Monday, September 6, 2010

Are you in the mood for comfort food?


3 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
12 ounces Elbow pasta
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk, or half and half divided
2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound apple or hickory smoked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Cooking spray

Preheat broiler. Bring 6 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan, with a wire whisk, over medium heat. Gradually add 1 cup milk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until it cools to 155° degrees F. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, onions, hot sauce, pepper, and bacon; stir. Add pasta; toss.

Spoon into a 2-quart broiler-safe dish coated with cooking spray; top with 1/2 cup cheese. Broil 7 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Barbecue guru Paul Kirk's burger recipe simple, meaty and pretty good

By J.M. Hirsch (CP) – 6 hours ago

Simple and meaty. Pretty obvious and pretty good.

It's the essence of a great burger, according to Paul Kirk, a man who clearly knows his meat. He's one of the world's most accomplished barbecue gurus — with some 450 awards, including seven World Barbecue Championships — as well as executive chef at New York's R.U.B. BBQ restaurant.

"This may sound too obvious, but what makes a burger great is the meat. You can add different things to your patties or top them with whatever you'd like, but if you don't start with the right foundation, the whole building will crumble, right?" he said in an interview by email.

Kirk says he's all for experimenting with blends of different cuts of meat, but says the most important part for the home cook to focus on is the ratio of fat.

"Keep it somewhere in the 80/20 range and you'll end up with a flavourful, juicy burger," he said. "After that, I like to keep things pretty simple. Some hearty white buns and maybe some onion, but I don't top 'em with too much. I like to let the meat shine."

And so we asked Kirk to bring his barbecue expertise to AP's 20 Burgers of Summer series.

"The creation of my BBQ burger was a no-brainer. We had some chopped brisket available, as we tend to have at the restaurant, and thought about mixing a little of it in with our burger patty," he said. "It took two or three tests before we got the right balance so that you could taste the smokiness of the meat through the burger."

To up the barbecue flavour even more, Kirk added some of his dry barbecue rub to the burgers just before tossing them on the grill. He suggests using whatever variety rub you like.

BBQ Burger
Start to finish: 30 minutes

750 g (1 1/2 lb) lean ground chuck
250 g (8 oz) smoked or barbecued beef (such as brisket, short rib or tri-tip), finely chopped
50 ml (1/4 cup) purchased barbecue dry rub
1 vidalia onion, sliced into 5-mm (1/4-inch) rings
50 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
4 slices smoked cheddar cheese
4 white hamburger buns
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter, softened

In a large bowl, mix ground chuck with chopped beef until well combined. Form mixture into four 250-g (8-oz) patties. Season both sides of each patty with barbecue rub, reserving just a bit of the rub.

In a small bowl, toss onion rings with vegetable oil and some of the remaining barbecue rub.

Heat a grill to medium and lightly oil the grate.

Spread butter on the inside of each bun.

Cook burgers until nearly done, flipping once, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, or to desired doneness.

Meanwhile, add onions to the grill and cook until slightly charred and soft.

Just before the burgers are done, top each with onions and a slice of the cheese. Cook for another minute or so.

Toast buns lightly over the grill and assemble the burgers.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 711 calories; 377 calories from fat; 43 g fat (16 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 170 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrate; 57 g protein; 2 g fibre; 525 mg sodium.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition and America's Best BBQ Book Signing

Come out and join Ardie Davis and myself for a discussion and book signing of The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition and America's Best BBQ book on August 5th in South Portland, ME  and August 7th in Newington, NH.

Thursday, August 5 - 7 pm
Ardie Davis and Paul Kirk
Discussion and book signing
The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition and America's Best BBQ

430 Gorham Rd
South Portland, ME 04106


Saturday, August 7 - 2 pm
Ardie Davis and Paul Kirk
Discussion and book signing
The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition and America's Best BBQ

Barnes and Noble
45 Gosling Road
The Crossings at Fox Run
Newington, NH 03801
(603) 422-7733

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

KC Barbeque Society celebrates 25 years with book of recipes, memories

The Kansas City Star

What’s your favorite sport?

For Carolyn Wells, Ardie Davis or Paul Kirk, the answer is competition barbecue.

The three friends are the sauce-stained and smoke-stoked minds behind “The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook: 25th Anniversary Edition” (Andrews McMeel, $24.99), a collection of 200 recipes and a snapshot scrapbook released in honor of the nonprofit organization’s 25th anniversary.

This breakfast interview was conducted at Johnny’s Hickory House Bar-B-Q in Mission over plates of ribs and chicken. Kirk, a professional chef and winner of more than 475 cooking and barbecuing awards, brought along Brisket and Gravy With Flaky Biscuits, a recipe that appears in the cookbook.

Q: So you guys eat it for breakfast. You eat it for dessert. Is there any time you can’t eat barbecue?

Kirk: (Laughs.) No, not that I know of.

Wells: We haven’t found it yet.

Kirk: And I’m not looking!

So take me back 25 years. Could you ever have imagined the success of the KCBS?

Wells: Never. All we wanted to do was drink beer and cook and go home with meat.

Davis: It’s amazing because there are a lot of other barbecue organizations. Some have come and gone, and some are a lot older than we are. … I guess we just didn’t know it couldn’t be done. But for some reason, KCBS just took off.

Wells: Now we’re over 13,000 members.

Do you think the success of KCBS is because of what you’re doing with the organization as opposed to other organizations, or is it because the KCBS’ home base is Kansas City?

Davis: Some of both, but I think KCBS has a reputation for fairness. Most cooks prefer the blind judging format, and the reputation helps attract members and contests. Some of them have elaborate numbering systems, and competitors try to figure out how to beat the system.

Ours is just very straightforward, and everybody trusts it’s going to be blind judging so everybody knows they can get a fair shake. They even rotate the entries so that the same table doesn’t get the same entries every time.

I mean, it’s taken 25 years, and we’re constantly fine-tuning it. That’s why we say in the book, check the website ( for current rules and regulations.

Wells: And then culturally, barbecue is the ultimate comfort food. It’s everyman’s food. So even in tough economic times, people just sort of gravitate toward it. It’s all about food, family, fun and friends. Barbecue is not a solitary pursuit.

But with funny team names, pig noses and jazzed-up cookers, does KCBS win out because the members are wackier than other organizations?

Wells: The others are just as wacky, but they’re not as vocal about it. My catchphrase is barbecue people see themselves a couple of steps off center, and they like themselves that way. It’s a “Why be normal?” thing.

Putting the cookbook together over the last year must have been a real trip down memory lane for all of you.

Kirk: Some critics have said, “This looks like a yearbook.” You’re right. Thank you. But they said that to diss us.

Wells: We think the 30th anniversary book could be twice the size.

Are you already looking ahead to the next cookbook?

Davis: Absolutely.

Your first cookbook, “The Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook” (Favorite Recipes Press), was it timed to an anniversary?

Wells: No. But our last book sold 118,000 copies and made the Walter McIlhenny Cookbook Hall of Fame.

Davis: The book is full of memories, some of them bittersweet. You see friends that are gone. And we don’t want to forget them.

Is the cookbook something that you think will drive new membership?

Wells:You’d never believe that everybody in the world wants to be a barbecue judge. We’ve certified more than 15,000 judges, and they tend to travel in a pack like we do. So they’re friends with other judges, and it’s a great way to visit places you wouldn’t normally go and experience friendships you haven’t made yet.

Barbecue has got a fair tourism component to it, to the point that people are now doing economic impact studies to see how much revenue a barbecue contest brings to, say, Greenwood, S.C. There it has gone from $500,000 to $3 million in three years.

Kirk: I figured up what I spent for the Lenexa Barbecue Battle over the years, and it’s over $35,000 in meat alone. So if that’s bought in one small town, that’s a hell of an impact.

Wells: Anothercool thing is to see the industries spawned from competition barbecue. We didn’t invent rubs, but they became more of an everyday item after competition barbecue started coming along. While rubs may be expensive, we also know it takes years off the learning curve for competition cooking. The number of restaurateurs and caterers who have branched out from competition barbecue is considerable.

Kirk: The people I teach say rubs take three to five years off the trial and error.

Are younger cooks going to move up into leadership roles with the KCBS?

Wells: The next generation is equally passionate. But it’s an expensive sport, so you probably can’t afford it in your 20s unless you band a lot of people together.

But there’s plenty between 30 to 45 — the years when you’ve got the stamina and means, and/or sponsorship. Plus, these days people are professionally branding themselves now.

Davis: There’s a team out of California that is introducing an Asian influence. They’re savvy to umami (in addition to sweet, sour, salty or bitter tastes, the Japanese identify “umami” is an overall delicious, savory essence). They won the Great American Barbecue Contest last year. They’re a fairly new team, and they’re just cleaning up at competition.

I think part of their secret is they know flavors. They know how to balance and put things together.

Wells: The flavor profile is much more complex than it used to be. There’s so much more layering.

Kirk: It’s gone from salt and pepper to umami.

Wells: Literally.

How has the structure of the organization changed?

Wells: Organizationally speaking, we are teenagers right now. Over the last five years, through necessity, we’ve turned into, this is not the right word, but bureaucrats. We’ve added structure to the point where it is sometimes painful.

But we have to. Our combined purses are over $2.5 million a year. Anytime you get that much money involved, you have to. It’s a necessary component. And while we’re trying to keep the spirit of fun, we’re much more regimented than we used to be.

What’s the future of barbecue as sport?

Wells: I would like to see us doing more things to preserve grills, memorabilia — basically we need a shrine for a food group.

Where I see us going is embracing basically all forms of outdoor cooking. The next great migration will be a backyard barbecue contest, things you can do in one day. A place where people aren’t intimidated and can bring their kids. Kids Que’s. Going into tailgating. Dutch oven stuff. And even cooking with gas.

Kirk: Ugh.

Wells: Anything that you can do outdoors that represents outside-the-box talent. Again, it’s about the extended family, and tailgating promotes that same sort of thing as competition barbecue, and that’s where younger ones are going to come in droves.


Brisket and Gravy With Flaky Biscuits

One of the mottos of the KCBS: “Barbecue … it’s not just for breakfast anymore.” Charter KCBS member and world champion cooker Paul Kirk, aka the Baron of BBQ, shares his biscuit and gravy recipe in the book.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

For the gravy:
1/2 pound bulk mild sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 pound barbecued brisket point, diced
2 to 3 cups milk
Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the biscuits:
1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
3 tablespoons lard or solid white vegetable shortening, chilled
3/4 cup cold milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the gravy: Crumble the sausage into a skillet and cook over medium heat until browned. Sprinkle the flour over the browned sausage, stirring constantly. Blend in the brisket. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, slowly add the milk a little at a time until you reach your desired thickness. Stir constantly until creamy and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the biscuits: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt; mix well. With your fingertips, two knives or a pastry blender, cut in the chilled butter and lard until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the cold milk and mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and place it on a lightly floured work surface.

Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter, flouring the cutter between cuts, cut out the biscuits, gather the scraps and form the dough into another 1/2 -inch thick piece of dough, being careful not to work it too much.

Place the biscuits 1  1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately with warm gravy.

Per serving, based on 10: 374 calories (59 percent from fat), 24 grams total fat (11 grams saturated), 56 milligrams cholesterol, 25 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams protein, 562 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Grilled Pork Roast With Pepper Jelly Glaze

Makes 8 serving

1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin roast

1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup hot pepper jelly

1/3 cup hot pepper jelly
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Place the pork in a large resealable plastic bag. Heat the marinade ingredients together over medium heat until the jelly melts, then pour the mixture over the pork in the bag. Seal the bag tightly and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Prepare a medium-hot grill. Remove pork from the marinade and discard marinade. Place the pork roast on the grill over a drip pan and close the grill hood. Grill for 30 to 45 minutes (about 20 minutes per pound), until the internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees.

While the meat is cooking, stir together glaze ingredients. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, coat the roast with the glaze. Remove the roast from the heat and let it rest until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 10 minutes.

Per serving: 179 calories (31 percent from fat), 6 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 31 milligrams cholesterol, 17 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams protein, 49 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.

Corn Bread Salad

Competition and camaraderie are what it’s all about. Carolyn McLemore of Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Ala., shared this recipe.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Corn bread:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies

1 (1-ounce) package ranch-style dressing mix
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped scallion
2 (16-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1  1/2 cups cooked and crumbled bacon
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained

To make the corn bread: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a cast-iron skillet with the vegetable oil and heat it in the oven. Mix the buttermilk and eggs in a bowl, then add the cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chilies, stirring briskly. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely, then crumble.

To make the salad: Whisk together the ranch dressing mix, sour cream and mayonnaise and set aside. Combine the tomatoes, green pepper and scallion to form a salsa and set aside. Put half the crumbled corn bread in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Top with 1 can of the pinto beans. Follow with half of the salsa, half of the cheese, half of the bacon, half of the corn and half of the dressing mixture. Repeat the layers, starting with the rest of the corn bread and ending with the rest of the dressing mixture. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Per serving, based on 10: 736 calories (63 percent from fat), 52 grams total fat (17 grams saturated), 117 milligrams cholesterol, 42 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein, 1,863 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber.

KC Rib Doctor’s Baked Beans

Guy Simpson, aka the KC Rib Doctor, had his baked bean recipe published in Woman’s Day magazine in March 1987. It has been continually tweaked over the years.

Makes about 6 cups

1 cup diced sliced bacon (about 1/2 pound)
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup tomato-based barbecue sauce
1/3 cup real maple syrup
3 (28-ounce) cans pork and beans, preferably Bush’s Original
Chopped brisket burnt ends, as desired

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fry the bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the onion and red pepper and cook for 3 minutes, until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in the brown sugar, barbecue sauce and maple syrup. Put the beans in a 12-by-6-by 3-inch foil pan. Add the bacon mixture and burnt ends; stir to mix.

Loosely cover with a sheet of foil. Place the beans in the oven and bake for 40 to 60 minutes, stirring 3 times.

If you’re going to cook the beans in your smoker, preheat it to 230 degrees and cook uncovered for about 4 hours, stirring 3 to 4 times, adding barbecue sauce or liquid if the beans get too dry.

Per 1/2 -cup serving: 430 calories (26 percent from fat), 13 grams total fat (5 grams saturated), 30 milligrams cholesterol, 67 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 130 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber.

Wanna do lunch?

You’re invited to join barbecue masters Paul Kirk (from left), Ardie Davis and Carolyn Wells, along with other Kansas City Barbeque Society members, when they meet for lunch at Johnny’s Bar-B-Q in Mission, 5959 Broadmoor St., on the first Wednesday of each month. “Literally everyone is welcome,” Davis says. The gatherings start at 11:30 a.m. Everyone pays his or her own check.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Baron Brings His Pitmasters Class to Kansas City, Kansas

Bichelmeyer meats hosted another Pitmasters class in Kansas City, Kansas last Saturday. The Midwest was well represented by eager participants from Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, and Wyoming. I really enjoyed this group of participants. They were both high spirited and inquiring. Thank you all for making the class exciting for me!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Great American Barbecue Blast

Great American Barbecue Blast

Start Time: Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 6:00pm

End Time: Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 11:00pm

Location: Hilltop Office Building at Briarcliff Village

Street: 212 Northwest Platte Valley Drive

City/Town: Riverside, MO


Tickets are just $20 and include all-you-can-eat Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue and all-you-can-drink Clear 10 Vodka (and other beverages), silent auction with great items and music provided by DJ Anthony Nigro. David Ruisch and Ron Bailey will be bartending.

The event starts at 6pm and goes to 11ish (so great pre-bar). All proceeds benefit Fox4 Love Fund, Guadelupe Center, St. Mary's Food Kitchen, Wyandotte Co Parks & Rec Foundation and Kookers Kare.

Go to for more info or get tickets at the door.

Hope to see you there.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Smoke N' Fire's, "KC BBQ Books & Cooks"

Tonight I participated in Smoke N' Fire's, "KC BBQ Books & Cooks" event, held from 6 - 8 pm. This event was put on to help Harvester's increase their food supplies. The organization is experiencing a 40 to 60% increase in people needing assistance. A minimum donation of $10 or 10 canned goods was suggested for entry into the event, and  all proceeds are going to Harvester's.

The menu is Rob Russell's (of Good One Smokers) delicious pulled pork & brisket, Jim Cattey's delicious potato casserole, Steve Samazin's (Smoke N' Fire's in house grill master) grilled treats and adult beverages. Rhythm & Blues live music by Rich Berry, a Smoke N' Fire favorite.
Authors at tonight's event include:

Karen Adler & Judith Fertig a.k.a. Q Queens,

Carolyn Wells with the Kansas City BBQ Society,

Paul Kirk a.k.a. KC Baron of BBQ and

Rib Stars,Chef Richard McPeake

We all signed books purchased during the event and demonstrated recipes from our new books throughout the evening. Thank you to everyone that attended and participated to make this event a success!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


The coals are burning hot, the wood is burning clean, and the delicate smell of meat and spices cohabitating in a bath of smoke is caressing my nose while tickling my taste buds. Yep, BARBECUE SEASON HAS BEGUN!

Once again Guy Simpson (KC Rib Doctor) and myself, have begun the barbecue season by teaching our 1 day intensive barbecue class through Communiversity-Kansas City. This is a beginner’s class that lasts between 2 to 3 hours and covers all of the basics of barbecue (meat selection, fuel selection, temperature control, times and temperature, etc.). We usually close the class with a Q&A session and a complimentary barbecue dinner.

A big thank you to all that participated in our fist class of the year! I hope that the information that was given to you will help you to take your barbecue to another level of enjoyment!