Day 4: 55 Racks of Ribs for A Good Cause

 

Michael Quessenberry and the Northeast Arkansas Legal Support Professionals Raise nearly $1,400 for NEA families.

Michael Quessenberry and Amelia Harris worked together to cook and sell 55 racks of Jim Quessenberry’s Rub and Sauce Beautiful candied ribs in order to help the Northeast Arkansas Legal Support Professionals Group assist with their regular philanthropic events. The group aides with scholarships, donations, and other assistance alongside CASA and other family assistance groups throughout the Northeast Arkansas region.

Michael cooked all night on Wednesday April 25th and through the morning of April 26th in order to present the ribs to each of the donating members of the fundraiser. The ribs will be delivered at 5pm on April 26th.

The Arkansas Trav’ler Championship Tradition

The Arkansas Trav’ler BBQ Cooking team has historically provided catering services in official and some not so official capacities for over 35 years. When Jim started the competitive cooking team he had already been cooking and providing for those in need for several years. His big heart and bigger head paved the way for his sons, Lee and Michael, to carry on a tradition of giving back to the community.

For inquiries about how we can help your next fundraiser, give us a shout or email us at [email protected]

Day 3: Why We Love Smoked Pork (And You Should, Too!)

There are many delicious forms of barbecue, but our favorite is very obviously pork. There are a lot of good reasons for this and you will probably agree that they are all worthy of your attention.

Whole Hog

One of the most ambitious cooks you will ever try is the whole hog. It is a lesson in patience, skill, and technique that few have experienced, but it is worth every minute of experience. When you smoke a whole hog, you better set aside at least 2 days of going nowhere and staying on top of your assignment.

The whole hog is very rewarding and will feed dozens of people. The meat is very tender throughout the shoulders, ribs, and ham areas. When cooking a whole hog it is good to remember that you have time to get it done right. Always set aside 24 – 30 hours of time including prep and serving so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

The whole hog has a distinct and mouthwatering flavor that is unlike any portion of the hog that you might have otherwise cooked separately. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a baby-back rib cut directly from the animal. It is absolutely the freshest, juiciest, and most flavorful way to eat baby-back ribs. Follow Michael’s instructions here for an experience that is like none other. Be sure to pick up a few bottles of sauce or rub beautiful to go with the hog.

As a child I remember seeing my first whole hog cook at a BBQ competition. To me it looked like something you would see a tribe cook on some island far away from Arkansas.

Michael Quessenberry
https://jimquessenberry.com/going-whole-hog/

Ribs

My favorite barbecue dish has to be baby-back ribs. Sure there are spare ribs and St. Louis style ribs, but my favorite are baby-back ribs hands down. Let’s break it down. Spare ribs are from the belly and are meatier, larger in size, and often times tougher than baby-back ribs which come from closer to the loin. Because of this, baby-back ribs are more tender and take less preparation and cooking to get a wonderful and flavorful entree. St. Louis ribs are basically just trimmed and squared spare ribs. They’re uniform in appearance and have less grissel on them, but don’t be fooled, they aren’t “back” ribs.

Some folks like “dry” ribs, which when done properly, I LOVE, and some folks like to get messy with saucy wet ribs. I like something a bit more in the middle. My ribs tend to have the chew of a dry rib with a glazy candy shell similar to my shoulders or butts. Using Rub Beautiful and Sauce Beautiful as a glaze, the ribs come off the smoker with a very thick and satisfying bark that will leave you wanting more even if you’re full.

For more information on how I prepare ribs, see Lock and Load Ribs.

Pulled Pork

Ah the classic pulled pork sandwich, an American staple. Although the best sandwiches are often a mix of pulled pork from a whole hog, the traditional pulled pork sandwich is made from the shoulder, butt, or picnic ham portion of the hog cooked on its own, pulled and/or chopped, and placed between two buns with a dollop of homemade coleslaw topped with a squirt of Sauce Beautiful to complete the perfect BBQ sandwich.

 

When cooking a butt or shoulder, I generally season and coat the meat with a very liberal amount of Rub Beautiful and place the meat with the fat side down (to prevent bitterness and greasy meat) on the grate with an indirect heat source. Then I smoke the meat about 4-5 hours to get a good smoke ring in the meat. I do this at about 225-250 degrees. After 4-5 hours, wrap the shoulder or butt in aluminum foil and finish it off to about 195 internally. The bone should wiggle free without hassle when the temp hits 195 to 200.

Pull the meat and/or chop it and serve on sandwiched. Your mouth and friends will thank you.

Day 2: Five Quick Tips For Wood Smoking.

If you are reading this you are probably aware that smoking different woods can bring unique and wonderful flavors to your cooking game.

We wanted to share some tips with you on which woods might be better suited than others during certain cooks.

Tip #1: Hickory

Hickory has a strong smoke flavor and is best paired with bigger tougher cuts of meat such as pork or beef. My father, Jim Quessenberry was a big proponent of using hard woods such as hickory while slow smoking pork. He is quoted in an interview with Ardie Davis saying, “God gave us one tree, the hickory tree, he knew what were going to do with it.”

Tip #2: Oak

Oak like hickory is best paired with tougher bigger cuts of meat to provide them with a strong smoke flavor. We sometimes use these two woods together depending on availability.

Tip #3: Mesquite

Mesquite like the woods above has a strong smoke flavor, but it could be considered too harsh for pork or poultry. It is kind of in its own category. It is best paired with beef. A beef brisket is a big tough piece of meat. It takes many hours of slow smoking to penetrate and break this piece of meat down.

Tip #4 The Fruit Woods (Apple, Peach, Cherry, etc.)

These woods have a mild sweet smoke flavor and are great to use with more delicate meats like poultry and lamb, but can also be used with pork to sweeten the deal. My favorite combination for pork is a small portion of hickory and lots of apple.

Tip #5 Charcoal

Charcoal can be just the right amount of smoke flavor you need to grill or slow smoke everything. If you aren’t looking to experiment with different woods, and you just want to get the job done, you can use charcoal. Charcoal provides a delicious smoke flavor that’s not too harsh for the delicate meats, but provides enough flavor for the tougher meats.

Day 1: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Barbecue

There are many tips and tricks as well as tools of the trade that competitors and pitmasters use quite often to get the best results. We’re going to let you in on a few that we use quite often to get things going. We’ll start with the essential, and that’s fire.

Vegetable Oil and Paper Towel Fire Starter

So there are quite a number of methods for starting a fire including shorting out a car battery, gasoline and matches, dryer lint and a lighter, and so on, but these tend to be dangerous and/or extremely bitter in flavor. I’d like to share our favorite method which is odorless and doesn’t make your barbecue taste bitter.

About 10 years ago or so we were competing in a whole hog and shoulder competition and it was cold outside. Fire was not only necessary for cooking, but to stay warm. Luckily our good friend Jonathan Conley came prepared. He showed up with a gallon Ziploc bag full of folded squares of paper towel soaking in vegetable oil. We simply took one out, crumpled it into a mound about the size of half a baseball and set it under the charcoal chimney. All that was left to do was light one of the paper corners on fire and wait about 15 minutes for perfect white-hot glowing coals.

Use With Caution: Built in Handheld Thermometer

Seriously. Use this with caution. We’re not liable for you doing something dumb and burning yourself. Now that we have that outta the way, here’s a neat trick for at a glance slow smoking of larger meats. Ideally we like to smoke pork shoulders, butts, or even a whole hog at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit and most of the time our built in chamber thermomometers work, but just like the old saying of Murphy’s Law goes, if it can happen it will. That’s never more true than when you depend on thermometers and they’re broken and/or miscalaibrated and you’re trying to check the heat of your smoke box.

Let’s say your instruments all break. Don’t sweat it. If this happens to you, a handy trick is to palm test the smoke chamber. Now, don’t go trying to palm the firebox. If you do, that’s not on me and your mom should have spent more time teaching you common sense, but alas, you’ll figure it out. The palm test is when you don’t want to open the smoke chamber and lose all the heat, but you want to know confidently that you have enough heat to cook with. It’s simple. Slowly approach the chamber with your palm open. If the heat is too much to bear even before you get close to the smoke box, your cooking too hot and too fast and need to choke down your stacks or your firebox air supply to cool down the fire. If you get to the surface with your palm and you’re able to comfortably place your hand on the surface for a considerable amount of time, then your fire is too cold and you’re on a slow pace to get done. The perfect amount of time to place your hand is to firmly apply your palm for a second or two before it becomes too uncomfortable and burns you. This is usually a decent enough heat to keep things rolling although you’ll want to phone a buddy and get something a little more accurate to read the temp.

All in all it’s a quick trick to keep you rolling, especially if you’re cooking overnight and thermometers aren’t readily available for a few more hours.

 

Turbinado Sugar

Ever see a Boston Butt that looked like the inside of a chimney? Overdone, carburized, burnt to a crisp? We’ve all been there, but what if I told you that all of them aren’t burnt that bad? Would you believe me? What if I told you there is a way to reduce the chances of over caramelization and blackening of the bark on your smoked cuts of pork and still have a sweet flavor? Would you want to know what that is? Sure you would.

Our main rub, Rub Beautiful, is made of Turbinado sugar just for that reason. Turbinado sugar is raw cane sugar before it has been processed, bleached, or had molasses added to it like brown sugar. Most people will confuse it with brown sugar, but it is in fact the mother of all sugar. The reason it is so much better for a finished bark on your barbecue is because it hasn’t yet been processed and has a higher threshold for crusting and turning black under high heat. In fact, when mixed with paprika or chili powder in your rub base (not unlike Rub Beautiful) it will give you a beautiful brick red color during the caramelization stage of smoking the meat. It makes for a beautiful finish and wonderful taste that’s not overpoweringly sweet, not crunchy or burnt, and defintely not bitter. It’s a neat trick that’s sure to please your next barbecue audience whether in competition or in the back yard.

Other Quick Tricks

  • No prep table? Easy, use a truck tailgate and some aluminum foil.
  • No wind for the firebox? Use a shop fan.
  • Dirty grates and no brush? Heat em up and ball up a wad of aluminum foil to scrub them with using a stick.
  • We’ll do a whole separate blog post on aluminum foil and duct tape.

365 Days of Barbecue

Good afternoon friends and family! I wanted to let you all know that JimQuessenberry.com is having its best year ever and to reward all of you for being our friends and fans, we’re going to be journaling our adventure one day at a time with our 365 Days of Barbecue blog.

Topics will always be about barbecue but with some different takes and twists on subject matter. We will continue to share recipes along the way so that you can get the most out of your barbecue experience with us. We hope that you find the blog to be informative and engaging as well as honest.

Let’s get started witha few newsworthy posts happening the past few days.

We’re on Amazon!

View our seller profile here. Our four top sellers are listed including our brand new Sauce Beautiful Gold. Of course you can always order online here at the website as well. Either way we’re excited to offer our products to a wider variety of customers.

We Just Made A Batch of Everything!

With the success of being featured on a few YouTube series and the announcement of Amazon, our Winter to Spring transition wiped us out of product. We’ve been fortunate to have higher than last year sales early in the year and have had to continue hitting the kitchen as often as possible to keep up.

Be sure to sign up for our various coupon mailing lists and subscribe to our blog for 365 Days of Barbecue

This is my passion!

You know when you are growing up and everyone asks you, “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” As a kid, I remember thinking, I want to be a farmer, a cook, or a Ninja Turtle.  The first two choices were because I looked up to my dad, he wore those two hats, and of course I knew I couldn’t really be a Ninja Turtle I had no way to obtain Mutagen, It was just something to entertain my friends and I as a kid. I was distraught when all of my friends quit playing Ninja Turtles and began being Power Rangers. At some point, our pretending to be mutants and super-heroes faded and my friends and I got into liking girls and being competitive in sports instead. I even began to tear down the awesome TMNT wallpaper border in my bedroom for fear that I would get made fun of if my brother’s friends came over and saw it. Little did I know that being a nerd would ultimately become cool.  Lee and I grew up as kids that played outside making forts in the nearby creek, but also had a love for video games.  Our love for video games started with our dad’s Commodore 64. Dad was always into technology. His interests in computers set me and my brother on a path that would eventually lead us to our careers. We tore up a lot of computers, and made some expensive mistakes, but we learned the ins and outs of computing.

Farming became a bust for Dad in the 90s as it was for many small farmers. You couldn’t make a living on it anymore. So, that was out for me as well. I don’t think I was really that interested in the first place. So, I knew then what my real passion was. It had transcended through all the years of my interests and hobbies. I remember being just 3 or 4 years old and standing in a chair next to the stove helping dad cook our BBQ sauce. He would call me his “little saucier”.  Mom being the very crafty woman that she is came up with the original packaging of the first gen Sauce Beautiful. The first gen jars were a lot like the throwback labels we still use in our retro gift basket, but first gen jars were quart sized Mason jars with a picture of the iconic caricature of dad holding the world champion trophy stuck on the front, and actual black watch plaid tied onto the top as a dome cover. It wasn’t until later we had the labels made to look like the plaid.  Lee and I grew up marketing this sauce and cooking along side our mom and dad.

The mid to late 90s were not quite as fun, we had financial issues, and other family issues, that ultimately led to our brand new hobby sauce business having to go out of business. No need to relive that here, except to say that through it all Lee and I held on to our passion to make our sauces and rubs for those friends and family lucky enough to know we were still boot legging it to make ends meet. Also, there weren’t many nights we would cook a meal inside. We had a Radio Flyer red wagon with a Weber Smokey Joe in it. Dad would send Lee and I to pick up groceries, Lee to drive and me to pick out the good veggies and meat for grilling. Needless to say we got a little grill time in.

Fast-Forward through the years, Lee and I both took our interest in computers and got degrees in Computer Science, It was a long road, and very hard at times, but through it all, our passion to cook and make sauces and rubs shined through. I smoked a whole hog for my junior prom. We catered the end of the year party every year at our apartment complex when we moved to Jonesboro to go to college. We even built our first barbecue sauce selling e-commerce website as a project for our software engineering class.

As you may already know, after college Lee and I decided to pick back up were we as a family had left off so many years ago, and start making our sauces and rubs commercially as well as competing in contests. We have had some bumps in the road, but we have picked up a few trophies of our own and made some good friends and fans along the way.  The journey doesn’t end here, I see the successes and the pitfalls we have had in our last few years resurrecting our brand, and no matter where the road may take us I will never give up, because This is my passion!

Thanks for Reading!

Michael Q



Grill Masters Club: January 2018 VIP Jim Quessenberry BBQ!

What Is the Grill Masters Club?

The Grill Masters Club is a “flavor of the month” monthly subscription box that is sent to members once a month containing niche and prize winning barbecue and grilling products. It’s the perfect way to sample a broad range of uniquely crafted products that you would have normally never had the opportunity to sample. For us, it’s a unique way to introduce our products to hundreds of new people.

Here are a few past examples including our friends at Big Bob Gibson in Decatur, AL.

Preparing the Unprepared.

Jim Quessenberry BBQ Ships a Ton of BBQ Sauce
This is literally a ton (2000 lbs) of BBQ sauce with a whole lot of spice on top.

Several months ago we reached out to The Grill Masters Club to break the ice and get involved with them as a potential outlet for our products. They asked us to send some samples and wait for a response. We sent them our original Sauce Beautiful and original Rub Beautiful in their packaging and held our breath. After putting them to the back of our minds and focusing on other opportunities, we nearly forgot that we reached out to them. Then with the weight of the holiday season bearing over everyone, we got an email from The Grill Masters Club requesting 500 of each product. We prepared for the cook and got the ingredients ready to go for 500 units to complete the order, or so we thought. As soon as we were ready to finish bottling the last bottle of each product, The Grill Masters Club contacted us requesting 700 units total. During our initial run of 500, we reached out to John Auker of The Delta Cuisine in West Memphis, TN to schedule another cook for the following weekend. We scheduled the cook and prepared for an additional 200 units each. I jokingly replied to the email and suggested that they order 1,000 altogether!

After a few days, we got another email needing 100 more units for a total of 800. At this point, 1,000 wasn’t a joke anymore. I suggested an additional 50 units be tacked on just in case there was an increase in sales for Christmas, and we agreed to 850. The weekend was scheduled and we continued to produce what was asked of us.

But Wait! There’s More!

We bottled, packaged, and wrapped 850 jars of sauce and 850 bottles of spice and put them on a palette to pick up so that they could be delivered to The Grill Masters Club warehouse in Greenville, SC. Literally as soon as the palette was picked up by our delivery contractor, another email came in requesting 100 more units! It was pure madness and we loved it! Luckily we bet on the strategy to produce 1,000 units and the product was ready to go. The only drawback was that we ran completely out of labels for sauce! We usually purchase labels in bulk but this was a single 1,000 unit hit and the better part of the roll of labels we had left! In fact, we had to get a short run two days before Christmas of 100 labels. Thankfully Art Advertising in Jonesboro, AR was able to grant our Christmas wish and the scramble to label the last 100 jars of sauce was in the bag.

 

Jimq Label Design 2018
We have a slightly updated new label design for 2018. It was rushed into production because we ran out of labels!

Clown Car To The Rescue!

So the old saying goes, “That ship has sailed,” and so it had and was on its way to South Carolina, albeit 100 units shy of 950. Luckily for us, our trusty clown car was fresh off of an oil change and looking for a new purpose in life. Jeff and Patrick loaded up the clown car with the last 100 jars and bottles and took a trip across Northeast Mississippi to see family and then on to South Carolina to deliver the final payload. We’re thankful for their last minute Hail Mary pass completion and determination to succeed in fulfilling the seemingly never ending demand set forth by The Grill Masters Club.

Special Thanks

Thank you to Aaron, Steven, Tom, Brandon, Gil, Wesley, and Kayla for your contributions in making this order happen.

January 4th is The Cutoff for Jim Q Fans

Be sure to put your order in before January 4th for a chance to become a member of the Grill Masters Club January 2018 Box. There are no obligations and you can cancel at any time. Our box will ship out on January 7th. After Jan 4th, subscriptions will start in the February shipment.