Monday, February 22, 2010

Puh-LEEZE Food Lion - Give Your Workers a Break

Most people who read my Barbecue Master blog know that I'm in Food Lion country. Food Lion is where I get most of my meat and foods to cook out on the grill, and the guys in the meat department are very helpful.

Now, Food Lion is doing some "Welcome to your neighborhood Food Lion!" campaign and forcing the cashiers to say that. Holy cow. The first time I walked in the door and a cashier bellowed out WELCOME TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD LION!, I about tripped over a cart.

Clearly this is a corporate idea. Anyone on the floor would see immediately that yelling greetings at unsuspecting customers is a bad plan. It's just not "normal." Plus, it is distracting when checking out. I'm talking to the cashier, and he or she has to stop and yell at other people coming in the door.

The employees at Food Lion were doing great without corporate intervention. Feeding the employees canned greetings suggests that management does not trust those they hire to use common sense. It also suggests that Food Lion thinks customers are stupid and won't notice that interactions are now scripted.

If the greeting plan wasn't bad enough, I see that the cashiers have been told also to ask if I've noticed the lower price stickers and if I bought anything priced lower. Geez. Yes. I saw the stickers all over the store - very annoying. No. I do not know if I bought any marked "lower prices." There were so many that I tuned them out.

If Food Lion keeps this up, then I'll head on over to Harris Teeter. They do have higher prices, but they do not make the empoyees yell at people coming in the door and do not slap stickers on half the items in the store and have the cashiers ask if I've noticed the stickers.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dean's Dip Winners - Congrats to the Winners From Barbecue Master and Deans

Momma had gone missing this afternoon, so I hung the prize hat on her doorknob. I called and left a message on her phone, and she pulled the names when she got home from the YMCA and Good Will.

All the winners (5 of them - from my comment section and Twitter) get Dean's Dip coupons for 2 free dips. Those are coupons seeing as how dip does not mail that well if you know what I mean. The winners can pick their own flavors though which is way cool. I especially love the guacamole, and my youngest son says the French Onion Dean's Dip rocks (which it does).

Crank up the band. Toss the confetti. The winners are:


Now, I'm off to contact winners. Dean's will then send the dip coupons once I get contact info to get those out.

I do have contests from time to time. I do not get paid to do those or anything. Most often I get the product to check out to see if I would want to gift it on Barbecue Master fans. So, I got some Dean's Dips like the winners (2), and I did find Dean's Dip to be yummy.

If you look to the right, you can find a click to follow my blog or that email slot which just gets you any updates of Barbecue Master from Google. I don't track anyone. If you want to get me, just comment or email. In the meantime, keep an eye out. I have grill and barbecue notes, news, and sometimes fun contests too.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

MOINK balls - Meatballs Wrapped in Bacon and Smoked - YUM!

I was getting my MOINK on this weekend when the Winter Grillers (group has now disbanded) tossed out a challenge for everyone to try making MOINK balls. First, I had to figure out what the heck are MOINKs. Some of the guys clued me in that they are hamburger balls (moo) wrapped in bacon (oink) for MOINK.

Later on I even found out who came up with MOINK balls. That's Larry at BBQ Grail who has an official MOINK page. And, even though I did not know the history of the official rules, my intuition had me producing a fairly authentic MOINK. The only major difference was that I added cheddar cheese to my smoked hamburger balls.

MOINKS can be made with frozen meatballs, and the originals were. Some folks can't find frozen meatballs. I've never noticed any around here. Other people just prefer scratch on meatballs. So, I rolled up my own meatballs which is easy to do. If using frozen meatballs, do let them thaw beforehand.

I had a pound of 93/7 ground beef. It does not have to be that lean. That's just what was on sale at Food Lion. Also, the bacon adds fat, so this is a case where I can go leaner on a grill or smoke. Normally with grilled burgers, I do 80/20. That's the lean to fat ratio if anyone doesn't know. And, some foods need a bit more fat on the grill to stay moist and not stick.

The kid asked if I could add cheese to the MOINKS. He's a cheese lover. So, I grated one cup of cheddar cheese and mixed that in with the hamburger by hand (smush, smush, smush), and then I rolled up the meatballs. For one pound of meat, I had 18 meatballs all around 1 inch in size.

I marinated my meatballs in Wild n Mild barbecue marinade sauce - one of my all time favorites. It's thin and works as a marinade or bbq sauce. I have to order it online, since Food Lion does not carry Wild n Mild. I hope they do some day soon. If I don't have Wild n Mild on hand, then my easy go-to grilling marinade is Italian dressing (the oily type - not creamy).

The next step was to wrap the MOINK balls in bacon. It takes a half slice of regular breakfast bacon (thin sliced) per MOINK, and I used Carolina Pride. So, that was 9 total slices on the bacon.

With the marinade being sticky and the meat fresh, the bacon clung real well. I considered skipping the toothpicks, but it's nice to have something to hold on to when eating grilled appetizers. So, I did soak some toothpicks and stuck one through each MOINK ball before smoking.

Most people put the MOINK balls right on the grates, and I could have done that. But, I wanted to keep this really easy. Plus, I was smoking rather than grilling. With the indirect heat, I did not need to turn my MOINKs. So, I loaded them up in a grill wok - a vary handy barbecue accessory for small items.

Then I offset the charcoals in my PK grill which is a cast aluminum model that holds heat really well. These can also be grilled over direct heat but should be checked and turned. And, they can go in a traditional smoker with times being very close to what I did with a slow smoke in a grill with offset coals and the lid closed (vents open).

It took an hour and 20 minutes to smoke my MOINK balls. The temperatures outside were low though - upper 30s here in NC. So, I'd say to check them a little earlier than that and keep an eye out if grilling in warmer temperatures.

Also, if you want to add barbecue sauce to the MOINKs, do that the last 10 or 15 minutes of grilling or smoking - less time for grilling and more for smoking. You don't want traditional barbecue sauce (the thick kind) on there for the whole cook, or it will burn. Just sauce close the end, and that works out great.

The guys loved the MOINK balls, and I must say I was pretty proud and impressed with how they turned out. It can be hard to nail a new barbecue or grill recipe the first time, but these were spot on.

If you want a terrific grilled appetizer that is easy to make and tastes wonderful, then MOINKs are just the ticket. They will definately be on our rotation list of favorites on the grill.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Game Day Eats Barbecue Sauce - Excellent on BBQ Ribs

I was playing around over at Twitter and came across Game Day Eats (@gamedayeats) talking about barbecue sauce. I'm always looking for new bbq sauces, so I clicked over to their GameDayEats web site to find the sauces. They have a nice ballgame themed site with lots of information, so it took me a bit to drill down and find their private label sauces, but I found them. I'm like a dog with a bone on things like that.

The sauce came quick and was packed nice. It was in the old fashioned Mason type jars that my Grandma always used, so that was a plus from the get go.

I had to screw off the jar ring and pop the lid open, and this sauce smelled like a winner. It had a rich smell but not too heavy on any one scent. And, yes, I did try a little dab and also found it to be a nice balanced sauce just as it smelled.

It was dark, but I couldn't hold myself back. I cranked up the grill and put on some chicken. I hadn't really planned to grill, but grilled boneless chicken breasts are about as easy to cook for dinner as anything I can think of. So, it was a dinner with Game Day Eats, but the lighting was not good to get photos like I usually do.

The guys thought Game Day Eats was excellent, and so did I. It was not too overpowering on the chicken. And, the balance held through the cooking process. So, the regular blend of Game Day Eats went on my "love it" list and would be a bbq sauce that I would recommend across the board, since it's got a very nice flavor but is not over the top. It would work for any gathering.

Then, last week when we had the big North Carolina snow in (8 inches - wow - a lot for NC), I cranked up the Traeger pellet grill to make a bacon wrapped pork loin. As an after thought, I tossed on some pork ribs I'd had in the freezer. Thought those might be good to have as an appetizer while waiting on the grilled bacon pork loin.

Since the little individual pork ribs were a last minute idea, I didn't marinate or rub them, so I had to think about which of the sauces to use when the ribs got close to done. With thicker sauces, you only put that on the last part of the cooking time. In the case of the Traeger with a low heat smoke, I sauced for the last 15 minutes.

Hum. Decisions. Decisions. I finally grabbed Game Day Eats sauce, since I'd not had that on pork before - only the chicken.

Boy howdy. The ribs were absolutely fabulous even if they were just on the fly. Game Day Eats did them proud. The sauce was great on the chicken, but I liked it even better on the pork ribs. The contrast was perfect. We got the full effect of the smoked ribs plus the robust but not a shock-to-the-system taste of the barbecue sauce. Nailed it.

If you're looking for a delicious all purpose barbecue sauce that tastes great but will not freak out folks who do not venture way off the culinary trail, then Game Day Eats is a great pick. It went over well here with both the mild and the wild crowd. Game Day Eats was just plain yummy and is one of the best ever sauces I've put on my ribs.