Local Folks Foods

Excellent Kosher Food

December 20, 2012

Christkindlmarkt: Chicago 2012, Part 1

Over the years, I have really enjoyed going to the Christkindlmarkt (although marketed as Christkindlmarket) in Chicago. Through a chain of events, I was unable to go over the last couple of years. This year, I made my triumphant return. While there was pretty much the same things there every year, it's the anticipation of the event that I look forward to.

The vendors were all nice but just be prepared to bring cash and plenty of it (many of the vendors, specifically food vendors, do not take credit/debit cards). Now while I had fun (as a whole), it seemed to be MUCH tighter as it relates to space. It's on the same location it's always been on (Daley Plaza). It's easy to get to on foot (if you take the train). Once I got inside, the space they utilized seemed to be MUCH more cramped. How tight? For those who live in the Chicago area, imagine going into The Metro and it's at full capacity (actually, a bit more). That's what it felt like.  While I did go on a Friday afternoon (and a pleasant one weather-wise at that), it seemed MUCH more crowded. It seemed as if they consolidated into a much small radius in the same spot. I have to admit, I was getting a bit upset as I could not move with the ease of years past. If you want the entire German experience (in a festival), I think you can get your fill here.

So this is another adventure of mine. This being a food-related blog, I will focus on the foods of  Christkindlmarkt and I hope I won't make you hungry. Most of the vendors make the voyage from Germany to Chicago. They will stay from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. So below are just a sampling of some of the excellent food that is served. I didn't get to eat everything but I did get to enjoy enough. Most are vendors who have come over the years.

As I tried to upload pictures, it didn't seemed to play very nice to me. Which is why I am going to do this in 2 parts. I took an insane amount of pictures this year. So in part 2, I will upload what I didn't upload now. I doubt you'll be disappointed. I'll let the pictures do the talking for me. So let the show begin........

The picture speaks for itself.

The product. Live and in living color. I didn't get to eat these this year but have in years past. ABSOLUTELY delicious. 

Menu board..or at least part of it.

Brats.... brats and more brats!!!! Tasty!!

 Nice....... and piping hot....... potato pancakes!!! These were HUGE sellers from what I observed.

Notice the white signage that says "cash only" in this picture? Be prepared if you do come here to have PLENTY of cash in order to make any purchases. Only a select few accepts credit cards for payment and those are mostly middle to bigger ticket items.

I didn't get a shot of the apples  but below are the "covered treats" for review.

Now this was somewhat a surprise for me.I don't recall this business being here in past years.

Now when I think of tea, I normally don't associate it with Germany. This is an exception. This brand actually tasted pretty good (and I'm not a warm tea fan).

I smelled the different samples and I thought this one and the Winter Blend were the most appealing to me. Unfortunately, I was a bit low on cash and needed money for the train home. 

 On the left, one cherry strudel from Helmut's Strudel. On the right, a double chocolate brownie from Dinkel's (a local Chicago bakery). I ate these over a couple of days.

Part 2 of this will be done later on (as time allows me). There was so much more I wanted to put here but time is not allowing me to do so. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I may return this year but if I don't, I felt I needed to pass those greetings on.

December 3, 2012

Linguini on the Improv

OK. I know it's been a while since I put something here. Sometimes, things happen and this is just one example. So now, this is some linguini on the improv. This is so simple it's not even funny. As this goes forward, you see why I call this an improv. I also started cooking this around 11:PM for my lunch in the coming days (I was pretty busy and let time get away from me that day). Yes, this doesn't look pretty to start off but work with me. It WILL get better.

It came together as I went along. The picture above show around 1 1/2 lbs of beef (I hit the jackpot since I got some grass fed beef) and onions (I used about 1/2 a white onion but you add to your liking). I kept the initial spices simple- salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder (since I ran out of fresh garlic) and oregano. I also added on can of Rotel Hot Diced Tomatoes (shown below) during the sauteing process. I sauteed them in a part until brown (medium heat for about 8-10 minutes). Once the meat was browned, the fat was drained (ok, I drained most of it, around 90% of the fat).

Below, you see the can of Rotel and Local Folks Foods tomato and herb marinara.

I used Rotel Hot Tomatoes since I prefer spicy foods. 

Now, here's where the improv came in. I thought I had some nice cheeses on hand (parm-reggiano, mozzarella, provolone, etc). I didn't so I used old reliable Velveeta and folded it in with the sauce. Then added the sauce, Local Folks Foods. I kept the sauce on medium heat for about 5 minutes (long enough for the sauce and meat to properly marry).  There's nothing worse than meat with under cooked sauce. I eventually lowed the fire to low and just let it simmer, folding the sauce while if simmered. 

Now, on the subject of  over cooking, feel free to observe I used dried pasta but this is almost as good as fresh. I bought this pasta at a local Farmer Market and I decided to use this linguini, which was made by hand. I was warned when I bought this particular brand that I'll need to watch it when the pasta is boiled. Most pastas will boil for 7-10 minutes. With this brand, you have a glob of mess. It's much thinner than other brands. I sure didn't make that mistake. I decided to do this while the sauce was simmering. My Mom found these Chipotle Pepper Flakes so I added that and the other spices I mentioned during the simmering time. It took just under 4 minutes to boil this pasta (as my water wasn't at a rapid boil initially).  While I boiled the pasta, I stirred the pasta (also another suggestion by the vendor). I added salt and olive oil for flavor while cooking. For what it's worth, Sonoma Farms is a Chicago area businesses. Local Folks Foods is based in Indiana. 

 On this side is the payoff!!!  MAN it was worth it!! I was VERY pleased with how this came out. As I write this posting, I am about to have another sample of this dish. Buono Mangio!!!

This recipe made 5 days of lunch. While it wasn't my direct intention, I would up really going the local route with the products I used here. You can talk about buying local as much as you want. It still comes down to supply and demand as well as the free market system. Make something someone wants and the people will speak with their wallets. Food for thought.

September 18, 2012

Cheeburger, Cheeborger... No Fries, Chips!!

Happy Cheeseburger Day!!

One nicely loaded cheeseburger to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day" here in the USA!

 OK. This may not be the most fancy of posts but I say why not? Today is National Cheeseburger Day. So, this being an American thing, this is the celebration of the cheeseburger. I'm not sure who or why it came up, but that isn't important. So today, celebrate the cheeseburger!!! For me, I prefer to have chips instead of fries. For those who know of the legendary Saturday Night Live skit featuring the original casts, you can call it a tribute of sorts. Yes the people at Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern, the place that inspired the skit, do speak like that. It's not much different from that skit. So I kill 2 birds with one stone. Anyway, back on topic!!!

Now put whatever you want to put on it. As I say in this blogs "statement" of things not always being pretty but always tasting good. This is just another example of that. 

Now I'm sure the "Burger Snobs" may not like what I placed on my burger today. You know them. They say burger, bread, and maybe tomato, onions and pickle. Others are like me. Sometimes I put little or nothing on it. Other times, I'll go a bit over the top.  Here's one such example (shown in the receipt below).

Now this was my attempted tribute to a burger that is long gone. For those Outback Steakhouse fans like me, you might remember the "No Rules" Burger. It had EVERYTHING you could imagine on it if you wanted it. Unfortunately, that burger is now gone. I tried to make the best of it. 

So what was I thinking? First I ordered a 1/3 lb burger (knowing I'll be visiting the gym later). The place I went to had a build my own burger so I did. The cheeses were a conflict of smooth (Swiss) and a bit sharp (cheddar). Nice contradiction of flavor but to me, very tasty. Then I put the typical toppings (although I did have to get the mushrooms on the side since it wasn't on my tape). I am a big onion fan!!! If I go grilled or raw, it really depends on my mood. Some days it's one, another time the other, and once and a while, both. 

So here it is in a nutshell. For those who took part in it, Happy Cheeseburger Day, 2012!!! No ticker-tape parades, edicts from our leaders or some other factor I haven't named. A simple celebration for a great treat. Maybe next year, I might take that 40 mile trek over the IL-Wisconsin border, find some fancier cheese and make a burger myself. Either that or just find a nice place to visit there. Milwaukee is only 90 miles away. By my count, this holiday will be on Friday or Saturday in 2013. So this could make for a road trip. Stay tuned for details. 

August 26, 2012

Smokin' the Bones: Never Let a Good Carcass Go to Waste

So at first glance, you probably see a pile of bones from some poultry. At first glance, you're abosolutly right. Specifically, this is a turkey (center). So I don't leave anyone out in the cold, to the top left is a ham bone and top right are italian sausages. So some of you might have no idea of what this is all about and others know exactly where I'm going with this.

So when I bought this pre-cooked turkey, I knew I wanted to use these bones for a stock. So as I was chopping up this bird, I thought of something better. Not only use them for stock but smoke the bones on the grill. The night prior, I pulled them out of the freezer (since it they had been frozen once I carved the turkey). What you see above is the nearly finished product.

Now below, is also almost finished. I'm not a huge fan of telling everything I did here for a couple reasons. One, this is what I like to eat and your tastes might vary from mine. Also, my goal is to set the table. I want people to see what could be and that you might have more than you realize. This is what remains of a 15 lb turkey. I cut up the carcass. At first, I was only going to smoke the leg bones (which you see in the middle). The reason is that I pulled out the wrong bag (a bag that DIDN'T have the carcass). I knew I separated them so I went to my freezer, pulled out the carcass and defrosted them in the microwave. I made sure I pulled as much of the meat off as I possibly could.

Now the meat of the matter. The spices. This will probably cut down the amount of seasoning I use (depending on what I'm making). What did I use and why? Well, I'll put this as simple as I can:
- Oil. I used Canola Oil since that was what I had, but consider using Olive Oil as well. Use enough to coat the bones to your liking. Again, I won't give exact measurements but make sure enough oil is used to cover the bones.
- Paprika (your choice, I used Spanish because it was what I had. I prefer hot Hungarian)
- Black Pepper (pretty obvious)
- Sage, Rosemany, and Thyme (VERY nice on poultry). Use enough sage to cover the bones. Use the remaining spices mention in this section as you would with meat (be conservative- not to much but not too little either). I also used a few dashes of oregano (enough where you can know you put some one, 2 tbls would be right if you care to measure and make sure you cover all the bones.
- Granulated garlic powder and granulated onion powder. I like the texture of the two. You can use fresh garlic and onions if you want, but since I have all dry ingredients, staying dry might be the route to go.
- KOSHER salt. I've done this with other salts and didn't turn out as well. It also absorbs moisture better than other salts so that may be another reason it works better.

Now, on the left, you see all the bones, wrapped together post seasoning. What I did was not use enough foil to cover the bones properly (in other words, I pulled another small piece of foil to cover the bones. Whatever you do, make sure you use enough foil to cover the bones totally. You don't want any excess oil in the foil either. Make sure you slit holes in the top of the foil pack. I'm doing this on my grill and towards the end of a grilling session. I placed this and the ham bone (the one I touched upon briefly, using the same mixture as the turkey bones) onto the grill. I decided to let the bones smoke. I let the fire and smoke die down in the process. Remember, the bones are already cooked. When I started, the temperature on my grilll was 250 degrees F (about 121 degrees C) but 3 1/2 hours later, my grill temperature was under 90 degrees F (about 32 degrees C). The point is getting the flavor of the smoke into the bones, not so much cooking.  You don't have to play with the fire. You just place the bones on the grill and forget it.

This was only the intro. I wanted to at least share this to get this out of my system. My intention is to show that doing this is not nearly as hard as it might sound. Don't let the fancy names ("smoked" this or "grilled" that) fool you or scare you off. It's possibly that you never thought to try this. I have done this before and how it worked like a charm. These bones will be used in a stock, stew or side dish down the road. Once the bones are cooled down, place them in a freezer bag if you're not using them immediately. If you have butcher's paper or foil, I would consider wrapping the bones in them before putting them in the freezer.. Down the road, the bones I used here will make their way into a future posting. I'm really looking forward to sharing down the road, especially with fall coming so soon. The moral of this post- NEVER let anything go to waste. You might be throwing away something that could really contribute to a great meal.

August 13, 2012

The Grilling Fool: Dad's Birthday Dinner

So, as usual in our family, whoever has a birthday gets to choose what they want for dinner. Years ago, we would go out for dinner. Sometimes, my Mom would want some seafood. Dad might want steak or something of the like. When I was young, my choice was pizza (being in the Chicago area, that shouldn't be a shock). But as the years went by, we decided to do whatever meal ourselves. Think about this. We know EXACTLY where the items are from (since we have to go out and buy them). We make it to our liking (and if it get messed up, that's on us, which has never happened in our case). This past weekend was no exception and Dad got his choice of meal. So now, as we go forward, you can observe the blow by blow of this fantastic dinner we got to enjoy.

This was the meat of the matter is below- one filet mignon, about 8 oz and cooked medium/medium-rare. I did this with the direct grilling method. Times will vary by the temperature of the grill. I had my grill to a 1,1000...2,1000 count (my hand over the grill to measure the coal's heat levels. I went about 8-10 minutes for each side. I turned these only once. My Mom decided to marinate them with a certain marinade (which was good) but I also added a few tricks to it. First, I embraced my inner-Bridget Lancaster while I cooked this. First, I let the meat come to room temperature, which makes for easier cooking for about 30 minutes. After that, I patted the meat dry with a paper towel. And then seasoned them. It's really a matter of choice what you season it with, especially with a cut like this one. So I decide to take some of the meal's flavors and added them to the meat and I did it in this order- black pepper (if it's fine coarse, do it here), then some Spanish paprika, oregano and finally Kosher salt. I used to Kosher salt on the gristle as well so it would char and easily come off. This was one of the 4 steaks we did. The other pieces had a bit more of a crust to it.  

Now if you take nothing from this post, take this and run with it. I can testify how WOWED I was once I got to eat them. I am a bigger fan of white asparagus, since it's not as bitter as its green sibling. Now this was also too easy. I cut off the lower 1-1/2" to 2" of the asparagus since you really can't cook (or for that matter eat) it. How easy was it? You take the oil of your choice (I used canola since that's what we had) + salt + pepper= that's it!!!! Take a veggie grill basket and grill for about 10 minutes. I tried this on a hunch and it turned out MUCH better than I even expected. Below is the success story. I had the perfect texture of crunch and softness. It also had a nice bite from the pepper. Yes, it tasted as good as it looks!! Look below if you have any questions. For the record, I didn't grill the green beans this time around. For those who had kids, you may consider trying this to get them to eat a vegetable. The asparagus I managed to get were shipped in from Peru.

This is the incredible cheese and garlic potatoes, made by my Mom. That's the beauty of potatoes au gratin. It gives you so much leeway on how you want to season them. I wasn't home when she did this but if history repeated itself (which I think it did), take the potatoes au gratin recipe of your choosing and add some garlic. This dish really complimented the entire meal. I think Mom used Velveeta and parm-reggiano cheese (this time around), also mixing the potatoes and cheese with egg. Bottom line- use what cheese you want but I would suggest using a cheese that melts easily. You could also do a contradiction like Swiss or Provolone with cheddar, colby or an old reliable for many, Velveeta. If you really want to step it up, chop some tomato, onion, bell peppers with some duck fat- done!!! Bake time was about 90 minutes. Here's the payoff (and what was left) shown below. I'm glad I paid attention to when she makes this.

So now the dinner is done. I still had a pretty nice fire going (as I was doing bbq-ing a ham as well; that turned out pretty well but there was some fine tuning I want to do before sharing). They had a package of chicken thighs just asking to be grilled. My folks knew I had been on the grill for some time and didn't want to keep me from my evening. My Dad basically said that all I need to do is guide what he needed to do to prep the chicken. I said I didn't mind staying, which is what I did. Now, I made one mistake and it wasn't something I couldn't recover from. I took some coals from my ham fire and used them to cook the chicken (using a kettle grill). Now with poultry, it's a bit different because unlike meat, there's a bit more at stake if chicken isn't cooked to its proper internal temperature (my thermometer suggests 190 degrees Fahrenheit or 87.5 degrees Celsius). Depending on how hot your fire is, that will determine the cook time. This wasn't part of Dad's birthday dinner. This was more ad lb than anything else. As I said before. it would be a shame to let a good fire go to waste.  

As I said, I did make a mistake. I didn't make the fire hot enough when I transferred coals. It's not a deal breaker since my Dad and I caught it in time. So we took some new coals, placed hot coals over them and the day was saved. The onion I also threw on the grill. I left the skin on the onion and placed them on top of the grill (I didn't use a basket for this you can if you wish). The cook time was about 25-30 minutes to grill the entire onion. I'm using the onion for other things (e.g., a topping on a sandwich, mix them with some guacamole I had in the fridge, use in a salad of some sort, etc). This also depends on how hot your fire is. The point is to make sure the onion is somewhat soft to the touch, unless you're going to use them in something like a soup, where you can cook them as you would garlic.

Guilty as charged. I was the Grilling Fool this weekend. It was a ton of fun to do though. Sure it was some work involved but the reward is worth the work. Always remember a couple of things while bbq-ing. First, is patience. Once you get this "P" word I just used, bbq-ing will be MUCH more fun to do. If you're going to cook this way, you will need to block off time to do it right. Just concentrate on what you're cooking. Don't rush it and while I'm at it, DO NOT USE LIGHTER FLUID!!! None!!! You will destroy not only the food you made but that smell stays in the grill. 5 hours of grill time and a bunch of good food as my payoff. Not to mention my Dad was very happy with the meal sealed the deal for me. Another successful grilling venture for me. I always look forward to doing this. Now for those of you who might be generous in nature and want to see my grilling to a new level, below is my dream grill/smoker. Below is "The Marshall" from Good Ones Grill and Smokers. Send one my way if you want to waste $2500. Trust me, it will get PLENTY of use!!! OK. It never hurts to put it out there though I doubt there will be any takers.

Photo taken Internet site.  Good-One Grill is the creator of this grill and photo belongs to them.

July 31, 2012

Cafeteria Dining: The Endangered Species

Here's a question for you. How many of you can remember cafeteria-style dining? I'm not talking about your days in school. It doesn't seem that long ago that K-Mart had full service dining (and the food was actually very good). Some of you might remember K-Mart's Blue Plate Specials. It was cafeteria in the way that you would  in school. You look at the food, pick the items you wanted, grabbed a piece of pie or cake, pay, and off you went. As I think about this, this experience is a dying breed especially where I live. Don't get me wrong. There are a few in the Chicago area but they're much harder to find than years past. Of those that are still around locally, there's BJ's Market (Chicago South Side) and MacArthur (Chicago's West Side) are just two that come to mind. Many have closed and some have reinvented themselves. I'm of the believe that if it's not broke, don't fix it.

Over the last 5 months or so, I re-acquainted myself with a place I really liked and forgot was still around. In Hillside, Illinois, the cafeteria dining experience is alive and well with soul food excellence found at Priscilla's Ultimate Soul Food Cafeteria. If you're not looking for it and not familiar with the area, you could easily miss it. So you go inside and it's pretty much basic fare. Just like the cafeteria-style dining you'll see in the South, that's what awaits you when you get inside- clean and comfortable. You then will see the menu for the day, since the menu rotates by day. But before you place your order, there may be some instructions given up front, You'll see that as well.

 But before you place your order, there may be some instructions given up front, You'll see that as well. 
Again, just so everyone is clear. If you miss this, don't worry about it. You will be directed to the right place to place your order. 

Now comes the big payoff. You can see all the goodness right in front of you. All the hype you've heard or everything I remembered is right in front of you. Since this is a soul food restaurant, there tends to be a lot of smothered stuff on the menu. Trust me, this place doesn't disappoint. If you think I'm kidding, take a look below. One warning though. If you're hungry or craving soul food, you proceed at your own risk .As I touched on earlier, the entree menu rotates daily (they're closed on Monday and Tuesday). OK. Now you've been warned so let the show begin. Here's what the spread looks like on any given day.

From left to right should be pretty obvious. Fried Chicken (Left), and some serious Mac & Cheese (right).

You want oxtail, you got it- right in front of you. Stewed to perfection. I'll come back to this later.

A familiar friend and a new playing partner. Fried Chicken (left) and smothered pork chops. More later!!

So now is the real payoff. Meal # 1 is Oxtail, cole slaw, and green beans w/ a cornbread muffin to book. As you see on the pictures below the main course, you see my surgical dining skills at work.

So how tender was this oxtail dish. Notice anything?  I took off the bones. Notice how clean they are? I made one mistake here. Next time, I'll order rice instead of cole slaw. Imagine how good that sauce would have tasted with rice.

Now on to meal #2 listed below. Smothered Pork Chop, mac & cheese, and green beans. NOW do you have an idea why I made this post? Tell me this doesn't jump off the page and say dinner is served. Now for the record, I am pretty conscientious about my diet but with that said, I cheat every now and then.  I think this is just another example of how to cheat. OK, so I threw out the food serving chart that day. At least I ate very well. 

Now that you made it this far, let's go to the final meal I'll feature here. Yep. When I want smothered stuff, I don't hold back and below is another example. Smothered chicken (baked) with Mac & Cheese & green beans. You get all the meals I bought for under $10.00. In addition, you can also get a meal made of side dishes. Four choices, $13 at this time and as you can see, this place doesn't skimp on portions. You get what you pay for and I've never had a bad meal.

Let's say I have a knack for finding off the path dining. In this case, I wouldn't call it off the path since it's pretty close to where I live (closer than I realized). SEVERAL local food writers and programs have featured Priscilla's as well. It's always nice to visit a place like this. Why? I brings back a way of life not seen as much as we once did. I just hope places like this will survive and prosper. Every time I eat a a place like this, I REALLY feel a personal touch to it.  I guess if all else fails, maybe I'll move to the South. OK, not so fast.  Knowing what it takes to make a meal like this I appreciate the effort a chef takes in pulling off a meal like this. I really hope more come back and more importantly, do it right. Job well done, Priscilla's. Keep up the good work. I'll be back sooner than you think. You're always worth the trip.

July 30, 2012

BBQ Anyone? A Visit to Naperville Ribfest 2012

Now another adventure to the Naperville Ribfest, 2012. It's actually a pretty nice event. The event is hosted by the Naperville Exchange Club and proceeds go to help child abuse and domestic violence programs. This year was year 25 and I've gone every year except three. Now while it won't be mistaken for Memphis in May or The Nugget Cook off in Reno but for me, still a good time. National acts often come in to play and this year was not exception. ZZ Top, Joe Walsh and Steve Miller were the top bills this year. Last years, America's Chefs came in and (in my opinion) stole the show. Those guys were an absolute blast to watch. Gorilla couldn't have been a nicer guy as were the rest of the crew. For the record, you can follow them on Facebook or twitter (@americaschefs) as well. KansasCity BBQ Society (KCBSBBQTour)
also made their presence known with demonstrations, food and product samples as well.

But enough with the side bar stuff, let's show this adventures in pictures. I took these with my camera phone so at least you can get an idea and a feel for the event. If any of these folks come to your town, pay them a visit. The lines can get to be pretty long but the payoff is worth it. Let's start the show, shall we? Yes we shall. All of those featured have won my approval.

 This is a an old-time staple for me. Pigfoot BBQ is consistently among many crowd favorites. They've been here for years. This is one of the better sauces especially if you like heat. Killer is the name of the sauce. They make a mean rib!!!!

Another long time participant is another Ohio-based company. Desperado BBQ & Rib company is another mainstay here. Their "Hotter that H" sauce is another must for chileheads. The also cook a mean rib. This year, they placed second in "Best Ribs" category. Below is part of the Desperado BBQ Team handling his business. It was a HOT day when I went and I wasn't behind the grill. Imagine how this guy and his fellow competitors felt. I've enjoyed their BBQ for a number of years. They serve a pretty mean pulled pork but I was clearly in the mood for ribs.

Getting the job done!!!! This guys is doin' work, as some might say.  He will serve no rib before it's time!!!!!! As for taste, they tasted just as good ...... no better, that they look.

The last couple of years prior, Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ was not present. After a few things went into motion (OK I wrote the Ribfest & Butch's people and asked why Butch's wasn't there. As time went forward, it seemed as if wiser heads prevailed) and they are back!!! Their response was so great that their signature Super-pyro BBQ sauce bottles sold out!!! I got some ribs, a nice slathering of Super pyro and I was good to go!!! Super Pyro- very good but not for the mortal. SLOW but pleasant burn (if you're like me).

Butch Lupinetti is no longer with us but his children still keep things running. Heck of a guy and a real gentleman. Another must stop. I spoke briefly with one of the crew there and keeping Butch's legacy alive and well. I think it's in very safe hands. I joked with him about running our of sauce and needled him a little bit (not in a mean way though). If this team took down Bobby Flaw, that's saying something. Welcome back, Butch's BBQ!!! We really missed you.

Mojo's is another must stop for me. Another highly decorated team and past Naperville Ribfest winner. Heavily smoked and not heavily sauced. It might be short and sweet but stopping here is a good thing. You can't go wrong but be careful with the sauces because Killer is not for the average mortal.  You have to love the "converting vegetarians one rib at a time".....unless you're a vegan. Then again, not sure why a vegan would read this. If they're here, feel free to hang out. Meat and sauces marry very well.

Above is Mike Peters of the Kansas City BBQ Society. I became aware of KCBS years back and I realize what a big deal it was. This is the gold standard of BBQ. He and his wife, Christine, tour the USA for the KCBS BBQ Tour. He's a pretty fun presenter as well and he really knows what he's talking about. His presentation is very interactive. The sample he's cutting up is some Smithfield Pork. Good stuff!!! Also, they had some meats and cheeses as well as some season packets.The presentations are about 15-20 minutes. Last year, the KCBS gave away a Good Ones BBQ Grill....a VERY nice one (The Marshall)... and I didn't win it. Oh well. Life goes on!!!!!!! If you want to learn about BBQ and have a chance to hear this guy, you'd be better off for it. I'm not talking about BBQ alone either. I became aware of a new fire starter that looked like a candle. I tried them (I actually won them from him) and they worked like a charm.

This years had some newcomers and this was one of them. BBQ Masters is out of Atlanta, GA. You want to see some SERIOUS BBQ meat? Scroll down and see for yourself. Ribs and sausage galore!!!! While I didn't get to try them, I REALLY hope they come back next year. By this time, I was just about BROKE!!!! One of the sausages below had my name written all over it!!!!!

Who said BBQ Teams don't have a sense of humor and aren't good natured people? If you think that, just look at the 3 pictures that follow. All three are from another new Naperville Ribfest team, Willingham's Wold Championship BBQ. Now if you're really nice, a nice guy like you see below might hook you up with a little sample (a small end piece of BBQ). Another solid choice. Nice crust and very well seasoned. They placed Third in the "Best Sauce" category. Not overly spicy but still a very good rib. 

Another picture of the Willingham's BBQ team. 

I was really low on battery so I wished I could have taken more pictures (much lower than I expected). My zoom on my phone isn't great either. Now that my camera situation is solved, I'll take more pictures next time around. As usual, I had a good time. I know all the odds and ends on getting around. it's nice to see some familiar faces when they come here. I hope this at least painted a small picture about this event. I always look forward to going because I always have a great time. If I go alone or meet with others, it doesn't matter. My goal was to share about some good BBQ people and suggest you try them if they come to your town. This reminds me of what I have to look forward to each July 4th holiday (another thing to enjoy; don't forget the real reason why we celebrate the 4th). I do wish I took more food pictures (specifically, what I ate) and team pictures as well. By the time I thought about taking a rib picture, my ribs were gone!!! Oh well. I can look forward to next year!!!

 So I guess I'll end on a humorous note.  So you need some Cowbell????????????? OK......... problem solved................. (courtesy of Willingham's).