Recently, right here in my back yard, the big time came to town! Meaning, the American Royal 34th Annual World Series of BBQ! The American Royal (as it is commonly called) is an annual event here. More than 500 teams compete, making this the largest BBQ competition in the nation. Reputations are made and locked in for life with a win at the Royal. More than one restaurant and BBQ sauce was created from a win at the Royal.
Thanks to the kindness of a Blogging Buddy... Chris of the Nibble Me This Blog was invited to cover the Royal as a media correspondent. His inconvenient day job and obligations got in the way so he passed my name on to the PR dept. I have been attending the Royal for years as a partier. This was a chance to see things up close in a new light... The words, Time of my life come to mind!
I am sure that had Chris been able to cover the even he would look at it with a different eye than I would. After all, Chris recently invested in a new BEAUTIFUL Competition Smoking Rig. He has the bug. If you have read his last few months worth of posts, he has the fever. His days as a top notch home grillmaster are numbered and he has plans to hit the road.
Me, I still am striving to be the master of my domain, king of the Cul de Sac grillers I can see from my back deck. So I chose to cover the event with eye towards what I can learn and transfer to my home deck.
Inspiration... OMG, just driving into the neighborhood where the Royal is held will inspire you to cook, cook, cook. The air is filled with the delicious aroma of smoking meat. There is bits of smoke rising from the multi acre competition area.
The set ups that experienced competitors use is fun to see. I am always drawn to this Superman (Clark Kent) themed set up who have 75 years worth of competition under their collective belts. They shared a bit of their Que that they were preparing for the party night and of course... WONDERFUL!
This guy is Shannon Kimball. He is a local guy who was competing in the "Best BBQ Sauce on the Planet" award. i have started making my own sauces, with several different under my belt this summer I was interested in hearing what he does.
Turns out that was time well spent as just a few hours after he took time to tell me the number of times he made his signature sauce before he hit on that balance of sweet and heat, spice and texture, carefully recording each formula... HE WON! Yeap, I tasted his sauce when he was just a contender and I got tips from the maker of 2013's BEST SAUCE ON THE PLANET!
You can also get more than enough information about any cooker you can imagine... Some day I will join the masses and pick up an Egg. Until then I can do hours worth of research by talking to salesmen as well as cooks who compete using a Big Green Egg. No matter what cooker you may dream of, they are probably represented at the Royal. Good Bad and Indifferent you can get plenty of hints, tips and suggestions.
I sat through a half dozen cooking demos from plenty of great cooks, all sharing something that I can take home as a Cul de Sac master griller.
This particular gem came from the demo by Myron Mixon. You may recognise Myron from his many TV appearances such as BBQ Pitmasters. He has won an amazing 180 Grand Championships and over 1,800 BBQ trophies. He has chops!
He started his presentation with a talk about competition and an invite to attend one of his cooking classes. Then he wanted to show a back yard trick to getting a great presentation from simple, probably in your pantry ingredients. And sure enough, I had the necessary ingredients...
He also uses a precooked sausage. He used a polish sausage. But I decided to use an Andouille Cajun New orleans spiced sausage. Again, bought on sale (watch the newspaper, there are almost always coupons). And again, frozen which came in handy when you try to stuff this into the loin.
The technique is pretty simple... Take a long thin knife and cut an X all the way through the center of the loin.
Then take a long thin poking device (I used my honing steel used to get an edge on knifes) and enlarge that X all the way through.
Then just force the sausage into the loin.
And now you just smoke or grill or even roast in the oven as you normally would.
And what you end up with is a beautiful presentation as well as a a delicious mix of meats, spices, rub... and just happen to be the right size for little slider sandwiches.
Tailgate party idea anyone???
It may look a bit odd, but this makes sense. I was able to put a sweet BBQ rub on the outside of the loin. The pork has a natural sweetness and came out just as deliciously tender as you can imagine. While the sausage was indeed deliciously CAJUN Spiced. Since the sausage ended up in the center, Heat and Sweet, a variety of textures and layers of flavors in EVERY BITE! Unusual look, surprisingly complicated flavors turns my usually throw away sale meat into something special... And makes a great slider!
Pork Loin and Sausage Sliders
1 Hormel Brand Pork Loin
1 Foot long Cooked Andouille Sausage (Frozen)
Sweet Cherry BBQ Rub
a Dozen Slider Buns (Try THIS RECIPE)
Pickled Red Onions for Garnish
Bread and Butter Pickles for Garnish
Not Shown, but I used Sweet Root Beer BBQ Sauce for topping
- Cut an X in the flat side of the pork loin. Use a combination of a long thin knife and a thin long round poking device to get a hole throughout the loin.
- Shove the frozen sausage through the hole, leaving a bit sticking out of both ends
- Allow the sausage to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Rub the sweet spice rub into the outside of the pork loin.
- Grill indirect smoking style, long and slow, 250 degrees, no lower than 225, until internal temperature of the LOIN is 140 degrees.
- Allow to rest for 10 minutes (the internal temp will go up to 145) and slice thin
- Serve on bun, garnish as you like and ENJOY!
Keep coming back. I will have more reports from the Royal as well as additional recipes, tricks, tips and techniques that I learned on my weekend of FUN!
Thanks Chris and my hosts at the Royal!
Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop... Over 100 in one grilling season (I love to grill!). But not just leat... Drinks, Condiments (LOTS of different BBQ sauces), Drinks, Desserts... even specialty items like GRILLED Pizza, and fun shaped Watermelons. Easy and these ideas will make you the MASTER of your Backyard Domain!
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