Recipe: big bob gibson’s barbecue ribs
**Warning** It’s a long post, but there IS a recipe at the end.
The road to knowledge has never been so fun. My teaser from a few weeks ago was a quick glimpse into the Rigorous Studies that I and several food bloggers/writers endured in California. Kingsford University’s 3-day program took us from Oakland to Healdsburg for a thorough study in buttermilk fried chicken, charcoal, slow cooked pork
insanity ecstasy, Zinfandel, spice rubs, and grilled pizza. As with any university experience, the journey with your classmates and what you learn from them is just as important as the knowledge gained. So let me hit upon the highlights or else we’ll be here all day and all night!
Orientation: Everyone boarded the bus outside The Claremont Hotel and rode to Picán for an evening that started with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres mixer on the patio. I was quite delighted in the parade of pecan and hickory smoked pork ribs, country ham and cheddar hushpuppies, chicken liver pâté and chow chow herbed biscuits, and Louisiana crab toasts because I had eaten one crunchy taco all day in my rush to the Denver Airport. [And thus my dirty little secret was revealed to my fellow food buffs: Jen ate Taco
i had never dined in oakland before
these biscuits were morsels of tender, melty wonderment
Eventually we were encouraged to mosey into the private dining room where Diane and I immediately scoped out the best seats for shooting – toward the back and against the wall. Priorities, kids. There was much conversation, much shooting of food porn, and of course heaps of phenomenal food. We were welcomed by Drew McGowan of The Clorox Company (parent company of Kingsford), Chef Dean Dupuis, and pitmaster Chris Lilly.
drew and dean introduce themselves and oakland to the group
first course: famous buttermilk fried chicken
first course: choice of shrimp and grits or southern caesar (this was diane’s shrimp and grits)
entrées: choice of grilled berkshire pork shoulder (that’s what i chose)
or grilled loch duarte salmon (what jen selected)
dessert: pear upside down cake
chris talks with picán’s fabulous event manager, miriam
On the bus ride back to the hotel, Chris Lilly sat next to me. I love Chris Lilly. He immediately struck me as a warm, friendly, and down-to-Earth kinda guy. Pitmaster. Wait a second, make that ten time world champion pitmaster and executive chef of Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q. What does that title say to you? It says “badass” to me. He is the Yoda of barbecue, but he didn’t make us do handstands while sitting on our feet as we tried to levitate the X-wing fighter out of the swamp. Chris was a far kinder master and had Luke been hanging out with Chris instead of Yoda, he wouldn’t have complained about the food… not a peep.
Charcoal 101: The next morning, I managed to wake up early enough to squeak in a workout (after wandering about the grounds of the Claremont in search of the fitness facilities) before we had to load up onto the bus and head over to The Clorox Tech Center where we were greeted with breakfast before sitting down for presentations given by the Kingsford research and development team and an unveiling of their latest product. Our group wasn’t shy at all and many of us piped up with questions, engaged in good discussion with the Kingsford folks as well as with Chris (he’s not a pitmaster for nothing, kids). I’m a gas griller for many reasons the main one being fear of burning down the state of Colorado. My fear has always been rooted in ignorance – my ignorance of how to grill using charcoal properly. Every minute I learned about charcoal at a more fundamental level (think engineering and physics) and in terms of what cooks are looking for, the more comfortable I was with the idea of charcoal grilling.
i dig the lectures
chris discusses what he looks for in charcoal performance
**Jump for more butter**