Monthly Archives / November 2015


Whole Hog Extravaganza 2015

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_02The 2015 Dream Team. Front row: John Stage, Kat Kinsman, Mike Mills, John Delpha, Sam Jones, Amy Mills. Back Row: Patrick Martin, John Lewis, Barry Sorkin, and Wayne Mueller.

Back in January, we held our fourth-ever Whole Hog Extravaganza/Brisket Bonanza/BBQ MBA.

This event brings together some of the most celebrated whole hog and brisket cookers in the country, along with brilliant marketing and media minds, and showcases a variety of cooking methods and styles. During the class, each pitmaster goes through the butchering and prep process. While the hogs, brisket, beef ribs, and sausage were cooking, we gathered for the BBQ MBA portion of the program. The theme was “Telling the Barbecue Story,” and we heard from producers at CoolFire Studios, barbecue critics Robert Moss and Daniel Vaughn, Tasting Table editor-at-large Kat Kinsman, and more.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_01All of these outstanding images are by the uber-talented Ken Goodman, who also gave a class filled with tips for excellent iPhone photography.
WholeHogExtravaganza2015_03So proud of this 1-7 pit crew who helps with every aspect of this production.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_04The entire group, From Alaska to New York, and including guests from Colombia and China.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_05Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens welcoming our guests.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_06Set-ups for the cocktail party …

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_07… and for breakfast.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_08No shortage of whiskey.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_09John Stage and Barry Sorkin did a brisket demo.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_10RH Weaver of Husk presented a talk on cocktails and made a delicious drink designed just for this event.

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WholeHogExtravaganza2015_17Hospitality bag of delicious items from Striplings, Goo Goo Cluster, Townsend Spice, and more.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_18Tools of the trade.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_19These burn barrels provided fuel and warmth all night long.


WholeHogExtravaganza2015_21And, as usual, we spent treasured time around the burn barrels, late into the night.


WholeHogExtravaganza2015_23John Delpha’s porchetta is always a crowd pleaser.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_24Three very different hogs. Pat Martin’s cooked over hickory …

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_25Sam Jones’s over oak ..

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_26And Mike and Phillip’s over apple.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_27Links of John Lewis’s delicious sausage, bathed in smoke.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_28He made two varieties: regular and cheddar jalapeño.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_29Mike is checking under the hood of one of his hogs.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_30Late-night snack. John Delpha smoked these pig heads, which I carefully sawed in half. The heads were so large, they wouldn’t fit on the bandsaw. We picked tasty threads of cheek meat and combined them with amazing Asian slaw and condiments to make delicious tacos.

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The next Whole Hog Extravaganza/Brisket Bonanza/BBQ MBA will be held January 18-19, 2016. Guest pitmasters and speakers will be announced shortly. Some spaces have already been reserved, so you’ll want to sign up quickly! You can register here.

Photos © Ken Goodman Photography

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.
See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too! 


2015 Charleston Brown Water Society Barbecue Invitational

01-6767We traveled to Charleston in July for the second annual Charleston Brown Water Society Barbecue Invitational. I arrived a few days early so I could check out John Lewis’s pop-up at Revelry Brewing. As you can see, Charlestonians are quickly getting the hang of lining up for barbecue.

02-6775This mile-high sandwich was so delicious.

03-6776And this plate of barbecue did not disappoint.

04-6789The best part of these events happens late night, around the fire, as we prepped and cooked for the event, traded stories, ate delicious snacks, and imbibed the famous painkillers from Hometeam BBQ.


06-6801Early Sunday morning, I swung by The Daily, my favorite coffee and juice shop, to bring some treats to eat while we were cooking.

Dusting the ribs. 07-6812Always a treat to see Robert Moss and he brought Mike and me and Pat Martin an autographed copy of his new book: Barbecue Lovers: The Carolinas. Robert is a thoughtful, fair, and smart writer and any barbecue enthusiast will enjoy reading this book. Put it on your list!


A peek at Pat Martin’s hog.

I don’t have many photos of this event because we were so busy cooking and serving. We had a great time, though, and very much appreciate the invitation! Thanks to the CBWS boys and Angel Postell for throwing a great party and inviting us to be part of it.
09-6855Our tradition after Charleston events is a triple tower at The Ordinary.

10-6873On Monday, John and I went paddle boarding {me} and kayaking {him} with the dolphins on Bowen’s Island. Thanks to Melany Robinson for the recommendation and thanks to COA for the equipment. A beautiful day, despite the sudden rain shower. We got lots of exercise, thanks to some pretty high winds.

11-6879Beautiful afternoon light from Cypress restaurant.

12-6884Later that evening we met up with a group for burger night at Cypress. This represents one of everything on the menu.

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15-6906The  next day we picked the most delicious peaches and blackberries at Middleton Plantation.

Picking peaches. 16-6910And had lunch at Two Boroughs Larder, where we enjoyed a variety of delicious dishes before I had to dash for the airport.

17-6834Charleston, I love you.

 Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.
See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too!