Hello world Welcome to Big D’s BBQ.com!

Eleven years ago, I had my first taste of real southern barbecue while I was living in Florida.  It was like no barbecue I had ever eaten.  As soon as I walked through the doors of the unassuming establishment, I knew I was in for a treat.  The thick smell of hardwood-smoked meats hung in [...]

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February 24, 2009 Beef Comments

editimg_6482Well, when Adam is in town we always make sure there is time set aside for a trip out to Gonzo’s for a little site planning. Here are some pictures of just that a few weeks back while he was in town.

Hello world Welcome to Big D’s BBQ.com!

Eleven years ago, I had my first taste of real southern barbecue while I was living in Florida.  It was like no barbecue I had ever eaten.  As soon as I walked through the doors of the unassuming establishment, I knew I was in for a treat.  The thick smell of hardwood-smoked meats hung in the air, and the place was filled with folks heartily enjoying their meals.  There were several meats to pick from – pork shoulder, baby back pork ribs, beef brisket, chicken, turkey breast, sausages – all served up, simply, in plastic baskets lined with butcher paper; a plastic fork, a plain white roll, a side of coleslaw, and barbecue sauce the lone accompaniment.  The meat was so flavorful that sauce was an unnecessary afterthought.

During the year that I lived in Florida, I must have eaten my weight in barbecue.  After moving back to Michigan, I searched high and low for a taste of the barbecue that had spoiled me, only to be disappointed time and time again.   Only once a year could I find this delicious treat, and that was at Kalamazoo’s annual Ribfest.  It was here I realized that there’s no  complex recipe, and I didn’t need a big fancy restaurant kitchen to prepare barbecue myself.  Heck, people have been barbecuing for hundreds of years, since before there was electricity, or even thermometers!  So, I figured, how hard could it really be?

After a summer of forcing my friends,  family, and even my dog, to eat more pork than anyone should have to, I still wasn’t even close to coming up with the melt in your mouth, sweet, smoky pulled pork that others, and I, hunger for.  I started reading countless books and online articles, talking to cook-off competitors, and other barbecue fanatics who would give me any tips.  A couple of years later, with my father’s help, we fashioned my first custom-built smoker.  It was a thing of beauty; all shiny, new stainless steel, with a three-foot-tall smoke stack, an offset firebox, and almost seven hundred square inches of cooking space.

I lit the first piece of wood early one Saturday morning, and tended the fire all day long; I don’t think I left the thing alone for more than five minutes at a time that whole day.  Nine excruciating hours later, I pulled out the tree bark-brown, crusted pork shoulder.  It looked good, it smelled good, but I wondered, would it have that pulled-pork quality that I was looking for?  I took a little corner of the meat between my forefinger and thumb, and gave a little tug. Off came the most tender, juiciest piece of pork I had ever prepared!

I was so excited! The following weekend I called some of my closest friends for the real test.  The pork finished up about two hours later than I had thought, but everyone stuck around, and they were glad they did. It was a huge success, and they all agreed that it was some of the best pulled pork they had ever tasted.  It’s all history since then.

Now, with my dad’s help, we’ve built a second custom cooker. This one, as the first, is all stainless steel, with an insulated, off-set firebox, and a vertical cooking chamber added as well, with a total of over 3,500 square inches of cooking space.  I’ve never stopped researching, practicing, and trying new things.  From the pulled pork (my specialty) to turkey breasts, whole chickens to briskets, baby back ribs, shrimp, and smoked pork chops in between, I’ve done it all.  I smoke ham for Easter dinner, and cater to parties of 200+ people.  I’ve even started to make homemade sausages, and awesome spicy, smoked beef jerky.  All of these items are available for purchase, with sausage and jerky available in limited quantities.  For catering information, price lists, and availability of any of my smoked meats, or just general barbecue information and advice, please click on the link below. Thanks for visiting, I hope you like what you see (and taste)!

 

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