When backyard cooking it is much different than competition cooking. Friends that don't get Q are excited to get it from friends. And more times than not (unless you hockey puck meat or serve raw meat) your friends will enjoy it, while you see the things you could of done better.
In the Hampton Roads Area, there are only a couple of BBQ Joints that I would even consider eating at. On the Southside of Hampton Roads I would go to Smoke from Above. The pulled pork is a little bit wetter than I like, but the ribs and sausage are good. Whitners is also a place where I would go, the burnt ends, smoked turkey, and ribs are good as well. I have tried WoodChicks (LeAnn Whippins restaurant) and was very unimpressed. The BBQ there was pretty much bland and seemed over cooked the 4 times I have tried it.
In Newport News/Yorktown area of Hampton Roads I have heard good things about Smoke and County Grill & Smokehouse.
This area is lacking in superb bbq joints, which is the reason why I got into Qing last year. My first few tries I would have the same friends come over and ask their honest opinions on the pulled pork and ribs, and which ones they thought came out the best. There were times when I thought I overcooked the meat and times I thought I undercooked it, but no matter what my friends enjoyed the homemade bbq and got rave reviews each time.
On Saturday, I did my first full packer. I thought the flat had probed like butter when I finally pulled it. After letting rest for an hour, i came back to slice it, and the flavors were good for the brisket. The point was awesome, but the flat was a little bit tougher than I wanted (probably could of used another 30mins to an hour on the cooker) My friends loved it and demolished it. I know I could improve my brisket, but the friends that don't get to brisket very often were very pleased with the outcome. None used sauce on the meat even though I had some on the side.
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