Jerk Short Ribs

Ready for great ribs with a kick? Try these succulent Dino Bones and you'll be hooked instantly.

Atomic Buffalo Turds

ABTs are a must at any BBQ or party. They are addicting, believe me!

Smoked Macaroni and Cheese

My twist on a classic American dish.

Pulled Beef

You think pulled pork is good? Try pulled beef!

Remmy's Spiced-out Wings

Smoked chicken wings made with my very own rub.

February 9, 2012

LJ's BBQ - Pawtucket, Rhode Island

LJ's is a small establishment tucked away in a small shopping plaza.  As I walked toward the restaurant's entrance, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  Upon opening the doors and entering, I found it to be quite pleasant.

Initially, I thought this was a standard BBQ place that did not smoke its meats.  Part of this is actually true, as not everything here is smoked, but oven-roasted or baked.  However, the brisket on the sandwich I ordered was definitely smoked.  The menu said it is "finished on the grill," which I found very odd.  But, yes, the brisket did have grill marks on it when served.  Whatever.  It was still very tender and sliced super thin.  It was perfect.  The sandwich I ordered came with some kind of runny, bourbon BBQ sauce and was damned sweet (too sweet, actually).  I'd recommend the brisket be served with a tangier sauce - but that's just me.

Otherwise, I had a good experience at LJ's.

The waitress sold me there was no macaroni and cheese because it was in the process of "cooling."  Ok.  Weird.  And they did not have beef ribs, corn on the cob, or mashed potatoes available.  Keep in mind I ate at LJ's at 2:30 p.m. on a weekday.

I had read reviews about the pulled pork at LJ's but sadly I was not in the mood for it when I arrived.  I'm a brisket guy and just had to have it.

February 3, 2012

Smoked Meatballs

The New York Giants and New England Patriots will be playing in the Super Bowl this weekend.  And I'll be smoking meatballs for the Super Bowl party at my friend's new home.  But these aren't just your ordinary smoked meatball.  I will stuff mine with smoked Monterey Jack Cheese and finish them by wrapping each meatball in bacon before they all go onto the smoker.

The following recipe netted 110 meatballs.  So, adjust the ingredients based on how much ground meat you are using.  Here it goes!


  • 5 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1/2 lb. Smoked Monterey Jack Cheese, chunked (any hard cheese will do)
  • 3/4 cup Bread Crumbs (seasoned, preferably)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/4 cup Onion Powder
  • 1/4 cup Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1/4 cup Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
  • 1 lb. sliced Bacon (cut in half)

Seasoning the meat:  Place ground beef into large mixing bowl.  Add garlic, Worcester sauce, onion powder, seasoned salt, black pepper, and parsley.  Mix thoroughly.  In separate bowl, beat eggs (whites and yolks)  and add water.  Slowly add bread crumbs to egg mixture and mix thoroughly.  Add egg mixture to ground beef and mix well.

Grab enough beef to make a small meatball.  Do not make the meatball just yet.  Press the beef until it is relatively flat and create a small pocket for the chunk of cheese.
 Now you may roll the beef into a meatball, ensuring the cheese cannot be seen!

Cut bacon slices in half.  Take one cut slice and wrap meatball.  Place a toothpick through the bacon and meatball to hold in place.  You're all done.

Smoke the meatballs at 225-235F for roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes or until bacon is crispy.

These meatballs may also be finished with the sauce of your choice.







January 30, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Party

Super Bowl Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year.  The Super Bowl is my second-favorite sporting event as a sports fan; second to NCAA Basketball March Madness. 

Here are a couple of Super Bowl Sunday facts.
  1. 14,500 tons of chips are consumed.
  2. 8 million pounds of guacamole is consumed.
  3. The most popular choices of takeout or delivery items on Super Bowl Sunday are pizza, chicken wings and subs or sandwiches.
  4. The average number of people at a Super Bowl party is 17.
Here's an even better fact: My smoker will be purring come Super Bowl Sunday, as it always does.

One of my best friends loves wings.  So do most Super Bowl party attendees.  Those will be on the menu once again.  On New Year's Eve, I made many wings to go along with a homemade spicy sauce that had just a little too much bite for some of the party people.  To ensure the crowd is satisfied for the big game, I will be going with a sweet, runny barbeque sauce.  I haven't finalized all of the details for the sauce.  But as soon as I make the sauce, I will list the recipe for it. 

What better to accompany smoked wings than MOINK balls?  MOINK balls are typically frozen beef (MOO) meatballs wrapped in bacon (OINK) that are smoked. MOO+OINK= MOINK.  I, personally, don't eat the cheap meatballs.  So, I make homemade meatballs and wrap in center-cut bacon before putting them over the beautiful burning wood.  This allows me to prepare the meatballs the way I like and use any type of seasonings I am in the mood for.  These things are addicting and are usually a crowd-pleaser. 

This year's Super Bowl party will have about a dozen people.  I will be making roughly 80 wings and 30 MOINK balls.  Nothing like some good ol' 'que during a football game.

Stay tuned for these recipes and pictures.

Go Giants! (anybody but New England)

January 20, 2012

Andy Nelson's Southern Pit Barbeque - Cockeysville, Maryland

You know you're at a real BBQ joint when you arrive and see and smell the wood out back!  Andy Nelson's BBQ is AWESOME.  It's one of the better BBQ joints I've ever eaten at.

I ordered a meal for lunch - chopped turkey sandwich with two sides (mac & cheese, beans) along with a 1/4 lb. of brisket.  The turkey was good but my only gripe about the sandwich was that the turkey was smothered in BBQ sauce.  I wish it was served dry, allowing one to put any kind of sauce and any amount of sauce desired onto the sandwich.

The brisket is sliced very thin and I actually liked it.  I usually slice my brisket thicker but I have no complaints!  It was juicy and tender and had a nice smoke ring.

The Mac was pretty good.  Not 100% sure if it was "homemade," but it certainly looked like it was.  The pit beans were also good.  They had a bit of a bite to them.  Not much heat, so don't be too scared.  But definitely a kick at the end.

The restaurant itself has a lot of charm to it.  Pictures of hogs and other BBQ-related things are everywhere.  Great atmosphere for a BBQ restaurant especially one in rural MD.  I love it.

Harborque - Baltimore, Maryland

Harborque is a small BBQ spot in South Baltimore.

The joint tries hard to look like a real, old-school BBQ joint. But it doesn't feel that way.  It feels like more of a "fast-food" BBQ joint than anything.  Harborque has a nice deck/patio to eat on during the warm months and about six tables inside. 
They have four sauces. Pig pickin', a Carolina sauce. A sweet BBQ sauce. A red buffalo sauce "spicy BBQ" and a "tangy gold" mustard based sauce.   I am not a big mustard guy, so I looked at the other sauces and thought about which ones would go well with the food I was going to order.

My meal was pretty good - certainly not the best BBQ I've ever had, but worth a shot if you are in Baltimore craving BBQ.  The pulled pork was very good.  Not as smokey as I typically like, but tasty.  The vinegar sauce I used on the pork has a nice bite to it from the red pepper flakes.  I also ordered the smoked turkey and was surprised that it was basically sliced deli-turkey.  Certainly not what I was looking for.

Now for my sides.  The Mac & Cheese was "buttery."  It was tasty, but had me wondering how much butter they used to make the dish.  I guess that explains why it tasted rather good.  I also had a piece of cornbread, which is usually served warm.  Nope.  This one was cold.  I took one bite and did not eat anymore of it.  Not my style. 

I had asked the worker at the counter if this place ever sells brisket.  He mentioned they only serve brisket on Thursday's and added that "We smoke it for 16 hours overnight."   Yes, I've smoked many briskets before and I know how long they take to cook.  But some BBQ places like to tell you how long things cook for as if the longer they cook, the better they taste.  I always find that funny.

Thanks for the decent eats, Harborque. But I don't know if I'll be back!

January 6, 2012

Dreamland BBQ - Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Dreamland BBQ was on my list even before I arrived in Alabama.  After all, this is the South we're talking about here.  And what better to do than to eat good ol' BBQ when in the South?
The Dreamland in Tuscaloosa (near University of Alabama - ROLLLLL TIDE) is a rustic-looking place.  I opened the door and immediately caught a wiff of smoked goodness.  It got me even hungrier than I was before walking in.

I went with a pulled pork sandwich and it could not have been better.  The hickory flavor on the meat was beyond fantastic.  Their sauce was a bit different for me, as I am used to thinner, Eastern NC sauce on pulled pork, but Dreamland's sauce was a hit.  Had a bit of tomato in it.  I purchased a jar of sauce to take home with me and use on my own smoked pulled pork.  All of my friends loved the sauce.

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint - Nolensville, Tennessee

I was staying in Nashville (at Vanderbilt University) and this place was on my list for dinner one night.
It's out in the countryside but worth the drive if you are staying in Nashville.  It isn't very big (maybe 15 tables) inside, which is kind of cool, as it does not look commercial at all!
I ordered brisket and a pulled pork sandwich with fries.  Their sauce was awesome (not the hot sauce) and the brisket and PP were very smokey and tender as hell.  This place rocked and is one of the better BBQ joints I've ever been to.  I had asked the woman at the counter if I could purchase some sauce and she gladly gave me a big container of sauce that I could pack in my luggage and take home without having it spill all over the place...for half the price because I was an out-of-towner.
I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for top-notch BBQ.

Bobby Q's - Westport, Connecticut

Bobby Q's is probably the best BBQ place in Southern CT.  I've been to a newer BBQ place (Wilson's BBQ) just down the road in Fairfield, but it doesn't compare.
I had pulled pork nachos as an appetizer and burnt ends (brisket) for my entree.  The burnt ends tasted good.  My friend had the pulled pork.  That was very tasty, too.  

This restaurant offers a variety of sauces, but guess what, none of them are vinegar-based.  I think they should add one of these to the group of sauces.  What's pulled pork without a vinegar-based sauce on it?
Ok, I'm done complaining...not that there is a lot to complain about at Bobby Q's.  The restaurant was very clean and rustic-looking, which was perfect with the style of food we were eating.

Wilson's BBQ - Fairfield, Connecticut

When I found out this place existed right on the Post Road, I was all about making plans to go and eat there.  This place was later featured on the Food TV show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri.
When I walked in, the first thing that struck me was how small the restaurant was.  Seriously speaking, I'd be shocked if 30 people could fit inside of this place and eat comfortably.  I say 30...but even with 25 people, this place will seem very crowded.

I ordered a brisket sandwich and my friend ordered the pulled pork sandwich.  Both sandwiches came with slaw and a pickle.  I tasted the pulled pork, after eating my brisket sandwich, and neither meat had much of a smoke flavor...which disappointed me.  However, the sauces here were very good.  The vinegar-based sauce for the pulled pork was nice and watery, just the way I like it.  It would have tasted better had more red pepper been added to it, for more of a kick.  Eastern NC sauce rocks.

Each sandwich was roughly $9.  Kind of pricy.  But then again, we're talking Fairfield, Connecticut here.
I went back a second time and had the burnt ends, which were really shredded brisket (I've never seen this before).  Burnt ends are usually chunked-up pieces of the "point" (a muscle on the brisket) that are smothered in BBQ sauce, wrapped in foil, and placed back on the smoker for a another couple of hours until they literally fall apart.  They're great.  But that's not what you'll find here.  A co-worker of mine ordered the baby back ribs and gave me one.  The ribs were very good - not "fall-off-the-bone," which is the way I like them.  All BBQ ribs should allow you to bite into them and give them a slight pull.  I dislike soft rib meat.  Not very appetizing.

Overall, I'd say Wilson's is worth a visit.

Rudy's BBQ - San Antonio, Texas

Plain and simple.  This place rocks.  Rudy's is one of the top-three BBQ joints I've had the pleasure of eating at.  I love this place.

I walked in and was greeted by a big cooler to the right of the food line that contained many ice-cold beers.  What do I normally do when I eat BBQ in Texas?  I accompany it with a Shiner Bock - one of Texas' own fine beers. 

The employees gave me a sample of the smoked turkey.  For my sides, I went with the beans and creamed corn (damn, this was good),  I ordered brisket, ribs, and chicken.  Yup.  I ate all of it, too.  That food went well with the Shiner Bock.  Their sauce was very good...Too bad I didn't buy some to bring back to the East Coast.

This place makes PERFECT BBQ.  When you walk into this place, you'll see what looks like a chimney.  It's a chimney alright.  A chimney that has mesquite running through it after it has seasoned the pit with its beautiful flavor.

I liked the rustic environment and how they give you a loaf of bread.  Yes, an entire loaf of sliced white bread!  Insane.

I'd definitely go back the next time I visit San Antonio.

The Pit - Raleigh, North Carolina

One word - overrated.

If you're looking for good, traditional, and REAL BBQ, this isn't the place.

For as much of a bad rap "Holy Smokes" gets in Raleigh, I enjoyed it much more than The Pit.

The Pit is a commercial restaurant.  Very commercial.  Nothing like the "authentic" BBQ joints I've been to across the country.

The bar is your typical, fancy bar.  The decor is modern.  The lighting is that of a Manhattan restaurant.  Oh, and the food isn't real BBQ.

This wasn't the worst food I ever had - it was just not what I had expected.

I ordered the "BBQ Pulled Pork" dish.  My two sides were mixed veggies and candied yams.  Overall, the food was pleasant, but the pork was nowhere near BBQ'd.  No smoke ring(s) on the meat.  No smoke flavor.  Looked and tasted like it had just come right out of the oven.  That's when I asked the bartender if it was smoked and he mentioned no.  The meat is "slow-cooked" in an oven.  Bummer.

Oh, and they do not have brisket on the menu.

I had their Porter, which wasn't bad.  It wasn't a beer they brewed but I believe it was locally brewed (in the state of North Carolina).  It went well with my dinner.

If you're looking for traditional, smoky BBQ, look somewhere else.

Holy Smokes BBQ - Raleigh, North Carolina

This place was a lot better than I thought it would be after reading many reviews about it on the Internet.

If you want smokey BBQ, this is the place.

This place looks like a 50's diner inside and out.  Very cool.

 I talked to the owner when I walked in, as he knew I wasn't from the area and began asking me where I had come from.  (The Bronx accent is hard to get rid of.)

He mentioned his son used to work at Rudy's (a popular BBQ chain in Texas), which I had been to just outside of San Antonio.  The owner moved to NC and opened Holy Smokes.  He mentioned that he was originally from Houston, Texas.

Anyhow, Holy Smokes features smoked turkey, brisket, chicken, and pork.

I had just gotten off of an airplane and ordered smoked turkey and brisket with a side of pit beans and a drink.  What an awesome meal for just under $11.

The brisket had a nice smoke ring and an awesome smoke flavor.  So did the turkey breast.

I ate the brisket with some of the Carolina Soppin' Sauce and had the turkey with the Boot Kickin' Sauce.  Both of these are thicker than their Lone Star Lip Smackin' Sauce, which is their version of a "Carolina-style" vinegar-based sauce with red pepper flakes and black pepper. The first two sauces had tomato sauce and one seemed to have a bit of molasses in it.

I would have recommended Holy Smokes if you were in the Raleigh area.  But unfortunately, they have since closed.  If they were still in business, I'd eat their smoked turkey all day if I could.

Jackson's Big Oak BBQ - Wilmington, North Carolina

This place was awesome - especially that gigantic oak tree out back!  Hence the name "Big Oak" BBQ.

It has an old school, rustic look to it, both inside and outside.  Take out and eat in.

I ordered the sampler for $11.99, which consists of: 1/4 chicken, ribs (4), pulled pork, and Brunswick stew with a side of veggies and candied yams.  The candied yams here were REALLY good!

Four ribs, a healthy portion of chicken (two pieces), and about 1/3 lb of pork.  Hush puppies and a fried potato accompanied the sampler.. The Brunswick stew had a peppery bite to it and was very enjoyable.

The staff knew I was from out of town and made me very comfortable.  They also answered every question I had about the types of food they make and some of the names I wasn't familiar with.

The sauces available were their traditional Eastern Carolina vinegar and the other "sauce" nothing but apple cider vinegar!   I brought some of their EC vinegar sauce back to the Northeast to enjoy with my smoked pulled pork.
Awesome, awesome place to eat BBQ.

January 5, 2012

Casey's Buffet & BBQ - Wilmington, North Carolina

This place has everything, seriously.

You will eat until you feel sick here.  Tons of food available.

This place is a hole in the wall.  It looks very rustic inside.  The buffet is toward the back of the restaurant.  It's like heaven when you walk into it.

I had tons of food, from fried chicken, to the pulled pork, to fried okra (for the first time ever).  There are mashed potatoes, corn, ribs, rice, gravy, mac & cheese, biscuits, and so many other things I can't even remember!

Their cobbler is great.  Great!  I saw two different kinds of cobbler when I ate there.  And had both.

The waitress was very nice and showed me around the place, as it was my first time there.  They thought I was lost...

Highly recommend this place if you have $12 and want to eat a ton.

Cowgirl BBQ - Santa Fe, New Mexico

I arrived at Cowgirl's on a Tuesday night around 7pm.   The atmosphere was cool. Very Southwestern feel. Just what one would expect.

Dining area
We were greeted by many of the waitresses upon entering the restaurant.  We were then asked what we wanted to drink.

I went with a Porter which was very tasty...I loved the roasted flavor.  Dark beer is my thing.   One of my friends ordered the same Porter and really enjoyed it.

For dinner, I ordered a Filet Mignon burrito.  I am not one for very hot food, but wanted to have a Southwestern meal my first time in New Mexico, so I went with the "Christmas" (green and red chiles) on my plate.
Filet Mignon Burrito - Christmas Style
Our food came out roughly 10 minutes after ordering and it had looked really good.  My burrito was cooked well and the peppers added a significant amount of heat to the platter.  I got through it all and enjoyed my meal.

One of my friends ordered the Chic-o-licious Mac and Cheese, which came with the biggest baked potato I had ever seen!  He had no complaints.

I decided I needed something else to drink so I went with the Mangorita after looking at the many margarita choices on the drink menu. Mango also happens to be my favorite fruit, which factored into the decision juuust slightly.  This was sort of frozen - not my style - with pureed mango.  My friend went with Horny Toad Margarita and said it tasted like a normal margarita.

My only gripe here were the overweight "Cowgirls"/waitresses. Only one looked like she took care of herself.

Our waitress, on the other hand, practically spilled her boobs onto my plate every time she came over. They were all over the place.  No reason to try to market this place that way.

I enjoyed dinner here and would certainly go back for some eats.

Check out their Cajun menu as well.  At the time it was available 'til April of 2010. The Jambalaya my friend had was really good and he ordered it with scallops.

Cowgirl BBQ isn't a traditional BBQ restaurant, but close enough for me to list it here on my blog.  The Southwestern food at this place is great!

Wholly Smokes - Tampa, FL

I pulled up to this place and immediately smelled the smoke.  Mmmmmmmm.
I ordered a turkey platter with two sides; mac & cheese and beans. The meal came with two slices of garlic bread. The beans were fantastic. Sweet and smokey with bits of meat in them. The Mac and cheese was homemade and had the perfect texture. I was in love.

The turkey had a perfect amount of smoke flavor. I ordered it sliced ($8.95 platter) and my chopped beef sandwich ($5.95).

They offered two sauces. One mild and one hot.  The "hot" bbq sauce wasn't really too spicy, so don't be afraid to try it.

The beef was a little dry but I still enjoyed the sandwich. It wasn't brisket, that's for sure.

I really didn't even need sauce for the turkey.  It was that juicy.

The interior is pretty standard for a BBQ joint.  A lot of dark colors, wood paneling, and it smells great.  When you walk in the door the counter is directly to the left.  Behind the counter is the pit with racks of meat at different levels.

The oak wood flavor is fantastic.

Wholly Smokes is a must if you love barbeque and are in Tampa.

Conway's BBQ - Marion, Ohio

I think I know good BBQ when I taste it.  And this place didn't deliver.
I looked through the menu and went with the "Choose 2" combo for $13.99. I ordered the brisket and Carolina gobbler (turkey). The meal came with two sides so I went with  the mac-n-cheese and baked beans.

The restaurant has ample space but did not see many cars parked outside and saw 4-5 people in the establishment (only at the bar).  Oh yeah, the tap water here tastes really bad.  So I promptly asked for bottled water.
My brisket had good flavor but had tons of fat pieces in it.  Wasn't really edible...or enjoyable, if you want to put it that way.  What a pain in the ass to eat.  The turkey could have been a lot more moist, but this was totally edible.. Pink hue to meat it and great smoke flavor.

The beans were below average.  Both the beans and the mac n cheese definitely weren't home made. The cheese was too creamy and beans were too thick and very soft.  The mac n cheese needed some darn salt, too.

Sadly, I would not recommend this place.

Smoke and Bones - Derby, Connecticut

Smoke and Bones is a new barbeque joint located in Derby, Connecticut.  I always support local food joints, so I went to try this one and here's what I thought.
Three-meat combo - Ribs, Brisket, & Chicken
The BBQ places I have eaten at will foil meats and slice a la carte.  Smoke & Bones preps the food and stores food in heating trays.  Something I have not seen at BBQ restaurants.

I ordered the three-meat special with two sides.  For meats, I chose ribs, brisket, chicken.  My sides were macaroni & cheese and beans.

Ribs:  Many people like their ribs "fall-off-the-bone tender."  That's what you will find here.  I like ribs with just a bit of toughness to them but that's just me.  Overall, ribs were not bad but if you were looking for smoke flavor, it was not there.

Brisket: If I am being honest, the brisket was very, very fatty.  When I smoke brisket, most of the fat renders and it comes out super tender.  Almost every bite included pieces of fat that I had to dispose of.  But the smoke flavor was there on the slices that had meat on them.  This brisket sat in its juices in one of the heating trays at the counter.  Not very appetizing upon walking in and seeing that, but I was hungry - what was I going to do?  Besides, I wanted to give this place a shot!

Chicken: The smoked chicken was the best of the three.  Smokey, not dry, and seasoned well.  No complaints there.  I love it.  It's very easy to over-smoke and over-cook chicken in the smoker.  Well done!

Mac & cheese: I dig this stuff.  Not very creamy/cheesy, but full of flavor.  Definitely try this stuff!

Beans: The beans had a distinct taste.  I really couldn't tell exactly what it was.  It tasted like some sort of pepper but I couldn't nail it.

Overall, I think Smoke & Bones definitely has room for improvement. But that's expected - this place is brand new!  I think they will change a few things based on reviews and customer feedback.  Every business does to an extent.

I'd definitely go back as there are still some items I'd like to try, such as the fried chicken and pulled pork.

And Ii there's one thing I'd recommend in terms of a new menu item, it would have to be smoked turkey!

January 4, 2012

Smoked Macaroni & Cheese

We've all had macaroni and cheese.  Mac-n-Cheese dishes are a classic here in the United States.  But what some people may not know is this dish, otherwise known as a "Cheese and Pasta Casserole," dates back to the 14th Century.

If you can just close your eyes and imagine what your favorite mac-n-cheese tastes like, well, try to imagine what mac-n-cheese tastes like with smoked cheese!  It's even better!

For this dish, I will use the cheese I smoked the week prior.

  • 1 lb. Pasta (preferably elbows), uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups Smoked Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1 tbsp. Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Flour
  • 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika

Start by boiling the pasta so that it cooks while the sauce is being made.

Making the Sauce
Begin by melting the butter in a pan over medium heat.  Once melted, add salt, pepper, and flour into pan and stir together.  Once you've stirred it well, set the heat to low and stir until the mixture thickens.  Ensure there are no clumps of flour left in the mix.

Add the shredded cheese into pan and mix well over low heat until you have a smooth sauce. 

Add cooked macaroni to sauce mixture and stir.

Pour mixture into baking pan/dish.  Top macaroni and cheese with Breadcrumbs and Paprika.

Bake dish in 375F oven for 10 minutes and serve!