Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bees, Colony Collapse Disorder and the answers to "so what?"

While I work on a larger project for BBQHoney (which I hope to reveal in the New Year), I thought I'd pass along some stuff I've been saving regarding our friends, the bees.

Colony Collapse Disorder is real and it is bad. It is estimated that between one third and over half of US bee colonies have vanished within the past 20 years. So what, you say? Yeah, I don't like getting stung either, but I also enjoy eating food. So I'll put up with the occasional backyard picnic ouchie and support efforts to ensure bee colonies thrive.

Why? Here's three things to read (don't worry - they're not long):

From TEDBlog:
What is it about bees? Three experts on why they’re fascinating, why they’re dying, what can save them

From Food & Wine:
Five things you definitely should know about honey and bees

From Fast Company:
Why The Federal Government Is Bailing Out Honeybees

Friday, October 24, 2014

Is Huy Fong THE sriracha? And Bacon.

[First, a note: I have been absent from the Interwebs lately, not because I don't love you anymore, but rather I was tied up with annual budget season at my paying gig. After a few weeks of staring at a computer screen full of multiple spreadsheets, my bespectacled noggin needed a break.]

I am really late to the sriracha party. (Never got the invite, I guess). Now nearly ubiquitous, sriracha has become the go-to condiment in nearly every restaurant and food truck that claims to be worthy of it's haute hipster status. I tried it for the first time (!) recently (hey, I live in northeastern Wisconsin, gimme a break), and found it to have a very nice combo of flavor and heat. I find most "hot" sauces just Not spicy, I like spicy. But heat for heat's sake is just silly.

In 1998, I went to a wingfest in New Haven, CT. Having lived close enough to Buffalo in the 80's, I was fortunate to be an Anchor Bar patron when wings really took off as a bar food staple, first regionally, then nationally. So a Connecticut wing hoedown was right in my wheelhouse. All I remember now of the experience was incredibly painful blistered lips and mouth due to some jackass' idea of "hot wings". They weren't presented as "suicide" or nuclear" or anything like that. Just hot. So hot that within 15 minutes, I was in agony. An hour (and a near-gallon of milk) later, I was still in pain and really pissed off. The experience turned me off the whole "betcha can't eat THESE" type of menu boasts now commonly found in far too many sports bars around country.

So I've been leery of hot sauces. I thought sriracha was just that and only that - hot. Wrong. Tasty stuff, to be sure. It's not yet a regular part of my cooking/grilling routine, but I can say I'm now a fan.

So what? Well, Huy Fong isn't the only sriracha, and may not be the best after all. Serious Eats put nine of the more readily available contenders through a taste test a while ago. Find the results here

Do you like bacon? A stupid question, to be sure. But why do we all find ourselves OBSESSED with the pork belly? (So much so that there is now a bacon-based sexual lubricant). 


Sorry, kinda blanked out there for a second. Where was I? Yes, bacon. During the health-conscious 80's and due to the semi-famous The Other White Meat Campaign, pork belly prices collapsed. So the pork industry had to come up something so the whole hog didn't fall apart (or something like that).

The industry partnered with burger chain Hardee's to produce this ad and product:

After Hardee's success, the rest of fast food industry took notice. And once the big boys got involved and turned the chips in our brains over to the bacon setting, the pork party hasn't slowed down at all. For an exhaustive overview of the subject, check out Bloomberg Businessweek's article here.

Have a great bacon weekend, everyone!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Honey Hunters, plus all you need to cook & grill

Settle into your favorite chair and enjoy this epic honey hunting adventure from Michael Snyder. Courtesy Lucky Peach and Longreads comes this tale of one of the most ancient food gathering techniques still practiced by humankind. I am excited to share The Honey Hunters:

It was morning, ebb tide, when our launch slid up to the shore—shiny and metallic and unstable as mercury—and stuck its nose resolutely into the mud. Felt clouds sulked overhead, temporary protection from the blazing April sun. The honey collectors hopped one by one down onto the shore, which swallowed them up to their calves before releasing a thick, flatulent squelch.

- - -

  • Why do honeybees die when they sting? Remember, they only sting when threatened, unlike wasps (jerks).
  • This is a WOW! link: 22 kitchen cheat sheets/guides - if you don't cook or grill at home, you now have absolutely no excuse. Thanks,!
  • Finally, since it's football season, here's some vital equipment that makes tailgate grilling so much easier - grills:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pretty Fly for a Hot Sauce and the Oscars of Condiments (yes, that is a thing)

I'll get to the awards in a minute. First, the hot sauce authority we all love and admire, Playboy Magazine's (um, what did I just write?) Joe Donatelli ranked the best 19 hot sauces. The usual suspects are there - Tabasco, Frank's, Cholula - but the winner is surprising, at least to me.

Congrats to Dexter Holland! If you don't know him, he's the lead singer of The Offspring, who you might remember from such 90's hits as Pretty Fly for a White Guy and Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated). Here's his hot sauce story:

How Far Can Dexter Holland's Gringo Bandito Go?

Meanwhile, Epicurious says Cholula's better...

What I consider to be the pinnacle of condiment judging just released their annual picks for the best in a myriad of categories. Chile Pepper Magazine (which can be found in paper form at Barnes & Noble) has all your awards winners here. I celebrated a few on BBQHoney's Facebook page earlier this week, and here's the list of all the winners and nominees: 

I'll definitely be trying a few of these (some are available near Casa de ZCB) and I'll report my findings once sampled.

It's Friday and warm (still) - Get the grill fired up and enjoy the weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2014

BBQ & The Bees - Mmm, viscous...

Featuring two of my favorite viscous fluids, BBQHoney will examine one of the easiest craft foods one can create (yet few do), and one of most important members of our natural world, bees. Why those two together like an old issue of Marvel Team-Up? Why not? They both taste good and they both are crucial to my existence.

Today's double feature will clean up a few items I've been sitting on. First the sauce! I make my own BBQ sauce and have experimented with quite a few versions, nearly all of them excellent, if I may say so. It is so easy to make a decent sauce at home, and having a few styles handy in the fridge makes you far more cool than your lame neighbor who arrives for the backyard BBQ with a six pack of light beer (for himself).

Really, don't bother buying the HFCS-laden supermarket crap, and DIY from now on.

Here's the basics from Food & Wine:

5 Steps to Creating Your Own Barbecue Sauce

Simple, right? Now get on with it, and let me know how you've revolutionized the world of condiments in the wasteland I call a comments section.

Just for kicks, here's Karen, over at the Art of Doing Stuff, who enters the ring with this loser (read the article first then try to attack me for being mean).

Speaking of condiment coup d'etat, be prepared to hear more about the Next Great Condiment Wars after reading this from Grub Street. By the way, budding entrepreneurs, check out the Mixed Made blog - a step-by-step walk-through of the process from idea to market.

By the way, ever wonder if bees are really "busy"? No? Well, most are, according to this item from Mental Floss.

One last thing for this evening - we're all doomed, probably.

Nighty night!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hello and welcome!

Sigh, another blog. Don't worry, this will be interesting, provided you enjoy things that taste good.

Try this first:

Big Honey is made just a couple miles from my house! Neato! 
Pay 'em a visit on Facebook and mention BBQHoney sent ya!

Ok, that's enough exclamation points for today. See ya on Friday.