Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cowboy "Quick Fire" Charcoal

We were in Lowe's yesterday buying some of those damned expensive lightbulbs that you discover are damned expensive only AFTER you install that stylish light fixture, but we digress. We were in Lowe's yesterday and came across "Cowboy Quick Fire" lump charcoal. Here's the specs"
  • 2 lb. cowboy "quick fire" bag
  • 100% natural lump charcoal with a paraffin coating
  • A single use bag
  • Easy to use and provides great wood flavor
Saavy readers will recall that we reviewed a similar product several years ago: Original Charcoal Company Instant Light Lump Charcoal. This was a lump charcoal product where the lump was impregnated with a vegetable-based wax. We liked the OCC product, so we snapped up a couple of bags of the Cowboy Quick Fire charcoal and will be doing a mini-review in the next couple of weeks.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend At The Naked Whiz Publishing Empire....

The wife's away, the charcoal reviewer will play. Weather permitting, we plan to do the reviewing legwork on Kebroak lump charcoal this weekend. In the wings, we have Primo lump charcoal and Charcos coconut charcoal. We scored the Primo charcoal at the first annual Carolina Eggfest, while we were contacted by folks associated with Charcos. The coconut charcoal should be fun (it usually is) so we'll probably run a few tests over the weekend on Charcos too.

We had so much fun doing the Mojo Pulled Pork photo shoot that we thought we would try another dish this weekend also. It's a rustic savory tart that we will be baking in a ceramic charcoal cooker used like a wood-fired oven. The tart should be good and we'll see if we can take another mouth-watering photo to tease you all with. Of course, if it doesn't work out, we won't say anything and we'll never speak about it again. :-)

So, here's to a great Memorial Day weekend for you all. Cook something special and enjoy the Turkey Grand Prix and the Indy 500!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ceramic Charcoal Cooker Festivals, a few thoughts.....

We were sitting idly here at our desk viewing the 'Fest Map on our website. You can do the same, too, if you like at this address:

  The 'Fest Map

Jeez a mighty! There are a lot of ceramic charcoal cooker festivals out there! Washington state to San Francisco to Texas to Florida to New Hampshire to Minnesota! Upon closer viewing, however, it becomes apparent that all these festivals are held by Big Green Egg owners/dealers/distributors. We began to wonder why that is. Our web page is devoted to all brands of ceramic charcoal cookers and we feel that festivals are something all brands should try to organize in order to promote the whole ceramic charcoal cooker concept.

Certainly, one reason is that Big Green Egg is far and away the most popular ceramic charcoal cooker in the US, as measured by units sold. We once had a conversation with a marketing director from one of the other manufacturers and he stated that his company thrived off the crumbs that Big Green Egg allowed to fall off the table. We also once heard the figure (this was about 4-5 years ago) that Big Green Egg shipped 1,000 units per week. Clearly, Big Green Egg owners are everywhere and getting a group of them together isn't too hard.

But why don't Primo and Grill Dome at least have festivals at their headquarters? Both have headquarters in the Atlanta area, so it seems reasonable that they should have a relatively large following available to attend a festival. We did see a discussion on the Grill Dome forum and it seemed that maybe they were just being too ambitious for their first festival and letting the size of it get in the way of just one getting started. The first Eggtoberfest was a very small event with only 15 cooks and about 100 attendees in all. Look at it now. It has grown so large that they have moved it to the Atlanta Motor Speedway!

(We can speak from experience in the difficulties in getting a dealer to host a festival. Our local dealer just thought it was too much work. He didn't seem to want to consider the facts that a) local Big Green Egg owners would be volunteering to help, and b) he could sell 15 to 20 cookers in one day. We may approach him again some day with a more modest proposal just to show him the possibilities.)

In the case of Komodo Kamado, it's almost certainly the fact that the headquarters are in Indonesia and the cookers are so expensive that there just isn't a critical mass of owners in any location that would make a Komodo Kamado Fest possible.

And in the case of Kamado, it appears that the company is virtually comatose now. There is very little activity on their online forum except for customer complaints which are then deleted. There are no reports from any new owners receiving cookers. You would think that a company located in Las Vegas, for heaven's sake, could generate some interest in holding a party!

Whatever the reasons, we hope that some of the other companies can get some sort of action going on organizing a festival. If you hang out on the Big Green Egg forum for any length of time, the excitement generated by all these festivals (34 this year by our current count) is tremendous. We are all proud of our ceramic charcoal cookers, whatever the brand, and raising awareness in the general public and having the opportunity to share good times with fellow owners is a positive thing, for manufacturers, dealers and owners. Here's to hoping we'll see some Primofest's and Grill Dome Fest's spring up!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Burger King "Ribs": It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....

Ok, we'll admit it. Curiosity got the best of us and we just tried the Burger King grilled ribs. "6 pieces", fries and a medium drink for $7.49. With tax, the total was $8.18. So how was it?

Well before we get to that, let us say that we had seen many of the posts on the BBQ Forum bashing the BK ribs, but you sort of have to take that with a grain of salt. Most of those folks can cook a mean rib, but you know how experts are. Many of them love to brag about their own skills but sort of look down on the efforts of others who aren't in the club? So, we took their comments with a grain of salt and headed on down to BK to try them for ourselves. We should have listened to the "experts."

God these "ribs" were horrible. First of all, what they have done is taken spare ribs and sawed them into two-inch lengths. So remember those "6 pieces" we ordered. Sure enough, we got 6 "pieces", not anything resembling 6 ribs. And there wasn't much meat on each of those "pieces." We figure if you went to a proper BBQ restaurant, you would get the same amount of meat if you ordered 2 spare ribs. Simply amazing.

But how did they taste? Pretty bad. No smoke flavor, no rub, no sauce. There was a hint of a grilled taste, but that's about it. You get little tubs of ultra-sweet and ultra-smokey BBQ sauce on the side. While the sauce does provide a little flavor, heck, you can get that flavor at home by buying some BBQ sauce and putting some ribs under your oven broiler.

So, if anyone suggests you try Burger King's new ribs, run away. Run away! To think for $3 less, you could have a Whopper that contains more meat than a serving of ribs! No, run away as fast as you can. We wouldn't even order these ribs if we were dying for some ribs and BK was the only option. These ribs don't even score well if you consider it's fast food. We'd rather eat a McRib sandwich. This could be the most monumental failure in fast food history, because while most Americans probably don't know a good rib from a bad rib, they certainly know that $8 for a few small bites of pork on a bone is a terrible deal. We shall see.....


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mojo Pork Recipe now posted

Just a quick update to let you know that the recipe/technique for Mojo Pulled Pork was just posted. You'll find it here:

Mojo Pulled Pork



Monday, May 17, 2010

Mojo Pork Sandwich

We spent Friday and Saturday working on adapting a recipe given to us by Chef Antonio Riaos. His recipe roasts the pork in an oven, but of course, we wanted to smoke it and pull it, and end up with a mojo style of pulled pork barbecue. In essence we wanted to add the smokiness of pulled pork barbecue to the tartness and spiciness of mojo pork. You can see the results in the photo. Yum. We will be posting the adaptation on our web site once we have written it up, but we thought you would enjoy this bit of a tease until then.

Basically, the flavoring part of this adaptation is a two part process. First you make a spice paste that you rub on the pork and allow to marinate. When you smoke the pork butt, you do it just like you would normally smoke a pork butt. Then, once that pork is finished cooking and you have pulled it, you pour a mojo sauce over it all and let the meat soak up all that flavor! We can assure you it was worth the work and the wait!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

The 'Fest Map Is Now Up To Date!

Just a short update on the 'Fest Map status. The service provider for our 'Fest Map was having application problems and we couldn't update it. Well, they seem to have fixed it and the 'Fest Map is now up to date with four new Eggfests showing on the map!

Also, we are halfway through the legwork for our Frontier Lump Charcoal review. Many of you know that they have brought out a bigger bag containing lump charcoal made in the US. Their original charcoal wasn't all that great, so we'll see how the new stuff does!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's Up at Naked Whiz Plaza

Glad you asked! We just published a review of True 'Cue lump charcoal. It is being rolled out in Home Depot stores across America, which means it will be easy to find for a lot of folks. You can read the review here:

Review of True 'Cue Lump Charcoal

We also recently published a web page about safety information regarding the use of Cotronics ceramic tape as a gasket on your ceramic cooker. There's a lot of information going around relative to these gasket materials and not all of it is very good. We share with you what we found out, including a letter from Cotronics:

Cotronics Ceramic Tape Safety Information

What lies ahead? Well, we have some tests we'd like to run and document. You'll probably see them when you see them. We have 3 (count 'em!) brands of lump charcoal in line for a review. In no particular order we have the re-review of Frontier Charcoal, Primo Charcoal, and Kebroak Mayan Charcoal. We hope to get at least one of them done this weekend.

And we have some exciting playing around to do with "binchotan" or white charcoal. This is the chokingly expensive charcoal used in Japan for grilling. We have come across a source and if nothing else, we will at some point be publishing an information article on it.

Oh, and there's all sorts of little itty bitty things to do. So, as you can see, it never stops at The Naked Whiz Publishing Empire. We're going to sleep now!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

The New Frontier -- Lump Charcoal That Is....

There's been a fair amount of talk/questions regarding the "new" Frontier charcoal. We hear you! Right now we are in the middle of finishing up (does that make sense?) the testing portion of our review of True 'Cue charcoal. What makes this one interesting is that is supposed to replace Cowboy charcoal in Home Depot stores, so it should be available to a large number of chef's out there. I'm sure everyone is as curious as we are as to how it will turn out.

However, Frontier charcoal is now available in some Sam's Clubs and Ace Hardware stores, and it appears to be totally different from what we reviewed before. So we have it next on our list of charcoals to review. It won't be next weekend as we will be attending the first Carolina Eggfest in Winston-Salem, NC, but it could be shortly after that. Keep your eye on our "What's New" box on the front page for announcement of when each review has been posted.

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