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Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Song To Rock Your Memorial Day BBQ With Bonus Recipe

What You’re Grillin’: Japanese Grilled Chicken Skewers

Reference: “Then I met a lover/one night she made me dinner/licking fingers I wondered/where she got the chicken.”

We don’t pretend to know what the hell is going on in Cibo Matto’s mind. We’re just happy they’re reuniting this June for a Hollywood Bowl show with Yellow Magic Orchestra. Since the show is a benefit for survivors of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, we suggest making Japanese chicken skewers in solidarity. It’s the perfect way to pretend your BBQ is socially conscious without having to do anything other than shop.

The Recipe:


Step one: Ingredients:

Chicken – 1 kg chicken breast (cubed); 4 green onions, cut into 1 inch sizes.
Yakitori sauce – 6 fluid ounces soy sauce; 3 fluid ounces chicken stock; 3 fluid ounces sake; 2 ounces sugar; 2 fluid ounces mirin

Step two: Bring yakitori sauce to a boil for 5 min, set aside.

Step three: Alternate chicken cubes and green onions on skewers.

Step four: Baste with yakitori sauce, grill on high heat, turning periodically and re-basting.

Step five: Serve with leftover sauce.

Step six: Know your chicken, really get to know it. Ask about hobbies, exchange emails. Also date Sean Lennon.

Watch UFC PPV in Dallas Free

Watch the UFC PPV at Big Racks BBQ & Sports Grill in Grapevine Saturday night, Why pay $50 when you can watch it at Big Racks BBQ for free! Come early, we expect a big crowd
BIG RACKS BBQ & Sports Grill
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 A.M. to 2 A.M.
Address: 1720 State Hwy 26 Grapevine, TX 76051
Tel: 972-539-5511

UFC 130: Matt Hamill Looks to Use Rampage to Reach Next Level
If you’ve disregarded Matt Hamill when thinking about the most dangerous light heavyweights in the UFC, you’ll probably want to take a moment to think about what he’s capable of.

“The Hammer,” who is preparing to fight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill, has spent the majority of his career in the UFC, getting little notoriety during his tenure.

Sure he had a stint on the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, and was introduced to the mixed martial arts world as a tough wrestler with a hearing-impairment that doesn’t seem to hold him back in his fighting career, but beyond that, you won’t find Hamill on anybody’s list of top 205-pounders.

To some it up, a vast majority of people look at Hamill as a “mid-level guy.” At UFC 130, he’ll get his chance to show he’s a step above the mid-range. His previous fight and subsequent win against Tito Ortiz played the role of stepping stone in his mission to prove his place in the upper echelon of light heavyweights.

“Beating Tito definitely put me in line to get some big fights like this and I knew I was ready for the next level,” Hamill said recently. “I’m just really glad I’m there.”

Hamill’s record stands alone on its own merits; it’s a decent record of 10-2 with his only losses coming to Rich Franklin and Michael Bisping. Many would argue that Hamill legitimately won the fight with Bisping, but the judges gave the nod to Bisping, and ultimately, that’s the only opinion that matters on fight night.

Despite being dominated by Jon Jones en route to a disqualification win over the recently-crowned light heavyweight champ, Hamill has made a case to be considered one of the most dangerous fighters in the division, regardless of rankings.

One can argue that his 9-2 record within the UFC grants him the chance to be in a room of top contenders. Does he belong there? Some would give the a definitive “no” and turn their heads to any talk of Hamill being anywhere close to top-tier talent.

Even Hamill understood Jackson’s perspective about not being excited to fight him. On most ranking systems, Hamill isn’t listed very high at all, so he won’t give “Rampage” any grief about not being stoked to step in the Octagon with him.

Actually, he honestly feels like Jackson should be thinking about fighters ranked five or above.

“I don’t blame him for thinking that way,” he said. “I’m only ranked 17th in the world right now and I think ‘Rampage’ should be thinking about fighting the top five guys in the world. But the opportunity came up and (I) had to face him. I feel like I can beat him and I just wanted to thank Rampage for giving me the opportunity.”

Of course, Hamill couldn’t pass up an opportunity to fight someone so highly regarded. To do so would prevent him from getting to that next level he’s been trying to get to.

“I just looked at Rampage like a big name and somebody I thought would put me in the next level,” he said.

In thinking about who Jackson would be eyeing in his next fight, Hamill didn’t include himself as a potential opponent, but instead assumed fights with Rashad Evans and Forrest Griffin would be more appealing to the former light heavyweight champion. After all, Jackson lost to both of them, and after beating Lyoto Machida at UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida, it seemed appropriate that he would find himself going against Evans, Griffin, Rua, or Jones.

But he’s not fighting any one of them. Matt Hamill is his opposition now, and that sounds perfectly fine to “The Hammer.” He’s all about his opportunity to prove he’s in Jackson’s league.

“I thought that Rampage would believe that this match is not in his league, but it’s my next charge to prove that I am in his league.”

Big Racks BBQ in Grapevine to watch the Mavs tonight

NBA.com provided a preview of tonight’s game.

Need a great sports bar in Grapevine to watch the game with family and friends? Check out Big Racks BBQ and Sports Grill

Don’t want to look ahead, sure the Thunder could come back, but I will look ahead, looks like a Heat vs Mavericks NBA Final. Lets go Mavs!

New BBQ App for your iPad

Southern Living Presents a Big BBQ App

Southern Living magazine has just announced the launch of The Big Book of BBQ, an iPad app. Grab it by the Fourth of July, because it’s available at an introductory price of $7.99. After the holiday it will cost you $12.99. You’ll be able to navigate the app via the interactive table of contents. From there, you’ll discover over 100 recipes and dozens of special tricks, tips, and techniques.

Video and audio clips feature step-by-step advice and how-to demos by contributing editor and barbecue chef Troy Black. Recipe chapters include How to BBQ, Low and Slow, Speed BBQ, Scrumptious Sides, Sweet Stuff and Sauces, and Rubs ‘n Marinades.

Dallas Mavericks tonight!

i’m going to watch the Mavericks game over at my favorite BBQ spot in Dallas, Big Racks BBQ

I love barbecue, and sports, Big Racks in Grapevine is the best of both!

Who do you like in the series? The Dallas Mavericks have had a long wait for the Thunder, they are well rested but is that good? Maybe them will lose their momentum.  The OKC Thunder are led by Kevin Durant, a Longhorn who plays in the Sooner state. LOL. I hope the Mavericks win the series and then I’d love to see them beat Miami. Not sure if Miami can get past Chicago. Well here’s to a great series, lets go Mavs!

Dallas BBQ Braised Beef Brisket


1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (5 to 6-pound) piece beef brisket, preferably point cut, fat trimmed
6 cups wood chips, preferably hickory or mesquite

Braising Sauce:

1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
12 ounces lager or amber beer
2 ribs celery, minced
1 medium onion, minced
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup yellow mustard
5 thick slices bacon, coarsely chopped (about 6 ounces)
10 cloves garlic, minced
4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
3 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water


For the rub: Mix the paprika, 1 tablespoon each of salt and black pepper, the brown sugar, and the cayenne. Rub spice mixture all over brisket, wrap tightly, and refrigerate overnight.

Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Prepare an outdoor grill with a medium to medium-low fire for indirect grilling.

For the sauce: Mix the tomato puree, beer, celery, onion, 1/2 cup of the vinegar, the brown sugar, mustard, bacon, garlic, chiles, bay leaves, chili powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a large disposable aluminum pan. Put brisket in the sauce.

Throw a handful of drained wood chips on the hot coals, put the pan over the cooler side of the grill, and cover so the vent holes are directly over the brisket. Baste meat every 30 minutes, turning occasionally and adding water to the pan as necessary to keep meat partially submerged, until the meat is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 200 degrees F, about 3 3/4 hours. Replenish the charcoal as needed to maintain a medium to medium-low fire.

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Skim the fat from the braising sauce and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup cider vinegar and salt to taste. Reheat if necessary. Thinly slice brisket across the grain and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon some sauce over the meat and pass the rest at the table.

Know-How: There are lots of wood chips to choose from. We like the stronger, traditional flavor that hickory or mesquite gives to this dish. Fruit woods such as apple and cherry are delicious with milder meats, such as pork, poultry, or fish. Chips also come in different sizes-either chunks or bits. The chunks don’t require soaking and produce a big blast of fast-burning smoke. The bits, which do require soaking, produce smoldering smoke.

BBQ competition show starts tonight – Best In Smoke

Bryan Caswell

Best In Smoke, a new barbecue competition series, debuts on Food Network on Sunday, May 8th, at 9 p.m.

From the press release:

Hailing from cities across the United States, six of the best barbecue masters in the country meet in New York to face off for a $50,000 grand prize and the right to claim the title of Best In Smoke in the new Food Network series. Hosted by Bryan Caswell (season three finalist on The Next Iron Chef), this competition tests the competitors’ endurance and skill as they take on multiple challenges with limited resources, while cooking for vastly different audiences. From barbecue desserts to single bite hors d’oeuvres, no food is off limits.

It should be noted that not one of the six contestants is from Memphis.

Those competing in the four-part series:

· “Famous Dave” Anderson (Minneapolis) — Founder, Famous Dave’s America
· Chris Hart (Boston) — Winner, Jack Daniels’s Invitational World Championship BBQ 2009
· Sara Horowitz (El Paso) — 2nd place, Versus National BBQ Championship Series
· Matt Lang (Brooklyn, NY) — Former Head Chef, Fette Sau
· Chris Lilly (Decatur, Ala.) — Vice President, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Restaurant
· Brad Orrison (Ocean Springs, Miss.) — Founder, The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint


LOS ANGELES — Commence the panicking Laker fans.

Lakers fans, who for years have freaked out over December losing streaks, finally have actual reason to prepare for nuclear winter. With the way the two-time defending champions are being outplayed and outhearted by the Mavericks in such a definitive manner, it’s Los Angeles crumbling from within. It was always supposed to be the other way around.

These are so many of the concerns crashing together at once — the mental toughness of Pau Gasol, the inability of the Lakers to handle dragster point guards (backup J.J. Barea, in this case) — but mostly there is the wonderment of how a team that knows (better than anyone) what it takes to win a title lacking the necessary intensity. They’re not just halfway to a shocking second-round elimination. Down 2-0 as the best-of-seven series shifts to Dallas on Friday, they’re zeroing in on the historic crash and burn of a roster that couldn’t be bothered to be motivated anymore.

The Mavericks finished the 93-81 victory Wednesday night with such a commanding presence that Video L.A. center Andrew Bynum afterward cited “trust issues” and Lakers VP Magic Johnson announced via Twitter that “The Mavs have the Lakers pointing fingers at one another. It’s going to be a tough climb to come back and I think their chances are slim.” Plus, Ron Artest is facing a possible Game 3 suspension Video for a cheap-shot clothesline on J.J. Barea that added to the sense of unraveling. Other than that, everything’s fine.

Coach Phil Jackson hadn’t even waited until after the game to admit concern. Speaking about an hour before tipoff, he conceded, “Yeah, we’re worried now.” There was no sense he was going for deadpan.

“You are?” one of the reporters asked in clarification, if not surprise.

“This [Dallas] is a good team,” Jackson said. “We know that they have the same record we have. They have a lot of options in scoring. We’ve got to play a lot better to overcome this team in the course of the series. Our strength is we’ve always become better and better against teams in series. We hope to do that.”

Jackson insisted this was not some Philesque motivational ploy, rightly noting that his players weren’t within listening range and might not have the comments relayed to them down the hall in the locker room while mostly unavailable to the media.

“I’m really straight with you on that,” he said of his assessment of worry.

He saw holes in the defensive and intensity issues, and then both jumped up into the Lakers’ faces by the end of the night. Jackson did miss on Pau Gasol. He stuck up for his All-Star power forward, noting the good Gasol had done in Game 1, only to have him get shown up by Dirk Nowitzki and eventually get booed by fans frustrated by a flailing attempt at a playoff game.

By the end of the night he will never live down if L.A. does get eliminated, the only question was whether Gasol would be better off bolting the locker room to avoid Kobe Bryant or staying in the locker room to avoid the rest of Southern California.

“Obviously down 2-0 you’ve got to be worried about staying in this series and making a run, coming down [to Dallas] and getting one game,” Jackson said. “Start with the first game and go from there. That’s what you do.”

That’s all they can do. The Lakers, their bravado nowhere to be seen, have been reduced to just trying to claw their way back into the series. It’s not December and it is time to panic.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

Dallas takes Game 1, 96-94

Dallas rallied late and Kobe Bryant missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Mavs won Game 1


LOS ANGELES — The Mavericks will be glad to have that composure conversation, now that they survived the longest seven-tenths of a second in team history, now that, in the end, they did a lot more than survive Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

They were on the road, in the third different city in as many outings, facing an opponent that knows all about winning in the clutch, and were down 16 points early in the third quarter and heading toward a blowout loss. Worst of all for the Mavericks, they were coming unhinged, making foolish decisions.

Then, they made a stand.

The big deficit disappeared, followed by the premature celebration around cavernous Staples Center. Dallas would beat the Lakers 96-94 in this West semifinal opener because it didn’t follow the first instinct of collapsing into the swamp that formed around both sides of halftime. It dug in for a comeback victory that has to be a confidence boost for a team that surely can use one in these situations.

The postseason has been tortuous territory for the Mavericks. From coughing up the commanding 2-0 series lead and a 13-point cushion in the fourth quarter of Game 3 against the Heat in the 2006 Finals, to shrinking into the history books with a meek showing against the Warriors in a first-round mega-upset in 2007, to as recently as April 23. That was the Brandon Roy Game, except it was also the day Dallas updated its resume by wasting a 23-point lead on the Trail Blazers in a loss.

There has always been another recovery for these Mavs, so far. They responded to the gut check in Portland by winning the next two games to advance and clinching that series on the road, before coming to Los Angeles and climbing off the mat again, and on the road again.

The flash moment at the end of the first half and the start of the second, that was more like it, the kind of disintegration that has come to define the postseason Mavericks. Jason Terry made a ridiculous decision by challenging Lamar Odom and fouling deep in the backcourt with seven-tenths of a second on the clock as Odom was flinging up a no-chance shot. Odom made three free throws. And when Dirk Nowitzki whipped an elbow while positioning for a potential rebound on the last attempt from the line, he was called for a technical, Kobe Bryant converted that, and Dallas had handed over four unnecessary points when it should have been in the locker room trailing only 49-44.

When the Lakers opened the second half with a 7-0 burst, the two-time defending champions had a 60-44 cushion in this one.

In perfect position to wilt again, the Mavs instead stepped up. They shot 61.1 percent in the third quarter, overcame seven turnovers, and closed to within three late in the period before trailing 78-71 heading into the fourth. Once there, they shot 52.6 percent, didn’t have a turnover and the Lakers managed just 31.8 percent. The comeback was complete as Dirk Nowitzki scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the decisive 12 minutes.

Of course he did. In just the first round, Nowitzki hit the Trail Blazers for 18 points in the fourth of Game 1, 14 in the same stretch of Game 2 and 14 in the quarter of the Game 6 clincher, all Dallas victories. All moments of composure.