Posted by & filed under BBQ Joints.

Hill Country Warming PitGretchen and I had the honor to go behind the scenes of Hill Country BBQ in NYC this past weekend. We were there on business, serious BBQ business, to eat our way through the Big Apple, via the Big Apple BBQ Block Party which was a slice of heaven in Manhattan. Elizabeth Karmel, the Executive Chef of Hill Country has made her mark on NYC bringing Texas BBQ, that’s real Texas BBQ to the Yankee’s and serving it up right.Kreuz Jalpeno Cheddar Sausage

To add to the enjoyment, David Knight, the genius behind Old Hickory Pits and his daughter Elizabeth joined us on the tour and when he is impressed, you know that Hill Country has something good.  Karmel was going for that Lockhart Texas feel, complete with sausages imported from Kreuz in Lockhart and the same meat by the pound, wrapped in butcher paper and stored just like the do down in Texas. The sides bar are many of her recipes or those that have been handed down and eaten at many family BBQ’s over the years.

The cafeteria style of the place is the most fun, you get a card which is like a menu, and then you travel from station to station, filling up your tray with meat, then sides, then Blue Bell Ice Cream and fresh baked cupcakes. They add stickers on your card of what you have eaten. You check out at the end, after you have finished (which assumes you can still walk out of the place) and pay there. Very friendly waitresses wait on you bringing you drinks, water and anything else you might need.

Now let’s get to the meat of the matter. The brisket is unlike anything that I have ever tasted, we had the lean, which has a perfect smoked flavor and is a little more dry which is why they call it "lean" but delicious as can be. You can really taste the simple rub, but it is the Post Oak, a standard Texas smoking wood that makes the brisket stand out. The brisket "moist" is a must have, it is the way it is meant to be in my humble opinion and taste as can be, the consistency was perfect and the taste was sublime. (Can you tell I love brisket?) The ribs were special too, the simple rub and the post oak combined for some tasty spare ribs.

Let’s get down to the highlight of the tasting, the pork chop (bone in) which is smoked in the smoker and then they pull it out and slice it off the rack for you, and then cut up in small pieces, just like my momma used to! It was delicious, the rub is the one used on all else, but I have never had a pork chop so juicy and tender in all my days. Finally we tested the beef ribs and those too were delicious, but you need many of them to really get your fill. We also used some of the "If You Gotta Have It" BBQ sauce, which is a no-no in Lockhart, but in NYC, anything goes and this BBQ sauce is worth having.

Hats off to Pitmaster Pete DaversaElizabeth Karmel, Marc Glosserman, and John Shaw who rolled out the red carpet for us and treated us so well at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party we cannot wait until next year!


Posted by & filed under Pro Products.

If You Gotta Have It Hill Country BBQ Sauce

If You Gotta Have It Hill Country BBQ Sauce

BBQ Pro Shop is proud to be the one of the very few online retail outlets for Hill Country Barbecue Sauce – If You Gotta Have It! It was recognized as the Best Texas Barbecue Sauce outside of Texas by the Governor of Texas and a plaque hangs at Hill Country BBQ in NYC. We love the taste of it and are proud to be associated with Hill Country.

To see Elizabeth Karmel show you how to BBQ ribs and chicken, using her famous Chicken Sitter, click HERE.


Elizabeth Karmel of Grill Friends and author of Soak Slathered & Seasoned

Posted by & filed under Recipes.

Soak Slathered & Seasoned

Soak Slathered & Seasoned

Bill Daley of Tribune Newspapers considers Elizabeth Karmels new book, Soaked, Slathered & Seasoned to be one of Seven sizzling new grill books that you need to have. Here is how he describes it:

Soaked, Slathered & Seasoned (Wiley, $19.95), by Elizabeth Karmel. Splitting time between Chicago and New York, this chef and owner of the Grill Friends line of grilling products tells you all about marinades, rubs, sauces and mops.

We have had the chance to see it and we are just amazed at how great of a book this actually is. Elizabeth Karmel has been around the cooking and grilling scene for many years and this book is full of great receipes for ways to spice up your food using marinades, rubs, mops and all sorts of great sauces. She has receipes for all types of meat, fish and vegetables that are unique and very tasty.  It is simple to use and a labor of love, this book is small and a great way to grill like a pro.

In addition, she has a great little tool called the Grill Friends Martini Shaker is a great little tool to help you mix up to 16 ounces of marinade and has five receipes on the outside as well. Get the book, you will love it!


Posted by & filed under Recipes.

For many years, my wife Gretchen and I have used our Weber Grill to Barbecue our Thanksgiving Turkey. We used to use charcoal until we got our Summit 450, and then life became so much easier. The Grill Friends Turkey Sitter or Stand makes cooking a moist and delicious turkey almost a no-brainer. As long as you do not burn it, or over cook it, you will get incredible results every time.

We are proud disciples of Elizabeth Karmel who has developed the Grill Friends Turkey Sitter which insures that your turkey will be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Our Holiday Turkey’s are legendary and we wanted to share this with the world. We are using Nantucket Offshore’s Holiday Turkey Rub and a Grill Friends Turkey Brining Bag in the movie. Come by and see us if you have any questions.

Click here to take a look at the video: How To Barbecue a Turkey Using a Grill Friends Turkey Stand Sitter


Posted by & filed under Marinade, Sauces, Rubs n Seasoning, Pro Products.

Plowboys BBQ Bovine Bold Spice Rub

Since our good friend and mentor Elizabeth Karmel first introduced me to Willinghams Wham Seasoning, my life has never been the same. I used to work at a butcher shop as a kid, and there was nothing that couldn’t be seasoned better then with salt, pepper and garlic powder. People used to rave about my hamburgers just because I throw Lawry’s season salt on them and they never tasted better.

So I feel like I owe it to the Backyard BBQ Community, to share with you the secret of the “Spice Rub“. Karmel’s new book Soaked Slathered and Seasoned highlights the art of making things taste good and if everyone could see how easy it is, the world could be a happier, spicier place! Here are a couple of my favorite spice rubs because they are so darn good.

Spice rub is any mixture of ground spices that is made for the purpose of being rubbed on raw food before the food is cooked. The spice rub forms a coat on the food. The food can be marinated in the spice rub for some time for the flavors to incorporate into the food or it can be cooked immediately after it is coated in the rub. The spices are usually coarsely ground. In addition to spices, salt and sugar may be added to the rub, the salt for flavor and the sugar for caramelization.

Wilingham’s Original Mild Spice Rub is one of the very best, all around spice rubs that I have found. We recently started to sell the Willingham’s Cajun Hot Seasoning and although it is supposed to be hotter, I find that both rubs have a nice kick to them. The original Wham is fantastic on pork chops, baby back ribs and pulled pork butts. It has a great taste to it that really compliments the pork. We have also used Willingham’s spice rub on chicken breasts, boneless and bone in and it really gives a great bbq base flavor to the food. Rub this on a few hours before cooking, put it in the fridge until cooking time and you will form a great marinade on the top.

We recently added Plowboys BBQ Bovine Bold Spice Rub and Plowboys BBQ Yardbird Spice Rub to our store to expand upon the world of spice rubs that we carry. So we put it to the test this past week and put some Plowboys BBQ Yardbird on the chicken and pork chops and we made some chicken with the Bovine Bold on it and both were fantastic. It is nice to see that these spice rubs work great on just about anything, but I must say that the Plowboys BBQ Yardbird on Pork Chops, rivaled the Willingham’s Wham! Use the same steps as above and make sure that you slow cook the meat, even on the grill so that it doesn’t dry out and the juice mixes with the spice rub.

Finally, if you only use one type of seasoning for your chicken for the rest of your life, make it Sarah’s Sea Salt Mediterranean Salt. It has the most delicious blend of spices, and on chicken it is tough to beat. We recommend a whole chicken, cooked on a Chicken Sitter Stand with some beer, wine or just plain old water poured inside the chicken sitter. Then wash the chicken in cold water, rub some olive oil on the skin and sprinkle the Sara’s Sea Mediterranean Salt all over the chicken. Place on your grill or smoker, with indirect heat for 45 minutes to an hour and you will end up with a crispy skinned, melt in your mouth meat chicken that is so tasty! Try the same with Nantucket Off Shore Renaissance Spice Rub and you will get the same result, just a little spicier version.

The fact is that with a few of these BBQ spice rubs in your kitchen, you can make any mean taste gourmet in just a few minutes. Life is too short not to season your meats, and grilling items, this is great on vegetables and even better on fish! So try a spice rub today and start to make your BBQ taste like the Pros.

What is your favorite rub?