BBQ Dragon: Bona Fide Fire Starter or Just Blowing Smoke?

I recently received a free BBQ Dragon to review.  Although it may sound like a prop from HBO’s Game of Thrones, the BBQ Dragon is a real product intended to help backyard cooks start their fires more quickly and with less huffing and puffing.

The BBQ Dragon is a small fan roughly the shape and size of a hair dryer, and attached to a sturdy, flexible stem with a clamp at the base to connect it to your fire pit, grill, or smoker.  Powered by batteries, the BBQ Dragon blows air on your coals to help them catch fire faster.  Straightforward, clever, and… effective or just a lot of (hot) air?

According to the product’s promotional email: “BBQ Dragon takes a simple concept – adding oxygen to fire – and puts some power behind it.  Why sit and blow on your charcoal, or wave dishware at it to create a breeze to supply more air? BBQ Dragon points a steady stream of fire-fueling oxygen directly onto your charcoal, so it’s grill-ready in under 10 minutes – hotter and faster than ever! Don’t leave your grilling to chance – mechanize your charcoal’s oxygen supply with BBQ Dragon!”  Exclamation points abound.

IMAG2057The website takes the hype a giant step further, calling the BBQ Dragon, “The biggest revolution in barbecue since lump charcoal.”  I have to admit to being dubious of products that are pitched with such reckless abandon, but leaving my skepticism aside I put the BBQ Dragon through its paces, trying it on charcoal and on kindling and wood in a backyard fire pit (picture inset).

The BBQ Dragon worked as advertised, adding oxygen to the fire without need for huffing and puffing.  The flames started to roar fast and the coals/wood heated up quickly.  (The trade off for the reduced burden on your lungs is a fairly noisy fan even at the lowest speed setting.)  Priced at $49.99 plus shipping, the BBQ Dragon is a pricey accessory, and certainly one I’d place in the “fun but not essential” category.  Still, it’s a clever idea and can help if you’re like me and your fire building skills could use an assist.  Plus, if all else fails you can point it at your friends and dry their hair.

By the way, it’s interesting to note that the BBQ Dragon was developed using Kickstarter funds, with a successful campaign that crowd sourced over a hundred thousand dollars.  Pretty neat, if you ask me.  Why didn’t I think of that?

 

True ‘Cue NC Well Underway

As I’ve written before, my BBQ time is mostly focused on TrueCue.org these days.  If you’ve yet to check out the site, or haven’t been in a few weeks, check it out now.  We overhauled the website and have a solid list of wood-cooking barbecue restaurants in NC.  Below are a couple of pictures from a recent True ‘Cue restaurant certification tour (the grand old dame Stamey’s in Greensboro at top, and the quite new Speedy Lohr’s on Hwy 8 in Lexington at bottom):

Stamey's GSO (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speedy Lohr's Hwy 8 Lex (5)

Dress Tiezed and Confused

One of the things that’s surprised me most about running a food blog is how many PR lists one gets on.  Not a week goes by without an offer to review a book, test a recipe, get a free sample of a product, and so on.  I’ve become a bit jaded and rarely reply.  But the email I got a few weeks ago caught my eye:

Porky, eat out a lot?

 What’s worse than a splotch of balsamic vinegar that does a Jackson Pollock knock-off on your shirt or tie?

For those men or women who like everything to be just so and are tired of staining their clothing when they have lunch….Mike Tanney has invented the perfect accessory for anyone who likes to look immaculate all day long… The product is called Dress Tiez ™ and it is brand new. Created by Mike, who was tired of replacing his expensive Hermes stained ties. Now there’s the perfect gift for foodies and all of us who appreciate leaving a meal without looking like we walked off a battlefield.

 *Stylish, fashionable and suitable for fine restaurants

*Halts stains from pasta sauce, red wine, olive oil etc and is machine washable

*Is portable and comes with its own matching pouch and is gift boxed.

*Comes in 19 different styles and colors

*Can be monogrammed or personalized

Visit: www.DressTiez.com

Please let me know if you would like to receive a complimentary sample to review.”

IMAG2003Needless to say, I couldn’t pass this rare opportunity up.  After all, eating BBQ gets messy, even when sticking to the vinegar-sauced North Carolina variety.  If I had a dollar for every shirt I’ve ruined with grease stains from eating trays of BBQ I’d have enough money to, well, buy another tray.

I requested a free sample DressTiez (the brand name doesn’t work well for singular usage, but I didn’t order a plural amount), and a few days later I was in business.  Rather than subject myself to potential public humiliation, I invited a friend over and asked him to make a fool out of himself for the good of you readers.  (Well, I asked his wife too but she was too demure.) Inset is Cody “Whole Hog” Marshall–friend, neighbor, and now genuine hero–test driving a DressTiez with about two pounds of my home-smoked barbecue in front of him.

As you can tell, the DressTiez is not actually a tie at all.  This came as a surprise to me when I opened the package.  It is a bib.  Perhaps DressBib didn’t have a good ring to it.  I prefer to call it a Man Bib.  You may call it something else if you wish.

I’m not sure what else to say about the DressTiez.  It’s interesting, it’s functional (though it leaves some neckline exposed), it’s polyester, and it’s definitely a conversation starter.  You should read this review, and you must watch this video ad to fully understand the product, if that is even possible.

R.I.P. “Smokey” Joe Cope

Sad news from Lexington, where Joe Cope of Smokey Joe’s BBQ has passed away.  From the restaurant’s Facebook page:

Our precious Dad has gone home to be with our Lord and Saviour. Thank you all for your prayers your love. Please continue to pray for our family. Thank you. We love you all.

A True ‘Cue Update

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve spent most of my barbecue time over the last few months working on a new project: TrueCue.org.  The new website is a joint venture (we will share the lack of profits equally) with John Shelton Reed, author of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.   Both John and I are wood-cooked barbecue enthusiasts and have designed the site for two purposes: 1) to launch a Campaign for Real Barbecue loosely inspired by the UK’s Campaign for Real Ale and 2) to start a certification program for restaurants that cook using traditional methods, with NC serving as the pilot program.

Click on over to the True ‘Cue website to learn more and to TAKE THE PLEDGE.  We will have a revamped, professional looking TrueCue.org website in early 2014, with a publicity push to follow.   Stay tuned.

Your’s,

Porky

A BBQ Break: Pepperoni Rolls

From time to time, Porky LeSwine likes a diversion from blogging about North Carolina barbecue.  And he likes it even more when said diversion is courtesy of a BBQJew.com reader.  Thus, we thank reader Steve for the following note, which he agreed to let us share with the world.  

PepperoniRollDear Porky,  If I may let me talk about something that is not North Carolina Pork BBQ: the West Virginia Pepperoni Roll. I have family in the Clarksburg, WV area and one time while visiting, I found this snack in the local gas stations. Take a few sticks of pepperoni, encase it in bread dough, and bake. The spicy grease from the pepperoni soaks into the bread as it bakes. Deliciousness.

The only place that I have seen them here in NC is Yosties, a bakery and eatery in Faith, NC, right down the road from Wink’s King BBQ and Seafood in Salisbury.Pepperoni Rolls were invented in the Fairmont, WV area some years ago. I have heard and read a couple of different stories. One I was told by an Aunt who lived in the area related that they were invented by Italian mothers as a treat for their children. Another account is that they were invented as something to sell to the Sicilian miners in the area. There is a very large Italian community in the area.

The next time that you are near Salisbury, you might want to go a few miles down Faith Road and pick up a few pepperoni rolls at Yosties. They also have great cinnamon rolls and cheese straws.

Yosties’s website: http://www.yosties.com/

A website about Pepperoni Rolls: http://www.bobheffner.com/pepperoniroll/index.htm

Take care,

Steve

Thanks for sharing, Steve. This is definitely the first I’ve ever heard of pepperoni rolls, and for all I know I may never hear of them again.  But hopefully someday I will eat one.  Now back to our regularly scheduled barbecue programming.

 

True ‘Cue Update

Loyal readers may have noticed that my posts to this website have once again slowed to a crawl.  Rest assured I have been busy working on my new project, alongside my barbecue brother John Shelton Reed of Holy Smoke fame, which is called True ‘Cue.  More details soon, as we prepare to launch.  Until then, stay low and slow.

Micro Pigs: Coming Soon to a Very Small BBQ Pit Near You?

According to recent media reports, the “micro pig” is the latest pet craze in Great Britain.  These pigs should consider themselves lucky that the Brits are amateurs when it comes to barbecue, as these little porkers would make the perfect individual-sized BBQ meal.  It’d be like Pizza Hut’s personal pan pizza but probably a similarly lousy deal when you consider the per ounce purchase price of the little pigs, which sometimes fetch over $1,000 (that’d buy a lot of regular pork shoulders).  Still, if you’d like to cook whole hog barbecue on your backyard Weber kettle or camping stove then the price may be worth it.  Order the main ingredient for your next micro pig pickin’ right here.

Slow Train Coming

At long last, I’m taking the time to better organize my reviews of North Carolina barbecue restaurants.  Step one was updating the list of Joints to include all the places I’ve visited to date.  As of moments ago, that task is (mostly) complete.  Next up is a Google Map listing all the places I’ve visited, which will make finding joints near you/your travels much easier.  I’m about five years behind the times–too cheap and lazy to build the Swine Finder BBQ App I really want to produce–but it’s a start.  I should have the map up and running, with a link from the Joints page, any day/week/month now.  Stay tuned, fellow barbecue hogs.

Royal Baby Barbecue Names

In order to ensure that this blog continues to stay at the cutting edge of current events, I offer the following list of potential royal baby names (in an alternate universe where Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge are barbecue enthusiasts):

Or maybe Bald Willie and his lady friend Kate will just give the baby a normal name… like Blue Ivy or Moon Unit.  Stay tuned world…

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