Lauren Nagel from

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- So I'm here with Lauren, from She was one one of my fellow judges today, in the State Cook-Off Association, and we had the pleasure of judging, what? 15 different rib-eyes.

- 15. Yeah, they were delicious.

- And 15 different pork steaks. Lauren operates a food blog. Tell us a little bit of how you got started in this crazy world of food blogging.

- Yeah, so, I taught high school culinary arts for about seven years and I've moved around a lot. And so, I just one day decided to start blogging and taking food photography and it just kind of took off. And I've loved it ever since.

- Yes, how long have you been at this then?

- About a year and a half full time.

- Wow.

- Yeah.

- Incredible. And so, how did you end up from, I think you said earlier you're from Kansas City. What brought you all the way to Collinsville? Just this event or other business?

- Yeah, just this event just because I've made such good connections with the barbecue community. And, I think we're all kind of one big family. And that's what I love about barbecue. That makes it so different than other types of food, especially in the food blog world.

- Absolutely, that's the one thing is everyone is just incredibly nice, so incredibly open, willing to share tips and tricks for cooking all the meat. So, you cook a lot, I take it.

- I do.

- Operating a food blog. Tell me, what's your favorite thing to barbecue when you're out there barbecuing, what's your favorite meat?

- Aw, man. I'm definitely gonna go with like pork shoulder, pork butt.

- Okay.

- I'm a pulled pork fan a 100%.

- Okay.

- So, I think you can get creative with it, with the different sauces and things like that, but you know, you can still stick to traditional with a good Barq, salt, pepper. You don't need to do a lot to make it taste good.

- Right. So, what are some tips or tricks for people at home that are looking to make really incredible pulled pork. What would you say is a couple, "Hey, I've never made this before, "but I want to give it a shot." What kind of tips and tricks do you have for us?

- I think a lot of times with barbecue, you really kind of have to watch what it is doing and yes temperature isn't it, but you have to look for tenderness. So, you can take a temperature, but especially with pulled pork it's all about feel.

- Yeah.

- And so, I think that that's the biggest thing, people want to rush the process and let it, it's gonna do the talking for you.

- Absolutely. So, when you're not barbecuing, when you're cooking for friends and family, what's your kinda go-to dish? Something that is, "I know I make this well, "everyone loves it. "It's gonna be a big hit."

- I do a lot of low-carb, Keto stuff. And I do a lot of cocktails. So, for me I like to do cocktails, with like a foodpairing. So, anything from like a bacon wrapped jalapeno popper, to steak bites or I don't know. I'm a big appetizer person.

- Absolutely.

- Yeah, and a cocktail to go with it.

- Hey, nothin' wrong with that.

- No, not at all.

- I have a beer in my hand in every single video I do.

- There you go. Well, I can appreciate that.

- Yeah, we're Red Meat Lover, we cook a lot of steaks. What's a great mixed drink that we should be sharing or pairing with our steak?

- I mean, I gotta go whiskey, like Old-Fashioned, Manhattan. Can't go wrong with that. Classics.

- My girl, right here. Classics are always a good one to go with.

- Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for taking a few minutes

- Thank you.

- to talk with us.

- Appreciate it.

- It was a pleasure judging with you.

- Same.

- And I look forward to connecting with you online and offline in the future.

- Awesome. Thank you for having me.

- Thanks. All right, my pleasure.


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