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NJ BBQ (was: BBQ cooking/competition school in May)

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I'd mentioned in this thread back in February that I finally managed to get into one of Mason Dixon BBQ's very popular BBQ Bootcamps.   I'm attending the Brisket Bootcamp in July.   I just got my class itinerary, so I thought I'd share.  I'm really looking forward to this.  We'll be smoking 24 briskets (300 lbs of meat) on 12 different types of smokers, so everyone will gain a lot of experience.  Class size is capped at 20.  And Mason Dixon operates an amazing BBQ store at the site, so I'm sure I'll be coming home with all kinds of new stuff.  I'll post a trip report when it's over.

 

BOOTCAMP ITINERARY 

Welcome to BBQ Bootcamp! Here is the official itinerary for the upcoming Brisketpalooza...I just made that up, am I a Marketing Monster or what??? J

SATURDAY A.M. – MEET AND GREET/ PREP 101
6:00a-6:30a – Meet and greet. Meet your fellow Bootcampers, enjoy a light breakfast and coffee; start firing up cookers (no relaxing at this camp!). 

6:30a-8:30a – Brisket Prep and then some! Roger, the owner and “Main Butchering Man” at Penn Avenue Meats will be coming in to tell you more about Brisket than you ever wanted to know – the point, the flat, and the whole packer! He’ll explain what to cut off, what not to cut off and how to re- attach your finger when you cut that off! FREE KNIFE - WOOHOO! 

Tyler, Eddie, Marvin, and Eric will take over and discuss the meat, flavor profiles, and different ways of prepping and cooking Brisket – injections, rubs, glues, etc. 

Bootcampers will then prep their own Brisket – injecting (Free Injectors!), some with rubs, some with bases before the rub, some while doing the hokey-pokey (are you paying attention?) Then wrapping, marking, and resting our Brisket – but not for too long! Remember, this is one day Brisket! 

9a-12p – Cooking and Brunch. We’ll make sure that the Cookers are up to temp...you won’t believe the temps!...and get our meat on the fire. Then we’ll start lunch and “goodies”. Strawberry French Toast Roll-ups, Walk-around Egg Omelet Cups, Sausage Gravy Pizza (OH YEAH!)! And maybe even some surprises, you won’t leave hungry. Best of all, you guys will be doing it, so I can drink beer! WooHoo! 

Brunch is served – Noon ‘til 1 or so. 

SATURDAY P.M. – SMOKIN’ AND EATIN’
12p- 4p – No “big lull” at this Bootcamp, this is going to move quickly. We’ll be making sure our fires are running right and wrapping, spraying, saucing, etc. We’ll be working on separating the Point and making Burnt ends...mmm! FREE HOT GLOVES – WOOHOO! 

Then Lunch and Snacks –Spiked Apple Kielbasa Bites, Bacon Jalapeno Popper Quesadillas, Hacked Cast Iron Pizza! Plus some other stuff...and, of course Fruit...just in case you were still hungry or feeling healthy! J

4p-5p – The feeding frenzy....this is when the Briskets come off and are ready to slice and sample. No one can help it and everyone tries their Brisket. WE INSIST that you slice the Brisket and allow others to sample it. I’ll tell you why at the Bootcamp. AND you will have plenty to take home! 

4p-5p – Q&A period. Cleanup and comments. Go home and take a nap. ZZZZZZZZ! 

 

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2 hours ago, Displaced Texan said:

Just ran across a good deal on pork tenderloins at the grocery store, so I’ll be putting those on with the brisket. 

We expect pictures!

I'm smoking St. Louis trimmed spareribs and chicken on Sunday.  The guest list keeps growing, so I'll be borrowing a second smoker to fit everything.

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1 minute ago, 10X said:

We expect pictures!

I'm smoking St. Louis trimmed spareribs and chicken on Sunday.  The guest list keeps growing, so I'll be borrowing a second smoker to fit everything.

Will do. I’d invite you over but it’s a bit of a drive! 

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We get heritage pork here, it’s a bit darker and more marbled than the pork we used to buy in NJ. 
 

The loins came out perfect, nice and moist, aMd very flavorful! 
I think I like that rub I showed a few posts back better than anything else I’ve made or bought. Just the right amount of spice. 
Like brisket, I let the loins rest, wrapped in foil and a towel, sitting in an empty cooler. They sat for about 2 hours. This is key for retaining moisture. 

 

Brisket is at 170°, sitting at the stall. I’m not going to Texas crutch this one, I’m going to let it work through it all on its own. 

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On 6/29/2022 at 8:11 PM, Displaced Texan said:
2 hours ago, Displaced Texan said:

We get heritage pork here, it’s a bit darker and more marbled than the pork we used to buy in NJ. 

The loins came out perfect, nice and moist, aMd very flavorful! 
I think I like that rub I showed a few posts back better than anything else I’ve made or bought. Just the right amount of spice. 
Like brisket, I let the loins rest, wrapped in foil and a towel, sitting in an empty cooler. They sat for about 2 hours. This is key for retaining moisture. 

That looks really good!   It's hard to find heritage pork here; a local wild game store does stock Duroc, but it's expensive enough that I've never tried it.

I'm starting prep for tomorrow's smoke soon.   Three racks of St Louis-trimmed spareribs, as much chicken as I can fit around them, and some smoked jalapeño poppers.  The guest list is now up to 10.  We'd actually invited 2, plus ourselves.   

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Might have pushed this one too far. Pulled it at 203°, like I always do, but it’s a bit crispier than most other briskets I’ve done. 
 

In any case, it’s wrapped and in the cooler for a few hours. We’ll see. 
If it’s not good sliced, I’ll make chopped beef or brisket chili. 

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16 hours ago, Displaced Texan said:

That brisket wasn’t my best. No matter, I’ll use it for chopped brisket sandwiches, or better yet, brisket chili. 
 

Win some, lose some! 

I still think about your chili

By far best I've ever had

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5 minutes ago, Malice4you said:

I still think about your chili

By far best I've ever had

Thanks, I do rock a pot of chili, if I may say so myself! 
 

Looking forward to ‘chili season’ in Texas! 

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20 minutes ago, Displaced Texan said:

Thanks, I do rock a pot of chili, if I may say so myself! 
 

Looking forward to ‘chili season’ in Texas! 

I was contemplating how I could steal all the leftover chili without getting shot, not gonna lie.

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2 hours ago, Malice4you said:

I was contemplating how I could steal all the leftover chili without getting shot, not gonna lie.

Somewhere around here there is a thread of me showing you how to make chili…

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I spent most of today running the two Weber Smokey Mountain smokers.   First on were 11 lbs of St Louis style spare ribs, with three different rubs, misting with apple juice for the first two hours before wrapping with butter, brown sugar, honey (or maple syrup, on one) and a bit of sauce, a mix of commercial sauces I had in the fridge.  They stayed wrapped for an hour, then went back on unwrapped for the final hour with a coat sauce towards the end.

Next up, chicken legs that had been brined, injected with a custom mix I think I'm finally getting the way I want it, and rubbed with Jamaican Jerk seasoning.   The thighs were brined, injected, trimmed to size, skin scraped free of all fat, then started in a muffin tin with chicken broth and butter, before transferring to the grate for a couple of hours...also with apple juice misting.   The thighs were finished with a commercial sauce, because I ran out of time to try a bourbon blueberry sauce I had wanted to make.

These recipes seem unnecessarily complex, but I wanted to practice competition recipes, and since the family is more than willing to sample...

Finally, I filled the empty space on the smokers with ABTs, which are bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.

The poppers are always a big hit.  The jerk legs were also spot on.   Ribs were pretty close to what I wanted, but still a little inconsistent in doneness from one end of the racks to the other, despite rotating and swapping top/bottom racks occasionally.   The flavor of the thighs was excellent, but I didn't achieve the elusive 'bite through' skin with this batch.  

Have a happy 4th of July, everyone!

 

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I'm back from the Mason-Dixon BBQ Brisket Bootcamp.   It was a lot of fun, and very educational.  I highly recommend their bootcamps (held at their shop in Greencastle, PA) if you can manage to get into one--they sold out for 2022 a couple of months ago.

We started at 6 am. They had 23 smokers available, from Weber Kettles used for indirect cooking up through big stick burning offset smokers and a couple of pig roasters. One student had dropped out, so we had 19 students, and 22 briskets, each about 14 lbs. I opted to use a Backwoods cabinet smoker, which worked out very well, burning lump charcoal with apple wood chunks.

A local butcher took us through the anatomy of a brisket and gave tips for trimming one, then a competition cook took us through another one with more of an emphasis on trimming for competition.
Each student received a different premixed injection and paired base rub (the base rubs, SPGs, are all variations on salt, pepper, garlic). We then picked an overlay rub. Briskets were prepped by 8:30 am, and on the smoker grates by 9:30. This was the 'hot and fast' class, so smoker temps were in the 275-325F range, depending on the smoker.  The beer, which started flowing at 8 am, helped keep the cooks from overheating.

They had a handful of staff members circulating all day, helping out and answering questions.  The youngster on staff had recently been accepted as a student at the Culinary Institute of America.

Downtime, both morning and afternoon, was spent cooking brunch and lunch on the smokers or a Blackstone griddle. We made omelette cups, french toast roll-ups, biscuits and gravy, sausage queso, quesadillas, cider-braised kielbasa, and probably some things I've forgotten. All were excellent.  Just past noon, the briskets were pulled when they hit 160F or so, and wrapped in foil to which nearly a quart of au jus plus leftover injection was added. Back onto the smokers for a couple more hours. When tender, they were pulled to rest wrapped in towels for 45 minutes, then the points were separated to make burnt ends, cubed, tossed in sauce, and put in foil pans to return to the smokers for half an hour to set the sauce. Half an hour after that, the flats were sliced, and returned to the juice in the foil to stay moist.  

Both burnt ends and sliced flat were the best I've ever made, and the brisket was done in just 6 hours! I came home with nearly all of the brisket, and all the gimmes from the class; knife, hot gloves, injector. Plus, I got to sample probably 20 rubs and a dozen sauces...before heading into the extensive shop to buy my favorites.  The picture from their 'sauce room' shows maybe 1/3 of the inventory.

I've attached a few photos.

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I did another practice cook yesterday, still working on competition chicken thighs.  They're a stupid amount of work, and I'm still tweaking the flavor profile so far from done with finalizing my comp recipe (even though yesterday's weren't bad at all!)

But, since had the smoker running anyway, I took the opportunity to make a BBQ Bourbon Baked Bean recipe I'd been meaning to try.

https://heygrillhey.com/pork-belly-bourbon-baked-beans/

I cut the recipe in half, and started with dry beans instead of canned.  So...1.5 lbs pork belly and about 3/4 pounds of dry beans.  Seemed like a pretty good ratio!   Pork belly smoked for two hours, then braised for two more, beans soaked overnight then added for the final two hours of the cook

They were tasty!

 

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This isn’t bbq, but I had to post it….cause y’all NEED to try this. 
 

Recently, my step mom had a get together at Morton’s Steakhouse. 
She RAVED about the appetizer she had…’bacon steaks’. 
Here’s the recipe.

 

Instead of using a pork belly, I ordered some bacon steaks (1” thick cut bacon) from Herman Wurst House. 
 

When I get back from this business trip, we are gonna make it. 

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