Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Yeah I'm kinda going about this the back way but Bo has not sent me the pics of the Brew masters dinner yet so I am going to wait for that post until he gets them to me. The brew fest was a heck of a day. Stressful does not even describe the preparation that morning for it.........but it was a great day! We all had a blast and made some great money. We were set up next to our great buddies from Bosco's (thanks Candace). We served close to 800 people for the day. It was an awesome site to see a line 15 deep for close to 6 hours. We served pork sandwiches and wings. We had the Peg Leg pit rolling with the pork and 3 fryers rolling for the wings. There is a lot of thanks for me to pass around. First the Carey, Dave and the rest of my fellow Peg Leg teammates for letting me commandeer the pit for use. Second, Terry and Dresch came and helped out and were a "gi-motherscratchin'-gantic" help! -Talk about foxhole........I cant say enough about these two boys! Third Bo, Ball, and Victor................they were like machines! I mean, this was a very cool event that we have all gone to for the past 6 years because we all like and appreciate quality handcrafted beer..............but to work it and make some good cash doing it was a really good time. We were all worn slap out but we got it done and Lord willing next year we are doing it again we'll have a lot better handle on what to expect! We had a really good time. Since this is backwards make sure you read the brew masters dinner post that I will be loading up as soon as Bo gets me the pics...........it was a gong show! The pics are of Kizer (G.M. for Bosco's), Fred (Brew master for Bosco's, and some derelict from the event with a funny boob shirt. The other two are pics of the trailer and of our booth.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Busy weekend coming

Things are about to get busy. Tonight we've got the brew masters dinner we are catering. Last night we went to Yazoo Brewery where it is going to be held and built a brick fire pit. We're going to have brisket tacos, grilled avocado gazpacho, and BBQ shrimp burritos. It should be a good night and we should have a few pics to post. I've got to load the trailer in this morning at 10:00. We've got all of our wings cooked (a little over 2,000). We're cooking enough pork for 750. So basically we're cooking for about 1,100 because there will be about 350 orders of wings prepped. Lord willing we'll sell out of everything, if we don't it'll be a loss and I'll at least have a write off. The event draws 5,000+ and is already sold out this year. There will be 6-7 other food vendors there also selling food. I'm figured if we cook enough for at least 20% of the total crowd we'd be doing alright. The choices range from hot dogs to pizza to burgers, etc.. There is one group there that I cant figure out what is going through their mind.........they are planning on serving chili. Yes you read that right, chili. Now the weather folks are calling for tomorrow to be the hottest day yet this year............98* with a heat index over 100*. I don't give a dadgum if an Angel came down from "Glory up on High" and spit in it, you couldn't pay me to walk around a park with no shade sweating in 100* plus heat eating a bowl of chili..........that's just me though......maybe you would, but I'd look at you like you were on crack if you did. Got to get to work.........post at you later.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


First off let me say that this is a huge post because of all of the pictures I am including. Most of you can quit reading right now unless you have a profound interest in classic cooking. The purpose of this post really is for "Qui Gon" John McNeil who is a tremendous teacher. John is thoroughly trained in all manner of classical french cooking (the basis for cooking as we know it today), has spent years in the kitchen (some of the best) and I am trying to suck as much knowledge from his brain-pan as I possibly can! My "homework" this past week was to make a classic consomme' with some veal demi glace that John made. John roasted about 50lbs of veal knuckles that I had bought. He then made a classic veal demi with that which is about a day long process. I am very thankful for his help with that. So after Martha and I got home Sunday from dinner I launched in to this little project and I think it turned out rather well. Here is a step by step pictorial I took of the process. Starting with the mirepoix (chopped celery, carrots, onion). Then about 3lbs of lean ground chuck was added to it with herbs, mushrooms in a food processor. You see a picture of that nasty looking stuff in the tupperware. Then it was added (very cold) with the veal demi (or stock) and simmered for close to 2 hours. Further down in the pics you can see the "raft" form and then it opening up for the simmer. Then it was strained with an old T-shirt of mine (had to put a redneck spin on it somewhere) and the finished product is what I am holding up to the light. It is golden, has clarity and is packed with flavor!


Last week was a really good week. Business was consistently good everyday. Saturday night we had a real good crowd to hear Ward, Nick and another guy around town the has several hits/cuts named Rick Elias. The picture is of Bo, M.B. Burton and Bryan as we were hanging around on the side by the pit while the music was playing inside. This week is going to be very stressful. Besides just the day to day business we've got the Music City Brewers Festival in Nashville this weekend. The event drew 6,000 last year and is getting bigger and bigger every year. We are one of a handful of vendors down there serving. We're going to prep for 1,500. We're serving "Q" sandwiches and smoked wings. I've borrowed the Peg Leg trailer (thanks guys, it is a massive help!!!!) and have Terry & Dresch (peg leg boys) coming down to help out. We're going to be set up right next to our buddies from Bosco's so we wont have to go far to grab a beer. On top of that we are doing the Brew masters dinner at Yazoo the night before on Friday. We're doing brisket tacos and something else, probably shrimp or something. The other picture is a test run of an item I thought about serving for this but have decided not to because of spacing. I sauteed some chopped country ham, corn & onions. On the other eye I sauteed some shrimp in a little mango bbq sauce I made up. On the other eye we cooked some rice. We filled a pita with the rice and then the other stuff. It was really good and something I'll probably make around here with some buddies or at another function that has better spacing......but not for this one. The shrimp for some reason look really bland in this pic but were really good and darker than this. So I'm still at the drawing board on the second item but think I'm close to deciding on it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I need a dadgum vacation!

Good gracious do I need a small vacation. There are ways to de-stress. Natural and un-natural. Legal and illegal. I am needing some mother freakin' relief from this stress. Federal taxes, state taxes, parking issues, little billy vomiting in front of the coke machine, bills, screaming kids, derelict drivers who shouldn't have a f*@+ing drivers license, men pissing on the toilet seat, building codes, my cholesterol --------I'm telling you I could go on for a while and get really colorful about it too! Dont get me wrong, things are going really well right now. God has really, really blessed me with a wonderful wife, with two great & healthy kids and the opportunity to live my dream by owning a bbq joint. And I dont want to sound like some pantie waist bitching about lifes little problems, but a couple-3 days would at a minimum recharge my batteries. You know I'll drink a couple of beers every now and again - used to drink a lot more than that a few years ago. Well if I dont get out of here for a few days I'm liable to head back into some beer swillin'. Never got into "likker" (dont like the taste) and never got into dope (pathetic excuse for dealing with stress), so for right now Budweiser is my vacation until I can take a vacation. So instead of getting a sun-tan today I'll have to settle for getting "Beechwood aged" tonight. If you are concerned about this becoming a problem you can contribute to my vacation fund by sending a check to the joint.

Monday, July 09, 2007

No rest for the weary

Last Tuesday was very, very busy with July 4th catering/to go orders. We did a tremendous amount of to go business and then went to a party the night of the 3rd. Russ Hickey & Holly Moles had a gathering that Martha & I went to and it was a pretty good time......real casual, very nice. I thought I was going to have a really relaxing day on Independence day. We were "closed" on the 4th.......or so I thought. Showed up to meet some folks about 11:00 to get about 6 more orders out and didnt leave until 5:30 because people just kept coming in. Wanted to have a day to take it easy and spend with my kids but that didnt happen. Then we had a catering job that night in Inglewood for a party. By the time I was done setting up for that I knew it would'nt be long before I had to get out of there, I was worn out. The rest of the week went better than expected. We were not expecting it to be very busy on Thursday and Friday because who wants to eat BBQ the two days following the 4th but it was actually pretty good. Saturday we had Nathan Montgomerys wedding in Lewisburg. I burned the hell out of my fingers and was down for the count. Eddie Montgomery (Nathans daddy) went in the house to fish out some pain pills or something and came back with some yellow things that he couldnt remember what they were for, he just remembers that "they make you feel better". He said to take 3-4 of them and I did. I dont know if I've ever felt burn pain this bad and frankly I could have cared less what they were if I had of known. At any rate, to say that those dadgum things knocked my tail for a loop is an understatement. My memory is a tad foggy about that night, I'm just glad Bryan was there with me. Martha came and got me from the restaurant and I felt "slow" all day yesterday. My fingers did quit burning but not for a couple of hours after I took those things, but I can say that before the pain wore off I was one of the happier burn victims you've ever seen, I can flat out tell you that.

What is this Blog???

You ever been sitting around cooking for your family and friends and been told the following: "Hoss, this is the best I've ever had in my dadgum life.....you have got to open up a place of your own". The thought crosses your mind to do just that, but for whatever reason you dont. Well I'm "that" guy that actually went through with it and did it. I had absolutely ZERO restaurant experience! I decided to start this blog about my own experience hoping that it may be of some use and help to others who might be interested in opening their own place.
I learned this craft almost 20 years ago cooking whole hogs on brick & cinder block pits at a couple of little BBQ Joints in Henderson, TN. I learned from old, lifelong career Pit-Masters, working with them as an apprentice during school off and on for four years. Over the course of that time I learned the old, time-honored craft of REAL pit barbecue. At Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint I am trying as hard as I can everyday to bring that time-honored authenticity to my customers.
As you read you'll see I've made some stupid decisions, and I've made some good decisions. If you are thinking of opening a restaurant, especially a BBQ Joint, read this blog! Maybe some of this info can be of use to you. At the very least you will be entertained because I pull no punches.
Now listen, this is my blog to not only help with information but my blog to freely rant about my day to day experiences. There is no real "bad language" on this blog but there might be some things said that are very "tongue in cheek". If you are easily offended and/or cant see the satire in my posts then please just leave the blog. It will save both of us the annoyance of each other. For those of you who do like satire and are looking for good information about this experience, then by all means enjoy!