Friday, September 26, 2014

My interview with Ardie Davis uncovers what we should look for in good barbecue.

KC Masterpiece 35th Anniversary Blend Kansas City Classic Barbecue Sauce Ardie Davis (c)nwafoodie

Right at this very moment, Northwest Arkansas is hosting Bikes, Blues, and BBQ. All I have to do is sit on my back deck to hear the rumble of bikers off in the distance or to hop in my car for a quick errand to observe that this area has completely transformed itself into one of leather, smoke, and blues. 

Personally, I try to steer clear of the congestion during this time yet it is hard not to notice all the pop-up barbecue food trucks.  Some are fancy while most are not.  The telltale trail of smoke almost makes you think that you can visualize the taste of barbecue in the air.  I wish they would stay around for good.

Because it is timely, today we are going to chat about barbecue.

The folks at KC Masterpiece contacted me last week to give a heads up about the release of their special 35th anniversary Blend called the KC Masterpiece Kansas City Classic. The sauce is based on the Blue Ribbon recipe that won “best sauce” at the first American Royal Barbecue sauce competition in 1979. 

“Would you like us to send you a sample of it? Also, would you be interested in interviewing barbecue expert Ardie Davis?”

Um. Was I interested in an interview with THE ultimate barbecue expert and most recognizable judge on the barbecue circuit?

YES, PLEASE!

I said no to the sample because I knew I could easily pick up a bottle the next time I was in the Jane, Missouri Walmart store. At less than $3 a bottle and with ingredients I could recognize (real cane sugar, rich dark molasses, no HFCS, thank you very much), I knew that was something that I would be more than happy to purchase on my own.  

Who is Ardie Davis?

If you have ever attended a major barbecue competition or watched one on TV, you most likely have seen Ardie Davis.  He is known as Remus Powers on the barbecue circuit and is the Greasehouse University founder, where qualified applicants can obtain a Ph.B., or doctor of barbecue philosophy .  These applicants must go through a series of rigorous requirements to prove their barbecue skills.  He is the author of six books ongrilling and smoking and lives in the Kansas City area.  Based on one of questions below, he is working on a seventh book.

My interview with Ardie Davis uncovers what we should look for in good barbecue.

Mr. Davis, I am really excited about the opportunity to ask you a few questions about barbecue because I am ashamed to say that I am barbecue illiterate. When I think of barbecue, the first thing that comes to my mind is a sickeningly sweet and sticky glaze that covers meat that is hard to decipher.  Because of that mindset, I usually run the other way when I hear someone suggest we dine at a barbecue joint.  Please guide me and change my mindset. 

What should I be looking for or asking for when searching for a good barbecue place?

AD :: I am always in search for the best barbecue wherever I go; in fact I am coming out with a new book which highlights some great barbecue restaurants across the country. I always recommend looking at what the regional specialty is when choosing what to get – for example, if I’m in Texas I’m going brisket, if I’m in St. Louis I’ll definitely go with Spare Ribs. Also, great barbecue doesn’t always have to be slathered in sauce; I like when the sauce complements the meat and not overpower it.  The best way to avoid being served barbecue that is drowned in sauce is to order it dry, with sauce on the side. That puts you in control of the sauce. You have a healthy mindset: use sauce in moderation as a complement to the meat. If you are told that dry is not an option, take your business elsewhere—or, as you aptly put it, run the other way.


So many folks think of barbecuing as a summertime-only meal. I am curious to know what you think about that and if it should matter if you live in a cold winter climate?

AD :: To me barbecue is year round, the beauty of barbecue is that there are so many different flavors that complement every season in the year. If you’re looking for something around winter time, try a spicier sauce to help warm you up.


What is the most surprising ingredient you tasted in a barbecue dish that completely delighted you?  

AD :: The most surprising ingredient that I’ve ever discovered is anchovies. This may sound weird, but anchovies are a key ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, which is a commonly used ingredient in barbecue sauce. That surprise ingredient stands out to me more than any others.


You are the most experienced judge and expert on the barbecue circuit.  I am sure you have seen and heard everything when it comes to tips and tricks to making good barbecue.  I am curious to know what is your simplest no-fail always-stick-with barbecue tip?

AD :: Don’t completely drown your meat in barbecue sauce. Don’t get me wrong, the sauce is a very important part to the dish; however, the sauce is meant to complement the flavors of the meat. If you add too much sauce, you will miss out on all the flavors that make barbecued meat amazing – the coal fired meat. For other tips, there are many excellent books that will save you time, trouble and money. Plus, go to barbecue contests and get tips from the competitors when they are in relaxation mode. Ask specific questions, like, “How can I make my ribs tender and juicy instead of dry, tough and burned?”


When you are sitting down to your favorite barbecue meal, what are the types of side dishes that you think are the best compliments?  Does it differ according to a wet or dry rub or the type of meat you are eating?

AD :: I’m always open to trying what the Pitmaster recommends. Delicious side dishes that go well with any type of barbecue include barbecue baked beans, corn bread, potato salad, coleslaw, baked potatoes, etc. I have a great recipe for Classic Barbecue Baked beans which features the KC Masterpiece Kansas City Classic barbecue sauce, a throwback to the brands original sauce that won the first ever American Royal sauce competition 35 years ago. It’s great as a tailgating side dish.


Of all the rigorous skills required to earn the coveted degree of Ph.B, which skill do you think is the hardest one to master?

AD :: Every grill is different and has its own personality, so learning the timing and placement of the meat for the best outcome can be difficult. Practice makes perfect. The more you grill, smoke, barbecue, etc., the better you’ll be.

Now, who else is craving barbecue?

Thank you Ardie Davis for making me smarter and thank you KC Masterpiece for setting up the interview.

Happy barbecuing!

Eat well, my friends. Eat well.


Lyndi

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five Foodie Finds for Friday, September 19th.

Five Foodie Finds for Friday September 19 2014 (c)nwafoodie

After viewing countless videos of your ice-bucket-challenges, holding my breath with anticipation to see that moment of ice shower shock, I came to a realization.

America, you seriously need to update your ice bucket collection.

These little dandies will do just the trick.

1.
Crate and Barrel. This beautifully designed and curvaceous ice bucket is the newest edition to the Carter Collection. Classic in style yet trendy enough to leave out on the countertop.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Still feeling peachy?

Fresh Peach and Tomato Salsa TasteArkansas Arkansas Farm Bureau (c)nwafoodie

Even though Vanzants Farm stopped selling seasonal peaches does not mean that I stopped wanting to eat them. Nope. I still want them in.my.belly. Hopefully you were able to stock up and canned some while they were still bursting with rich summertime flavor.  Or, at very least I hope that you were able to score some fresh-off-the-tree beauties.

This summer I played more with my peaches. 

That just sounds silly.

Usually I keep it simple and eat them fresh, can them fresh, and slice them up fresh with ice cream.  This year I branched out a bit and experimented because I wanted to figure out a way to bring out the full flavors so we could eat them year-round and still have the freshly picked taste.

Just because peach season is over does not mean that we have to stop eating them.

These two recipes are keepers.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm five.

nwafoodie blog turns 5 years old
Where were you five years ago? 

A lot can happen in five years, and a lot can stay the same.  It is a marvel to me to think back on all that has happened since 2009 and try to imagine what the next five will bring.  Ups and down, for sure. Trials make us stronger and build character and lovely joys keep us floating in hopefulness and delight.  I vote for both in our lives.

This blog just turned five.

Friday, August 29, 2014

#AWBU #foodiefriday

Panel session from #AWBU #foodiefriday2012

Ever thought about becoming a food blogger?

Have you been kicking around the idea of starting your own blog but not sure where to start? 

Have you been thinking, “hey, I’m a really good cook/baker/reviewer/foodie/eater and I should share what I know with others?”

Yes.
Yes.
Yes.

Okay, your first step is to surround yourself with seasoned food and lifestyle bloggers and jump-start your idea. One way to get started is to attend a food blog conference.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Top 10 Northwest Arkansas food blogs you should be reading in 2014.

Hello friends!

Today is the day I get to share my absolute favorite annual post… the top 10 list of local food bloggers that I think you should be reading. 

Some make my list every year and are a constant source of inspiration. I am happy to say that this year there are three new ones that were not on my radar screen a year ago and I am glad to get to know them and make the introduction.  

Drum roll….

Friday, August 8, 2014

The sorrel is thriving.

sorrel herb plant in June (c)nwafoodie

In late late late spring, I planted sorrel.  Actually, it was more like early summer.  One Friday afternoon before closing time, I quickly popped into Bogles Garden City in Bentonville to see what herbs they had left.  You see, I had an empty planter without anything in it as well as a lushly vibrant pile of fresh compost obviously wanting me to come dig in it one more time. At Bogles, the herbs were all picked over except for a smattering of mint and a few sorrel plants.  Sorrel went home with me because the mint always misbehaves.

Sorrel completely intrigues me. Technically, it is considered a culinary herb although it more thought of as a green, like dandelion greens or spinach.  Sorrel is best when used for soups, pureed, with spinach, or with egg dishes.  Think of it like a slight savory herb with just an ever so whispery hint of lemon that quickly moves to overpowering if you use too much of it.  What intrigues me about sorrel is that seems old-fashioned.  Let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a recipe that calls for sorrel?

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