Jerk Chicken Festival: Marley Gras!

A few weekends ago I found myself in New Orleans with some time to kill.  I saw an ad for a Jerk Chicken Jamaican Heritage festival and thought it sounded pretty cool!


We checked the map and the festival was less than a mile from the Superdome so we decided to walk there.  We ended up strolling through a homeless camp and past a few places that looked to be on the rough side.  Decided that we would take an Uber when we wanted to leave.

The festival was being held at Central City BBQ and I was excited to see the place.


There were some MASSIVE bbq pits in the back but no indication that they are ever used.  The pits were covered in dust and there wasn’t a single piece of wood to be seen.


The festival itself  was frustrating at first but made sense in the end.

In addition to being hard to get to the festival was expensive with an entry fee of $25 per person.  Once you bought your ticket you got to enter the festival where there was a typical reggae band playing and about 30 vendors selling typical festival trinkets.

The food was also expensive and the jerk chicken plate I had was uninspiring and definitely not worth a picture.

When I first envisioned the festival I imagined folks grilling over open metal drums and being able to visit with them and maybe talk a little shop.  Nope.

The highlight of the festival was the cool motorcycle that was parked outside the gate.  There was some seriously cool customization and detail on the bike…every time I looked at it I saw cool stuff that I had missed before.


In the end the festival made sense when my daughter pointed out that it was exactly like our family vacation to Jamaica a few years ago.  Hard to get to, over priced, limited services and full of people whose only goal in life was to get our money.

Yep, they nailed it!!



Simple Smoked Chicken Thighs

It’s been a while since I posted over hear but I wanted to let folks know that I am still thinking about them and hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.

Figured that as long as I was here I would share a few photos from a super simple batch of smoked chicken thighs I did a while back.  A lot of times we make barbecue so overly complicated that it just isn’t fun any more….that is one thing I love about simple recipes.  They bring back the ease, fun and beauty of cooking and that makes me happy.

Smoked Chicken Thighs

I was in a hurry the other night but wanted to have some smoked chicken thighs.

I hadn’t planned ahead so these didn’t get brined.  I felt like relaxing so I didn’t take the time to scrape the fat from underneath the skin.  I am also trying to be more calorie conscious so I skipped the whole “butter bath” routine.

Instead I just hit these thighs with some Plowboy’s chicken rub and threw them on my pit running at around 275F.

Chicken Thighs on Smoking Pit

After about 45 minutes the skin started crisping up a little.  I knew that I wasn’t going to get the skin as crispy as I get when I fry it but I was hoping to avoid that big old piece of rubber texture that I sometimes get when I take a lazy approach like this.

Chicken Skin Getting Done

Once the chicken hit 160F it was basted with a sweet heat barbecue sauce and put back on the smoker.  After a total cook time of about 90 minutes the thighs were done and we were eating 🙂

The skin never got really crisp or tender so I went ahead and sliced it prior to eating so every bite would have some skin.  It was an odd looking presentation to be sure but nobody complained loud enough for me to hear 🙂

Sliced Chicken Thigh

These thighs wouldn’t have won any barbecue competition but they were perfect for a weeknight supper.  That is probably the more important event for most families.

Keep being awesome, folks! Peace.

Related Links

Smoked Butter Bath Chicken Thighs

Honey Lime Chicken Thighs

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon

Rosemary and Garlic Smoked Lamb Chops

This is another “recipe in progress” but it was such a beautiful cook that I had to stick the photos someplace!  This was my first try at grilling lamb chops.  I didn’t get it perfect but it was close enough that I was doing a little happy dance!

Sliced lamb chops

These chops were beautiful from the start.  They got rubbed with rosemary, garlic, salt and black pepper and were plank grilled over high heat.


These chops has a beautiful little fat cap that turned an incredible golden brown while grilling.

It only took 35 minutes for the chops to hit 145F and they looked about perfect at that point.


Lamb has MUCH more flavor than commercial pork.  Combining the flavors of the lamb with the smoke, garlic and rosemary was almost too much.


Rosemary Grilled Lamb Chops

This was also an excuse to show off my new walnut cutting board 🙂

While the lamb tasted incredible it was a little tougher than I expected.  I may have hit it with too much heat too fast.  On the next go round I will treat these like a thick steak and do a reverse sear on them.

I think I can keep them tender by cooking at low temperatures but at some point they will need some high heat to crisp up that beautiful fat.

Beautiful Smoked Lamb Chops with Rosemary

Have you got any tips for killer lamb chops?  I would love to hear them!

In the meantime, here are some links to some other grilled lamb inspirations!

Grilled Leg of Lamb

Grilled Rack of Lamb

Peace Out!


Old School Smoked Spare Ribs

I put my beautiful maroon kettle back into the grill rotation yesterday and broke her back in with a slab of spare ribs.  I love the color on this kettle and seeing her on my deck as I sit on my porch makes me happy.


I decided to go old school simple with this slab of spares.  The rub was simply salt, pepper, onion and garlic.  The kettle was burning some hickory hardwood lump with a split of cherry for smoke.


Since there wasn’t any sugar in the rub I let the kettle run hotter than I usually do when smoking meats.  I wasn’t measuring temps but I reckon it was running about 300F at the grate.

I didn’t do any foiling and didn’t mess around with sauces or glazes. I did spritz the ribs about every thirty minutes with a 5:1 mix of apple cider vinegar and Frank’s Red Hot.


After about two and a half hours the smoked ribs were beautiful, the meat had pulled back from the bone and my thermometer slid right through the meat.  Perfect.


I seriously loved the simplicity and SPEED of this cook.  The rub, smoke and spritz put plenty of great flavor into the meat and I am not going to complain about having ribs done in under three hours.

spare ribs

A simple kettle.

A simple recipe.

A beautiful day.


Related Content

Best Meats to Smoke

How to Smoke Pork Ribs

Five Reasons Ribs Are The Perfect Meat to Smoke





Spatchcock Chicken on a Vintage PK Grill

I got a new grill!!!!

And by a “new grill” I mean a really freaking old grill 🙂

By sheer dumb luck I came into possession of a classic piece of Americana..the magnificent Presidential Model PK Grill!

Large PK Grill

This particular grill is about 60 years old.  This grill was made sometime between 1960 and 1975 and it looks like it has at least another 20-30 years of use left in it.  Like all PK grills it is made of thick cast aluminum that will never rust.

What makes this grill special is that it is the largest PK grill ever made with a grilling surface of about 416 square inches.  This is larger than the recently introduced PK 360.

I have been playing around and learning the air/temperature control on this beauty.  One of my favorite cooks was a simple roasted chicken.

I started with a whole chicken, cut out the backbone and crushed down the keel to flatten the feller out.  The bird was injected with a LOT of creole butter injectable marinade.


I salted the skin and let the bird dry out for a few hours.  It got hit with some black pepper and then thrown on the grill!


I had the PK set up with hardwood lump charcoal on both sides of the GrillGrate panels.  I ran the grill hot and fast for about 75 minutes until the bird hit 165F in the breast.

Grilled Chicken on a PK grill

The site of that beautiful bird made me happy!!

The chicken was juicy as can be and the skin was deliciously crispy.

What I loved the most was using such a classic grill that is older than me.  There are few things that are built to last in this world but a PK grill is one of them.


Grill On, My Friends!