Concession Stand Fundraiser

Nathan, Mel, Andrew & Bridget (from left to right).

Back in early April I had an opportunity to provide a service to the community, my organization and attain a personal goal. I was able to plan, organize and execute a concession stand fundraiser for the local chapter of the O’Fallon Jaycees. I’ve been a member of the Jaycees since the beginning of the year and we were in the beginning stages of building our new chapter from the ground up.

We raised $960 for charities and causes in our community…very cool! We did this by selling BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and other items for a local event. Our group received an invitation from the Riverfront Working Dog Club to provide vending services at the Working Dog Association’s National Championships in St. Peters, MO.

The event was held over the weekend, so we had to make sure we had enough to feed over 200 participants, spectators and volunteers.

Spectators watching the field.

Here is what we brought to sell:

  • 10 pork shoulder roasts
  • 50 Chicken breasts
  • 100 Hot dogs

Pork shoulders getting prepped.

Further, I couldn’t have done this without a little outside help…

My buddy, Don Par, is a distributor for a new product called Mojobricks. He gave me some to try out and I really like this stuff. All the pork I cooked only used 1 brick for smoke…1 brick!!! I’ll provide a full review of this stuff in another post.

Mojobricks were used to provide smoke.

A big shout out to Kosmos Q for donating rubs and sauces to this cause. The BBQ community is so supportive to folks like me and what we do. For that, I have been using Kosmos Q rubs and injections for competition cooks. Not because of their generosity, but mostly because it’s damn good stuff!

Lower batch of pork shoulders on the smoker.

Top batch on the smoker.

On the first day of our concession stand, it rained a lot and it was miserable. Everything was wet, but the food was well covered. I had plenty of help with fellow Jaycees, Nathan, Lacey and Kelly. It was slow selling at first, but things picked up later and we were swamped for periods of time.

Kelly and Nathan.

Once word of mouth about the tasty pulled pork sandwiches got around, sales quickly picked up. During a pause in the dog competition, the guy over the PA called the sandwiches “legendary”, which caused another rush of sales.

Pork is done.

Ready to be pulled.

We ended the day pleased with our efforts and packed up to do this again the next morning.

On Sunday, once again (chapter President) Nathan came out to help on a mild sunny day. Bridget, Andrew and later Mel all came to help out too. The day got busy early as folks as soon as 9am started lining up for pulled pork and chicken sandwiches.

Chicken breasts on the grill.

Grilled chicken breasts.

Nathan was serving a gentleman who joked about the $5 pulled pork sandwich, suggesting the price may be high. In response, Nathan made him a deal that if he bought one and didn’t like it, he can have his money back. The gentleman took one look at the piled high sandwich and said, “Damn! I ain’t getting my $5 back”, then he bought another!

“Legendary” pulled pork sandwich.

Man sized pulled pork sandwich.

We had lots of complements like that all day long which made all the hard work satisfying. Sure, I even caught a few of the Jaycees snacking on the tender pulled pork, they said it was like crack!

When sales got slow, I took some time to check out the working dog event. I was so impressed how obedient dogs can be, German Shepherds in particular. Of course, the main attraction was the dogs in attack mode. Even then, those German Shepherds were not angry at the runners they attacked. It was almost as if it were a job to the dogs…awesome!

Working dog action on the field.

In the end, the organizers of the event thanked us for coming out and wished us luck in our endeavors and we thanked them for inviting us. I’m glad I was able to accomplish such a task, a first for me (hopefully more to follow). This was a learning experience for my Jaycees group and I think we all bonded during this weekend task. I appreciated all the work our group put into this and they were definitely excited to do more.

But I think I’ll sit the next one out…I was pooped!

As a result of our concession stand accomplishment, we are looking to help a local resident install a ramp at their house. Also, I hoped to sponsor a Kid’s Q at a local BBQ KCBS event, but it was cancelled. Be assured, all the funds raised will go back into the community.

March Madness BBQ Competition Practice

March is definitely Spring training season for competitive BBQ enthusiasts. Sure, there are a few comps already underway, but lots more are to come. I’ve been trying to tweak my backyard comp recipes into KCBS flavor profiles. A few changes were made, but I can only be certain that my flavor profile wins only when I start competing. So far, I’ve practiced with the chicken, ribs and brisket categories. Pork will come later and a full mock practice competition will be staged soon. The mock comp will resemble being at the contest with the same turn in times, so boxes with greens are required here. The evidence is here before you and I’ll post more as I continue to practice for our first KCBS event on May 11-12.

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Smoky Wintertide Breakfast

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So far, we’ve been experiencing an unseasonably mild winter. Those despondent and frigid days are my motives to cook low and slow BBQ. Even more, to BBQ in inclement weather is a right of passage. I enjoy the task of shoveling a foot of snow that trails from the back patio door to the smokers, then fire it up only to watch the clouds of smoke bellowing from the vents as if to peeve Old Man Winter with my BBQ mettle. Unfortunately, that day has yet to reveal itself. However, the cold evenings and mornings proved a formidable challenge when a precipitous urge for an early hot meal on the grill overwhelmed me.

My inspiration came to me when I discovered a tasty pancake recipe using squash. What surprised me wasn’t the savoriness of squash hotcakes, it was the fact that my kids ate it all up! Furthermore, the spongy flapjacks didn’t ruin my wife’s diet as each pancake had about 80 calories. The same can’t be said for the sausage fattie. While my boys loved this, a fattie is way too much flavor for any dieter to understand.

Roasted Butternut Squash Pancakes
Adapted from: saveur.com

 2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup cooked butternut squash (see below)
1 ¼ cup milk
¼ tsp. cider vinegar
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
Canola oil cooking spray

  1. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise. Wrap both halves in plastic wrap and cook in the microwave for 8 minutes.
  2. Set up the 2-zone method on the grill.
  3. When the squash is cooled, unwrap the plastic and coat the flesh of the squash with cooking spray.
  4. Place squash on grill using direct heat and with the lid on, vents wide open.
  5. Cook until tender or about 45 minutes.
  6. Scoop out ¾ cup cooked butternut squash and add it to the rest of the ingredients listed.
  7. Use a ladle to pour batter onto a cast iron skillet on medium-low heat.
  8. Makes about 18 pancakes.

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While the grill is still going, replenish it with more charcoal. The fattie will be smoked on the grill. Once you place the sausage on, don’t open the lid for the first 45 minutes. You want to let that smoke penetrate the meat.

Naked Fattie

1lb Jimmy Dean Regular Pork Sausage
KC Butt Spice (or your favorite BBQ rub)
Peach wood

  1. Remove the packaging from the sausage while keeping the shape intact.
  2. Apply BBQ rub all over the sausage.
  3. Place sausage on grill and cook using indirect heat, add the wood to the coals. Close the lid, the vents are wide open.
  4. When the internal temp of the fattie hits 165 degrees (about an hour), it’s done.
  5. Slice ¼” thickness rounds and serve immediately.

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A homerun this spread turned out to be, a perfect winter breakfast. The meal was topped off with a sunny side up egg that brought more sunshine to the plate. Unfortunately, I would have liked to garnish my plate with fruit and herbs, but had none on hand… envision it with me. Winter is far from over, but I know that when OMW arrives, I’ll be prepared with breakfast.