In this third installment of my top 5 list, I’ve chosen to poke a little fun at myself with some of my worst BBQ mishaps to date. I know, it’s hard to believe that everything I grill isn’t perfect, but that is the beauty of the internet, to believe everything you see. Sometimes these things happen because I was either drunk and it seemed like a good idea at the time or because I’m just stupid and it seemed like a good idea at the time. In any event, enjoy the follies at my expense as I’m sure they won’t be the last.
5. Chicken Brine Test
I was skeptical of brining, so I decided to a side by side comparison. I organized everything to plan… how long the chicken breast brined, making sure the chicken were the same size, timing the length of the cook, etc.
Plenty of pictures were taken; before, during and after shots of the brined and plain chicken breasts. I invested a lot of time in my first side by side comparison….subsequently, it’s my last too. A couple of days after the grilling session, I started to write up my findings except all the pictures looked the same. I wasn’t sure which chicken was the brined or the plain.
All that preparation went up in smoke. I could have fudged my pictures without really knowing which were which, but it was pointless. Besides, everybody knows brining works. I thought I was clever and ahead of the curve to analyze brining when there are already numerous resources available on the subject. Lesson learned.
4. Surf and Turf
I had this awesome porterhouse steak that I wanted to document so badly for the website. I also had some enormous shrimp for the grill. The idea here was to experiment on the shrimp using a local product, Andria’s steak sauce.
As it turned out, the shrimp was disgusting. My wife got ill from eating it and I didn’t finish the rest of mine. On a good note, the porterhouse was fantastic, but not worthy without the surf. And just to be clear, Andria’s is amazing on steaks, especially in meatloaf…just not shrimp.
3. Smoked Tongue
For real, a smoked cow tongue! When cooked right, the meat just melts in your mouth. This beef delicacy is popular in Mexican cuisine, lengua for example. However, I was convinced that I can make this tough muscle into a tender treat with a grill and smoke.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, after realizing how tough it was after 2 hours, I wrapped it in foil for another hour…not so fast. The final result: it actually tasted very good, but it was like chewing on a tire! Despite how tough it turned out, I am determined to smoke a tender beef tongue.
2. Habanero ABT’s
The first rule of competition BBQ…don’t change your recipe! I broke this basic rule in my first ever turn-in box at my first ever contest. The day before the competition, I went shopping for all my ingredients and I made my way to the cheese section.
ABT’s stand for Atomic Buffalo Turds, it’s a bacon wrapped jalapeno. I needed cheese to stuff in the cored jalapeno pepper, but I was looking for something with a little kick. I asked the store manager what he had to offer, but he didn’t have what I was looking for. Instead, he offered me Cabot Habanero cheese. He assured me that they were not too hot for the judges.
BUL$#!T!!! It was extremely spicy. I should have gone to another grocery store, I could have bought a more mild cheese, I would have turned in the ABT’s with no cheese and it would be more edible than the lava turds I turned in.
The results speak for themselves, they placed 2nd to LAST! I wonder what the last place team served…real turds?
1. Smoker Down!
It was a Kodak moment when I assembled my Weber Smoky Mountain cooker. That smoker is like part of the family. Everything I cook on it turns into edible gold. After only a couple of backyard BBQ’s, I planned to take my WSM to its’ first contest down in Cuba, MO.
That morning, I packed everything in the trailer and I spent extra time securing the WSM. I had a hard time keeping it all together with bungee cords, but I managed to do it…at least I thought so. As a result, we ran a little behind on time. To get back on track, I rushed the trailer out of the garage too fast which clipped the railing…doh! Now the garage wouldn’t close. Just about when I was going to pull the manual release cord, my wife found the sensor knock off on the ground. I managed to put it back on and the garage closed, but we were really behind on time.
I made an effort to drive carefully, despite being behind schedule. So, as we made a right out of our subdivision, then a left, we were on our……CRASH!-CLANK!!-CLANK!!SCREEEEEEECH!!! My beloved smoker came apart, flew out of the trailer with the bungee cords still attached and dragged about 50 feet.
I jumped out the Forester to pick up the smoker. There were several scratches and a couple of dents, but nothing serious. Ratchet straps kept down the individual parts of the smoker for the rest of the trip and for every competition thereafter. Regardless, the damage was done. I felt horrible I let this happen to my still new smoker. Even more, we arrived to the contest 1 hour late, but adjusting the cook times solved this problem. As a matter of fact, we did quite well after going through hell that morning.