Leftover Competition Pork in this Goulash Stew

A goulash is typically a stew made with some sort of protein and seasoned with spices, then cooked for an extended amount of time.

Smokin J’s Barbeque keep the trimmings off our competition meat, for the exception of the fat; bring them home and store them in the deep freezer.

Recently, I found TWO, two gallon zip lock bags in the deep freezer.  Frustrated, I decided to develop my own goulash recipe and use one of those 2-gallon bags as my protein.

Trim the Meat

Barbecue ribs leftovers Smokin J's BarbequeAfter thawing the meat, overnight in the refrigerator; I had to trim any remaining fat off the meat.  It is difficult to remove ALL the fat.

Most of the trimmings were off our St. Louis style, larger ribs; therefore, I decided to leave most of the bones intact for added flavor.

All the chunks of fat were discarded.   The ribs were grouped in clumps of 3-4, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then placed in a large slow-cooker.

Any small remnants of meat, I cut into 1-inch by 1-inch chunks, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then placed them in the large slow-cooker.

Flavor Up the Stew

The following vegetables were added to the stew, on top of the rib meat (I did not pre-cook any of these ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 medium onions – finely chopped
  • 4 carrots finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper finely chopped


Leftover Barbecue trimmings meat pork

This is my soffritto – Italian flavor base


Other ingredients:

1 fennel bulb, stalks removed, finely chopped

Leftover barbecue pork stew28 oz. can crushed tomatoes flavored with basil

1 Tablespoon fresh, minced garlic

2 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon dried, rubbed sage

1 Tablespoon dried, ground oregano

1 Tablespoon dried, thyme

1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

3/4 Tablespoon ground black pepper

1 Cup dry sherry

2 Cups low sodium chicken broth

Directions for Leftover Pork Goulash Stew

Set slow cooker to high for 2 hours; then cook on low for an additional 5 hours.

Turn off slow cooker;  allow to cool and place crock in the refrigerator overnight.

Second day: Leftover Barbecue Pork Stew

Because the leftover barbecue pork has fat attached, this second day step is necessary.

Remove crock from fridge.  Using a spoon, remove the accumulated fat from the top of the stew. Discard all fat.

leftover barbecue pork stew

Place crock back into cooker and set to low for 6 hours.

After 6 hours, remove any remaining bones.  Using two forks, shred any remaining large chunks of meat.  Remove and discard two bay leaves.

Place meat back into to slow cooker.

Serve stew over accompanying white rice or southern cornbread.

I made enough stew to freeze several portions for easy meals.

Leftover barbecue pork stew




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Judging in the Georgia Barbecue Association

Smokin J's Barbeque Georgia BBQ AssociationIf you like lip-licking, delicious barbecue prepared by some of the best competitive pit masters in the country, then you should consider registering as a judge in the Georgia Barbecue Association.

Smokin J’s Barbeque are not only a professional cook team in the GBA, but we are also certified judges, for the association.

We learned a tremendous amount during our training, which helped elevate our cooking game.

Several opportunities are approaching if you want to become a judge in the GBA. 

Prerequisites for Being a Judge

You probably should love barbecue – lol!

Like family – friendly events!

Can dedicate a few weekends a year to enjoying fellowship with other barbecue connoisseurs.

Class attendees must first register as an association member; which can be done online anytime:

Click HERE to join the GBA

Several membership levels are available:

Family membership – 2 – $50.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 2 members)Subscription period: 1 year
Family Membership – 3 – $75.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 3 members)Subscription period: 1 year
Family Membership – 4 – $100.00 (USD)Bundle (up to 4 members)Subscription period: 1 year

After you pay your membership fee, you can register for a training class.

Training classes are only $35.00; which is a bargain!

Georgia BBQ Association Judging

What is a GBA Judging Class Like?

During a judging class, participates are educated on what constitutes professional barbecue; which is not necessarily how you like your barbecue when you sit down at home or in your neighborhood restaurant.

Judges are also trained on the scoring method used by the GBA, as well as BLIND judging practices.

Every entry is judged on appearance, taste and tenderness; after COMPARING each entry to one another an “overall impression” score is given.

When determining an overall impression, only the 5 or 6 entries on the table, at that time are compared to each other, to declare a top box.  Scoring is not determined by how good the meat in front of a judge stacks up against the bbq joint down the street.

Each training session includes a hands on experience, judging professional barbecue.

Prepared entries are brought in.  Students are then asked to judge the samples based on the class instructions;  followed by a discussion.

If you pass the class, you are a TRAINED JUDGE.

Georgia BBQ Association Judging

Judging Pork Loin Entries, photo by Greg Hoyt

Georgia BBQ Association Judging

Judging Pork Rib Entries photo by Greg Hoyt

Progressing to a Certified Judge

Once a member has received his/her TRAINED JUDGE credentials, it is time to register and judge an event.

Judging registration occurs about a month before each event.  Registration can be done at the GBA Contests/Events website.

If you are chosen to be a judge, you will be notified via email as to what time and where to report.


On contest day, judges will report for roll call and be assigned their category or categories to judge.

Categories sanctioned by the GBA include, bone-less pork loin; pork ribs; and pork butt or shoulder.

Some contests hold ancillaries, such as best dessert or best cocktail.

Once a TRAINED judge has successfully completed two contest events, he/she will receive CERTIFIED judge credentials.

Recognition for those judges who exemplify what the GBA represents, “growth and fellowship of competitive barbecue, consistency and quality in judging, and have been a positive force within the Georgia Barbecue Association,” is available through the Master Judge Program.  

Georgia BBQ Association Judging

Why the GBA?

There are many different competitive barbecue contests and organizations.  Smokin J’s Barbeque truly enjoys the camaraderie and family we have grown to love within the GBA.

Every contest is like a family reunion or a backyard picnic with loved ones.  Events are family friendly and respect between cook teams thrives.

Family, atmosphere and – as I said earlier – the best damn barbecue you will ever eat are the reasons Smokin J’s Barbeque will continue to travel from WAY out of state to compete in the Georgia Barbecue Association.


Join the Georgia BBQ Association                Register to Judge A Contest

Let me know if you have any questions about judging a GBA sanctioned contest.




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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.

Subscribe to our mailing list

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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


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.


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…


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!


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.


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.


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 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 Georgia 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….




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


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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