BBQ Competition Tips and Tricks with Holy Smokers

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- Hey everybody, I'm here with Brent with Holy Smokers BBQ. How you doing today?

- Good buddy, how are you man?

- Good, nice to meet ya. - Thanks for coming out.

- And what's your partner's name over here?

- Paul Costello.

- Paul, nice to meet you brother.

- Nice to meet you buddy.

- How you guys doing today?

- Paul does the big meats.

- [Interviewer] All right!

- I cook the little meats!

- [Interviewer] All right, all right!

- That's how it works.

- But you guys are both on the same team, right?

- Yeah, we've been together. We own Holy Smokers cooking team.

- All right, well congratulations. I love your tag line here man, that's fantastic.

- Yeah, we brought Fern out today. We've got quite a few Yoder smokers, but Fern is probably our best or biggest cooker.

- Yeah, that thing's absolutely beautiful man. That is top of the line.

- It's a wood-fired pit. We cook it on cherry today. It's a traditional offset smoker. We have reverse flow smokers, but this is an offset. It weighs about 7,500 pounds.

- Woo!

- It'll cook a lot of food.

- [Paul] It'll cook a lot of food.

- It'll cook a lot of food, but we wench it up in the trailer and when you're having events like this, they put on here, we break out the big stuff.

- Yeah!

- Why not?

- Absolutely, so you guys competing in the steak cookoff today?

- We are, we are. Paulie does all that stuff.

- All right. He does the pork steak. We're not doing the SCA cook, the steak. We're just doing the pork steak.

- Just the pork steak?

- Just the pork steak and then we'll do all the rest of the categories this weekend.

- Okay, all right.

- So, we got Wagyu brisket going, you know.

- Oh, can we check that out?

- Oh, there's a Wagyu in here right now.

- Oh man, that sounds fantastic. Come on back here guys.

- Come on in here. We're cooking this Wagyu right now in a pan, and we separate it. We cook the flat, and the point.

- [Interviewer] Okay.

- [Brent] That way we can add our au jus to it, do a little wrap here in a few minutes. It'll be amazing.

- [Interviewer] All right!

- [Brent] That's a Snake River Farms Wagyu Gold. The reason we cook a Gold is because we cook low and slow.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- A lot of the hot and fast guys cook a Black. It doesn't have near the fat content that a Gold does. If you cook hot and fast and you cook a Gold, you can tend to render it too quickly and it'll begin to fall apart on you, really.

- Yep.

- So yeah it costs more money to cook a Gold, that's a $230--

- [Interviewer] Right.

- Brisket, but--

- [Interviewer] Woo! Man!

- You know what, if you're gonna be somebody and you're gonna roll out Fern you might as well roll out something good to put in it.

- [Interviewer] Absolutely man! The heart wants what the heart wants doesn't it?

- That's it you know!

- [Interviewer] So competing in the pork steak competition, that's a largely regional cut of meat.

- Yep, it is.

- [Interviewer] Not a lot of folks outside the Midwest know about that. So can you give us some tips and tricks that you can share with our audience for cooking a great pork steak if they come across one?

- You wanna tell em? I'm gonna tell em what you do.

- Yeah, we just season it up with some--

- This is farmer good ole boy. I just season it up and put it in the pit.

- [Interviewer] All right, all right.

- Yeah

- That's what he tells people.

- [Interviewer] Yeah, humble. Right? Understated.

- We start, really it all starts with the right cut steak from a good Duroc butt.

- [Interviewer] Okay.

- We don't cook Chester Whites, we don't cook Yorkshires, we don't cook Hampshires. We like a Duroc shoulder.

- [Interviewer] Okay.

- And I personally like the end where the money muscle is without the bone but it's required by SCA that we have the bone in.

- [Interviewer] Bone in. Right.

- So we go as far as we can in that butt to have the bone in there and still get quite a few tubes and quite a bit of fat. And the Duroc, really, the pH levels are higher in that meat and the fat content is always higher. The industry's gone now where they are breeding lean hogs--

- [Interviewer] Absolutely.

- For all the people that want lean pork and different things. And that's fine for the grocery store folks, but fat is flavor. You know, don't trust a skinny barbecue guy.

- But really that's what we're trying to accomplish. And then we'll take that, put a little mustard on it as a binder.

- [Interviewer] Okay.

- We'll use an all-purpose rub, which is really salts, peppers, garlics. That'll go on first, then we'll use some barbecue rubs after that. It'll go in there about three hours.

- Two, two and a half.

- At that point, we'll bring it in. We'll wrap it up. And it'll get a bath of some good stuff. Some vinegar stuff--

- [Interviewer] Oh man.

- Sugar stuff--

- You're making me hungry guys.

- Some Amish butter stuff--

- Yeah, wow!

- Some bee stand honey stuff--

- [Interviewer] Man!

- Some goody more and more stuff he don't tell me about. Back in the pit it goes! It'll go in there...

- Probably another hour and a half, two hours.

- Hour and a half, two hours. Then we'll bring it out and then we'll--

- Depends on how thick your pork steak is.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- How much longer you're gonna have to--

- Sure.

- Any wrap, we personally like a 3/4 inch pork steak.

- Right.

- I think it's a perfect cut.

- Yep.

- SCA wants anything from 1/2 inch to an inch and a half. So, we've learned cooking pork steak competitions, they like them a little thicker at the competitions. So we got a 7/8 inch thick pork steak. We cooked six of em this time, and we picked out three of em and we wrapped them individually. Now these have had some butter love and some brown sugar, and some vinegar sauce.

- [Brent] These are our eatin pork steaks, the sexy pork steaks are individually wrapped.

- [Interviewer] Turn it in, yeah.

- These are the ones we didn't like.

- I know pork is traditionally considered cooked at 145, but with the fatty connective tissues that are sometimes found in a pork butt and therefore the pork steak, what's a good finishing temperature for these?

- In my opinion, Paulie can disagree, but I like his pork steak because if you can eat his pork steak with a plastic spoon, then it's worth having. If I gotta chew on it like a piece of jerky chaw, I take it to the dumpster.

- [Interviewer] Right. Absolutely, yeah.

- That's the way I feel about it. But that don't happen til...

- [Paul] About 190.

- Because it is a pork shoulder, you know.

- [Interviewer] Yep.

- It's like cooking a pork shoulder, when the bone slides out, you know it's right.

- [Interviewer] Absolutely.

- You can take a pork shoulder when it's done and slam it down into a 5-gallon bucket, it explodes, you know it's right.

- [Interviewer] Yep, awesome.

- Well, pork steak, in my opinion, they may dock us on it today. They may want it a little chewier. I don't know. Traditionally, a pork steak in St. Louis is served with Maull's barbecue sauce--

- [Interviewer] Okay.

- On white bread.

- [Interviewer] Yep.

- That's kind of a traditional thing. My dad, hey dad? Dad.

- [Dad] Yeah buddy.

- Here's a guy that's been eating pork steaks for 70 years, and Snoots. Here's the Snoot expert. Are you eating a Snoot right now dad?

- I just finished it.

- [Brent] Come on over here, we're on television.

- How you doin?

- Good.

- Good.

- And guess what kind of sauce I had on it.

- [Brent] I know what kind you had on it. Tell me what you had.

- Maull's!

- [Brent] Maull's.

- If you wanna baste your barbecue, Maull it!

- [Brent] That's a traditional--

- That's the only barbecue they had when we were young. Nobody else made barbecue sauce.

- [Brent] Dad grew up in East St. Louis--

- Yep.

- Here, here.

- [Brent] Which is where the pork steak--

- And that's what you get when you get Snoot's. See, you got issues. Did I get any on me?

- [Brent] No, you're good dad.

- [Dad] Not yet.

- [Brent] You're good. Yeah, you did dad. You got it down there.

- [Dad] Oh, I'm doing it right.

- [Brent] Mom will wash that. But dad grew up in East St. Louis, where the pork steak was really brought and invented.

- [Dad] It was cheaper.

- That's where it came from, which is right down the road here.

- [Dad] You could get pork steaks for $.49 a pound back in that day.

- People didn't have the money and the stockyards were here.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- Locally, and so they thought, what else can we do with a pork butt besides smoke it and pull it? Well, they sliced it into steaks. Very regional thing as you guys know--

- [Interviewer] Yep.

- I went to Louisiana with him on a big trip cooking barbecue. We went there to Sam's and said "Hey take that pork shoulder back there and slice it up." The guy looked at me funny. "Do what?" I said "Slice it." "Which way?" I said "This way. Crosswise."

- [Interviewer] Right.

- So it's a very regional kind of thing, and if they really wanted to judge it right, it would be judged with Maull's. Because that is a St. Louis sauce and the only sauce that was here in your day, dad.

- [Dad] It's basically ketchup with a little bit of bite to it.

- Yeah. So you guys obviously know your barbecue. Obviously know your meats. Just one question in closing. When you're cooking at home for yourself, what's your go-to cut? What's your go-to? First thing you wanna pull out? This is what I want to cook when I'm at home cooking for myself. What's your personal taste?

- Probably pork steak or ribeye.

- [Interviewer] Pork steak or ribeye?

- Ribs.

- Ribs, all right. Good man. And yourself?

- Pork steak.

- All right. Well hey, thanks--

- Or his ribs. I can't cook ribs but he can make ribs that'll melt in your mouth.

- I'm no good at em either.

- [Dad] They're unbelievable.

- But anyway, thanks guys for your time today.

- Okay, thank you.

- Best of luck in the competition today and tomorrow.

- Appreciate it buddy.

- Thank you sir.

- [Interviewer] Thanks for your time. I appreciate it man.

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