August 12, 2010

Irvine – Land of BBQ?

Filed under: BBQ,Orange County — Professor Salt @ 12:58 pm

My friends David Vindiola from Smokalicious BBQ and Ryan Chester of The Rub Company are teaming up again this Saturday for their monthly residence at Irvine’s Tanaka Farms. I stopped by last month to check in on my boys, and they’re turning Tanaka’s farm into a delicious place to get schooled on summer cooking. With better attendance, this might happen more than once a month.

David is a cooking instructor from San Diego, and this week’s topic is a kids’ cooking class. See details on his site. Last month’s class was gazpacho and grilling. Check his site for a rotating schedule of topics.

Ryan and his family make BBQ seasonings in Buena Park, and I’m all for supporting local BBQ guys that make a good product. At Tanaka Farms, they set up a Santa Maria style grill and sell tri tip smoked over  oak, just like they do it up in California’s Central Valley. Stop by and get a lunch plate, and take home some of Tanaka’s great produce, grown right there.

The Chesters use their Santa Maria Style rub, a kicked up garlic salt blend with lots of black pepper. While you’re at Tanaka Farms, pick up a bottle of that Santa Maria rub and also their brand new, Competition rub. It’s so new it’s not on their website yet, but I used it last weekend on pork ribs to great effect, and recommend it wholeheartedly…

Tanaka Farms
5380 3/4 University Dr. (corner of Michelson Drive)
Irvine, CA 92612

August 10, 2010

BBQ Pitmasters Season 2 Premiers August 12

Filed under: BBQ — Professor Salt @ 12:50 pm

Season 2 of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters show premiers this Thursday August 12 at 10pm / 9pm in CST. I’ll be on the Rib Throwdown episode cooking with Bigmista’s BBQ.

The schedule on TLC’s website is a little confusing – it looks like the Pork Shoulder episode is leading off, so “my” episode may not be first, even though it was shot first. Tune in anyway readers, because lots of familiar face are featured this season.

UPDATE: Danielle Dimovski of informs me that our Rib Throwdown episode will air on September 2, 2010.

July 29, 2010

Enough about me. What do you think of me?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Professor Salt @ 10:45 pm

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been a media whore the past couple of months. In June, there was the appearance on KCRW’s Good Food radio show coverage of the Que’n For Kids BBQ contest, which you can podcast. Also from this event was Eddie Lin’s video of  me making a bacon explosion.

Then my pal Neil of Bigmista’s BBQ gets the front page of the LA Times Food section, and a quote of mine gets used in it. Through this article and the sidebar story on Neil’s favorite websites (ahem, one of them is mine), someone from San friggin Diego found out about my Smoking 101 class and enrolled. Talk about media reach!

Last week, my photo ran in the TV Guide because I auditioned in February for the new Gordon Ramsay show that premiered this past Tuesday. Although I didn’t make the final selection, the producers chose my photo for their media promo package.  The premise of this game show is 50 amateur cooks compete for the silly title of MasterChef and a $250,000 prize. No, I didn’t wanna be on your stupid Fox network show anyway! Thanks for nothing, Ramsay.

Master Chef audition

Cooking at the Los Angeles cattle call for MasterChef

Moving forward now, here’s the biggest secret – I’ll be on Season 2 of BBQ Pitmasters, backing up Bigmista along with our teammate Sylvie. We’re competing against three formidable opponents: Johnny Trigg, DivaQ, and Big Poppa Smokers.  The show let the cat out of the bag this week by releasing the preview video, so I guess it’s safe to say my team is featured without breaking the nondisclosure agreement. Tivo TLC on August 12, and you’ll see how we did.

July 15, 2010

DiFara Pizza Coming to L.A.?

Filed under: Elsewhere in America,Los Angeles — Professor Salt @ 9:08 am

According to the the Huffington Post and the New York Post, DiFara’s, the legendary Brooklyn pizza shop, has plans to open outposts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Texas and Arizona. Am I excited? Hell yes. But also concerned that it won’t be the same thing.

The 42 year old  Dominick Demarco, Jr. has plans to expand on the pizza legend built by his father. But here’s the thing – in the Brooklyn shop, Dom Senior makes all the pizzas himself, and has for decades until recent years when his health hasn’t been so hot. Sure, the Grande cheese and the other ingredients matter, but Dom Senior is what makes DiFara’s so good. Can Dom Jr. teach all the minute steps in the pizza making process to someone else? We’ll see about that.

Also according the the NY Post story, the Baker’s Pride deck ovens used in Brooklyn will be replaced with Wood Stone gas and wood ovens in the new locations. The domed Wood Stones don’t cook the top of the pizzas in the same way as deck ovens. I don’t know what Junior is thinking, but he’s already changing what works.

The NY Post story claims that Dom Junior wants to alter the local water to chemically replicate New York City tap water. The myth that NY pizza or bagels can’t be produced outsite of New York is bullshit, and I proved it during my own bagel baking experiments. See also the fact that Joe’s Pizza in Santa Monica is just like the Joe’s Pizza in Greenwich Village.  Joe didn’t foist the NYC tap water lie – Joe himself moved to L.A. and taught his staff how to make the dough correctly.  The fact that Dom Junior is already pitching the water myth sounds like he’s setting up an excuse for failing to produce pizza like his old man’s.

So bring it, Junior. I can’t wait to try the pizza, and I’ll be the first one to say I was wrong if you pull this one off.

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