Jack Daniel’s World Invitational BBQ Championship

It’s that time of year when I start thinking about whether I’ll get lucky, once again, and find an invitation in my mail informing me of my selection to be one of only 80 or so Certified BBQ Judges from the U.S. and around the world to head down to Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 and the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Championship. The Jack, as it is called, is one of the big three BBQ competitions in the world, the other two being the American Royal in Kansas City and Memphis in May, and it’s, in my mind at least, the most highly regarded competition of the three due to the fact that all of the competitors had to have won a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) official state championship contest, or a national contest in the case of the international teams.

So, what you have, therefore, is a competition where you have nothing but the best in the game, the best of the best, competing not only for the $10,000 prize money, but more importantly, for the bragging rights that go along with being crowned “ Grand Champion of The Jack”. It’s a contest that is always packed with avid barbecue fans and personalities from all over and the people at Jack Daniel’s really know how to throw a party in “The Hollow”, I can assure you! So, you can imagine my excitement and glee when I opened an E-mail from the judges’ selection committee informing that I had once again been invited to head on down and judge this year’s 26th Championship!

It’s kinda hard to describe, but I can say it gives you a tingly feeling knowing that you’re going to be around a great bunch of BBQ fanatics and also getting to eat, and judge, some of the finest barbecue a person can put in his or her mouth; I mean to tell ya, it’s amazing! So I hope y’all get lucky at some point and get the chance to judge The Jack, or, the Royal and MIM, for that matter; until you do, you’ll just have to let me describe the experience for you, which I’ll always be tickled to do for y’all. I’ll be taking a bunch of pictures this year and will keep you posted in future chats; ‘til then, remember to keep it low and slow!

Yours in smoke,

DennyMike

DennyMike’s Brisket Tips and Tricks

I was cooking a bunch of briskets last week for my neighbor’s wedding and I thought of a tip that might be worth sharing with y’all.

Now this tip only applies when you’re dealing with a full untrimmed brisket commonly referred to as a packer’s cut which generally runs between 10 and 18 pounds and contains both the flat and point cuts, which leads to my tip. Everyone knows you’re supposed to cut brisket against the grain, but the natural fact is that the flat and point cuts of brisket are actually two muscles that lie on top of each other and the grains run in opposite directions so it’s necessary to separate the two if you want to be sure you’re cutting against the grain with both pieces.

A trick I employ is when the meat has cooled sufficiently to get your hands into it without getting scalded, with gloved hands I locate the seam where the two pieces are joined and I slip my fingers in between the two and gently work my hand(s) in to fully separate the two pieces; and voila, you have two beautiful mouthwatering pieces of meat just waiting for you to slice into gorgeous 1/8 – ¼ inch slices! Bon apetit!

Until next time we chat, remember to keep it low and slow!

Yours in smoke,

DennyMike

DennyMike’s is Heading South

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 6.07.37 PMDennyMike is heading back down to the South region of Whole Foods and this time I’m heading down to demo for the grand opening of the new Whole Foods Hilton Head Island (check ’em out on facebook)

Store and while I’m at it, I plan to do a couple of demos in Savannah, too! After opening Jackson, Mississippi earlier this year and dropping by to demo in Memphis while I was judging Memphis in May, I can’t wait to get back down where people really know what good food and quality sauces and seasonings are all about.

I plan to be in the meat department in Savannah on the 8th from  3-7 and then off to Hilton head on the 9th and 10th from 2-6 and 10-2; then it’ll be back to the seafood department in Savannah on the 11th from 3-7. Hope y’all get a chance to come by and say howdy and try some of my wicked tasty offerings; I expect there will be chicken, beef, pork and fish so come on down and help me celebrate the newest Whole Foods store in the US of A! It’s sure to be a hoedown, so I hope y’all come and see why I say “One taste is all it takes…!”

Yours in smoke,
Dennis M. ‘DennyMike’ Sherman

Carolina Style – Get It While You Can!

Carolina StyleJust want to let you know that for those of you jonesing for my Carolina Style sauce, I am pleased to be able to share with you that we sold our remaining stock to Reny’s www.renys.com  and I was told that as recently as last week they still had about 40 cases left in inventory.   

Please check out their website and you can either plan on swinging by one of their stores next time you’re in Maine or I’m sure they’d be willing to do mail order for you. I plan to post the info on FaceBook as well so you might want to stock up soon and often. The other bit of good news I am happy to share is that I plan to run the Carolina as a seasonal for next year, so all is not lost! It’s a crazy thing, it was our slowest seller but there certainly are some fanatical fans for it out there!

And I like that a lot, actually, so I’m going to honor y’all’s request to bring it back.

Thanks for your continued support for my stuff; I’m thankful and appreciative.

Yours in Smoke, 
DennyMike

Thrill of the Grill at the NBBQA Conference and Trade Show!

By Vernee Green-Myers
“The Southern Girls BBQ Roadshow”

At the National Barbecue Association conference and trade show held in San Marcos, TX there was a new event on Friday night! It was a steak cook-off challenge put together by Brad Barrett with Grill Grate and Linda Orrison, President Elect of the NBBQA, between the “low and slow” smokers against the “fast and fiery” grillers from the Steak Cookoff Association (SCA).  All entry fees would fund the efforts of Operation BBQ Relief, a non-profit disaster response team, who provide meals to residents in areas stricken by natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. It was a challenge no one could turn down!  The winner would win bragging rights and a handcrafted Stetson made by NBBQA President Elect, Linda Orrison, also known as “Mama Shed.”   Continue reading

What Kind of Fish is This?

I have a very good friend who has high cholesterol–very high cholesterol. His doctor told him to cut back on red meat and eat more fish. Since my friend doesn’t cook much, he came to me. The problem is that for those of us “of a certain age”, the fish we’re most familiar with is all fried. We grew up Catholic during the late 50′s and early 60′s, and we started laughing about how we had probably eaten a swimming pool full of fish sticks during our lives. Let’s face it–most of us rate our fish dishes by the taste of the batter and temperature of the oil. We had to do better than that. We set a date for big “fish tasting”. Continue reading

Looking back on my first ‘Judging O’ the Jack’

The 23rd Annual Jack Daniel’s Invitational Barbecue Cook-Off… Sitting in on a tasting session of Jack Daniel’s world famous Tennessee Whiskey…. Angelo Lucches, Jack Daniel’s first outside salesman celebrating his 90th birthday and still going strong… Master Distiller Jeff Arnett and his very capable Master Taster Jeff Arnett… Guy Fieri of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives… The judges welcome dinner and entertainment up on Barbecue Hill. Burning regrets in Jasper the Pig… Judging the best BBQ I’ve ever had, prepared by winning teams from all over the Country and the World…I could go on and on. Continue reading

Leftovers?

While rummaging through the refrigerator today, I couldn’t believe how many leftovers we had.   How do two people end up with so many leftovers?  How do two people end up with any leftovers?  I had to finally admit to myself that I was no good at cooking for only two whenever I fired up the grill.  Since it is so much fun to prepare the food, and to gather around the grill and smoker to begin with, I decided it would be better to figure out some great ways to use these leftovers. Continue reading

A deal too good to pass up.

Sorry about the lengthy sabbatical, but it couldn’t be helped and I won’t bore you with the details.  Additionally, I don’t have any specific recipes to share this time around.  I’m too excited about DennyMike’s offer to give away some of his 9-Pack Gift Sets.  To qualify, all you have to do is become a member of the National BBQ Association, the NBBQA.  As if that wasn’t enough, the great folks at Grill Grate will be giving away one of their amazing grates, too. Continue reading

Sometimes you just have to adjust.

I was asked to bring an appetizer dish to a birthday party.  I had been dying to smoke some chicken with DennyMike’s Chick Magnet, so I was pretty excited to figure out how to best use the chicken.  If you had this to work with, wouldn’t you be excited?

While I was trying to decide exactly how I was going to use this amazing chicken, I got the bad news—the food theme was Italian!  The thought of turning this incredibly delicious smoked chicken into some tomato-slathered appetizer dish was making me crazy.  It finally hit me…PIZZA!  This is the ultimate in “Italian” versatility. Continue reading

My “go-to” dish?

One of the things that I truly love about cooking is trying new dishes.  Long ago I developed a “no fear” attitude about cooking because I was always working from a recipe.  Do what it said, and take a bow.  Even though the standing joke is that men never read or follow instructions and directions, when it comes to recipes I toe the line until I’m very comfortable with the process.  Many times, though, you just don’t have the time to get a bunch of ingredients together for something new.  At times like this, it’s great to have a few “go-to” dishes that you can put together in next to no time. Continue reading