I have been on the run at BBQ contests and grilling festivals every weekend for weeks on end. I've been traveling so much that I haven't been able to get my wrap-ups posted, so I'm playing catch up.
I travel around the country, going to various Eggfests, cooking, teaching classes, and judging. But my home Eggfest is the Scenic City Eggfest. It is myEggfest for more reasons than just being close.
- Elder's Ace Hardware, East Tennessee's leading BBQ/grill dealer, is the host.
- I get the chance to hang out with the best Eggers in East Tennessee.
- Food City, the grocery chain where I shop day-to-day, is the food sponsor. '
- The proceeds benefit the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.
Here are some photographs of the fun, food, and friendships that we shared at the 2019 Scenic City Eggfest.
|The Scenic City Eggfest is held at The Commons, which is a gorgeous open-air public event center. It is relatively new, has clean facilities, and has room for us to grow.|
|The covered event area is ideal because this is a rain or shine event.|
|Cortlandt Minnich was there, rocking the Pizza Porta. Their team is always a popular booth because A) everyone loves pizza, and B) The Pizza Porta is an eye-catching accessory.|
|The crowd came early and hungry - here, the Smokey Boys were cranking out some good food.|
|Joel from Reload Rub, explaining the exciting flavor sensations from the Knoxville based seasoning company.|
One strategy that experienced tasters use is to check out the menu boards on the first past through and making mental notes of the dishes that were "absolute must-haves" for later in the day. Not every team puts up a menu board, but it seems that most do these days. If a team doesn't have one, a quick conversation will give you their line-up for the day.
|That's a strong line-up!|
|Damn Yankee cornbread, lol!|
|I'm sad that I missed the Krispy Creme with Peanut Butter Whiskey Sauce. It sounds divine!|
|Bacon-wrapped chicken nuggets with red pepper jelly were pretty tasty.|
|Pork belly burnt ends have been on menus at every Eggfest I have attended this year, they are famous for good reason! I have a mouth-watering recipe for them in The Offset Smoker and Cookbook.|
|Meatballs are always a good option for turning out high-volume food, but teams find ways to make them exciting, like this banh mi version.|
|One of Pizza Porta's fantastic pizzas. They must make hundreds of pizzas a year, you know they have gotten exceptional at it.|
|Mac and cheeses are always a crowd favorite.|
|Eggfests aren't just about food. For me, Eggfests are about friendships and exchanging ideas about cooking on the Big Green Egg.|
|This is a lousy picture, but these bacon wrapped chicken thighs by the Stock and Barrel BBQ team were quite tasty. I stole some off of my teammate, John's plate. Sorry, John.|
|The cook teams are made up of all sorts. Some are teams of friends. Other groups are made up of family members. There are also teams that are small businesses out promoting their products. Then there is our team, which is a mix of all three.|
|A lot is going on in this picture, but I love the little boy excitedly showing his sister some Big Green Egg items, I think they are ornaments.|
|The regional Big Green Egg representative was on hand to answer any questions that festival-goers may ask.|
|The teams kept the food coming throughout the event.|
|My man, Trace Scarborough of Thunderbird Wings, was on hand. Thunderbird has some fantastic rubs and sauces, I highly recommend you give them a try. His Chicken Scratch and Fiery Chicken Scratch are top-notch, not only for chicken but as a general-purpose rub.|
|Of course, Thunderbird was serving up some of their famous wings, hitting them with a little honey glaze.|
|The Armor Shields team was on hand serving the crowds, as well. Amour Sheilds are decorative covers that install on the upper portion of your Egg or Kamado Joe to add your own customized personal flare. They are the stack seen in the background with the bright Volunteer orange.|
|Most Eggfest teams only cook at their local Eggfest. Then there is our hardcore group of grilling nuts that travel around the country attending Eggfests. It was great to have some of the "Wassi's Posse" here in Chattanooga. We have gotten to know them from the Sunshine State Eggfests down in Melbourne, FL. Lila, Matt, and John made the 600+ mile trek to be here.|
|The Swiner Things BBQ team was serving chile with pork belly burnt ends with a side of that Damn Yankee cornbread.|
|They went through a lot of that cornbread loaded with Hatch green chiles.|
|It was a cold, breezy, and overcast day, so this was a big hit. You tailor your menu to the Eggfest. For example, when cooking at a Summertime Eggfest in Florida, lighter dishes work well and would want to avoid serving too many heavy, creamy dishes.|
|The Reload Rubs team was rocking out their tacos all day long. They were well organized and on top of their game.|
|The fireplace at the Commons was a popular spot throughout the day.|
|You should walk away with at least 2 or 3 "I want to try something like that at home" recipe ideas from any given Eggfest. Most chefs are more than willing to share their recipe or at least share enough details that you can create your own.|
|I can't remember what this was called, I'm sure it was a fantastic recipe name. But here you have smoked bologna, looks like a mustard sauce, and pimento cheese.|
|As the event organizer, Harold Stockburger stays on the move during the event. But he did take a minute to sample some of the foods, how could he resist?|
|The Eggs used at a Big Green Eggfest are brand new. They will only be used for that one day and then sold at a substantial discount, complete with their coveted warranty.|
|The dishes don't have to be super creative or elegant masterpieces. Serving simply smoked sausages is an excellent way to keeping food moving for your guests. This is a neat trick to put as a menu item between two other complicated dishes. It is quick and easy while you get your next dish ready.|
|People are always happy to sample pizzas.|
|Sliders are a good thing to serve at Eggfests.|
|Bacon Shots are a winner with me, and these were DELICIOUS. Typically it is a slice of sausage wrapped with a thick piece of bacon to make the "shot glass" and then filled with things like BBQ, cream cheese, cheese, ground sausage, and/or bbq rub.|
|Remember how I said you should walk away with ideas for home? I am totally stealing this cornbread shot glass idea from the Smokey Boys Grilling team.|
|This is probably one of the top 3 ideas I have |stolen"misappropriated with proper credit" at Eggfests in 2019.Excellent idea, Smokey Boys!
|Reload Rub ran like a well-oiled machine all day. Eggfests are a prime example of "plan your work and work your plan." If you go into the Eggfest without pre-prepping and some thought about how you will cook and serve on-site, you're going to have a bad time.|
|Reload Rub's famous taco is a crowd favorite.|
|Most of the better Eggfests have a class session or two for the more serious grillers in the crowd. This year I was teaching a class, as well as Ray Lampe, Ryan Lane, and Joel Lickliter.|
|I wasn't able to get pictures of my class because only 2 of us from Team Nibble Me This were there and we were both busy cooking. But I love my new banner from Certified Angus Beef, especially since Food City was a Food Sponsor at this event.|
|A better look at my new table for teaching classes. I love the stainless steel tabletop, it cleans and sanitizes so quickly compared to the plastic table that I used to use.|
For my class, I taught the Rolled Flank Steak with Bacon Jam and Smoked Gouda from my newest book - The Offset Smoker Cookbook. I take a 2-pound Certified Angus Beef Brand flank steak and butterfly it with the grain. I top it with our homemade bacon jam and smoked gouda. Then we reverse-sear it.
|Searing the rolled flank steak on an XL Big Green Egg.|
|Once cooked, slice it sideways (after removing the strings, of course), so that you are slicing against the grain.|
|I forgot to take a picture until there was just the heel end left....but it still looks delicious!|
Sadly, my camera settings got bumped, and I lost a chunk of pictures, including while Joel did his class on tomahawk steaks. Well, I have
the photos, they are all just way over-exposed. If anyone has any, please feel free to shoot them my way.
|Ryan Lane of Lane BBQ rubs and sauces was up next to share his secrets for creating moist, juicy brisket.|
|Ryan taught to a full house. I knew most of what he taught, but he opened my eyes to trying his Sorta White sauce, which is typically meant for chicken, with brisket as a dipping sauce. I didn't think I would like it, but I absolutely did.|
|The big draw of the festival had to be Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe. Ray is the purveyor of Dr. BBQ's New American Smokehouse in St Petersburg, author of a line of BBQ/grilling books, and a frequent judge on TV cooking competitions.|
|Dr. BBQ shared his secrets for cooking perfect pork ribs on the Big Green Egg.|
|Chad of Kick Ash Baskets was on-site selling his line-up of kamado grill accessories. We use these in all of our Big Green Eggs.Kick Ash Baskets are an accessory that makes reusing coal easier, makes it simple to clean out the ash, and improves airflow.|
|Smokeware was at the event selling their accessories as well. The stainless steel rain cap is an accessory that a lot of Egg users like.|
|When I was writing about various multi-level grate systems (like the adjustable rig) recently, I whiffed and completely forgot to mention Smokeware's Grate Stacker.|
|Now that's a fully loaded Big Green Egg cart. I've said it many times, I absolutely LOVE my BGE Modular Nest that I bought from Mannix Pools and Grills in Winter Haven, FL. They have a ton of room, and they are low maintenance.|
|When I bought mine, the cabinet wasn't yet an option. I'm strongly considering buying one next Spring for my existing table and then taking the side unit from that table to be a standalone cart for my Mini-Max.|
|Elder's Ace Hardware did a fantastic job setting up an onsite store, yet keeping a small footprint.|
|Here is one of those Armor Shields that I mentioned earlier, installed on an Egg.|
|There was so much stuff available for sale that I wondered if Harold and the guys left a single thing back at their stores.|
There were various sauce companies at the Eggfest, letting you sample their wares.
|I could go broke real quick when it comes to this table :)|
|Of course, the draw to an Eggfest for many people are the low prices on the demo packages.|
|Elder's Ace Hardware did a fantastic job setting up an onsite store, yet keeping a small footprint.|
|Why are people buying so much when this is the same stuff available at the store? How about savings in every section, like 20% off of rubs and sauces.|
|You'll often find the newest accessories at Eggfests.|
|The cashiers earned their pay on this Saturday! I don't think they ever stopped ringing people up, it was like a Black Friday sale.|
While the Scenic City Eggfest is about friendships, sharing food, and raising money for the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, there is still a competitive element to it. The People's Choice winners were:
- Second Runner Up - Swineaux
- Runner up - tie between Bayou Brothers and the Smokey Boys
- and the First Place People's Choice was......
|For the second straight year - Reload Rub!!!|
|Me, John Makela, Ray Lampe, and Harold Stockburger. |
Photo courtesy of Elder's Ace Hardware
If you are reading this in the Gulf Coast area and think you missed out, you are in luck! THIS WEEKEND (11/10/2019) is the Pensacola Eggfest
in Bayfront Stadium. This is always one of the premiere Eggfests in the country and definitely one worth making the trip. I will be there judging the VIP and Main Events. Come on out and see us!!