Tag Archives: smoking

Still Basking in the Que…

I can still taste the smoke from the American Royal!!!

Three glorious days of smoking, grilling, and partying at the biggest BBQ bash in the world have given me a whole new perspective on BBQ…  The Midwest BBQ Institute here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City competed in the American Royal BBQ Contest for the very first time on October 1st – 3rd and I was lucky to be able to spend all weekend with the team!!!  It’s true one of the perks to this job is that I get to hang out with the very best BBQ’rs learn, cook, throw parties, and of course… I get to eat the BBQ!!!  We had a killer weekend, but here are the highlights!

On Friday we went to the contest first thing to pitch our tent, put up our pig chef poles (did you see that picture in the Kansas City Star folks???), and get dinner on the fire.  We also welcomed our BBQ Inner Sanctum … four awesome new friends who took the whole weekend as a class!  (Jealous? There’s always next year!)  We all got right to work for our Smokin’ Schoolhouse party… and a smokin’ party it was.  We had fantastic live music provided by none other than the Manager of Merriment herself Maria Dickson and her swingin’ jazz quartet, amazing Sister Mary’s Bloody Knuckle Cracker cocktails at the bar, and dancing and reveling shortly ensued.  The food, have I mentioned the food yet at the party? Well… let’s just say none of the other tents were sporting smoked brie en croute and chocolate chip cookies with bacon!

Now let’s talk about the contest, I’m not sure what I expected… but Saturday and Sunday were amazing!  Saturday morning when I came in, the team was already up, full of breakfast, and working on the competition sides and dessert.  Let me tell you Matt’s squash side dish was INCREDIBLE, and the beans? Well let’s just say I’d take Bruce’s classes just for that recipe alone!  The most exciting bit is the turn in though, a rush to the judges in the tiny time window allowed for turn in, hoping you don’t drop the box, hoping no one knocks you over, hoping the klutz gene stays dormant just for this one day… whew, all turned in without a hitch… that was a rush!

Saturday night was my favorite moment of the entire weekend… we all took an evening to relax. We lit candles, The Main Dish set a beautiful table and made her famous spinach salad, Chef Matt grilled up steaks the Flintstones could have been proud of, and we drained several bottles of very nice wine.  That moment where we all came together, looked around at all of our hard work, our new friends, our old friends, and just enjoyed the evening was the highlight for me.  Those moments are the reason I love cooking.

Sunday was the main event, the meats! Well let me tell you how much I did NOT know about competition BBQ.  The brisket the team turned out was unlike any brisket I’ve ever eaten… seriously, I almost didn’t believe it could possibly be the same cut of beef.  The ribs? Well, the taste of that rib lingered in my mouth for at least an hour… I avoided gum, I avoided getting a glass of water, it was THAT good.  I also watched the MBQI team work like a well oiled BBQ machine. Chef Richard is so very delicate in the kitchen, when he’s there in his element he’s something like a very fine pianist, the kind that makes you want to stare at his fingers in amazement while he plays.

Are you drooling yet? Don’t worry, we’ve got tons of MBQI classes coming up soon you can get in on and I know one thing is for sure… get ready because we’re going back to the American Royal next year!


Rachel Ciordas

“Dean of Deliciousness”
Manager of Culinary Curriculum




Backyard BBQ

Backyard BBQ: The Art of Smokology Description:

BACKYARD BBQ The Art of Smokology is in it’s Fourth Printing This book covers all the barbecue basics of Backyard Smoking, as taught in Chef McPeake’s barbecue classes. Hence the name: The Art of Smokology. From starting your fire, to buying, selecting, trimming and smoking meats. Also chapters covering terms, rub making, sauce making, brining and the proper procedures for smoking seafood.  Plus some of his favorite recipes like: Hell Fire Brisket , Sweet & Spicy Cherry Ribs, Duck Pastrami, Oriental Smoked Porkloin, Twice Smoked Pulled Pork, Take Your Breath BBQ Sauce, Passion BBQ Sauce, Mustard & Pepper Spiced Beef Tenderloin, Honey Maple Brine for Salmon, Honey Marinated Lobster Tails, Coconut Curried Scallops, Margarita Mop for Chicken,
Nawlins’ Butter Mop, Warm Jalapeno Corn Relish, Gazpacho Salsa, Zesty Backyard Baked Beans, Wisconsin Cheddar Potato Salad Jambalaya Rice
…………and much more! No stone is left unturn in this book available in The Kitchen Shop at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.