Fun, Food, Pets and Travel


Tom Powers

gastrotommy – A fiery education on BBQ and Grilling for National Barbecue Month

This week Tommy will discuss the history of Grilling and BBQ in time for National BBQ Month. Showing the range of information and education, Gastrotommy has moved from Champagne last week to some great fire cooking techniques this week. While many see BBQ as the private domain of large strapping men, Tommy will show you that this is not the case. His guest this week is the lovely and wildly talented Lee Ann Whippen, one of the country’s top competitive BBQ chefs in the US. Lee Ann is the proud owner of Wood Chicks Restaurants and Chicago Q, a member of the Kansas City BBQ Society, and a winner of the Food Networks Booby Flay throw down. More importantly, she competes very successfully on the National competitive BBQ circuit making the men quiver at her mere presence. This is girl power to the nth degree! Lee Ann gives us some great fundamental pointers on BBQ.

Tommy then discusses the subtle differences in the regional styles of BBQ. We understand that BBQ was really started in the United States in South Carolina. There are considerable stylistic differences in the various regions of the Carolinas. Indeed, as we look west to Memphis to Kansas City to Texas we see immense pride in the local expressions of BBQ wizardry. The invention of the Weber Grill outside of Chicago, IL really brought grilling to the forefront of the growing American landscape shortly after WWII. Indeed the Weber Grill still remains the most popular grilling device. However, the last few years have seen a considerable rise in the sales of the gas grills. However, most grilling experts still employ wood and large natural charcoal chunks to achieve maximum flavor.

Our show then looks towards the most celebrated author and TV personality Steven Raichlen. Steven has authored among other works:

The Barbecue! Bible

How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques

Primal Grill Vol I and II

Planet Barbecue!

In addition to these award winning books, he is the host of several BBQ shows. His books are a must for any serious BBQ Pit Master. In addition to these fine books, Tommy recommends any of the books from Bobby Flay or Mario Batali’s Italian Grill.

As always, Tommy recommends several different beverages to pair with this cuisine. This week he really ramps up his suggestions. He starts by discussing the most commonly consumed beverage, beer. While there is a considerable respect for the large houses like Budweiser and Miller to produce a quality product that is enjoyed by the masses, Tommy again discusses the rise of the American Craft Beer scene. There are glorious microbreweries around the landscape that are producing awesome suds. Tommy strongly encourages his listeners to support these regional artisans. Beyond beer, wine can match beautifully with grilled items. While most Americans continue to consume over oaked domestic Chardonnay and massed-produced Italian Pinot Grigio, Tommy recommends several expressions of wines that are great to consider. For those who enjoy Pinot Grigio the northern region in Italy of Alto Adige produces wines that are vastly superior to the machine and mass productions like Santa Margherita. Tommy also recommends that people grilling vegetables and seafood look at varietals like Vermentino and Verdicchio as alternative selections. He especially likes the noble grapes of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat as Refreshing alternatives. Probably the most versatile wines that are not being enjoyed are Roses. The expressions from the US and Spain will typically have a bit more sugar which will pair nicely with spicier BBQ. For a drier style consider Roses from the Costieres di Nimes from Bobby (Robert) Kacher. We also love Pinot noir from guys like Jim Clendenen at Au Bon Climat. For those looking for bigger wines check out the Syrahs from Qupe or a mixed blend like Indica from Lioco.

Dan joins Tommy again this week and reveals how he loves to BBQ any time of day or night. He then tells us the great success story of Johnsonville Meats that make some of the best brats anywhere.

This episode will teach the listener not to sauce until the end of the cooking process, to drink a wider variety of wines and to drink some righteous american brew. We know you will enjoy!

Next Week: Summer Wines