Friday, November 14, 2014


CERTAIN "RIGHTS" ARE ABSOLUTELY BASIC to pit-smoking. You'll see them repeatedly in the recipes that follow, but here they are in summary form. If you follow these basic steps, your barbequed meats will always come out tasting qued down to the bone.
1. Preparing Baste-Marinades: Always use recipe amounts of hickory liquid smoke.
2. Marinating Meat Entrees: 30-minute hot marinade, or 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in refrigerator.
3. Baste-Soaking Hickory Wood Chips: Spread out over white-ash-hot charcoals for smoke-flavor barbequing.
4. Sear Seasoning: Browning and sealing in any coated meat seasonings before pit-basting.
5. Constant Basting: Baste meat entrees with blended hickory flavored marinade (do not use sugar content sauces).
6. Cover Top Pit: Keep down after each basting method and adding more baste-soaked hickory wood chips as needed.
7. Glaze on Barbeque Sauces: Only after meat entree is mostly cooked and/or done.

A BBQ Contest: never heard of such a thing

Yes I agree with the title. Five years ago I have never heard of such a thing.Teresa and I competed in our first barbecue contest in the 2002 in Richmond Va. - A Memphis In May sanctioned event. We had no experience and only heard of such thing on TV.We brought two $35 brinkman "el cheapo" bbq smokers. We were ready to be the best bbq team at that cook off. I was wrong and we were lucky not to finish last. There were over thirty teams and atleast 4 teams have won atleast 3 gran Championships in prior contest.But after Three more contest we won our first state championship in Danville Va and about $1500. That made my wife happy.
I didn't even know what a bbq contest was exactly. What I found out was astounding.
There over 250 sanction contest in this country. Sanctioning means an organization of people who promote bbq.I geuss bbq cook offs have been happening for centuries: one cook would say mine is better and the other would say i don't think so buddy.The term "bbq" refers to meat that is cooked low and slow with smoke.
The term "grilling" refers to fast cooking over direct high temperature heat source. Many backyard barbecue activities actually involve grilling.
Barbecue competitions are cook-offs where people prepare one or more items to be judged on a variety of criteria. Usually the competitions are for beef brisket, pork, chicken, sausage and sauces. Typically you would be given a full day to prepare thawed, unprepared meat products for judging.
Barbecue competitions almost always an entry fee, and prizes can reach into the thousands of dollars, depending on the size and scope of the event. There are 3-4 categories of meat that is cooked and each is evaluated by a panel of judges ( certified or uncertified), based on taste, texture, and presentation.

The Kansas City Barbecue Society will sanction over 250 barbecue competitions this year, all over the United States.

Charities, fairs, and festivals have found that there is a great deal of interest in participation and observation when it comes to barbecue, This great American cooking tradition has grown to have faithful following.
Many BBQ competitions benefit benevolent groups , raising thousands of dollars in the process.
We have competed over 20 contest
Reference: History of barbecue

BBQ and me

I am John Atkins 43 y/o male who enjoys cooking BBQ. I have been cooking for over 31 years. My first memory was cooking burnswick stew at my grandaddy hubbard's hunt club laborday weekend. Now cooking burnswick stew was over a wood fire in a big big black kettle. It cooked all day and if we were lucky grandady would let us stir it with a boat paddle.
Well about about 26 years went by and in between then I taught myself how to cook. At age of 38 , I went to a festival and stood in line for about 20 minutes when I got my bbq in was cold and unfit to eat. I complain to my wife and she said I should put up or shut up. Well I can't shut up so I had to put up.
My first introduction to bbq competition was at a Memphis in May sanction BBQ contest. I went here to compete

Our BBQ Competition Team

As I posted before, our team was born in Sept 2004 in Richmond Va. Since then there has been about 17 contest. The first Team members were Dickie and Rossel Martin, Ronald and Sue Atkins and My Wife Teresa.We were called the BBq Connection. The BBQ Connection was for two contest Richmond (mim0 and Danvile our first KCBS contest. Since then we have went through many changes. My Brother in law john Burgess was in for a couple of years. Chris Sherill ( an UVA orthopeadic resident helped once). Eric Blum One of the original Pigs On The Run Team member is still with us. David Hanson I met in a Sams in C'ville Va. and is a master in presentations. Mark Harris i met in Lynchburg Va . It was his first BBQ contest by hisself. I told him he could join me and he did. Thomas (Patrick )Ratcliffe our Tech Geek. He join us at SnowShoe and what a help. Also my brother ricky atkins and Sister Amanda. Oh Yeah Bryant Atkins (my son) the only original member.

Paying it forward

I heard this saying a lot lately. When I was young it was called the "Golden Rule"! I am not real sweet person.In fact some people say that I kinda grow on ya. When I started cooking BBQ , I found it to quite hard to get some help. So when I started competing I vowed I would help anyone I could. Every year we try to find a team to mentor. My wife and teammates would scold me when I would help other teams,. I told her I didn't want to treat people like I was treated. I also believe in the Mcwright Cake mix theory too.We since have been spending time helping others no I am starting to appreciate my hard work. I have made some wonderful friends and have had some great opportunities.If any one ask me for a secrete , I would smile and then tell them. It has been fun to see people enjoy the same as I. The funny thing is I am not really all that good.

How to Barebecue

First , I would like to define barebecue is anything cooked low and slow with smoke. I would also like to add that "real bbq "is cooked with wood. Basic BBQing is cooking around 250 degrees. As people are different bbq cookers are just as different.
Direct / Indirect Cooking Instructions

Direct vs. Indirect Method
Weber charcoal grills and gas barbecues give you great grilled results every time because they are designed to give you ultimate control of your grilling temperature and cooking method. Here we explain the secret to great grilling. (Remember, whether you're cooking by the Direct or Indirect Method, always grill with the lid on.)

Direct Method
The Direct Method is similar to broiling. Food is cooked directly over the heat source. For even cooking, food should be turned once halfway through the grilling time. Use the Direct method for foods that take less than 25 minutes to cook: like steaks, chops, kabobs, sausages and vegetables. Direct cooking is also necessary to sear meats. Searing creates that wonderful crisp, caramelized texture where the food hits the grate. It also adds nice grill marks and flavor to the entire food surface. Steaks, chops, chicken pieces, and larger cuts of meat all benefit from searing.

To grill by the Direct Method on a charcoal grill, spread prepared coals evenly across the charcoal grate. Set the cooking grate over the coals and place food on the cooking grate. Place the lid on the grill and lift it only to turn food or to test for doneness at the end of the recommended cooking time.

To grill by the Direct Method on a gas grill, preheat the grill with all burners on High. Place the food on the cooking grate, then adjust all burners to the temperature noted in the recipe. Close the lid of the grill and lift it only to turn food or to test for doneness at the end of the recommended cooking time.

Indirect Method
The Indirect Method is similar to roasting, but with the added benefits of that grilled texture, flavor, and appearance you can't get from an oven. Heat rises, reflects off the lid and inside surfaces of the grill, and slowly cooks the food evenly on all sides. The circulating heat works much like a convection oven, so there's no need to turn the food. Use the Indirect Method for foods that require 25 minutes or more of grilling time or for foods that are so delicate that direct exposure to the heat source would dry them out or scorch them. Examples include roasts, ribs, whole chickens, turkeys, and other large cuts of meat, as well as delicate fish fillets.

To grill by the Indirect Method on a charcoal grill, arrange hot coals evenly on either side of the charcoal grate. A drip pan placed in the center of the charcoal grate between the coals is useful to collect drippings that can be used for gravies and sauces. It also helps prevent flare-ups when cooking fattier foods such as goose, duck, or fatty roasts. For longer cooking times, add water to the drip pan to keep drippings from burning. Place the cooking grate over the coals and place the food on the cooking grate, centered over the drip pan or empty space. Place the lid on the grill and lift it only to baste or check for doneness at the end of the suggested cooking time.

To grill by the Indirect Method on a gas grill, preheat the grill with all burners on High. Then adjust the burners on each side of the food to the temperature noted in the recipe and turn off the burner(s) directly below the food. For best results, place roasts, poultry, or large cuts of meat on a roasting rack set inside a disposable heavy-gauge foil pan. For longer cooking times, add water to the foil pan to keep drippings from burning.

The Best BBQ I have ever had

I always wonder why someone would go into the BBq business. Is it because of ones ego or they needed the money. Maybe someone told them that was the best BBQ I have ever had. The BEST BBQ I ever had! What a statement!. It will make you feel like you are on top of the world. I figure in most cases if it is the BEST I ever had a person is starving or drunk. Most people have no clue what barbecue is and really don't care.
i got into bbq because of "bad bbq". I thought i could do better. Well it has been 5 years and i am still trying to make great bbq. I have catered for thousands and competed against the best (occasionally winning) I have do about everything that I want to do in bbq. but i have not yet made the best BBq in the world.
I know what is bad bbq . I see it all the time. Too much sauce , mushy and plenty of fat (i call that profit) but what is great BBQ.
I think the elusive great bbq starts out with a rub. A rub is salt pepper, paprika , sugar and that secrete ingredients.
then it cooked slow and low with smoke. I prefer hickory but whatever you is ok.

The American Royal

Wow! The American Royal was an unbelievable experience. We left 10 p.m. Tues. nite from Staunton Va. We were loaded in a Ford pick up . David Hanson my team mate and Bryant my 10 y/o son . We stopped at a hotel in Kentucky. We woke up around 9 am and made it at Columbia Mo. around 9 pm .. We arrived at the Royal Thursday noon. What a wake up. Check in and meat inspection was done at the gate. The kid that was doing the meat inspection was a culinary student. He did an ok job. We get to our spot to find a generator in the middle. Our spot was small enough but now complicated with this noisy piece of metal, Well traveling a 1000 miles i was happy to get there. I wasn't too happy with the maintenance guy Jim. He wouldn't move it but offer a place to the 'dark side". I had no clue what the "dark Side" was, but I was going to find out quickly.
Dark Side:
We finally find our new side way on the other side. I found out it was called the dark side because of all the parties. It was right in the middle of three major parties. All of our neighbors were very nice and tried to prepared us for what was about to happen. Nothing could prepare me for the attack we were about to experience.Thursday nite was a normal contest. We were competing against the some of the best teams in the country. The next nite was a different bird competing in the open. We were attacked by 100s of party goers. We were already tired from the night before. we rented a porta potty so my son would not has to go far. his safety was very important to me. i was up set that it did not have any way to lock it.

The Cline Farm Benefit Barbeque

On July 22, 2006 my wife Linda and I hosted a Benefit at our house to raise money for the Brethren and Mennonte Disaster relief.  We raised over $5,400 that will go to helping out those in need after disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
Over 300 guests were served a variety of barbeque that was prepared by 8 differnent barbeque teams.  A very special thanks goes to all these teams that participated as well as my wife of 15 years who's organizational skills made the event possible.

 Bill Small - Bills Grill

Brian Junkins

Larry Wolfe - Wolfe Rub

John Atkins - Pigs on the Run

Charlie & Jo Welch - Screamin Nite Hog

Chris Capell - Dizzy Pig

Richard and Carol Middleton - Red, White and Que

These wonderful people joined Gary's Barbeque in preparing a wide range of Barbeque for the guests to enjoy.  A wonderful time was had by all and everyone had PLENTY to eat.

Gary and Bill did a great job ! I was very proud to be a part of this. This was a great example of what Va BBQ is all about. BUT next year please try to keep the fire works under an hour. (lol)

A BBQ Wedding

A BBQ can be done casual or upscale. The menu can range from a pig picking or chicken Marsala.

Ideas to make Your Wedding a little bit more unique...

09/08 - 09/092006Snowshoe, WVState ChampionshipBlues & Brews BBQ Cookoff, SnowShoe WV. Contest Review

Snowshoe, WV 09/08 - 09/09 2006

I am greatful for anyone who sponsors a BBq Contest. With that said, I think the Snowshoe contest was at best poorly runned. I think their first mistake was that they try to do many things. Awards ceremony was a joke. It was over in less than 15 minutes. I thought it was a sllap in the face for the teams competing.
I also was disappointed in the public sampling. Each team was gien
September 8 - 10

Blues, Brews and BBQ's

The stage has been set for a mouth-watering weekend of championship BBQ and palate-cleansing brews�not to mention the great sounds from the regions best blues bands.  Car shows, championship cook-off's, and a 5-mile foot race are elements that set this weekend ahead of the rest!

Blues, Brews and Barbecues Schedule of Events

Saturday, September 9

8am  Registration for the Snowshoe 5-Miler Foot Race
8am - 12pm:  Registration for the Mountaintop Cruise In Car Show
9am - 11am:  Snowshoe 5-Miler Foot Race
11am - 4pm:  Blues, Brews and BBQ's Festival.  Great barbecue samples from 15 championship barbecue cooks, live entertainment and beer samples from 27 different local micro brews and national favorites.  Your $30 BBQ Ticket gets you a mug for unlimited beer sampling, a t-shirt and 10 tasting tickets to try out a variety of the barbecues from the cooks competing for the title of West Virginia State BBQ Champion. 

Brunswick stew

 for 30 gallons feeds about 240 people

15 lbs. chuck roast bone in beef can substitute venison for beef

15 lbs. bone in pork butt

6 or 7 whole chickens (3 lbs. each)

2 lbs. fatback, cut into sm. pieces

7 or 8 lbs. chopped onions

15 lbs. white potatoes

4 Number 10 cans of corn

4 Number ten cans of . butter beans

4 Number Ten cans of . crushed tomatoes

1 Number Ten can of chopped snap beans

2 c. sugar

4 tbsp. crushed red pepper

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Use tight-fitting cookware to hold in the flavor as the ingredients are boiled separately. Cook everything in separate pots and put them together at the end.

Start out by slowly boiling the meats until they are tender. Remove the bones and skins from the chickens. Re-use the broths to boil potatoes and butter beans. Then cook the onions and corn in reserved broth. Do not add any of the tomato products during the initial cooking process.

When all of the ingredients are cooked, add them together in one big pot. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix them well. Bring the pot to a boil and continue stirring with a wooden spoon or a boat oar to keep it from sticking to the pot and burning.

An appetizing presentation is made to the general public with someone stirring a large cauldron mounted to a tripod over an open fire. Stir the stew for approximately one hour over the fire as it continues to get thicker with the water boiling off of it. This step is very important, the stew must be boiled down until it is quite thick.

Serve stew with a mayonnaise based slaw and saltine crackers. It is best during the colder months of the year. Brunswick stew freezes well.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Smoked Salmon BBQ style

1/4 cup dill, dried
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh-ground black pepper
1/8 cup oil (canola or corn)

The night before you plan to barbecue, combine dill, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Open the salmon flat and massage it well with about 2/3 of the rub, reserving the rest of the mixture. Fold the salmon back into its original shape, place it in a plastic bag, and refrigerate it overnight.

Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 250 degrees F.

Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Transfer the salmon to the smoker skin side down, placing the fish as far from the fire as possible. Cook for 45minutes, after 10 and 30 minutes in a wood-burning pit, or as appropriate for your style of smoker. The salmon should flake easily when done. Have a large spatula and a platter ready when taking the salmon off the smoker, because it can fall apart easily. Serve hot or chilled.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Competition BBQ Butts

Inject with  injection
He puts the butts in fat side down in a half aluminum hotel pan to cook them the whole time.  He does not ever use any of the meat from the fat side of the butt anyway.
He does his initial cooking not necessarily by temperature but more so by color.  When they are the right color, he wraps them in foil until they reach an internal temperature of  190 degrees.  Here is the wrapping process he uses:
He removes the butts, which are fat side down, from the aluminum half cooking pan (there is lots of good juice in the tray at this time) and puts them on top of the foil.  The bark is pretty dark at this point.
He sprays them with lots of apple juice (to help lighten the color if it is darker than he wants it to be).
He applies an entire bottle of Tiger Sauce on the butt (he does not rub it in, just pours it all on the top)
He has done this since the early 90’s
He also uses this on his ribs
He applies a heavy coat of turbinado sugar on the butt (and does not rub this in either)
He wrapped his butts tightly, so it doesn’t steam, in double foil around 7:30 A.M. (about 4 ½ hours since he out them in the smoker).  He said the tighter the wrap, the quicker it will cook.
The current temp at this time was 150 degrees.
At 10:30 A.M. the temp of the butt were 183 degrees.
He cooks at 275 degrees (as he does everything).
If they are getting too dark, or dry, he sprays them with apple juice.
He glazes them with Head Country Sauce 30 minutes before slicing.

Butt in the box and reason each slice. Parseley on top. Place  bark around buts
He also made a slice parallel to the slice for the money muscle on the complete opposite end of the money muscle.  I do not think he used it for anything but had it there in case he needed more slices.

He swares by an electric knife for the butt, mainly so you do not mess up the slicing off of the money muscle as well as the cutting of the money muscle into medallions.
He placed six medallions towards the back of the box (but in front of the parsley edge) horizontally from left to right.  Then put his pulled pork in front of the medallions horizontally from left to right.  He then put six more medallions horizontally from left to right. In front of the pulled pork.
He laid some bark on top of the pulled, and I believe mixed some in the pulled as well.  He says judges like bark.
Taste Test
Tried the money muscle and it was just like Rods … unreal !
Tried a piece of the pulled and it was not too good.  It had an off taste to it that I can’t really describe.  Could have just been a bad piece.

Pig Candy: BBQ Connection style!

  • Buy good quality, thick-sliced bacon cut in half. About 40 strips.
  • Prepare the brown sugar and cayenne pepper topping.
  • favorite BBQ rub 
  • Crushed pecans
  • Arrange bacon on a pan.
  • Cook for 30 to 45  minutes at 300 F. until done.
  •  Prepare The Brown Sugar Topping
    Place 1/2 cup of light brown sugar (packed) and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a bowl, mix thoroughly, and set aside. Add BBQ rub .This small amount of cayenne will provide the slightest bit of heat; if you like more heat, use more cayenne.

  • Place the  bacon strips in the bag of the  brown sugar topping on the bacon, making sure each slice is evenly coated. I used the entire 1/2 cup of topping, which gave a nice coating to each piece, and the excess just melted away.I like to place a little bit of topping in the inside of the bacon as I roll it up. Place it on a foil pan and keep an eye on it!

  • Fire The Cooker
    Light one full chimney of Kingsford charcoal briquettes. When the coals are hot, spread them out in the charcoal chamber and assemble the cooker.
    Do not put the water pan in the cooker.
    If you are using a good quality smoked bacon, there's no reason to add smoke wood to the fire.
    Open the top and bottom vents fully and leave them that way throughout the cooking process.
  • Pig candy is sweet and delicious, and that little bit of cayenne gets your attention without being overwhelming.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Whole Hawg: The legacy continues

As my Grandfather taught me how to cook , I have been able to share that knowledge with my son!The BBQ Connection had a great time cooking at the world Famous Kings Family vineyard May 2013


We had a great time at OFD 2013!It was nice to see all the families come out and support us!
We fed over 380 people! OFD has been a tradition for our family for over 11 years! It was great to see Tinsely and Bob from Buck island BBQ! Also it was great to meet Eleanora's Team!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

BBQ Snob review: Country Boys BBQ

Country Boys BBQ

CB's is located close to where I grew up , so I had to stop by and see what's cooking. I had a great time talking to the owner and pit-master of Country Boy's BBQ. The food was good. I love the fries and slaw. The ribs are baby backs and very meaty. The pork was good. They only have one sauce so get over it! LOL says the owner. It is more like Piedmont Style , a little vinegary and with a tomato based to it. I liked it. Everything was cooked on a humongous Lang double  smoker enough to cook for over 2000 people a day. I don't think there is 2000 people  who live in Windsor Va. LOL . It was a good experience! I love the atmosphere! We wish them best of luck!

 the BBQ Snob!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mooooooooooooink Balls

Mooooooooooooink Balls



12 Italian style meatballs, precooked

6 strip(s) bacon, cut in half

1 tablespoon(s) brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper
1/2 cup(s) barbecue sauce
1/2 cup(s) grape jelly




Wrap each meatball with a half strip of bacon and secure it with a toothpick.
Combine the brown sugar and cayenne pepper and sprinkle over the bacon-wrapped meatballs.
Smoke over indirect heat at 250 degrees for about 1 hour until the bacon is done to your liking.
While the Mooooooooink Balls are cooking, combine the barbecue sauce and grape jelly in a saucepan and heat until blended.
Five minutes before removing the balls from the smoker, baste them with the glaze. Serve immediately.

Tips & Techniques

Special note: This recipe also works great on the grill over direct heat for 10 to 15 minutes, although this method does require close attention. Bacon grease is highly flammable, so you will need to rotate the Moink Balls constantly to prevent scorching.

Barbecue Books

  • Championship Barbecue by Paul Kirk