All your favorites, just a new look! Since we expanded and revamped our dining room, we decided to was time for a menu makeover too! Don’t worry….all your Wiley’s BBQ favorites are still on the menu, now it’s just easier to read. Stop by soon to see the new menu and dining room if you haven’t already, and tell us what you think!
Still searching for the perfect gift for the foodie or BBQ enthusiast on your list? Wiley’s is here to help! We’ve put together a list of items (big and small) that are sure to please the Wiley’s fan on your list!
Our cookbook, Wiley’s Championship BBQ: Secrets Old Men Take to The Grave, is a great addition to any cookbook collection. It’s filled with personal stories, tips for the beginner or experienced BBQ fan, great photographs, and Wiley and Janet’s personal recipes. Personalized copies can be purchased at the restaurant, or order a copy from Amazon!
Our sauces and rubs make for a great gift basket….combine them with a copy of our book! If you live local, stop by and grab some- we will even let you sample them before choosing one! If you aren’t local, never fear…we can ship them to you! Give us a call at 912-201-3259. Or, buy online at Mo Hotta Mo Betta.
Our BBQ cooking classes are back! The first one of the year will take place on Sunday January 17th from 12pm-5pm at Wiley’s Championship BBQ in our newly expanded dining room. Give the gift of championship BBQ! Topics covered in the class include meat selection, meat prep, tips on smoking, and more! Register today before the class fills up!
We’ve got your stocking stuffers covered too! Stop by and pick up one of our t-shirts, hats, coozies, or stickers for your BBQ enthusiast!
That’s what this time of the year represents…because we are now in the famine stage. In November and December we were doing multiple parties on the same day. Fed 3,500 people in Forsyth Park, cooked for over 1000 at the Roundhouse, and we cooked at the National Barbecue Festival (winning two first place trophies…one for brisket and one for ribs). Now that we are in our January doldrums, TLW has suggested that we get back to blogging.
So, here we are with two reformatted computers and none of our information was saved! Guess what TLW got for Christmas? An external hard drive…now we can back up our work…kind of like locking the barn door after the horse is stolen!! She asked me if we weren’t going to elaborate more on our exciting Fall, and, of course, I plan to!
I think the thing I am most proud of is when we engineered the Day of Great Thanksgiving where 3,500 folks were fed in Forsyth Park. It soon became very apparent that even though we own two Southern Prides, we were no match for feeding this kind of crowd. Nor was the small kitchen in the Old Savannah City Mission capable of that kind of production. There is an old saying that when you do big parties, you need to just break it down into a bunch of smaller parties. That is exactly what we did! We got Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady & Sons, to do the gravy…about 50 gallons of it! The Mansion at Forsyth Park did the green beans. Savor Savannah Catering produced the yams and Savannah Technical College (Culinary) produced the dressing. The General smoked 240 turkeys. Savor Savannah also loaned us four huge hotboxes to keep everything warm. Isn’t it MARVELOUS when a plan comes together? Guess what? We did all of this in less than a week.
The first of November saw us in Douglas, GA competing in the National BBQ Festival . In 2006, we finished in the top ten of the open contest, so this year we were invited to compete in the Invitational where the top ten teams from each sanctioning body around North America were invited to participate. We did respectably in the invitational, finishing in the middle of the pack of 38 teams with one call only…for 9th place in chicken. The open brought many more teams…over sixty. We thought we turned in good products on Friday, so we aimed at producing similar results for Saturday’s event. When it came time for the awards ceremony, our name was not called in chicken. We knew that our chicken turned out darker than the day before, so that was not a surprise. But what was a huge surprise was that we won first place in ribs, and first place in brisket. Had we scored better in chicken, we would have taken first place overall…but we ended up third overall! We were so proud of our performance, since we only cook twice a year, and we were up against some very strong competitors who compete a lot more frequently. If you get a top three call in any category, besides the money, the team is also awarded a beautiful brass bell (small for third to large for first). TLW had been saying all weekend that she wanted a bell….and now she has two big ones!!
The General and I have had extremely bad luck with our computers this month. First, our Dell desktop died and the hard drive had to be reformatted. Ugh. All info lost…but we had a backup of most files on my Powerbook. Well, guess what happened? Crash! We are still crossing our fingers that Apple will be able to retrieve our files…if not….it will not be pleasant around here. In the interim, I have been trying to gain access to our blog and its files. This is my first attempt. If this works, I have lots of info to share!
The General has been out of town, so TLW has decided to go it on her own. Food and Wine magazine is one of my favorites. Their October issue is titled “Wine Made Simple.” As usual, their are many recipes TG and I want to try…especially the Spicy Pork and Tomatillo Stew which is pictured on the cover. The article that piqued my interest the most is “8 health benefits of drinking wine.” Here they the benefits:
Reduces heart-attack risk
Lowers risk of heart disease
Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
Lowers risk of stroke
Cuts risk of cataracts
Cuts risk of colon cancer
Slows brain decline
The article goes on to list the evidence. You will have to read it for yourself here.
(Of course, the health benefits come from moderate consumption!)
Another reason I love Food and Wine is that they are a sponsor of Top Chef on Bravo TV. Even though this year is Season 3, this is the first year I have watched it. Even though TG detests reality tv, I would catch him stopping and watching it over my shoulder. It was great to see the underdog, Hung, win.
All through this season, Hung remained true to himself while ticking off almost all of the other contestants. His ego, confidence and drive superseded any effort to be popular. Initially he was not one of my favorites, but as he kept avoiding eliminations, I thought he might have a chance. As a true champion, he rose to the occasion when necessary. I am happy he won, but I think I also would have been happy if Dale had won. I can’t wait until F&W’s Top Chef edition comes out!
If you haven’t watched the series, I bet you can catch the re-runs on Bravo!
In August, on our way to vacation at Lake Chautauqua in upper New York State with our good friends Sir Charles and Kathleen, TG was worried that the Lake might be too remote since I brought no reading material. After lunch in Cleveland, we found a Border’s Discount Book Store…and it truly was a discount store. Since I liked the low prices and their selection of cookbooks, I bought several. I didn’t pay much attention to them until we reached the Lake.
I began reading one called Cook-Off America Volume 2 and suddenly discovered that I was in the book! “The Original Q Company Brisket” National Capital Barbecue Battle. It goes on to call me a consistent winner and a “circuit” celebrity. Funny though, the recipe isn’t mine nor is the picture one of our shots…even though it is a darn fine one.
From then on, I was like a celebrity chef and our friends told anyone who would listen about this strange coincidence! I was then put on the spot when Sir Charles went to his freezer and pulled out a standing rib roast and announced that we were having a dinner party Saturday night and I was to smoke the roast as well as other parts of the meal.
Being away from all my spices and tools, I was able to go back into the archives of my mind and remember an old beef marinade that I used to use all the time. It consists of one third teriyaki, one third red wine vinegar, and one third water. The water keeps the teriyaki from turning the meat too dark. Also add a good shot or two of bourbon. The bourbon breaks down the fibers in the meat and acts as a tenderizing agent…as well as a flavoring agent. I let the meat marinate a couple days before cooking it. I must say that it was one flavorful piece of meat…and all the guests agreed.
I also found out something that most home chefs don’t realize. I was looking for some spices to use on the roast and I found that some of Charles’ spices were out of date…some by two or three years! Most spices are only good for a year or less…depending on geographic location (temperature and humidity). When in a pinch, the old standby is seasoned salt, black pepper and granulated garlic and that is what I used on the rib roast.
Received an email from Steve from Sullicom yesterday. He has spotlighted The General on his blog. After some fine compliments, he comments that The General’s blogging is sporadic. He is correct! Both The Little Woman and I are trying to rectify this situation. Blogging for the BBQ General is, I think, a bit harder than for most bloggers because we collaborate on almost every entry…so we both have to be “in the mood” and “available.” Thanks, Steve, for giving us a kick in the pants, and we will try to be more consistent! Also, congrats on a great blog!
Here we are with a party to get out on Saturday…and, guess what? …our power goes out. No power equals no stove/oven. Usually power outages around here are fairly temporary, but this one didn’t appear to be….especially when 5 Georgia power trucks show up. After the first two hours, we had to come up with an alternate plan for preparing our menu for the party to be held later in the day. Six hours later and with the party under control we learn the cause of the outage….a very dumb squirrel trying to chew through a line !
We couldn’t let August go away without reporting how we fared at the Dillard, GA Bluegrass and BBQ contest held the first weekend in August. First of all, as usual, we enjoyed the wonderful mountain air (especially since Savannah had been sweltering in the high 90’s and low 100’s with ultra high humidity). Also, the hospitality of Jane and Steve, the organizers, was amazing as it is every year and this was our 11th contest in a row with them…so you know they have something going on. Sixty teams gathered, some from as far away as Texas and all of the teams were “heavy hitters.” Last year we tied for second place overall, even though in the standings we placed third, so we were looking for another good showing. Buckhead Janet, our teammate came up from Atlanta, and we went about our usual prep.
We decided to enter two ancillary contests as well as the regular KCBS sanctioned one. Same as last year, Grits and Cabbage. TLW used the same recipes for both. Last year she placed third in Cabbage and first in Grits. It is very difficult to repeat your success from one contest to another, we were just looking for respectable placements. Unfortunately, the judges did not enjoy the cabbage entry and we placed low in the standings. However, her
grits won first place again. Not bad for a Yankee!!
As far as the rest of the contest, we finished 7th in Chicken, but 9th overall. We were very surprised since we didn’t get a call for our ribs, pork or brisket…but we were right in there near the top 10 places. We were very pleased with our showing since we only compete two times a year and some of the heavy hitters are on the circuit 2, 3 or even 4 times a month. All in all, we didn’t come home with a lot of prize money, but we did come home with smiles on our faces!
It is fairly human to think that ‘if I just had enough money then I could be successful.’ How about if you had a 73 unit BBQ chain and enough money to have at least 2 Southern Prides in each location and all the latest restaurant equipment? But….you failed.
Such is the case with Smokey Bones restaurant chain owned by Darden Restaurants, owners of Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, etc…
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, July 9, 2007, Darden has closed 54 locations since May and has put the rest up for sale. I can’t help but feel somewhat of a personal disappointment because The General was indirectly involved with the start up of the first unit in Orlando. My friend, Brian K., did the initial spec work for the prototype store and the thought of having a national chain doing BBQ was quite exciting.
So why couldn’t money buy success? In TG’s opinion, there were several factors that brought on their demise. First, the food was just simply off. They never could get their brisket down correctly and from what I hear, they consulted with regular food service consultants …not barbecue people. What sticks in my mind is one of the biggest negatives…they originally tried to turn SB into a sports bar. When they did this, in my opinion, they eliminated a big part of their customer base…women. Think about it-George comes home on Friday night after work and says, “Honey, I want to take you out to dinner tonight and let’s go eat BBQ at a sports bar!” He may get away with that once, but Honey isn’t going to want to spend a lot of quality/romantic time with George at the sports bar. BBQ has always had a male macho image…although there are plenty of good female BBQ chefs out there!
A lot has been blamed on the lack of success of the Smokey Bones chain due to the regionality of BBQ flavors. But I have always believed that good BBQ is always cooked essentially the same with the sauce denoting the region and that can always be adjusted. In certain areas, like California with its tri-tip, cut from the sirloin and Texas, with its beef brisket, those meats are predominant BBQ items. That, too, could have been addressed by SB.
What I believe wasn’t addressed is the fact that they did not have enough variety in their overall menu to make non-BBQ eaters want to go there.
The General works on this constantly doing grilled shish ke bobs, BBQ pizza, fish on the grills, wraps, etc. Of course, TG does not own a 73 unit chain!