Food Porn: Social Media Executive Enters Competition BBQ World Lifestyle | June 16, 2010 | By Aaron Schoenberger

Aaron Schoenberger BBQ Competition

Though I’m an advertising executive and have been in the business for 10+ years, I’m a true foodie at heart. I took 4 years of culinary arts classes and sadly turned down a scholarship to Le Cordon Bleu because I wanted to go into business — specifically online marketing — and couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

Many years later, after working for a variety of large corporations including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s company (Dualstar Entertainment), I founded an online advertising agency in 2007 that specializes in strategic Social Media and SEO consulting. We work with top restaurants (Melisse), top athletes (Sifu Toy), celebrities (Kathy Ireland), car manufacturers (Kia Motors) and a variety of other businesses. But, it’s just not enough. I need more.

To satisfy my competitive personality and expand my passion for food, I have decided to train for…::drum roll::… BBQ competitions. I absolutely love BBQ and it’s one of the trickiest things to cook. Give me lobsters, salsify, sea urchins, artichokes, eggs or anything else you can think of, and I will cook up one heck of a meal. But BBQ just isn’t that easy.

Taking a big, tough piece of meat (pork butt, beef brisket, etc.) and turning it into a juicy piece of goodness is a work of art. A “low and slow” method of cooking (I prefer around 225 degrees) is the best way to breakdown muscle/fat and end up with a tender piece of meat in the end. On the flip side, failing to follow the low and slow method and/or properly maintaining fire temperature can create a piece of meat that closely resembles the consistency an old pair of leather shoes at a thrift store. Not too appealing if you ask me.

Last week my good friend was having a birthday and I thought it would be an excellent time to try out my new BBQ rub on a few slabs of ribs and a pork butt. I didn’t have time to do a whole pork butt, so I sliced up the meat into smaller pieces, injected it, rubbed it, smoked it, then treated it like a pork tenderloin.

Here’s a rough idea as to what my rub includes:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Granulated Garlic w/ Parsley
  • Onion Powder
  • Ground Mustard
  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Kosher Salt
  • Slap Ya Mama (good stuff)

Once the ribs were rubbed down liberally I placed them in the fridge to sit for a couple hours while I went to work on preparing the pork butt. I injected it with a mixture of apple juice and the above-mentioned rub along with a small amount of apple cider vinegar to help breakdown the fat/muscles while smoking.

For this BBQ I used my friend’s Char-Griller grill/smoker, which performed surprisingly well — I was able to keep the temp at a consistent 225 degrees. The food was cooked in an indirect way where the coals/wood were on one side of the grill and the food was on the other. I placed a large foil drip pan below the meat and filled it with apple juice, which kept the humidity level in the cooking chamber high. Smoking meat for hours can dry it out, but having a drip pan with juice, water, wine, beer, etc. combats this.

As for fuel, I used a mixture of lump hardwood and chunks of apple wood that soaked for about an hour in water and apple juice. I love how the fruity taste of apple compliments pork. If I were cooking beef I would have went with hickory.

3-Step Method for Cooking Ribs
1) Smoke for 2-3 hours (depending on size/cut)
2) Wrap ribs in tinfoil with about 1/4 cup of apple juice and place back on smoker for 1 hour
3) Remove ribs from foil, brush with BBQ sauce and place close to fire. The goal is to caramelize the outside without burning sugars in the sauce.

In conclusion, everything came out just as planned and the BBQ was amazing. The ribs passed the “bite test” and didn’t fall off the bone in one piece, which is a sign of being overdone. They had a nice smoke ring and were very tender.

Now I will finally get to the good stuff: Photos! Please see my works of art below.

For more information on my BBQ journey be sure to follow me on Twitter and check back often.

Until next time,
Aaron Schoenberger
The Brainchild Group

Aaron Schoenberger BBQ Competition Aaron Schoenberger BBQ Competition

Aaron Schoenberger BBQ Competition

Aaron Schoenberger BBQ Competition

Aaron Schoenberger BBQ Competition

Aaron Schoenberger BBQ Competition

Aaron Schoenberger BBQ Competition



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