Friday, December 25, 2009


Wishing you and your family a safe and joyous Christmas!

Friday, December 4, 2009


I have been hearing good reviews about a barbecue restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri. It was rumored that my old Executive Chef from RUB in Las Vegas was running the kitchen and serving the best barbecue in the city. It was time to find out if the reviews were true, so yesterday I took a road trip to St. Louis to find out for myself. After driving for a little under 4 hours, making a couple of pit stops, and dealing with a cranky GPS system, we arrived in mid- town St. Louis. My anticipation built as we arrived right around the time that the lunch rush begins to die down. I’ve heard stories of how the line to place your order during lunch comes out of the front door, wraps around the side of the building, and back inside to a hallway via a side door. We were lucky. We just missed that experience. Once you walk in you are greeted by the inviting smell of wood and meat becoming barbecue. This seemed promising.

As I made my way from the back entrance to the front counter, I say to myself “is that a familiar face that I see?” Yes! It is Skip Steele, Executive Chef of Pappy’s Smokehouse! I was greeted by a welcoming handshake that had surprise and glee. Skip is both an accomplished barbecue cook and chef. He used to compete on the Memphis in May contest circuit (now known as MBN), cooking in both the whole hog and ribs divisions. He has placed first, second, and sixth place overall in the whole hog division, and third place overall in the ribs division at the Memphis in May Championship contest between 1996 and 2006. This barbecue championship contest is held each year in Memphis, Tennessee. It is the world’s largest pork barbecue contest and is known as” the Super Bowl of Swine”.

As Skip led us to our table we were then greeted by Mike Emerson, owner of Pappy’s Smokehouse. Mike has been in the restaurant business since the early 70’s. He started out owning a pizza restaurant. After a while Mike opened a white cloth establishment. Mike tells me that in the 80’s he walked away from restaurants all together. Well, I for one am glad that he decided to come back.

It was time to validate my reason for coming to Pappy’s. We were served a sample platter that included sliced brisket, sliced smoked turkey breast, pulled pork, loin back ribs, potato salad, sweet potato fries, and baked beans. Skip describes the food as “Memphis style slow smoked barbecue”. Some cuts of meat spend up to 16 hours in the smoker. We were told that on a Saturday Pappy’s sells 700 to 750lbs. of ribs, 300 lbs. of brisket, 400 lbs. of pulled pork, 250lbs. of chicken, and 30 gallons of beans. According to Mike, Pappy’s is the largest seller of sweet potato fries in the United States.

Folks, let me tell you, if I could use only one word to describe the food from Pappy’s it would be OUTSTANDING! The brisket is smoky, moist and flavorful. The pulled pork is melt in your mouth tender and moist. And the ribs… WOW! The ribs are so tender that your grandmother can eat them without having her dentures in. The three sauces that Pappy’s has to offer really compliment the meat and can accommodate the pickiest of eaters. They do not skimp on the portions at Pappy’s and their service rivals the food. This is what I came to St. Louis for!

If you are ever in St. Louis or just live close by, I recommend that you pay Pappy’s Smokehouse a visit! They are located at 3106 Olive (on the corner of Cardinal & Olive streets next to Harris – Stowe State University). They recommend that you call ahead to place your order (314- 535 – 4340). Or you can check them out online at

Skip Steele and the Baron

Catching Up

The Menu

Skips Trophies

Mike Emmerson and the Baron

Mike and Paul talking shop

No time to talk

The smile says it all

Skips special sauce!

Enough said!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Tonight’s Team Building corporate class was sponsored by a sales team from Bayer CorpScience. The team of 16 reps are from various parts of the country (I believe 8 different states), and are here in Kansas for a conference. This was possibly the most fun that I have had teaching a class this year! This “rambunctious group of rebel rousers” was brimming with enthusiasm and made the class very entertaining. Speaking of entertaining, I would like to thank Mark “Marinate” Grainer of Iowa for providing most of that entertainment.

We got to work right away by dividing everyone into teams. Each team then created their own signature rub. From there the teams received one slab of ribs which they seasoned with the rub they created. The ribs were put on the pit as they would be submitted later for judging. We then moved on to discussing how to trim and season, as well as cooking times and temperatures for briskets, pork butts and chicken. This information went a looong way for some that enjoy using a good “marinade”.

Break time! The KCBS certified judges began to arrive as we took a break and ate dinner. Amongst the certified judges that helped were Paul and Tracy Satterfield of the Great American Barbecue and Bob Carruthers of the Forbes Barbeque Society in Australia. As everyone ate it reminded me of quiet time in kindergarten. Could it be that they really enjoyed the food? Yep, the empty pans confirmed it.

After dinner we took the ribs off of the pit and discussed presentation for turn in boxes. Each team received a turn box and the slab of ribs that they seasoned earlier. The air was filled with elation from the flavors of the final products that were produced. After being sliced and sampled, each team submitted there “tour de force” for judging like proud parents in a spelling bee. This is how each team faired;

6th place with 122 points – Redneck Raiders
5th place with 129 points – Rub It Out
4th place with 130 points – Rib Dr.
3rd place with 133 points – Magic Jack
2nd place with 134 points –There’s the Rub
1st place with 136 points – Boss Team

Congratulations to Jeff Hensley of Iowa, Barry Lewis of North Carolina, and John Carlson of North Carolina for taking first place honors with their ribs!

Thank you to Lon Crager from Bayer CorpScience for setting this class up, Paul and Tracy Satterfield of the Great American Barbecue, Bob Carruthers of the Forbes Barbeque Society in Australia, and all of the team members from Bayer CorpScience that participated! You really are a special group of people!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


It's the number one barbecue sauce in Kansas City!

I want to thank the 80 to 90 people who attended my barbecue sauce presentation sponsored by K. C. Masterpiece at the American Royal Barbecue contest today. It was the groups participation that made creating this barbecue sauce a success! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Here is the recipe that we created.

 K. C. Masterpiece Demo BBQ Sauce

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon restaurant grind black pepper

2 teaspoons rubbed sage

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Soy sauce

1-32 ounce ketchup

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan. Blend in the liquid ingredients. Stir dissolving the dry ingredients. Blend in the ketchup. Bring to a boil, being careful; when ketchup boils it pops so be careful. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Use the sauce warm or chilled.

Makes about 6 cups.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play football with your favorite football player? What about driving in a race alongside your favorite Nascar driver? Well Wade Herguth had just that experience this weekend with me! Wade’s wife Michelle and their children arranged for me to come to their home and teach a One on One class with Wade for his birthday.

We had a bright and unseasonably mild morning for what promised to be an exciting day of learning. As we began I sensed that Wade was skeptical of my hands on class format. By the end of the day I could see that he was convinced that this class was all that it was made out to be and then some. Don’t take my word for it, look at the pictures.

Wade’s day began with me explaining fuels, cooking temperatures, and how to control your cooker temperature. I then discussed cooking times and finishing temperatures for cooking briskets. Wade trimmed and seasoned a couple of whole briskets and onto the cooker they went. Next, we discussed the cooking times and finishing temperatures for cooking pork butts. Wade then trimmed and seasoned a couple of pork butts. Onto the cooker they went.

Wade then designed and hand mixed his own rub based on his favorite ingredients. He was very pleased with his final product.

We moved on to the cooking times and temperatures for cooking ribs. Loin back ribs ala’ Wade was on the menu today. They were trimmed and then seasoned using Wade’s fantastic rub! Onto the cooker they went.

Five pounds of Italian sausage was made using a seasoning blend hand mixed by Wade. We then moved onto chicken were Wade spatchcocked (butter flied) several chickens, trimmed and seasoned them, and yes, onto the cooker they went.

After a tasty lunch of homemade sausage and burnt ends, I had Wade to create his own barbecue sauce recipe using his favorite ingredients. After I critiqued and approved the ingredients, Wade went to work making it. To his surprise, I had made up some custom pre-labeled bottles for Wade’s barbecue sauce. Both Wade and Michelle were pleasantly surprised by this. Hey, I aim to please!

Michelle had invited some of the neighbors to come over and partake of Wade’s hard work. As the plates began to fill with the tender smokey goodness of Wade’s labor, you could see a sense of pride in Wade from what he presented to his neighbors to eat. They enjoyed Wade’s sauce so much that many asked if he planned on selling it. The cherry on top of the icing for Wade was when his neighbor (originally from Arkansas) announced that “This is one damn fine brisket Wade! Damn Fine!” I love a happy ending!

Wade beginning his barbecue journey

I think Wade has done this before.

Nothing like the smell of beef brisket and pork butts in the am!

Prepping for a little Q&A.

Getting ready to make rub.

Wade creating his master blend.

Nothing like the loving support of your wife.

It's time to make sausage.

Ribs ala' Wade!

Wade's making some tummy yummy's.

Wade's Gourmet Elixer! It'll fix what ails ya'!

Quality control!

I love a happy ending!