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Meet The Hog Heaven: A 5-Pound Cornbread Bowl Stuffed With Your Favorite BBQ and Mac & Cheese

To say that I love BBQ would be like saying Andre the Giant was kinda tall. An understatement as huge as the man himself. Any chance I get, I talk to pit masters from all over and try to experience as much regional BBQ from across the United States as I can.

One of my first opportunities to try Kansas City BBQ led me to Ember Barbecue where I discovered the Hog Heaven, right in my own backyard of Santa Ana, CA.

Owned by pit master Derick Foster, a former marine who studied at the Culinary Institute of America, Foster grew up in Kansas City where he wanted to bring the city’s famous and  beloved style of BBQ to California. With his wife Kylie, another graduate of the CIA, the two run Ember together inside Downtown Santa Ana’s Native Son Alehouse.

The Hog Heaven is a cornbread bowl that’s filled to the brim with a three-cheese macaroni and cheese, layered with sweet BBQ beans, creamy coleslaw, and slathered with both Ember BBQ sauce and cheese sauce. Pitmaster Foster then stacks on a handful of pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, chicharron fresh from the fryer, beef brisket, and jalapeno cheddar sausage so juicy you’ll need to lay out a “Caution” sign on the floor. Finally, as a signature to his slow-cooked masterpiece, Foster finishes the Hog Heaven with more mac and cheese, cheese sauce, and Ember’s BBQ sauce.

Overall, it weights in at over five pounds and is essential a meaty birthday cake for BBQ lovers.

While the Hog Heaven is intended to be enjoyed with friends and BBQ aficionados, ambitious individuals can try to conquer this sweet and savory beast on their own. In our case, we made it last a week.

Ember Barbecue typically has 2-4 Hog Heavens available each day they’re open, so cue connoisseurs should take note if they’re trying to get their fix.

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3 Thrifty White BBQ Wines To Chill Your Meat Sweats

If you live in all-season weather you might wonder why I’m writing a list about white wine in fall. Although it’s a rather gloomy 82 and sunny this week in the California, we’re still placing bets in the office that the weather will be triple digits in October for our cheese event, Oozefest. This is why we’re still talking about BBQ wine. 

Searching for white BBQ wine pairings online finds a plethora of articles talking about supposed pairings. Grilled chicken, grilled fish, all types that are not actually barbecue — and quite frankly, I find it offensive and sad.

Having consumed more than my fair share of fatty meats and wine, here are three pretty damn affordable white wines that you can guzzle down at your next thigh-sweat-inducing meat gathering.

Yalumba “Y” Viognier – $9.99 Total Wine

I had a bottle of this with some brisket my friend and co-worker Chris made. He’s no meat slouch and neither is this Australian Viognier. It stands right up against my favorite fatty meat while not outshining the glistening beef. Sometimes refreshing wines like to hide, but this one pops right out to say, “Hello, I’m here to ease that brisket down!”

Pine Ridge White Blend – $10.97 Total Wine

Although we drank the 2015, I’m sure the 2014 linked above is fine. This white blend was perfect to gulp down with some delicious smoked pork shoulder. We ate it alone, we ate it with rolls, we ate it with sauce. In every situation, this fruity, tart blend washed it all down perfectly.

 

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – $11.97 Total Wine

One of my favorite BBQ meats is sausage and I like it hot and spicy, sweet and herby. Doesn’t matter, I love them all and when you bust into a saucy, juicy meat tube some alcoholic relief is crucial. Pop this wild New Zealand Sauv Blanc open and bask in a sweet, tropical oasis that’ll keep your meat sweats at bay.


So the next time you’re eating out or barbecuing at home, I hope you’ll consider trying out some white wines. There really are some pretty amazing combinations that work even with the heaviest of meats. It also helps to have a great friend willing to BBQ for wine, seen below.

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This 5 Pound Jalapeño Popper Bacon Cheeseburger Meat Log Is A BBQ Marvel

Football season in full swing, which means tailgating is back. We all know the key to an awesome tailgate party is – of course – barbecue. It’s always important to have a go-to tailgate barbecue recipe that’s not only easy to make, but also delicious.

This year, let Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q Sauce be your coach in making one of the most unique barbecue bacon creations that’s sure to score points with the crowd, no matter what team you’re on.  

This Stubb’s-infused recipe is like a fusion between a giant jalapeño popper and a barbecue bacon cheeseburger that’ll tackle any hunger pangs in your belly and satisfy the most meat-centric appetites.  

The best part of this beautiful, barbecue, bacon-weaved amalgam of flavors is that you can make it at home, and once you get to your home team’s tailgating spot, simply brush it with a healthy layer of Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce, and throw it on the grill for just over an hour.

Tell your friends to grab a bottle of Stubb’s– we’ll see you at the game.

Here’s the recipe play-by-play.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Estimated Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Rest Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

3 lbs. ground pork sausage

1 package cream cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 package American cheese slices

3 packages bacon

1 onion, diced

2 jalapeños, diced

1 cup Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce

Step 1

Dice one package of bacon and add to a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté bacon for 2-3 minutes, or until fully cooked. Remove bacon pieces from the pan, but keep fat.

Step 2

Add jalapeño and onion to the bacon fat. Season with salt & pepper and sauté until softened. Once fully cooked, remove to a large bowl. Add cream cheese and shredded cheese, and stir until combined. Place a layer of plastic wrap on a cutting board, spoon mixture onto the plastic wrap, and form into a log. Roll the log in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool.

Step 3

To start rolling the first layer of sausage, place another layer of plastic wrap on your cutting board. Spread about one third of your ground pork sausage into an even layer on the plastic wrap. Pull the cheese and sautéed mixture log filling out of the fridge and unwrap.

Step 4

Place the filling in the center of the sausage layer. Using the plastic wrap for support, pull one end of the sausage up and over the filling. Continue to roll the sausage around the filling until it is completely covered and press the seams together to create a seamless sausage barrier around the filling. Roll the log in plastic wrap and set aside.

Step 5

Start creating your second roll by placing another layer of plastic wrap on your cutting board. Spread the rest of your sausage into an even layer on the plastic wrap. Spoon a layer of Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce all over the sausage. Sprinkle crispy bacon on top of the sauce, and then cover everything in a layer of American cheese.

Step 6

Unwrap the previous sausage log and place it in the center of this new sausage/bacon/cheese roll. Using the same technique as last time, roll it up so the bottom layer completely engulfs the existing log. Press the seams to close up any gaps and wrap the whole thing in plastic and set aside.

Step 7

Place another layer of plastic wrap on your cutting board, because it’s time to start building your bacon weave! First, lay down a layer of bacon strips side by side. Fold every other piece of bacon in half so they are half as long. Place an additional piece of bacon at the very edge of each of the folded pieces, perpendicular to the existing slices. Unfold the currently folded pieces over the perpendicular slice. Next, fold all of the bacon slices that weren’t folded previously. Repeat process.

Step 8

Once you’ve completed your bacon weave, unwrap the sausage log and set it in the center. Roll the weave around the sausage starting from one end and rolling toward the other so you end up with the bacon seam side down. Tuck in any loose bacon ends to create an impenetrable bacon shield and your log is ready for the grill.

Step 9

Set up your grill for indirect heat. Bring the temperature up to ~300 degrees. When you’re ready to cook, throw on some wood chips. Place the log in the indirect heat zone of your grill and close the lid. Use your vents to maintain a temperature of 300 degrees. Cook the meat on the grill for one hour, and then check the temperature of the internal layer of sausage every 15 minutes until you reach 150 degrees.

Step 10

Brush on a thick layer of Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce. Let the log cook for another 15-20 minutes to bring the internal temp to 165 and set a beautiful glaze of Stubb’s on the outside. Watch carefully so the sauce doesn’t burn or char.  

Step 11

When the sausage is fully cooked and the Stubb’s Bar-B-Q glaze is thick and sticky, it’s time to pull your log off the grill. Set the fatty on a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes. Then, slice the fatty as thick as you like and serve with Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q sauce on the side.

Photos by Peter Pham


Created in partnership with Stubb’s

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Lucille’s Brisket Mac Melt Is A Magnificent Marvel Of Barbecue

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Since the art of barbecue has been around, smoked brisket and mac ‘n cheese have always existed in complete harmony. In homage of this perfect culinary marriage, Chris Ferrell, Executive Chef at Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que at MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana, California, created a new Lucille’s BBQ Brisket Mac Melt Sandwich, a beautifully stacked masterpiece of barbecued goodness.

brisket mac melt

For barbecue fans, there might not be anything more delicious than this combination of soft and juicy, perfectly smoked brisket, paired with the smooth creaminess of velvety soft mac ‘n cheese.

This item features a few thick slices of Lucille’s perfectly smoked brisket, a steamy helping of melty, creamy mac ‘n cheese, strips of savory applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and crispy onion straws.

brisket mac melt

To top off this behemoth of brisket sandwiches, it’s drenched in Lucille’s famous BBQ sauce and served on two thick slices of crispy Texas toast. 

Think you can conquer this beastly creation of barbecue sandwiches? There’s only one way to find out—you better grab a napkin. 


Created in partnership with MainPlace Mall

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10 Things To Grill This Summer That Aren’t Meat

Summer is creeping up on us faster than a cell phone salesman at the mall kiosk and we’re going to have to figure out what to cook once we fire up those grills.

While burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and chicken are always a safe bet, sometimes guests will want something a little more than just meat.

We dug around and found 10 different things you can throw on the grill that doesn’t require any meat. Happy grilling, everyone!


Veggies

Photo: Bush’s BBQ Boot Camp

Yeah, you could steam your veggies and they’ll probably be slightly healthier for you. OR you could throw them on a white-hot grill and get a satisfying char to them as smoke and fire come together to create one hell of a vegetable dish.

A little lemon juice and salt also goes a long way here, BTW.

Corn

Grilled corn is a pretty big staple when it comes to barbecue. The ears cook until about half of the kernels are browned and blackened. Then you just allow a pat of butter to melt directly onto the surface.

Growing up in a Vietnamese household, we were also partial to this green onion oil that we would just slather onto grilled corn. It was divine.

Pizza

If you’re a fan of wood-fired pizza, you can actually create a makeshift wood-fire oven with your grill. If you’re worried about your pizza dough melting through the grate, however, YouTuber DaveHax came up with a solution to keep this from happening.

Simply take a cupcake tin and let your pizza sit on top of it as you grill. The dough should hold steady and the prevent any spillage. The result: a nice and smokey pizza deserving of your tastebuds.

Mushrooms

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Even though a thick mushroom cap can’t compare to a juicy cut of steak, it’s still a pretty decent alternative to meat. You can grill up a bunch of small white button mushrooms or a few slices of portobello at once.

Once they’re browned, drizzle a little olive oil on top with a tiny pinch of salt and you’re ready to cut into these aromatic fungi.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

They don’t call it grilled cheese for nothing. While the majority of the world makes their grilled cheese straight up on the stove top, culinary guru Alton Brown actually grills his grilled cheese.

While a tedious process for such a simple dish, Brown claims this will drastically improve your cheese sandwich. Check out the video above to see a step-by-step rundown.

Tofu

Need a meatless substitute to get your protein fix? Slice up some tofu bricks and light them up. Just make sure to properly grease your grate, or your tofu will end up a sticky mess. Keep it cooking until it’s nicely charred and brown. The crispy exterior will add a nice texture that complements the soft interior of the tofu.

Avocados

Avocados are one of the most addicting fruits around. We can throw them on pretty much anything and it’ll taste better. Recently, we had the pleasure of tasting oakwood-smoked avocados and it was one of the best variations of the fruit we’ve had the pleasure of putting into our mouths. If you don’t have the equipment and patience to smoke an avocado, however, grilling it may be the next best thing.

Chile Relleno

Photo: Bush’s BBQ Boot Camp

A different take on the classic chile relleno: simply mix together some corn, beans, peppers, and cilantro inside a hollowed out chile. Before adding the stuffing, char your pepper a bit to give it some flavor. Now you can fill it with your medley of ingredients and some cheese on top.

Toss it on the grill just long enough for your cheese to melt, encompassing your beans and peppers. It tastes pretty damn good.

Watermelon Slices

As a quick and easy palette cleaners in between all the heavy BBQ items this summer, you can toss a few slices of watermelon directly onto the grill. You’ll only want them on long enough to get a nice sear and a smokey flavor. Sprinkle a little sea salt on your melon and enjoy a refreshing bite.

Dessert

Looking for something a little sweet to close out your backyard BBQ? A while back, Foodbeast came up with three different desserts that could be made directly on any grill. We’ve got banana boat s’mores, chocolate churro quesadillas, and strawberry shortcake kebabs.

Check out the video to see how we whipped up these desserts.

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‘Brontosaurus Rib’ At NYC BBQ Joint Will Trigger Your Inner Carnivore

Take one gander at this hulking beef rib at Mighty Quinn’s in New York City and you’ll understand the prehistoric comparisons. Headed up by Pit Master Hugh Mangum, this meat centric paradise is an amalgamation of Texas and Memphis style barbecue techniques, resulting in what he calls as ‘NYC BBQ’.

One of the feature items at Mighty Quinn’s is the Brontosaurus Rib, a massive 6-pound beef plate short rib cut that’s rubbed with Hungarian paprika, salt, and pepper. To get the Jurassic-sized portion to become fall-off-the-bone tender requires 12 hours in the smoker, cooked low and slow.

The outcome? One giant excuse to eat like a Flintstone for a day. The duality of the Brontosaurus Ribs’ sheer size and its resulting supple meat makes for an unforgettable dining experience already. Pair that up with Mighty Quinn’s other excellent bbq offerings and you’d swear you were farther down south in the U.S.

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Foodbeast Helps Set Guinness World Record With Smithfield For World’s Largest Grilling Lesson

“Yo let’s build fam, I FW your vision,” me basically once I heard that Smithfield brand was trying to set the first-ever Guinness World Record for the world’s largest barbecue lesson. Though that really wasn’t explicit verbatim and likely just my inner thoughts, I was still hyped to check off a bucket list experience of being a part of a Guinness World Record.

Peep the setting: Kansas City, Mo, AKA the barbecue capital of the world. Over 300 eager participants seeking world record glory. Nine-time World Champion pitmaster Chris Lilly, Weber grillmaster Kevin Kolman, and Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Lineman Chris Jones leading grilling and tailgating fans through two recipes featuring Smithfield Prime Back Ribs and Roasted Garlic & Herb Marinated Fresh Pork Chops.

Colin E. Braley/AP Images for Smithfield

The rules to set the record were simple: the one-hour long lesson which showcased the ease, convenience, and versatility of grilling fresh pork, must have all participants’ dishes cooked and completed within the given time limit. Very minimal social media posting was allowed during the lesson and anybody who left the designated grilling lesson area was eliminated from participation and inclusion in the record.

Though nature called for a few eliminated participants, triumph was ultimately achieved on April 27th and Smithfield officially set the first-ever Guinness World Records title for the largest grilling lesson with 336 participants at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., as announced by official Guinness World Records adjudicator Phillip Robertson.

Smithfield Guinness World Record Attempt for "Largest Grilling Lesson"

Colin E. Braley/AP Images for Smithfield

The event not only launched the brand’s national “Get Grilling America” campaign, but also celebrated National Barbecue Month and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Draft Party.

Foodbeast was really out here helping set world records and partaking in the world’s best barbecue. Twas lit like the hottest grills getting Guinness World Records’ attention, fam.

Smithfield Guinness World Record Attempt for "Largest Grilling Lesson"

Colin E. Braley/AP Images for Smithfield
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24 Grilling Tips To Crush Your Next Barbecue

If you love barbecue as much as I do, grilling season is all-year round.

On a recent trip to Bush’s Baked Beans BBQ Boot Camp, I got to learn some essentials to grilling from a seasoned pro. You may know Steven Raichlen from the PBS series Project Smoke or his bestselling book The Barbecue Bible. Raichlen served as the official grill master for Bush’s BBQ Boot Camp and imparted decades of grilling wisdom on a small team of amateurs.

Myself, included.

The day-long crash course on everything BBQ was designed to give even the most novice of barbecuers a strong foundation for handling the grill.

I spent some time and transcribed my sloppy writing from the course into a few tips for anyone interested in making their barbecue experience even easier.

Check them out!


Seasoning

Salt and Pepper are essential when it comes to seasoning meats. Sometimes that’s all you need.

If you want to add more layers, a rub of salt (salty), coarse black pepper (heat), paprika (earthy), and brown sugar (sweet) covers most taste sensations you’d want on your meat.

With the seasoning base mentioned above, you can customize it with additional spices depending on the type of cuisine you’re interested in cooking.

When salting meat, make sure to do it from an elevated angle (see SaltBae) to ensure that the salt is evenly distributed. This avoids getting irregularly salty patches in your cook.

Meats

When using a meat thermometer, make sure to insert it through the side of your cut and not from above to get a more accurate reading.

Use tongs or spatulas when turning your meat. Piercing cuts with a fork will drain the meat of its flavor and juices.

When making burgers, use ground beef that’s at least 15-18 percent fat. This prevents your patties from being too dry. Twenty-five percent, however, is too fatty.

Do not press your burger patty with the spatula when grilling. All this does is squeezes out the tasty juices inside your burger.

Grilling

Direct grilling is when high heat is used to cook small or thin cuts of meats and vegetables.

Indirect grilling is when foods are cooked near or around the heat source while not sitting directly above it. This method is ideal for large or fattier cuts of meats or fish that will take a while to cook.

Charcoal burns hotter and drier and provides the best sear potential, but you won’t get too much flavor when cooking with it.

Propane grants you the option of controlling your temperature with the push of a button, but also provides little flavor.

Wood provides tons of flavor with a plethora of varieties. Different types of woods are paired with different types of meats. Wood, however, is a little more difficult to control in terms of temperature.

When cooking large cuts of meats, fight the temptation of opening your grill or smoker. Every time you peek, you lower the temperature and add to your cooking time. Just believe in yourself and trust your meat will come out beautifully.

Allowing your meat some time to rest after you cook it is a must. This creates a tastier and juicer product than if you were immediately primed to slice it open.

If your asparagus has the tendency to fall between the slits of your grill, take a skewer and carefully pierce four to five stalks of asparagus. These “boats” will keep from falling into the fire.

Basic Tips

Be as organized as possible. Have everything you need by the grill before you start.

Make sure you have enough fuel before you begin. You can’t stop halfway to go pick up some fuel.

Stay as clean as possible. Throw out waste and wipe your station down as you cook. Clean your grilling grates after every use.

After you clean your grates, make sure to keep it lubricated. Just take a paper towel soaked in oil or some kind of rendered animal fat and carefully oil the grate.

This is a no-brainer, but we can’t stress this enough. WASH YOUR HANDS after handling raw meat.

Try to avoid wrapping your food inside aluminum foil when grilling or smoking. Raichlen compares it to making love with protection on.

Instead of having to waste two plates for raw and cooked meats, just throw a layer of plastic wrap over one plate for the before and after. So picture it as plate, plastic layer, raw meat. Once all the raw meat has been cooked, remove the plastic and place it flush on the plate.

Never use the same cutting boards for raw meat and cooked meat. If you only have one cutting board, pour boiling water over it to kill any bacteria.