive and they do take some time to build up a solid base of ‘hot coals’ to cook on, so they may not be the most convenient!  They are indeed crowd pleasers though both in appearance and taste!

SO…conveniently, if you are looking to learn more about Wood Fired Cooking at home, we are conducting a FREE workshop at our shop in Mechanicsburg next Wednesday night (July 16th) from 7pm until 10pm.  We will review products with demo models for yo to see.  We will also prepare and get to taste some wood fired goodies!  You just bring yourself and a chair (and a beverage if you’d like) and we’ll do the rest…interacting with you and teaching you just how easy it is to cook over a wood fire.  You can join the event on our FaceBook page (https://www.facebook.com/jaktzr#!/events/1509400672609054/) or E-Mail: Jim@GreatQ4U.com to reserve your spot!  The workshop is no cost to you, but limited to 12 people with 4 alternates…so first come, first served!  We also have scheduled some BBQ Classes for August and September on our website: http://www.greatq4u.com/BBQ_Classes.html if you’d like to go a bit further with your BBQ techniques!

So, either way…think about a wood fired grill at home and don’t hesitate to reach out f we can help!  We’ve got a lot of Primo Ceramic and Myron Mixon Wood Pellet Grills in stock and are always willing to help!

Thinking About a Ceramic Grill…Now’s the BEST Time to Buy a Primo!

As you may or may not be aware, we have added a Retail Grill and Smoker shop to our lineup of Grilling and BBQ business activities!  Why would we venture into the ‘sharkBBQ tank’ that is retail sales?  Easy…we’ve got LOTS of Experience and Knowledge that can help us listen to your needs and identify the RIGHT product for YOU.  Then, after the sale, we’re still here to help you learn to burn!  We firmly believe that you can educate yourself about all things BBQ and Grilling online…there is TONS of information out there and Education does indeed teach one the RULES, BUT…EXPERIENCE teaches the EXCEPTIONS!  We think each is equally important in life and especially in BBQ!

We’ve got two brands of Grills/Smokers that we currently sell and we’re evaluating Primo OVAL XL Grillmore.  First up, we offer the full line of (Made in the USA) Primo Ceramics which boast their famous Oval design and Extended Cooking Rack system that can deliver nearly 700sq. in. of cooking surface in an amazingly small footprint.  In addition to the versatility of space, it offers you true multi-zone heating so you can cook veg AND do a reverse sear on your steaks ALL on the SAME Grill!  Ceramics provide AWESOME thermal insulation and wind blocking, not to mention nice, even heat which is great for cooking real deal BBQ ‘Low & Slow’ too!  With a 20 year Warranty you can expect a lifetime of service from your Primo Grill/Smoker.

Additionally, we have the revolutionary Myron Mixon Pitmaster Q3 Pellet Grill/Smoker!  It’s easy to use, well designed and built and could LITERALLY replace that cobweb MM Q3filled, rusting gas grill you’ve got outside your back door!  With the ease of use that pellets offer and incredibly innovative features such as a water pan option, firebox burn out and easy ash removal…it’s hard to beat thePitmaster Q3!  Priced lower than most Big Box Store Gas Grills it’s the perfect option to add a whole new dimension to your outdoor cooking and LOTS of wood fired flavor to every dish you cook!

Why is now the BEST time to buy?  Well, until July 7th, the Primo All American Sales Event is happening!  Buy any qualifying Primo Promo 714Primo Grill and Table and get up to $400+ in FREE Accessories to make your purchase complete!  You’ll have the complete outdoor cooking system that stands above all other Ceramics and save BIG BUCKS!  Additionally, we’ve got the Pitmaster Q3 at our lowest price EVER and will toss in a FREE Bag of Pellets to boot!  In fact, buy ANY Grill/Smoker from us and we’ll toss in a T-Shirt and Bottle of BBQ Sauce too!

SO…what are you waiting for, we’re conveniently located at 105 Texaco Road in Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 and can be found on FaceBook & Twitter!  Call Jim at 717-254-1937 x1 or e-mail: Jim@GreatQ4U.com for more information or stop by the shop!  We don’t sell hardware, outdoor furniture or home heating products…we ONLY sell BBQ and Grilling products and services and we provide service before, during and AFTER the sale!  For more info online, visit us at http://www.Grill-SmokeHQ.com

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Mr. Grill Brush

By, Jim Knepper

Few things are more important when grilling than to have adequate fuel and clean,’seasoned’ grates and it’s been my experience that many folks who cook on their Mr. Grill Brushgrills a LOT clean their grates after every use and lay on a thin coat of oil before covering up the grill.  There are a TON of Grill Brushes on the market today and each has got it’s own style and functionality.  As the second product from Mr. Grill that I have reviewed, I can say that this brush meets the standard set by their awesome grilling gloves! (Which I use every night)

Right off the bat, I noticed that the brush was in sealed plastic bag with a pack of Well built and sturdy!desiccant gel in it to keep it from rusting…a nice start to the experience and an extra step to make sure you get it as it was when it left the factory! First impression was that it’s a versatile design that not only cleans the TOP of your grates, but the shape and size is perfect for cleaning between and under the grates as well.  A sturdy long wooden handle that is firmly secured to the brush and brass bristles that give you strength, but also protect your grates round out the package!

Now it’s easy to say that a brush is a brush, but anyone who’s ever spent any significant amount of time cooking over open flame knows this isn’t so!  Some brushes are clearly better than others and having the proper tool for the job is always a good start!  In order to put it to the test, I had a grand old time getting my grates dirty!  Beef, Chicken, Shrimp and for good measure, a handful of shredded cheese directly onto the grates!

First thing I noticed as I began to clean up the mess was the length of the handle.  It’s longer than most and provides more Mr. Grill Brush Handlethan adequate distance to clean the whole grill while it’s still hot…a good practice to get into if you’re not already doing it!  Next, I found that the brass bristles made quick work of the majority of the gunk on the grates!  Melted cheese is a tough competitor and the Mr. Grill Brush clearly won that round.  Additionally, the size and shape of the brush itself makes easy work of getting those stubborn bits off the sides and under the grates!  Finally, as a guy who uses GrillGrates on a regular basis, I found it to be a PERFECT tool for getting down into the valleys between the Grates!

Mr Grill Brush GratesI’ve been at it for over a week now with the Mr. Grill Brush and it has not worn a bit, the bristles have remained true and it’s as easy as cleaning grates can be with this product.  It’s available online through their website: http://www.mrgrillproducts.com or on Amazon.  So, in brief, I would give the Mr. Grill brush two thumbs up and a full rack of ribs…it could easily clean up after them!  So, get your grill on this Summer and clean up with Mr. Grill!