Day 17: So… We Found Another World Championship That Dad Won? Who Knew?

Upon doing a ton of research lately on the history and origins of 1980’s pioneering barbecue championships, we found out a few things that even we didn’t know about Dad’s past wins. Unfortunately back in the late 80’s or maybe early 90’s, Dad’s trophies were on display at a buddy’s restaurant and it burned completely to the ground. It included several top place wins at Memphis in May as well as other contests around the mid-south. (I’ll do more research on that later to establish the what, when, and where of the restaurant). All of our lives, we were told that Dad was a two-time champion, receiving top honors of the 3rd and 5th International Cooking Competition in Lisdoonvarna, Ireland. While this is a true statement it seems that we all, including my mother, let one slip through the cracks that was a much more recent victory, and from Memphis in May to boot.

 

Through research online, it became apparent that Dad won the World Championship in Ribs either in 1993 or 1994 at Memphis in May. The book, “Down Home Cooking” by Reader’s Digest (ISBN 0-89577-646-4) lists a recipe and excerpt from an interview with Dad called “Arkansas Slabs of Ribs” which states “Jim Quessenberry, grand prize winner in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, slowly smokes pork ribs on a barbecue for several hours. For faster cooking, roast them in the oven then finish them on the grill.”

EDIT: To my knowledge, Dad’s biggest win at MIM was a 2nd place win in whole-hog sometime in the 1980’s, but this sheds new light on a trophy that may have been lost to time and or a fire. According to my mother, Dad won Grand Prize in a ham cooking contest and this may have been what the article alluded to without expressly mentioning ribs. I have seen one website claiming that Memphis in May was won by Apple City Smokers in 1994 with ribs, but another team took shoulders in 1993 which could lead to the possibility that there was a place win in 1993. One thing’s for certain, he won a category in Memphis in May with top honors and that’s a feat in and of itself.

Day 16: Five Stories about Jim Quessenberry That Will Inspire You.

There are moments in life that refine a person and then there are actions that define a person. As Jim’s oldest boy, I’d like to share with you five of the most influential and inspirational deeds that Dad did to better the world.

5. No-Till Farmer of the Year

When I was a kid Dad had a handful of big shiny gold and silver belt buckles that were placed on plaques hanging from the fireplace mantle. I was always fascinated with them and I never could understand why he never wore them. I didn’t realize they were trophies for a very niche type of farming where you use less fuel, less herbicide, and less fertilizer while refraining from burning off your fields and polluting the air. The No-Till farming practice was started as a way to save on costs while also minimizing the impact of large scale agriculture on the environment. In the mid to late 1980’s, Jim’s farm was recognized on several occasions by the state of Arkansas as one of the best in the state and he was awarded No-Till Farmer of the year in consecutive years by then governor, Bill Clinton. Dad was a pioneer and champion for the natural state before it was cool to be organic and environmentally friendly.

 

4. Justice of the Peace

As a kid I was the ring-bearer in about a thousand weddings. My brother and I were often stand-ins for rehearsals and practice. When people wanted to get hitched they showed up at our house with a marriage license and a fistful of cash ready to ride off into the sunset as husband and wife. As a Justice of the Peace for 3 consecutive terms, Dad was given the privilege of being able to perform wedding ceremonies indefinitely. At some point he got so many requests to perform the ceremonies that he ended up doing them for no cost. It was one of the things he liked best about his public service and it made many good memories, and maybe a few not so good memories for some of the ones that barely made it down the road before getting an annulment. Neverthless, he enjoyed doing what he could in our community to keep the peace and make people happy.

 

3. Neighborhood Parents

Several of my friends considered Dad to be their second Dad. He had a heart as big as his appetite and would allow friends of mine to seek refuge where they might not have a good environment in their own homes. Of course you had to “earn your keep” which meant making barbecue sauce, cutting the grass, or just having to listen to the endless supply of corny jokes. My friends as well as Michael’s friends all have several unique stories and memories from being one of Jim’s extra kids. Dad and Mom both would go out of their way to help children. Mom usually provided transportation in her Chevy Astro Van to and from ballgames, FFA events, birthday parties, and school trips. She made sure everyone had shoes, clothes, and food too.

 

2. Wizard of Worldly Wisdom

Dad was a walking Farmer’s Almanac. He had pretty much memorized all of the phases of the moon, knew when the best time to view the northern lights was if applicable, knew more than anyone needs to know about 13 and 17 year locusts, could measure the distance of lightning strikes from our location by counting the time it took to hear the thunder, knew when all the major celestial events would occur and where to get the best view, could navigate by the position of the stars, and knew every constellation in the sky. Most of this knowledge came from an actual almanac but all of it was committed to his memory and would be delivered to anyone willing to listen. He was a farmer after all, so movements of the heavens were something very important to him. He read our horoscopes to us after we read the Sunday comics and he loved to teach us to read. One of his favorite past times was telling old ghost stories while we stayed up all night catching catfish.

 

1. Philosopher of Barbecue (Jim Quessenberry, Ph.B.)

Like many of his colleagues in the pioneering world of championship barbecue, Jim had a few nicknames. He went by “Killer,” “The Arkansas Trav’ler,” “Jimbo,” “Big Jim,” and “Jim Quessenberry, Ph.B.” The latter of those was given to him by hall of famer Ardie “Remus Powers, Ph.B.” Davis. Earning a nickname in the BBQ world is a prestiguious achievement backed by many of the best pitmasters in the world. Some of the best known names of the time were Remus Powers, Ph. B, Billy Bones, Silky “The King of the Irish” O’Sullivan, and Smokey Hale to name a few. Many people wanted to interview Dad and get to know his views on the world, cooking, and life in general. As a go to for many jokes, long adventurous stories, and basic advice on getting the fullest from life, Jim became known as Jim Quessenberry, Ph.B. This was a title bestowed upon him by the original “Doctor of Barbecue” Ardie “Remus Powers, Ph.B” Davis. Throughout Jim’s barbecue career, he was a philosopher of not just barbecue, but life to its fullest.

Although there aren’t any call booths or a Tardis’ like Dr. Who, for Dr. Q there are plenty of blue port-a-johns (Turdis) at Memphis in May that look like a Tardis and Ardie has the scoop on the magic behind one of Jim’s best pranks ever. Be sure to grab a copy of “America’s Best BBQ” by Ardie himself. While you’re at it, be sure to grab a jar or two of barbecue sauce.

Book

Sauce

Day 15: Five Things You Should Know About Charcoal

We’ve all had our experiments with wood, charcoal, and even gas when cooking outdoors, but did you know that charcoal was originally used for several other reasons including art, medicine, makeup, and metallurgy?

Image By DryPot – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12649706

Charcoal in Art

Charcoal has been used as a pigment for ages to represent the color black. From the earliest paintings and inscriptions to modern art, charcoal is a favorite among a long lineage of expressionists and artists alike. Furthermore, charcoal is microscopically absorbant and can be used as a pigment for dyes used to create black and grey fabrics.

Charcoal in Medicine

Charcoal is one of a few age old home remedies for dietary and digestive issues. For centuries people of the ancient world all the way to today have used charcoal to settle stomach aches and other digestive issues. It is so popular that charcoal is still used today in pill form to address and treat ailments.

 

Charcoal in Metallurgy

Charcoal is a fairly clean burning fuel when compared to wood and other organic rich fuel sources. That’s because charcoal has been through a process called pyrolysis, which is like fire anaerobics for trees. That means that wood or other vegetation like Bamboo, is heated to high temperatures with the absence of oxygen which consumes the organic matter and water and dries out the vegetation forming a charred black carbon substance we call charcoal. Since the wood has been burned once, the main byproduct, smoke, is cut in half leaving a combustible substance that puts out way less smoke. When you have less smoke, you can forge and weld metals with fewer impurities which allows for a better quality metal. Charcoal has fueled blacksmith forges from the early beginnings of the bronze, iron, and industrial ages throughout today.

Charcoal in Cosmetics

Like the dyes and paints mentioned before, charcoal can be ground into a microscopic powder pigment and used in a wide variety cosmetic products because it is absorbed very well by the skin and has staying power. Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s Royal Oak?

Charcoal in Cooking

Naturally charcoal is a fuel of choice for many barbecue enthusiasts, and it’s American as Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer… Yep that’s right, charcoal as we know it in the briquet form was invented by Zwoyer in 1897 in Pennsylvania. So 6 years before the Wright Brothers were jumping off of sand dunes with a giant kite, Zwoyer was getting a patent on charcoal, literally one of the most abundant and widely used fuels in the world, because he made it into nice consistent square briquets. And you thought Steve Jobs was a visionary. LOL. This guy reinvented reburning wood and patented it.

It doesn’t stop there though, Henry Ford got into the game and changed it FOREVER. Henry Ford needed a way to recycle and reuse wood byproducts and horsefeed used in his automobile factories so he took the charcoal briquet idea and ran with it. He began producing charcoal and selling it which founded a little company called Kingsford.

So what does all this have to do with Jim Quessenberry BBQ? Well for one you won’t be seeing us using any of Hank Hill’s propane and propane accessories, but furthermore, we prefer to cook most everything with charcoal for a smooth, longlasting, and well controlled fire. I prefer Kingsford, but Royal Oak will do in a pinch. I suppose that makes me a Ford man afterall.

 

Tell you what, why don’t you grab a bottle or two of the good stuff in our shop and share some of your charcoal grilling techniques with us. We’d love to hear your stories.

Day 12: Five Common Myths About Internal Temperatures.

What does anyone know about cooking to temp these days? That’s a tough question depending on the crowd. There are lots of myths and facts around cook temperatures that you should know.

Pork Doesn’t Have to Be 165 Degrees

Most if not all poultry should never be consumed prior to reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people are familiar with this as Poultry is often a carrier of Salmonella and when undercooked can lead to extreme illness or even death, but Pork is a different story. Pork on the other hand has a minimum safe temperature of 145 degrees. Pork that is reheated needs only 140 degrees.

Safe Temperatures aren’t always “Done” Temperatures

A big misconception is that the safe temperatures are when the meat is done. This is technically true when avoiding food-borne illnesses but is often lacking in tenderness if the temperature has just arrived. For instance, we cook our Boston Butts to an internal temperature of 190 degrees before allowing them to rest and continue retaining warmth in a cooler. At 190 the bone will slide right out and the pork is at maximum tenderness and moisture. This is just before it rests and we pull and serve.

Chicken Cooked Medium Rare?

No. Just no. This is dangerous and can kill you. Never ever for any circumstance think this is a good idea. Yes there are lots of dumbass people sharing images of “medium rare” chicken on Instagram but this is absolutely careless and dangerous. Never ever do this.

Pink Meat Is Always Undercooked

This is not always a simple yes or no, but for steaks, burgers, and even pork chops, this can be misleading, especially when you’re slow-cooking with smoke. Because smoked meats can turn pink with the permeated smoke in the meat, some people think the pink meat is raw when it is in fact cooked. Just don’t do this with chicken.

Last but Not Least, Rest Times Allow Meat to Cool

In most cases this is simply not true. Resting is a technique that actually allows the warming center of the meat to continue increasing temperature for a few minutes while the outside cools. This is done with steaks, pork loins, and more to reach a desired temperature thus creating an ideal first cut or bite that is cooked evenly and is very juicy.

Day 10: Hickory Wood: All the Stats, Facts, and Data You’ll Ever Need to Know

Hello everyone. It’s time for a science and history lesson. First I would like to apologize for the late blog post. I am late by a whole day, but I am here to make that up to you along with a giveaway we’re doing and some other fun ideas. In memorium of my old man on his birthday, we’re out to celebrate with all of our friends and family right here on the website, but first we gotta get the fire started and there’s no better wood to smoke with than Hickory in my opinion.

The Pawchohiccora and the Carya

Hickory Trees are from the genus Carya which means “nut” in Ancient Greek. While I am not up to snuff on the whole of ancient mythologies, I can safely say that Hickory has had a long history of being used for a variety of useful tasks including many different recipes in the Powhatan tribes of Virginia before and during the founding of the British-American colonies. Those recipes used the nut of the Pawchohiccora (Hickory) Tree and included a broth and a pulp used to flavor beans, vegetables, and broths as well as to create flour for breads. The Hickory nut was common all the way until the 19th century for cakes, breads, and cookies.

Hickory Smoking

Several years ago my Dad knew what many legends of barbecue have said for generations, and that was the fact the God put the Hickory tree on Earth for a reason, and the reason was that he knew what we were going to do with it. He gave the Texans mesquite because the soil was too poor to grow Hickory. That’s how we’re going to be using Hickory for the purposes of today’s blog.

Hickory has been used for several hundreds of thousands of years for campfires and cooking all over the world. The distinct aroma and savory flavor it produces when used to smoke meat is something many would find difficult to beat in life. The flavor is not as sharp as Mesquite or other hardwoods, but is also not as fruitful or sweet as a fruitwood. Because many consider it a “Fire Elemental” wood, it goes hand in hand with preparing food as well as making tools forged from fire. Compared to “Air Elemental” woods suchs as pine, cedar, and other conifers, Hickory is suitable for a pleasant and slow burning fire. It is dense and very strong under stress. This causes an even and manageable heat for smoking. Hickory when burned produces a smoke that is relatively free of harsh oils and waxy residue. This allows for long cook times without fear of ruining your meat with an overpowered falvor or aroma.

When mixed with a light amount of fruitwood (Apple is a favorite) Hickory produces a salty-sweet smoke that is amazing for bacon, hams, and other white meats such as chicken and even turkey. My personal favorite is a batch of Apple-Hickory smoked bacon with a light glaze of Maple syrup. You can’t beat a candied bacon made from Nature’s gifts to mankind.

Hickory For Utensils

Hickory has qualities unmatched by many other types of wood when it comes to longevity, hardness, durability, and strength. Used as a handle in shovels, pick axes, and other told of labor, Hickory has enough tensile strength to dig or pry anything apart without breaking. Until recently, Hickory was the only wood used in baseball bats and has been phased out for Ash as of late. Many other culinary uses of Hickory include cutting boards, knife handles, wooden spoons, and rolling pins.

Hickory for Building and Woodworking

Hickory is a slow growing wood and has been used far less in the last several decades due to deforestation. It has been replaced by fast growing pines and other easily replaceable trees as a cost effective and somewhat better for the environment building material, but let me be the first to tell you that Hickory built furniture and reclaimed wood holds high value in my book of hobbyist woodworking. It is sturdy and is probably singlehandedly responsible for the old saying “They don’t make ‘em like they used to.”

Conclusion

Hickory is a wonderful wood for utility and smoking barbecue. It also just so happens to be the driving flavor behind our highly sought after steak rub. Before you go, take a look at Jim Quessenberry’s Steak Beautiful.

Day 8: 5 Ways To Improve Your Indirect Heat Cooking Skills On A Small Grill.

So, you wanna improve your skills on cooking indirectly, but you don’t have a fancy offset smoker, no worries. There are a couple of tools and tricks you can use to get the desired results of indirect heat.

#1: Charcoal Basket and Drip Pan:

I often use this method on my Weber kettle grill. The basic idea here is to partition your fire to one side of the kettle using a charcoal basket. Then place a foil pan or sheet fashioned into a pan on the charcoal grate at the other side of the kettle. This will not only catch the drippings of the meat above, but it will also shield direct heat from hitting the meat by providing a buffer between it and the burning charcoal. This method is great for slow cooking ribs without a true smoker. Water can be added to the pan to make the cook chamber atmosphere more humid to aid in keeping the meat moist while cooking.

#2 Build a Brick Wall:

Let’s say you don’t have a charcoal basket for your kettle grill, or you have a different type of grill. No worries the same idea can be applied by setting the coals up at one side of the grill, and building a wall up to the cooking grate with bricks. The wall will provide the buffer between the meat and fire that is desired, and also once the bricks are warm, they will provide consistent heat as it slowly permeates through.

#3: Ring of Charcoal or The Snake Method:

This method is some what new to my bag of tricks, but i have found it to be very useful when I want to smoke a Boston Butt, but don’t want to break out the huge smoker or don’t wanna spend lots of money on tons of charcoal to smoke one butt on a larger smoker. If you have a small smoker you won’t need this method, but again if you have a Weber kettle grill or even a cheap burger and hotdog cooking tailgater, you can use this method and put some delicious slow smoke on a Boston butt or turkey or any thing that can fit in your small grill. So here is how you set it up. Take charcoal brickets and neatly stack them around the perimeter of the charcoal grate where it meets the side of the kettle. Leave space between the start and end of the ring so you don’t accidentally burn both ways at the same time. Start your fire on one end and it will slowly burn around the perimeter for many hours, at a nice low and slow pace. You can also sprinkle your favorite wood chips over the ring of charcoal to keep a steady regimen of smokey goodness cooking into the meat. I like to start my fire so that it burns clockwise, it helps indicate what hour of cooking I’m in. After you start your fire. place the cooking grate over it and place your meat in the center of the cooking surface. I like to place Boston Butts it in an aluminum pan, but leave the pan uncovered. It lets the Butt get the flavorful smoke, stay moist because it cooks in it’s own juices, and it acts as a buffer between the fire and the meat.

#4 The Stack Add-On:

There are a few different extensions you can add on to Weber kettles that move the cooking surface higher above the coals for a slower cook. In this type of situation the coals are still under the cooking surface, but not close enough to flame kiss a steak. If you are like me you like the idea of having the versatility of an add-on like that, but never think to buy one. I think it’s funner to create indirect heat using the methods mentioned above.

#5 Electric Smoker:

If you have access to electricity this is one of the easiest and consistent ways of smoking and using indirect heat. The heat is provided from a heating element much like an electric oven, and the smoke is typically created by feeding wood pellets or pucks via an auger or conveyor into the heating element creating smoke. These smokers are nice to have when cooking at home, but are generally not permitted in BBQ contests, as they make things way to easy and consistent. Taking the skill out of it.

I hope you enjoyed this article, as you can see the basic idea is to move the food away from direct heat to slow down your cooking process, and add that wonderful flavor we all love. Come back tomorrow for more BBQ tips, tricks, and stories!

-Michael Q

Day 6: Introducing A Revolutionary Method To Master Reverse Seared Pork Chops.

 

Remember that time when we did that one recipe with a gas grill? Me either so that’s not the revolutionary method, but I’ll tell you what is; cold smoking that delicious hunk of pork that we call a pork chop and then sizzle it on both sides to create a delicious, mouth watering, morsel of delectable perfection. I’m bout to blow your mind.

So there’s a few things to remember here.

  • You’re gonna need an effective way to slow smoke or cold smoke the pork chops to an internal temp of say 130 degrees or thereabout.
  • You need pork chops.
  • We’re going to use Jim Quessenberry’s Sauce Beautiful White and Hickory Rub so head over here and order those.
  • Get some asparagus or some other kind of fancy veggies that you want to steam, smoke, or grill.
  • Lemon Juice or fresh lemons and some butter.
  • A hot flat iron skillet.

So first things first, let’s get a nice indirect heat source, preferrably with charcoal or a fruit wood for added flavor and let it mellow out to some nice glowing coals. You don’t want to flame kiss the chops. This part is important for the preparation and flavor. Use a water pan or a divider if you have to but we’re seriously only looking for a smoke source with a little bit of heat.

Next, while that is underway, make sure the pork chops aren’t some “bargain bin 5 for $25” pieces of thin boot leather. Get some 1/2” to 3/4” thick cuts. Don’t be a cheapskate. If you wanted pork jerky you could have gone to a gas station. Let these dudes rest up to room temperature. That will allow the meat to absorb the smoke better when you place them on the heat source.

Now that you’ve let them rest and the fire has a nice glow, place them indirectly over the heat source and let them get some of that fruity goodness of those apple chips smoking. Do this for a few minutes until the inside temp of the chop is like 125-130 or so and then remove them and let them rest once more.

While they are resting, stoke up your fire to a really hot temp and put your trusty ole flat skillet directly over the heat to get damn near red hot. While that’s in progress, dash some Hickory Rub on all sides of the chops while glazing them with a little bit of butter. Let that sit for a minute or two.

Once the surface of the hot plate or iron skillet is extremely hot, drop the chops on it and let them sear for up to 2 minutes on each side. This will tap all the juices in and crust up the seasoning on each side for a flavorful bark. Remove them and place in a warmer or indirect heat chamber while the veggies are being done.

For the veggies, a buttery grilled medley of asparagus, brocolli, cauliflower, and red cabbage will make a savory dish worthy of a five star restaurant. If you are wanting a contrast with a more natural flavor from each vegetable, simply opt for a steamed version of the medley. Top with some cherry tomatoes and you’ve got a side. If you want to add a little starch, go for rice pilaf or scalloped sweet potatoes.

Once the sides are ready and the chops have been seared, plate them with a drizzle of Jim Quessenberry’s Sauce Beautiful White* over the chops with a spritzer of lemon juice over the entire plate. Serve and enjoy.

*Jim Quessenberry Sauce Beautiful White is not affiliated with Reid Martin’s Sauce Gorgeous El Blanco.

Oh by the way, the revolutionary method is to allow the meat to rest between cook times. This may not be obvious, but when you do it right and realize how good it all turned out, you’ll see what I mean. In a fast paced world, sometimes you have to savor the flavor to enjoy things.

Day 5: The Ultimate Glossary of Terms About Barbecue

Lots of things have happened lately in our little part of the world of barbecue, but it’s been such a busy day that I haven’t had time to tell you all a story. Instead, I have challenged myself to think of as many slang, jargon, and technical terms about barbecue so that you can have a laugh or become more knowledgeable or both.

Texas Crutch – This is a technique where simply wrapping the entire cut of meat, whether pork or beef, in aluminum foil to speed up the cook time and tenderize the meat. It allows very little moisture to escape and significantly decreases the time it takes to reach a desired internal temerature. Some frown upon it, but we use it in many different cases for a variety of simple and effective reasons.

Indirect Heat – Cooking a piece of meat that is offset from the heat of the grill or firebox. The heat is transferred through convection to the meat for a slow and juicy cook. When mixed with smoking techniques you get a juicy and delightfully smoky flavor.

Direct Heat – Just like it sounds. Steaks, burgers, and pork chops are mostly cooked on a hit grill or surface directly over the source of heat. Think conductive heat.

Cold Smoking – It’s not quite what it sounds, but cold smoking is when you cook meat slowly, and I mean s-l-o-w-l-y over a reduced amount of heat. Think of a smokehouse that makes smoked jerky. The cooking is done at temperatures often in the 100-200 degree range and over several hours to days. It’s a unique and traditional form of cooking where meat is often hung up in closet sized sheds and smoke is flowed through the chamber from a very indirect heat source.

Temps – Slang for checking the temperatures of both the meat and your smoker or grill.

Whole Hog – Literally a whole pig that is roasted over a fire or indirect heat.

Babyback Ribs – Ribs from the back near the loin of a pig.

Spare Ribs – Ribs from the bottom or stomach area of the pig.

Yard Bird – Chicken.

Marinading the Chef – Drinking beer, booze, or spirits while you wait on a large cut of meat to cook.

Dry Ribs – Ribs that are often associated with Tennessee characterized by an abundance of chili powder, paprika, red pepper, or other spices to form a dry texture on the surface of the ribs. Traditionally served without barbecue sauce on them.

Wet Ribs – Ribs served with an abundance of barbecue sauce slathered onto the surface of the ribs.

Well Done Steak – To plead with the chef or grillmaster requesting that you’d like to be punched directly in the face for being a giant moron with terrible taste.

Turbinado Sugar – Raw sugar from the cane.

Red, White, and Black – A commonly used rub recipe consisting of chili powder, salt, and black pepper.

White Sauce – Something Big something Gibson something something Alabama tradition… We sell our own. You can buy it here.

Table Sauce – A sauce like Heinz 57, A1, Worcestershire, etc.

Serving Sauce – A sauce you would serve your BBQ dish with or prepare the dish with near the end of the cook or just after when you’re ready to serve. Could be considered a finishing sauce.

Thermometer – A fancy heat measuring device that nearly always goes missing.

Hickory – God’s gift to mankind so fire would have purpose.

Gas Grill – Something you take to a metal recycling facility for pocket change.

Have any others you’d like to add? Send us a comment below.

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.