Seasoning Up a Stump Smoker

Smokin J’s Barbeque has decided to step up our BBQ competition game; we have added a new gravity fed smoker to the family – a Stump Smoker.

Stump Smokers LLC

Big Investment – Big Decision

This decision did not come easy.  During our humble beginnings of BBQ competition, we agreed we needed to stick to what we knew   – smoking on the Big Green Egg.

Doug, already an expert on the BGE, convinced wife, JoAnn to buy another Big Green Egg and we dove right in to the professional level of competitive BBQ.

Unfortunately, the Big Green Egg limits the quantity of meat you can cook simultaneously.

After 4+ years of competing, the decision was made to go bigger!

But such a huge investment would have to come slowly – so we continued to compete, hoping to win some $$$ to put back into our cook team.

Along Came a Gift

So when a hungry investor tasted our winning ribs – he made a proposition…

“I will make a large investment towards the purchase of a new smoker for Smokin J’s Barbeque – if in return, you provide smoked ribs, just like these, anytime I want?”

A deal was struck – handshakes and hugs were exchanged and the order for a new Stump Stretch Smoker was made.

Why a BLUE Stump Smoker?

Our granddaughter was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congentia, which meant her joints were constricted.  Unable to move her knees, arms, legs, feet, hands or hips like we do, she will require multiple surgeries over the course of her childhood to allow growth.

Blue is the signature color for AMC Awareness.

Smokin J’s Barbeque will be donating a portion of all future winnings to AMC Support.

AMC Support is a non-profit organization providing educational materials and resources to parents, or soon-to-be parents expecting a child, diagnosis with Arthrogryposis.


Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congentia


Why a Stump Smoker?

Doug likes innovators and Walter Stump has been an innovator in the BBQ competition world.

Skilled in the elements of “air movement” from his career in the heating and air-conditioning industry, Stump finally developed an innovative, cutting edge design for a new style smoker.

His newfangled, The Gravity Feed System™  was a success and after Stump won several championships, news began to circulate throughout the barbecue competition world.

“I wanted to buy from the innovator of gravity fed smokers because I know it is a good quality product and they will stand behind what they build,” said Pitmaster Doug.

Stump Smokers LLC

With customer testimonials from, Rescue Smokers, 2014 television series  BBQ Pitmasters champion, and Georgia Barbecue Association, two-time champion Sauced Hog Smoke Shack; we knew a Stump Stretch would be the perfect fit for us.

How a Gravity Feed System Works

The  The Gravity Feed System™ is based on the principal of set it and forget it.   The impressive, insulated cavity allows for consistent temperature control during low n’ slow cooking methods.

As briquette charcoal burns, it falls down the chute (hence gravity fed), creating coals in the bottom of the fire box, where flavored wood chunks can be added.

One full chute of charcoal could last up to 20 hours of cooking time (maintaining 250ºF) – so its efficiency is equally as impressive.

The fire is controlled by the amount of oxygen allowed by the ball valve, which is adjacent to the fire box.

Smoke develops and flows inside the cooking chamber, across the meat and up through the chimney.

Seasoning a Stump

The following is how we were instructed to season our new smoker;

  1. Remove all the shelves from the chamber.
  2. Remove the drip tray.
  3. Sweep out the interior chamber with a stiff brush to remove any metal debris or dust.
  4. Open the chimney, open the ball valve and fire box.
  5. Add enough charcoal for about a six hour burn.
  6. Light the fire.
  7. While the fire is getting started, use Canola Oil and spray everywhere you can reach, inside the cooking chamber.  Make sure to spray any welded areas to avoid rust.
  8. Spray the interior of the door – try to avoid the rope seal.
  9. Spray the drip tray and each of the smoking shelves, including edges. Stump Smokers
  10. Place the shelves and drip tray back into the smoker.
  11. Partially close the chimney and get smoker to 200ºF
  12. After about 45 minutes, spray the interior, shelves and door again.
  13. Adjust ball valve to reach 250º
  14. Run for about an hour, then spray the interior again.
  15. Raise temperature up to 300º; spray the interior again.
  16. Raise temperature up to 350º and maintain for four hours.
  17. After four hours, you should see the areas you sprayed change in color to denote seasoning.

Stump's Smokers LLC

We will still use one of our Big Green Eggs smokers, but will let the Stump Smoker do the heavy work.

We will have our first test cook soon and I will post the results.

Make sure to sign up for our EMAIL LIST to receive notifications of when and where we will compete.

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#GivingTuesday

Today is #GivingTuesday.   Facebook and the Gates Foundations (yes, Bill Gates) have teamed up and will match ALL funds raised by Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenital Support – up to $55,000 –  for donations made through Facebook TODAY!

We know the Christmas season is finanically tight, but even a donation of $5  is very much appreciated.

Smokin J’s Barbeque has committed to donating part of our 2017-2018 winnings to this incredible charity.

If you can – please hop over to our Facebook page and donate today!  Your donation will be DOUBLE what you donate!

Thank you.

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GBA Dominates the Big Pig Jig

The annual Big Pig Jig in Vienna, Georgia may attract teams from all over the nation, but this year, Georgia Barbecue Association members dominated the categories, including Grand Champion to Bubba Grills.

Smokin J’s Barbeque did not compete in the Big Pig Jig; however, Doug, our pit master, did work with 2nd place Whole Hog winner, Rescue Smokers.

We do not have whole hog experience, nor a cooker to hold a minimum 85 lb hog, so Robby Royal, whom you may have seen on television, winning the 2013 BBQ Pitmasters Competition; allowed Doug to participate on his cook team.

“It was an honor to work with a Pitmaster Champion,” said Doug.  “I learned alot about smoking a whole hog.”

Smokin J's Barbeque Rescue Smokers Smokin J's Barbeque Rescue Smokers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Pig Jig is an annual event sanctioned by the MBN (Memphis Barbecue Network).  Teams can cook in as many, or as few categories as they wish, including,

  • Whole Hog
  • Chicken
  • Stew
  • Sauce
  • Ribs
  • Pork Shoulder

Whole Hog Smokin J's BarbequeMuch like the Georgia Barbecue Association, the MBN has two rounds of judging for the major categories, whole hog, ribs and pork shoulder.

First, teams must prepare a preliminary round box.  Judges will perform blind tastings, as they will not know which box belongs to which team.

For Whole Hog, samples of the ham, shoulder and loin must be in the box.  All preliminary boxes must include enough samples to feed six judges.  As an experienced cook team, we would recommend FILLING the box beyond just six portions.

Teams are narrowed down to the top three teams in each major category; therefore, nine entries will compete in the final round.

MBN – On-site Judging

Unlike the GBA, the final round of judging in the MBN is what they call, “on-site judging.”

Four judges will visit the top three whole hog, ribs and shoulder teams.  Each team will only have 15 minutes to present their cook site and their meat.  Teams are notified of what time the judges will arrive, which usually allows for about an hour for preparation.

In the final round, judges decisions are based on five criteria…

  1. Cook site organization and personal appearance of team
  2. Presentation of the smoker, as well as the meat  on the smoker
  3. Appearance of the meat being sampled
  4. Tenderness of the meat
  5. Flavor of the meat
Big Pig Jig

Final On-site judging for Rub Shakers Que

After considering these criterion, judges will give the team an overall impressions score which will eventually determine the Grand Champion of the event.

This may sound easy enough, but the presentation is nerve-racking, especially for the lead presenter, which in most cases is the pit master.  He/she must be confident, calm and knowledgeable of the entire smoke process.

“You are basically selling yourself, your food and your team, during the presentation,” said a veteran competitor.

 

 

Unique to the Big Pig Jig, many teams have purchased cook sites for just this annual event.

Click to see video of Big Pig Jig Atmosphere

Most sites are at least 40′ x 40′ and owners are responsible for the upkeep of their site.

Rescue Smokers worked diligently, over several months preparing their cook site.  Fresh paint, installing air-conditioning and adding barbecue decor, Robby and Stephanie Royal created a tribute to first responders, but maintained a rural backyard ambiance.

Rescue Smokers Big Pig Jig

GBA Dominates

Attending the Big Pig Jig for the first time, reaffirmed my belief in the Georgia Barbecue Association family.

Doug and I cannot thank Rescue Smokers enough for allowing us to share in their whole hog victory.

It was amazing how many GBA members collaborated to participate in the southeast’s largest and oldest barbecue cooking contest.

Here are just a few….

Congratulations to everyone who walked this stage this weekend.  Hope to see you next year.

Rescue Smokers Big Pig Jig

Second Place in Whole Hog at the Big Pig Jig – WOW!

 

 

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Ribs Win Grand Championship for Smokin J’s Barbeque

After four years of competing against the toughest barbecue teams in the country, we finally won our first

GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP!

Our rib category entry was good enough to carry the big trophy home!

Smokin J's Barbeque rib box

Preliminary round rib box

BBQ & Brews Cadence Fair started like any other competition for us.  Arriving in our huge rig, proved to be a slight challenge for organizers.

Those who do not participate in competitive barbecue are not aware of the hard work, organizers and promoters endure to pull off one of these events.  Gary Lamb, Kristen Cash-Raines and the entire BBQ and Brews team work to put on the best festival event in North Georgia.  We look forward to your Spring 2018 events in Canton and Cartersville.

After getting the rig parked, Doug, our beloved pit master began setting up our cook site, while I prepare the camper for the overnight stay.

What we enjoy most, during every Georgia Barbecue Association, is socializing with our bbq family.

Seeing everyone; giving hugs; catching up on life events;  is like a family reunion of sorts.

Doug and I try to met at least one new team (although they may not be new to the GBA) at each event we attend; even if we are judging.

We welcome new to the GBA family, Native BBQ. This was their first GBA event.

And we broke bread at lunch with two other teams;

East Coast Barbecue – Joe & Cindy LaPlante

&

Pirates of PorkScents – Jan & Dale Wilson

We had such a great time with them.  Our waitress at Freight Kitchen and Tap was laughing with us.

By the way, if you are ever in Woodstock, Georgia and need to eat lunch or dinner, their Angus Beef Early Train burger is awesome!  They have a plethora of craft beer on tap.

After lunch, it was time to prep meat for the contest.  Then, we attend the traditional “cook’s meeting.”

Finally, dinner fellowship with Just Blowin Smoke and We Want Que.

After we finish working on the meat, we catch just a few hours of sleep, before it’s time to get up and take care of a few cooking procedures.

Then, back to sleep for just a few hours, before the real work begins. Poor Doug was a bit under the weather, but he battled through – obviously – triumphantly.

Saturday was a typical competition day for us.

Feeling insecure about our loin turn in;  feeling a bit over confident in our pulled pork entry (at least I was feeling confident); and finally, uncertain with our rib box.

My father and recent, team financial contributor (more about that in the weeks to come) arrived to sample our rib entry.

Assertively he said, “those are the best ribs, I have ever ate!”

Which gave me a hint of confidence, but then again, he could be doing the “let’s say something nice, thing.”

We were paid a visit my #bbqbestie, Renee Goddard and her husband, Bill Goddard of Rub Shakers Que.

After making her family reunion rounds,  Renee commented, “everywhere I have stood today, that team has got a 2nd call, so I am gonna stay here with you, till ribs come around.”

Well, her good mojo paid off. I was in the cook rig, probably cleaning up something, when I heard someone beating on the side of the camper, at the same time, Doug is screaming my name!

I rush outside to see, WE GOT A SECOND CALL IN RIBS!

Smokin J's Barbeque Rib Finals Smokin J's Barbeque Rib Finals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What an incredible moment!  Only the second time we have competed in finals!

Our first time..was for ribs too!

Thank goodness we prepared for a second turn in.

Most people think, you just cook meat and your done – HOLD ON – there is a second round of judging; therefore, a second round of turn ins.

Our rib “finals” turn in box was actually better than our preliminary box.  My father even agreed the second box tasted better than the first box.

We were feeling good, but EXTREMEMLY NERVOUS about the second round of judging.

It is FINALS!

All the boxes you are being compared against are GREAT, not just GOOD, but GREAT – or else they would not be in the finals.

New this season, our rib box was being compared to the BEST 3 loin boxes AND the BEST 3 pulled pork boxes AND the other 2 BEST rib boxes.

While waiting for the awards ceremony to start, we began the laborious task of cleaning up everything; packing up everything; and preparing for our long journey home.

CONGRATULATIONS to all teams whose names were called during the Cooking For Fun and the Pro categories.  Recognition for all the hard work is gratifying.

Special accolades to We Want Que (who also took home Reserve Grand Champion) and If You Smoke It, They Will Come, our rib category competitors.

When we heard Greg Sebastian announce, “in 3rd place ribs, We Want Que!”

We got very nervous.  A top two finish??? What????

Then Greg said, “in 2nd place ribs, If You Smoke It, They Will Come.”  I almost screamed!

I had to cover my mouth.  Doug dropped to the ground…he was so elated!

Finally hearing, “in 1st place ribs, Smokin J’s Barbeque!”  I started crying.  I realized, this put in a great position for the Grand.

Smokin J's Barbeque First Place Ribs

It was our first LARGE trophy in professional competition barbecue.  When we returned to our seats, my dad whispered to me, “I told you those ribs were good.”

The two most prestigious awards were left.

GBA President, Greg Sebastian says, “your Reserve Grand Champion is…WE WANT QUE!” 

Holy cow!  Husband and wife team, Michael & Stephanie Chumbley, had a great weekend of barbecue.  Winning Reserve Grand Champion is a special feat.

Now, for the big moment…

I reached over and held Doug’s hand…

Greg Sebastian says, “and now, your 2017 BBQ and Brews Cadence Fest Grand Champions…

SMOKIN J’S BARBEQUE!!!!!

I did scream! Cupped my hands over my mouth to try and control myself.

Doug was doing a great impression of Rick Flair with his, “WOOO – WHOO!”

Smokin J's Barbeque Grand Champion Cadence Fest BBQ & Brews

Smokin J's Barbeque Grand Champion BBQ & Brews Cadence Fest

Such jubilation!

Some GBA teams have won multiple Grand Champions.  Some teams get second calls frequently, some even double final; but this was a very special moment for Doug and I.

I wish we could personally thank everyone of our GBA family members for their congratulatory well wishes.

Smokin J's Barbeque Grand Champions

You are our peers and people we respect.  It was wonderful to share such a breathtaking moment with you guys.

And to our GBA family members who missed this stunning event…

we plan on winning again, so you had better be there!  LOL

 

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Smokin J’s in the GBA

Smokin J’s Barbeque has completed our FORTH year in the Georgia Barbecue Association.

Although we did not cook in any competitions this year, both of us enjoyed judging at several contest this year.

Smokin J’s Barbeque will kick off the 2017 – 2018 season by competing at Smokin Up The Mountains  in East Ellijay, Georgia, Labor Day weekend.

Smokin Up The Mountains GBA

Smokin J’s Barbeque Team

Smokin J’s Barbeque consist of husband and wife team, Doug and JoAnn Johnson.

We compete and cook exclusively on ceramic, Kamado-style vessels.

A kamado is a traditional Japanese wood or charcoal fueled cook stove.

Pit Master, Doug started cooking on this vessel after attending a cooking festival, which featured these vessels.

After buying his first vessel and honing his skills, it became routine to prepare meat and food for family events.

Competition cooking was the natural next step.

Bypassing the “Cooking For Fun” events, Doug convinced JoAnn, they should jump head first into professional cook-offs.

Smokin J’s Barbeque Joins the GBA

Since purchasing our first smoker in 2007, we have purchased three more in order to compete at a professional level.

Our first competition was in Richland, Georgia; where  we froze our butts off cooking under tents.

Our Georgia Barbecue Association education started immediately when we placed in the final round for ribs.

Smokin J's Barbeque

Our very first competition and we advanced to the final round!

Smokin J's Barbeque Richland Pig Fest

Third place trophy in our very FIRST competition!

 THE BARBECUE BUG WAS CAUGHT!

Starting our 5th year of professional barbecue competition, we consider ourselves veterans.

Georgia Barbecue Association Family

We have met some wonderful people within the barbecue world.

Unlike other organizations, the GBA truly is a FAMILY.

This weekend was the GBA awards banquet and it was wonderful to see so many people hugging and eating together as if we were at a family reunion.

Although we did not cook this past season, we enjoyed judging many contest and celebrating the distribution of team awards.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE AWARD RECIPIENTS!

Here are just a few photos from the banquet

[slideshow_deploy id=’670′]

Smokin J’s has come a long way in just four years!  We look forward to the 2017-2018 season!

Smokin J's Barbeque

When we started, we had two tents and a pick up truck.

Smokin J's Barbeque

Now, we have a nice rig and a place to cook, out of the mud.

 

 

 

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Maintenance of Your Big Green Egg

big green egg

Pitmaster Johnson loves cooking on his Big Green Eggs, but before delicious steaks, ribs or pizza can be served…the Big Green Egg needs some maintenance.

After visiting with family last weekend, it occurred to us, not all Big Green Egg owners are familiar with the extent of maintenance needed to maintain your Big Green Egg investment.

AND….

A Big Green Egg owner makes a LIFESTYLE INVESTMENT with the purchase.

 

 

To produce such delicious quality food, a pit master must first learn to take care of his investment.

To understand how your BGE has been constructed; see our article http://www.smokinjsbarbeque.com/the-big-green-egg/anatomy-of-a-big-green-egg/

Purchase the right tools for the job

Here is a list of some basic items a Big Green Owner should have to properly maintain his smoker…

metal ash bucketAsh bucket – this is ideal for catching the ash which is scraped out of the bottom of your egg.

You can use the ash tool, which should’ve come with your egg purchase.

 

Grill brush to thoroughly clean the grill grate before every cook.

We like to use the grill brush after the smoker is at a warm temperature.

After cleaning with the grill brush, make sure to use a paper towel and olive oil to lubricate the grates, which prevents the food from sticking.

Ash tool for Big Green EggAsh Tool (with egg)

Use this to scrape out ash through the bottom vent door.

Consider buying a small wet/dry vac to speed up removal of the ash.

We keep one of these 1.5 gallon vacumns in our cook trailer. It cleans up wet or dry issues.

Consider buying a cover for your Big Green Egg if exposed to the weather elements for long periods of time.  This will help extend the life of your vessel.

Smokin J's Barbeque Big Green Egg

Before every cook session

Pull out the used lump to make sure all the ash has filtered down to the bottom.

Clean out the bottom compartment and remove all ash.

Refill with larger lump pieces on the bottom, with smaller lump pieces on the top to advocate good air flow movement.

Incorporate flavored smoking wood in layers as you add your lump.

Use a reputable lump charcoal to mitigate excess ash..

Once egg is warm, scrap the grate with your grill brush

Every 3-4 cooks

Take all anatomy pieces out of the egg and remove all ash.

Big Green Egg Maintenance Smokin J's Barbeque

If you cook anything with excess fat and you did not utilize a drip pan, the plate setter may need to be scraped, removing excess grease.

If you grill brush came with a scraper side, use that or you can use the ash tool

Before prime cooking season – summer of course

Examine and monitor the seal for wear.

Monitor fire box for cracks – it can happen but the egg is functional despite cracks

NEVER..

Never use a water hose or water to clean ash from inside your BGE

Never use lighter fluid inside your egg.

Never pull an egg, if on casters,  always use equal balanced leverage around the egg to move it.

Never burn paper in your BGE

Your Big Green Egg works based on good air flow. Maintaining and keeping the egg clean will encourage good air flow, therefore produce optimum heat.

We hope these tips help you maintain and keep your Big Green Egg for your lifetime.  We value our Big Green Eggs so much, we consider them a treasure to passed down to the next generation of pit masters.

 

 

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Friends and Family at BBQ and Brews

BBQ and Brews CantonHad a great weekend at the 2nd annual Barbecue and Brews Canton Festival.   Promoter and organizer, Gary Lamb knows how to put on an event.  His lives by his mantra, “promote it and they will come.”

Over  15,000  people attended the two-day festival which included music, craft vendors, plenty of food and a Georrgia Barbecue Association’s sanctioned competition.

The weather cleared out on Friday afternoon to a beautiful, although unusually warm May event.

 

Just Blowing Smoke O'Henry's BBQ

Friends, Family and Barbecue

Doug and I want to truly thank our friends and family for visiting us throughout the event.  Although Smokin J’s Barbeque did not compete in this event, we enjoyed judging the great samples the teams cooked up.

The judging was not easy. Teams competed in pork loin, pork shoulder, pork ribs, brisket and whole hog.  Doug and I judged multiple categories this weekend, even whole hog.

For the whole hog competition, teams must include three distinct types of meat from the hog – the ham, loin and shoulder, in each turn in box.  Plus, they must include enough meat to feed 4 judges to a table.  Each judge must sample a portion of each type of meat. If a team includes sauce, they must sample each type of meat with each sauce.  I counted over 20 bites I tried, just from the whole hog box itself.

That is alot of meat.

Whole Hog is a Different Kind of Monster

Fifteen teams competed in the whole hog category on Saturday.  Not only did each team build a “blind” turn in box (which means the judges did not know which team turned in which box), but also, each team was visited by three individual judges at their cook-site.

Teams had to greet each judge and explain their method of smoking their hog.  Each judge had to see the hog on the smoker and taste different samples from the hog.  Only certified Memphis Style Judges were allow to do the onsite judging.

rub shakers que

Rick Godfrey explains Rub Shakers Que whole hog process to the judge.

jack's old south

Winnest man in BBQ, Myron Mixon explains his method to judge, Greg Hoyt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug cooked up some delicious chicken wings Saturday night, while our friends were worrying about their whole hog cook.

It was such a great weekend of fellowship.

Thanks Terry and Beth McCoy for stopping by.

Doug taking a break from the BIG GREEN EGG to talk to friends.

Thank you to Stewart, Debra, Jeff, Gordon, and Mary for visiting with us.

D.C. Webster and Mary Dowda visited Saturday AND Sunday – just couldn’t get enough BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“And the winner is…”

I cannot explain how difficult it is to win a Georgia Barbecue Association event.  It truly is an incredible feat.

Reserve Grand Champion – received the highest cumulative score in all three categories (loin, pork, ribs) during the preliminary round.

Grand Champion – received the best overall score of any three categories in the final round.

Champions for the day….

WE WANT QUE – GRAND CHAMPIONS

JACK’S OLD SOUTH – RESERVE GRAND CHAMPIONS

RUB SHAKERS QUE – WHOLE HOG FIRST PLACE WINNERS

Pork Loin Pork Ribs Whole Hog
1 We Want Que Bubba Grills Hold Your Horses Rub Shakers Que
2 Jack’s Old South Diamond D Cooking Team Lang BBQ Smokers Diamond D Cooking Team
3 Rub Shakers Que Jack’s Old South Southern Hogs Rescue Smokers
4 Southern Hogs Lang BB Smokers Captain Jacks Freedom BBQ Bubba Grills
5 Hootie Que Hold Your Horses BBQ We Want Que Vienna Volunteer Fire Dept.

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Cartersville’s Hidden Gem: Appalachian Grill

BBQ & Brews Cartersville logSmokin J’s Barbeque will be judging this weekend’s (March 31 – April 1, 2017) Georgia Barbecue Association sanctioned event in downtown Cartersville, Georgia.  Sponsored by BBQ & Brews, this will be a family event featuring great food, music and fun.

Click here for address and festival info

Please, if you decide to attend the festivities, make sure to visit some of the locally owned businesses.  One of Cartersville’s hidden gems is a great steak restaurant, Appalachian Grill.

 

Here is a review written by freelance writer, JoAnn Johnson.

Appalachian GrillAppalachian Grill in Cartersville, Georgia

Located just 40 minutes northwest of Atlanta, Cartersville can lay claim to one of the most quaint, romantic steak house restaurants in this area. The Appalachian Grill offers all standard cuts of beef (rib-eye, strip, filet, and sirloin) prepared in their own special way, with signature flavor and spices. Also on the menu are various fish and pasta entrees, with a small kids menu available.
However, the steaks are what most patrons come for. The rustic, mountainous charm presented in this small, cozy restaurant nestled in downtown Cartersville is an unsuspecting delight in suburbia.
The lighting is quite dim in the dining room; however, the bar area is bright but not spacious. On a good Saturday night, it can get down right crowded; plan accordingly. Waits can last up to an hour, but reservations are accepted. Mainly booths align the walls of the dining room, which are covered in a grayish stone façade; complimenting the Appalachian theme. Guest are seated by the hostess, during my visit, a waiter (Scott) immediately asked for our beverage of choice. A moderate wine list is available, as well as a limited bar.

Pictured are recent chef specials.

Slammin' Catfish
Slammin’ Catfish
Mesquite Smoked New York Strip
Mesquite Smoked New York Strip

Food at The Appalachian Grill

Most entrees are accompanied by a sensible salad, a portion that would satisfy some as the meal. Topped with dried cranberries and served with fish-shaped sweet cornbread; The Appalachian Grill can call these one of their signature offerings. Appropriately staggered next was our Cajun Popcorn appetizer. Crawfish, battered and lightly fried as “popcorn portions;” it was excellent. Very light and two sauces for dipping, a Cajun chipotle honey sauce and a standard cocktail sauce; they were unlike anything I have tasted before. Both sauces complimented the crawfish, very well.

The Blue Cheese New York Strip and the “Oscar Steak” were cooked to perfection. Each steak was severed with lump crab meat (no imitation stuff here), potato of your choice and vegetables. The asparagus with the “Oscar” was crisp, but savory – delicious. The baked potatoes on both entrees could’ve been cooked a bit longer because they were only slightly warm in the center. Nevertheless, the meal was delightfully prepared; dessert was out of the question. Only 4-5 items were on the dessert menu; however, daily specials are offered.

Charm, proximity, hospitality and excellent food make this steakhouse a pleasure. Although a bit more expensive than most chain steak restaurants; The Appalachian Grill is one of my favorites. A couple can have a three course meal and each a glass of wine, or two, under one hundred dollars.

The Appalachian Grill

14 East Church Street

Cartersville, GA 30120

770-607-5357

Reservations accepted.

All major credit cards accepted.

Consider dining at Appalachian Grill if you are spending the day in Cartersville, Georgia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smokin J’s Barbeque at Eggtoberfest 2016

Smokin J's Barbeque at EggtoberfestAnother Eggtoberfest is in the books for Smokin J’s Barbeque.  This was our 9th Eggtoberfest in the last 10 years.  We missed one year due to a Georgia Barbecue Association event taking priority.

This year Smokin J’s Barbeque used the event as practice for some pork loin testing.  We tried several different flavor profiles and asked attendees for comments.  Surprisingly, most agreed we need to add more heat to our profile.  We had great positive feedback on our sauce, which we have been tinkering with.  Overall, it was a great opportunity to get some honest opinions.

 

What is Eggtoberfest?

Eggtoberfest is an annual celebration for the ceramic smokers’ enthusiast.  Big Green Egg lovers from all over the world attend. Although various “Eggfest” occur throughout the country, this is the only event, directly coordinated by The Big Green Egg and has been held repeatedly at Stone Mountain Park.

Cook’s registration starts several months before the traditional October event.  First enrolled, first on the list.  Cook teams pay a deposit for the opportunity to showcase their “egg” skills.  Teams consist of a pitmaster and his teammates.  One egg per pitmaster is assigned.

Enrollment for the cook count is cut off at 200.  Pitmasters are reimbursed their $50 deposit, the day of the event.  Big Green Egg provides the vessel, lump, table and 2 chairs per pitmaster.  Cook’s must bring all their own prep items, food and serving utensils.

Guest paid $45.00 this year to attend.  They mingle around the event, eating the free food and learning pitmaster tricks.  Most attendees want to learn techniques from the Big Green Egg alumni.

Day of Eggtoberfest

Cook teams are allow entry to the event only 90 minutes ahead of the guest.  Attendees must pre-purchase tickets, no walk up tickets are sold.

Professional egg-demos are scheduled by celebrities such as Dr. BBQ,

Eggtoberfest 2011 Smokin J's Barbeque meets Dr. BBQ

Smokin J’s Barbeque meeting Dr. BBQ

Drink tickets are given to attendees and coolers are allowed.  It is a great celebration for the “Egghead” community.

Smokin J’s Eggtoberfest Weekend

Smokin J’s Barbeque decided to spend the entire Eggtoberfest weekend at the beautiful, wooded Stone Mountain Park Campground.

The campground has various amenities included with your stay at the park, however, most park attractions do require an additional purchase.  Check in facilities are large enough to accommodate larger rigs and was a quick, simple process.  Unlike most smaller campgrounds we have stayed at,  Stone Mountain provides no assistance in locating your assigned site, nor assistance in parking your RV.

Don’t have an RV?  No problem. 

Stone Mountain has other opportunities for your weekend getaway. Yurt sites,
large RV rental campers already onsite,
including fire rings, picnic tables and grills at every site.  No pets are allowed in the RV rental campers.

Over 200 campsites are available and surprisingly, the campground is a peaceful, quiet environment.  We stayed in a “premium site,” which included, water, electricity, sewer, cable and trash pick up.  With off season rates at a very reasonable $48.00, we may consider going again.

Click here for Stone Mountain Campground Map

 

 

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Arthrogryposis Mini-Meet Up

Arthrogyposis Multiplex Congentia

Smokin J’s Barbeque had the pleasure of cooking up a couple of pork butts for our Arthrogryposis family.  This “Mini-Meet Up” usually occurs twice a year, once in the summer and once in the fall, for those affected by Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita.   Attendees use this gathering to keep in touch with each other, let the kids play together and discuss topics surrounding this underfunded birth defect.

Arthrogyposis Multiplex Congentia Arthrogyposis Multiplex Congentia Arthrogyposis Multiplex Congentia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arthrogyposis Multiplex Congentia

 

 

Most of the discussion surrounds the annual AMC conference, this year to be held just outside Las Vegas, Nevada.  AMC members, from around the world will gather at this yearly event to attend workshops, discussions and let the AMC kids enjoy the friendships they have formed with their AMC friends.

The conference is 100% funded by donations to http://www.amcsupport.org/

What is Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita?

AMC is usually diagnosed during pregnancy.  It is a condition in which a joint is permanently fixed in a bent (flexed) or straightened (extended) position, completely or partially restricting the movement of the affected joint.  If this type of congenital contractures occurs only in one body area, it is not referred to as arthrogryposis but rather an isolated congenital contracture, the most common being “clubfoot.”  However, when arthrogryposis affects two or more different areas of the body, it may be referred to as arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC).

The joints of the shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, fingers, toes, and/or hips are also commonly affected.  The condition will not worsen over time, however, it is necessary to seek treatment to prevent further impediments of the joints.

Although statistics show this disorder affects 1 in every 3,000 births, research cannot determine an exact cause. AMC is thought to be related to decreased movement in utero, which can have multiple causes. In many cases of AMC, the exact underlying cause of the contractures cannot be identified.

AMC Mini-Meet up

Arthrogyposis Multiplex CongentiaAlthough a very hot summer afternoon, the AMC kids were eager to visit the playground.  The Greenville Rec Center in Taylors has a handicap accessible playground, complete with a wheelchair ramp, small slide and platform large enough for adults to accompany their child.  The first all inclusive “Boundless Playground” in all of South Carolina! The playground is specially designed to provide play opportunities for children with disabilities.

A big thank you to Jessi Spring for arranging this Mini-Meet Up, whose wonderful daughter Sadie has Arthrogyposis.  Very special thanks to Ani Samargian, founder of AMCSUPPORT.ORG and Board of Directors member, whose daughter, Abby was born with Arthrogyposis.  Both these women strive to uphold the vision of AMCSUPPORT.ORG, of which Ms. Samargian founded, to provide information and support to families around the world, who before Abby’s birth had very little resources about AMC.

AMCSUPPORT.ORG

The whole reason Smokin J’s Barbeque is proud to be a part of this wonderful organization is the brightest light in our lives, Abigail.  Our granddaughter was born with Arthrogyposis and is the most warm-hearted, determined little girl.

Arthrogyposis Multiplex CogentiaCompared to many birth defect organizations, Arthrogyposis gets very little attention, therefore, very little financial support.

If you are a shopper to Amazon.com, you can help Arthrogyposis Multiplex Congentia with each purchase you make. Instead of your normal login to Amazon (amazon.com); go to https://smile.amazon.com/

You will use your normal email and password but will be prompted to choose a registered charity, of which Amazon will make a donation, based upon your purchase.  Please choose:

Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita Support

Or you can donate at http://www.amcsupport.org/

Your support will help provide educational materials to soon-to-be-parents regarding the diagnosis of arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and help provide resources for parents to find therapists, doctors and treatments for AMC.  Most fundraising dollars go towards the annual conference which brings together children and adults living with AMC, to educate them on new research, tools and sharing experiences with fellow AMCers.

 

 

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