Kevin's BBQ Joints

Kevin's BBQ Joints Blog

New Photos – Smoke City Market / Gnarly Head Wine Meatup

Here are some additional photos taken by Mike Allen (Mike Allen Photography) from June’s Meatup at Smoke City Market to eat massive amounts of BBQ and pair that with wine from Gnarly Head Wine.


BBQ Sauce Question – Mustard Vs. Vinegar Based

The votes came in so quickly and assertively yesterday afternoon I thought I’d put together a full post to get the results in one place. As of today the results are:

45 mustard based
39 vinegar based
14 both
3 bacon (which was not the question, but love it nonetheless)
1 none (the entry was of course from Texas)

Vote now to be heard in this all so important discussion!

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Ray Lampe – My Favorite BBQ Joints – Volume 14

Wow. This week’s My Favorite BBQ Joints is from an amazing member of the country’s BBQ family, Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ. Ray Lampe grew up in Chicago and after high school spent 25 years in the family trucking business. In 2000 the trucking business had run its course, and it was time for Ray to try something new. He had been participating in BBQ cookoffs as a hobby since 1982, so he decided to take a leap and turn his hobby into a career. In 2000 Ray moved to Lakeland, Florida and began his career as an outdoor cooking expert. I’ve always been a huge fan of his so I’m honored to have him participate.

Here are Ray’s Favorite BBQ Joints in his words:

Arthur Bryant’s BBQ – Kansas City, MO/KS
Arthur Bryant’s has been at the top of my list for many years and it still is. It’s been open since the early 1920’s and is still going strong. You’ll stand in line with locals and tourists all ecstatic to be there. Enjoy the pictures of celebs and US Presidents on the wall while you wait. Then order the beef and fries. Kansas City is brisket town and this is as good as it gets.

Photo of Arthur Bryant’s BBQ courtesy of DD/MM/YYYY

Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q – Alabama
The folks at Big Bob Gibson’s have been cooking BBQ in Decatur, Alabama since 1925 and these days it’s better than ever. They’ve won the Memphis in May World Championship 3 times and that excellence carries over to the restaurant. The smoked turkey is my favorite and I’ve eaten it on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” but don’t overlook the pork shoulder or the chicken with white sauce that made them famous in the first place. And don’t skip a slice of pie.

Photo of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q courtesy of

Louie Mueller Barbecue – Taylor, TX
This has been a BBQ joint since 1949 and it looks it. But call it patina because the place reminds you that it’s all about the food here and that’s a good thing. Texas BBQ joints are unique in the way they serve. Tell them what you want to see on your plate and they’ll weigh it up like a butcher shop. I ask for a couple slices of fatty brisket, a jalapeno sausage, and a big rib with some beans, white bread and a bottle of Shiner beer. It just doesn’t get any better than this place.

Photo of Louie Mueller Barbecue courtesy of Man Up: Tales of Texas BBQ

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Four Important Social Media Tips for BBQ Joints (and Restaurants)

In doing research for my BBQ Joint search engine Kevin’s BBQ Joints I can easily say that I have visited almost every BBQ Joint website, facebook page, and twitter feed there is out there. With over 3,000 joints listed, that’s a lot of websites and feeds. Time after time I noticed the same glaring mistakes by restaurant owners who were using the internet to get additional word out and create a strong ‘online presence’. Since I now consult for a number of companies (restaurants, food companies, and products) and have been doing online PR and Marketing for over a decade I thought it would be a great idea to provide some tips that I’ve learned over the years that can be used to immediately bump up your exposure.

#1 – Update your facebook page and twitter account daily (if not 3-4 times a day). There’s nothing worse than seeing a facebook or twitter page who’s last post was 2-3 months ago. First off, it makes the reader think your restaurant is closed and in that instant they will be moving on to the next place they were searching for. Posting daily not only removes that concern, but puts YOU in the mind of the public. Seeing a tweet in the morning as they head to work puts that grain of an idea to stop by at lunch or dinner, especially if the tweet sparks their interest.

#2 – Respond, respond, respond. If someone writes you a tweet or posts something on your facebook wall (or simply replies to one of your posts) you NEED to reply back that day. Even a quick ‘thank you’ is enough. It’s ‘social media’ politeness, but more importantly it strengthens their connection with you and your brand. When I recently consulted for a bread company you don’t know how often people were overjoyed to get a tweet or facebook ‘like’ from them. It made their day and kept them on as a fan and follower. Today’s social networking tools gives you the best way to connect personally with those that give you business.

#3 – Provide your information. Please put your phone number and street address on your facebook page and website (and a link from your twitter account to your website). It sounds simple and hard to believe, but you’d be surprised how often this information (this incredibly integral information) is left off. I may be the only one who has the patience to search your restaurant out, but most people are looking for great food, not a quest.

#4 – Photos – Again, this one seems like a no brainer, but sadly it’s not. It is SO important, especially these days with all of the amazing monitors out there (desktop to tablet) that your food needs to take center stage. You don’t need to take photos of every item at first (although I do recommend this), but at least your signature dishes. My friend Gary from often advised BBQ Joints to leave off the photos of drunken customers and girls in skimpy clothing instead showing great shots of what they really should be selling, which is BBQ.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what you should do when it comes to social media and of course it does take the time, but is well worth it. There’s an amazing array of techniques and plans to really make an impact and I would thrilled to assist you in this. If you’re a BBQ Joint, restaurant, or manufacturer please feel free to EMAIL ME for consulting prices and services as I am confident I would exceed your expectations.

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Pecan Lodge – Dallas, TX

Here are some great photos of the BBQ, sides and dessert from the Pecan Lodge in Dallas Texas which the Dallas Observer calls “a Southern comfort foodsterant, where, yes, they serve fried chicken and barbecue. Welcome, friends, to meat heaven.” I haven’t been yet (plan on visiting in August), but know from the photos I will be enjoying my visit immensely.


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Podnah’s Pit Barbecue – Portland, Oregon – BBQ Pics

Here are a few pics from Podhan’s Pit Barbecue in Portland Oregon:

Have you been here? They are really doing an incredible job up there bringing read deal low and slow to Portland.

You can visit them here:

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BBQ Video – Helen’s BBQ – Brownsville, TN

Saveur has a great video of Helen’s BBQ in Brownsville, Tennessee for their Barbecue Nation issue that you really have to see.

Photo of Helen Turner from Helen’s BBQ courtesy of Southern Foodways – Flickr

This is so slow and deliberate yet you know that this is the way it’s been done here forever. I don’t know about you, but this makes me so hungry and so bummed that I don’t live close enough (only about 2,800 miles away) to sample weekly if not daily. Have you been to Helen’s BBQ? Would love to know your thoughts. I’ve only heard great things about their barbecue.

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Gnarly Head Wine – Rippin’ Rib Tour 2011 – Ribfest Chicago

Gnarly Head Wine’s Rippin’ Ribs Tour headed to it’s third stop this past weekend at Ribfest Chicago. The next stop is Safeway National Capital BBQ Battle XIX this weekend (see info below).

The winner was Amy Kent with her ‘Zinfully Amazing Ribs’

Here’s her recipe:
2 racks of ribs
1 bottle Gnarly Head Zinfandel
½ cup brown sugar
2 TBSP salt, Hungarian paprika
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp nutmeg, allspice, ground mustard, garlic powder & smoked paprika
¼ tsp sage, dry mustard, thyme, cinnamon
1 can chipotles in adobo
1 can chicken broth

Temperature at 260°F-275°F and smoke ribs 3 hours.

In the water pan add chicken broth, chipotles and ½ bottle Zinfandel. Combine the spices in zippered bag. On sheet pan place ribs cover with brown sugar, spice rub. Pour ½ cup Zinfandel over ribs. Let ribs sit for 30 minutes, place in smoker.

Wine pairing: Gnarly Head Zinfandel

Here is info on their 4th Stop in Washington DC. Please stop by if you are going.
Safeway National Capital BBQ Battle XIX
June 25 – 26, 2011
Pennsylvania Avenue – between 9th & 14th

Gnarly Head Rippin’ Ribs Cook-off
Saturday, June 25th
Time: 2:30pm – 3:30pm (cooking starts at 9am)
Location: Pennsylvania Avenue between 11th & 12th

Radio personality Tommy McFly of 94.7 FRESH FM will be on hand to announce the winners.

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Smokin’ Joe’s Barbecue – Olathe, KS

Here are a few new pics from Smokin’ Joes Barbecue in Olathe, Kansas.

Have you been to Smokin’ Joes? If so, what’s your favorite BBQ item on the menu?

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R. Rooster BBQ Co. – New BBQ Joint – Williston, ND

There aren’t a lot of great choices for BBQ in North Dakota so it’s nice to see a new kid on the block. Courtesy of the Williston Herald, R. Rooster BBQ Co. “opened shop in Williston to offer hickory smoked barbecue dishes for dining in or drive through pick-up. After living in Williston for four years, owner Maeve MacSteves decided the time was right to open a new restaurant when the location at 14 Second Street West became available.” “I worked in restaurants for years as a teen and in college,” MacSteves, who originally hails from the Oregon and Washington areas, said. “When the opportunity rose, it just seemed like a natural fit. I love serving people and helping people have a good time over food – in this case, barbecue.”

See the entire piece HERE.

Have you been to R. Rooster BBQ Co. yet? What are your thoughts? Once I get more pics and info I will post it.

Check the place out yourself here:

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