Pork Barrel BBQ Blog


2015 Pork Barrel BBQ Christmas Gift Guide – Ten Great Gift Ideas for the BBQer in your Life

It is hard to believe, but today is December 1 and that means you have just over three weeks to wrap up your Christmas shopping. If you’ve got a BBQ’er in your life, we at we are pleased to bring you our 2015 Pork Barre BBQ Christmas Gift Guide, which should make your quest to find the perfect gift for your BBQ lover just a little bit easier. This years Pork Barrel BBQ Christmas Gift Guide lists our favorite cookbooks, spice rubs, meats, cooking classes, grill gadgets and pits that any BBQ’er would love to find under the tree on Christmas day. Merry Christmas and happy shopping – may you find the perfect gift this year for all the BBQ lovers in your life!


Top BBQ Cookbooks

Diva Q’s Barbecue: 195 Recipes for Cooking with Family, Friends & Fire by Diva Q

Diva Q

You probably know Danielle Bennett or”Diva Q” best from her wildly popular Travel Channel Show BBQ Crawl, but we know her as one of the most accomplished pitmasters in the world of barbecue and there is no question you’ll want to pre-order a copy of her first cookbook for everyone in your family who loves to BBQ. 

In her inaugural cookbook Diva Q has written recipe packed chapters on appetizers, pork, bacon, beef, fowl, seafood, sides, salads, slaws, breads and desserts. You might even find a recipe inspired by one of our Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant menu items!! As Diva Q always says, “Life’s too short for bad barbecue!”, so go out and get a copy of her book to avoid cooking bad barbecue in the future!

The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook: The Whole Pig & Nothing But the Pig BBQ Recipes by Bill Gillespie

Bill G

This is world barbecue champion Bill Gillespie’s second book. Last year you may recall we suggested his first book, Secrets to Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and Other Smokers: An Independent Guide with Master Recipes from a BBQ Champion (which is still a great gift option if your BBQ lover doesn’t have it yet).

Bill, pitmaster of the Smokin’ Hoggz BBQ Team and winner of both the American Royal Invitational and The Jack Daniels World Barbecue Championships, focuses on the almighty hog in his second cookbook. From ribs, to pork butt, hams, to sausage and of course bacon (35 different bacon recipes), Bill shows you how to cook the whole hog, from snout to tail!

Dad’s Outdoor Cooking Manual: Easy Techniques for Getting the Perfect Doneness and Sear on Both Charcoal and Gas Barbecues by Richard Wachtel

Grilling w rich

Richard Wachtel, best known as the founder of the BBQ and grilling themed website Grilling with Rich, looks to share secrets to better grilling with dad’s across America in his first cookbook. Rich provides recipes for 60 of his favorite simple grilling recipes for the grilling dad. 

Spice Rubs

Code 3 Spices – 5 Pack Combo Gift Box

Code 3

We’ve met a lot of great people through BBQ doing some amazing things around the country and in their local communities, but we can’t think of anyone doing as much as our good friends over at Code 3 Spices. They donate $0.50 of each bottle of Code 3 Spice Rub they sell to organizations that support Police, Fire, Medical and Military personnel, including The BackStoppers, Safe Call Now, and Operation Homefront.  

Order one of their gift boxes and try each of their five rubs (Sea Dog Rub, Grunt Rub, Rescue Rub, 5-0 Rub & Backdraft Rub) and help support the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and keep us safe each and every day! Parade Magazine just listed them to their Ultimate Gift Guide That Gives Back!

Meats & Bacon Jerky

Pork Barrel BBQ Meat Locker – Steaks

NY Strip - Copy

What BBQ lover wouldn’t love some nice juicy steaks? We are thrilled to now offer steaks and burgers on the Pork Barrel BBQ Online Store in our brand new Meat Locker!

Your steaks are hand selected from the finest corn fed, Midwestern beef. Properly controlled wet aging assures natural tenderness and enhances the rich, hearty flavor of our steaks. Aged steak has a darker color than the red meat you may see at your grocery meat counter. This color change is the natural result of the aging and freezing process. Steak connoisseurs identify a fine cut of meat by its rich reddish-maroon color. Steaks are individually vacuum packaged. All products should be placed in the freezer immediately upon receipt. They may be stored in the freezer without any loss of flavor for 6 to 9 months.

Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky

Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky Snack

If you have a bacon lover you’re buying for then look no further than our Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky Sampler Pack. Each gift pack contains 2 bags of each of our Bacon Jerky flavors (Spicy Sriracha, Old Fashioned Maple, and Honey Pepper).

Spicy Sriracha – Pork Barrel BBQ Spicy Sriracha Bacon Jerky is the standard all jerky is measured by if you love a sweet heat. This jerky packs a balanced punch with the heat coming from genuine Sriracha Hot Sauce and the sweetness from naturally smoky bacon.

Old Fashioned Maple – Pork Barrel BBQ Old Fashioned Maple Bacon Jerky is the perfect marriage of smoke and sweetness. This jerky incorporates the sweet taste of maple and brown sugar with the smoky perfection of thick cut, slow cooked strips of bacon.

Honey Pepper – Pork Barrel BBQ Honey Pepper Bacon Jerky takes taste buds where they’ve never gone before. This jerky is the ideal combination of savory and sweet with the perfect kick of cracked pepper and the sweet taste of honey.

These also make great stocking stuffers and hostess gifts!

Competition BBQ Cooking Classes

Cool Smoke Masters Competition BBQ School

Tuffy Stone

If the BBQ lover you are buying for has been really nice this year then look no further than the Cool Smoke Masters Competition BBQ School as the ultimate BBQ gift. You aren’t going to learn BBQ from a more decorated competition pitmaster. In the past few years Tuffy has won the American Royal Open, The American Royal Invitational, The Kingsford Invitational and The Jack Daniels World Barbecue Championships (twice)!

According to Tuffy, “This school will teach the same basic techniques and recipes as the Competition BBQ School but with an additional 5.5 hours dedicated to explaining Tuffy’s techniques in greater detail and expanding on his philosophy about the competition BBQ circuit. Tuffy will teach the class his personal approach to every possible situation on the competition, including how to make adjustments for weather, and give a behind the scenes look at some of the biggest events in the U.S.”

BBQ Gadgets

ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4


The brand new Thermapen MK4 is the world’s best thermometer in terms of speed and accuracy. The new MK4 is even more intuitive than previous Thermapen models. Hold it in any direction and the display will automatically rotate right-side-up allowing you to read it from any position. The MK4 also knows when it is dark and turns on a backlight to make reading in dark conditions easy. There are three BBQ equipment must haves (1) a good pit/grill/smoker, (2) a good set of knives and (3) a quality, accurate and reliable thermometer, and the Thermapen MK4 is such a thermometer! 

BBQ Pits

The PK Grill & Smoker

PK Grill

The PK (Portable Kitchen) Grill has been made for over 60 years and is a rust-proof, durable and highly portable grill and smoker and has been called one of the best charcoal cookers available by barbeque professionals and food enthusiasts around the nation. 

The cast aluminum construction provides rust-proof durability and allows the pit to hold a steady temp for long periods of time. It is very portable and a great grill for tailgating, camping and other outdoor activities. It’s also made right here in the USA!!

Organizational Memberships

National Barbecue Association Membership


The National Barbecue Association has been the voice of the barbecue industry since 1991, helping people become successful in the business of barbecue; turning vision into fruition and passion into profit. The NBBQA’s core membership is comprised of leaders in the BBQ industry, the thought leaders who are successful in the business of barbecue full-time. They are motivated by enhancing and advancing TASTE, CULTURE, and the human EXPERIENCE. They are real people sharing their deep passion with others; always supporting and inspiring the next generation of barbecue experts. These core members include restaurateurs, franchise operators, vendors, caterers, competitors, and suppliers to the industry.
The NBBQA also includes emerging or fledgling businesses or people who make their living part-time in barbecue. Historically, this member group has been the mainspring of the Association – actively networking, developing educational content, and generating energy within the membership. Most often, they have made significant investments already and are looking for connection, ideas, and experience-led input in connecting their passion to customers and greater market share.
With education as the NBBQA’s cornerstone, the NBBQA is also loaded with aspiring barbecue professionals that have a desire to learn what it takes to transition their avocation to vocation. Friends and family have encouraged them to take the next step, whether it’s with a great recipe, a tried-and-true method for smoking ribs or possibly, a new product idea or invention. From how to bottle your sauces and rubs to how to create a business plan, the NBBQA can provide numerous business and barbecue related resources that can accelerate the process.
If the BBQ lover in your life is looking to take their love of BBQ to the next level there is no better gift than a membership to the NBBQA. You might package it with a trip to the NBBQA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Jacksonville, FL from March 9-12, 2016!
We hope you and your family have an Merry Christmas filled with joy, love and lots and lots of Smoked Meat! Merry Christmas!!!

Pork Barrel BBQ’s Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite times of year and one of the best times to fire up the grill and smoker for a sure fire Thanksgiving Day Feast!


We’ve compiled some o our favorite traditional Thanksgiving Day dishes as well as a few new takes on the classics using, of course, our favorite BBQ Sauce and Spice Rub. Click here for a free sheet of Pork Barrel BBQ Thanksgiving Day Feast recipes.

If you want to try something super unique this Thanksgiving give our Twinkie Turkey a try!!



Pork Barrel BBQ Dunn & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. Commercial

We are very excited to announce the release of a new commercial Pork Barrel BBQ filmed with Dunn & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. With the help of Dunn & Bradstreet’s Credibility Concierge service, we’ve been able to get our BBQ Sauces, Spice Rubs & Bacon Jerky on the shelves of some of the nation’s largest retailers!

Check out the commercial and let us know what you think in the comments! We hope you like it as much as we do!


It’s Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue Weekend – Good Luck To All The Teams Competing


The JackPork Barrel BBQ would like to wish all the teams competing in the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue this weekend down in the Holler in Lynchburg, TN. We sure wish we were there with you firing up our smoker during one of the best weekends of BBQ each year! Enjoy it while you’re there, you never know when you’ll get back! 


Two New Flavors Of Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky Coming Soon!!

We are very excited that we are adding two new flavors to our line of Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky!! Pork Barrel BBQ Original BBQ Bacon Jerky and Pork Barrel BBQ Sweet BBQ Bacon Jerky will be joining Spicy Sriracha, Old Fashioned Maple and Honey Pepper in our line of Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky’s. Stay tuned for more details!!

Pork Barrel BBQ Original BBQ Bacon Jerky

Pork Barrel BBQ Original BBQ Bacon Jerky

Pork Barrel BBQ Sweet BBQ Bacon Jerky

Pork Barrel BBQ Sweet BBQ Bacon Jerky


Restaurant Review – Lockhart Smokehouse in Plano, TX


On a recent trip to Dallas I had an opportunity to have lunch at Lockhart Smokehouse. I’d heard plenty of good things and had a number of my BBQ friends recommend a stop at Lockhart Smokehouse when I was in Dallas – it didn’t disappoint! 



The entire menu looked amazing and the smell coming from the butcher station where the pitmaster was hand cutting orders was beyond amazing. Since I was in Texas I had to give the brisket a try and I was craving ribs so I went with brisket and ribs with a side of baked beans and mac & cheese along with large helpings of Texas BBQ’s favorite condiments, onions, pickles and jalapenos! 



The brisket was good, but the true stars of the meal were the ribs and mac & cheese. Lockhart’s ribs were among the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life. They had just the right amount of smoke and an excellent dry rub on them (it was simple yet complex with a strong cumin flavor that really complemented the ribs well). When you go, not if you go, you must get a couple of ribs! I’m still dreaming about them!!


There really isn’t much, if anything better than Hot BBQ and Cold Beer and if you find yourself in Dallas or Plano, TX and your craving some great BBQ look no further than Lockhart Smokehouse! I know I’ll be back the next time I’m in the area!



Pork Barrel BBQ Choice Hotels/Comfort Inn & Comfort Suites Commercial

Choice Hotels

We are honored to appear in a new commercial for Choice Hotels brands Comfort Inn & Comfort Suites. When we hit the road for a sales call, food show or BBQ contest we have a lot of choices in where to stay and we always know when we choose Comfort Inn or Comfort Suites we’ll get a clean room, free internet and a good breakfast all for a reasonable price! 


Pork Barrel BBQ Wants To Help You Save 30% Off Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle Tickets

DC BBQ Battle

We’re only a few weeks away from one of our favorite BBQ contests of the year, the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle. This was the first contest we every cooked back in 2009 and we are the defending Grand Champions!! We’ve teamed up with the folks at the Barbecue Battle to offer you a chance to save 30% off the gate price of $15 per ticket by using COUPON CODE – BBQVIP – when you purchase tickets at Head on over and get your tickets today!! Proceeds go to a great cause and we want to see you downtown during the Barbecue Battle June 27-28!!

Here’s more about the Barbecue Battle:


Melanie Hosch, PR Director



23rd Annual Safeway Barbecue Battle

“America’s national BBQ Championship in our Nation’s Capital”

Washington, D.C. (April, 2015) – For more than two decades, The Safeway Barbecue Battle has been cooking up lots of great food, music & fun on America’s Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue.

One of our nation’s largest and most popular Annual food and music festivals, the Safeway Barbecue Battle, officially kicks off the 2015 summer season on June 27 and 28. This exciting nationally recognized event offers Washington D.C. area residents and visitors alike, a two-day line-up of everything from tempting BBQ & Grilled food samples to cooking demonstrations, interactive exhibits and non-stop live entertainment on three music stages.

Now celebrating its 23rd year, the Safeway Barbecue Battle has become one of the largest and most unique food & music festivals in the country. Celebrating the art of cooking and the joy of eating, the Barbecue Battle offers residents of the Greater Washington area and throughout the east coast, the chance to enjoy America’s favorite pastime right in our Nation’s Capital. The event has received numerous awards such as being named “One of Five Can’t Miss Summer Festivals in the Country” by CNN, a “Top 10 BBQ Event” by The Travel Channel, “One of America’s Best BBQ Competitions” by Saveur Magazine and “An Event Worth Traveling To” by the American Bus Association, just to name a few.

Pennsylvania Avenue will be smoking with lots of great BBQ cooked up by America’s Top Chefs from across the country, like 2014 Grand Champion Heath Hall of Pork Barrel BBQ. This two-day festival features teams competing for their share of over $40,000 in Cash & Prizes in contests throughout the weekend. Contests include the National Pork Board’s National Pork BBQ Championship and The Military Chef Cook-Off benefiting the USO. Other Contests include the USDA Choice Beef Contest, Open Nature Lamb Contest, Safeway Select Rib Contest & America’s Best BBQ Chicken Contest, all sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society.

There are interactive activities for kids of all ages to enjoy like Johnsonville’s World’s Largest Grill, Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile, Spamerica Tour, Les Paul’s Big Sound Tour, Celebrate Alabama Tour, The Big Bite Tour, Colgate Bright Smiles Tour, Amstel Light Beverage Gardens, Wine Sampling area and more. 

The 300’ long Safeway Sampling Pavilion offers a line-up of delicious and tempting free BBQ & Grilled food samples, while Cookbook Authors and Celebrity Chef’s like Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone

Destination America’s popular “BBQ Pitmasters” entertain and educate with cooking demonstrations on the Safeway Demonstration Stage.

There’s something for everyone’s musical taste with an eclectic mix of 30 bands on three stages performing Rock, Reggae, Jazz, Blues, Country, R&B and Go Go. This year’s line-up includes artists such as EU featuring Sugar Bear, Be’la Dona, Trouble Funk and The Chuck Brown Band on the Pepsi-Lay’s Sound Stage and The Morrison Brothers, Paul Pfau from the Voice and Kelly Bell on the Famous Dave’s Stage.

The Safeway Barbecue Battle has raised over $1.6 million dollars for DC Children’s Charities and donated tons of food to area Food Banks. In 2015 the event will also raise funds for the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore with a Military Chef cook-off in which attendees will be given the opportunity to taste and vote for their favorite Military Chef representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

For more information about this unique annual Washington Food & Music Celebration,

Please call 202-488-6990 or EMAIL Melanie Hosch, PR Director. You can visit our website at or explore our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bbqindc for more information.

Photos available by going to

We’ll See You, at the B-B-Q!



Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky Demo – This Saturday At Bed Bath & Beyond in Vienna, VA

Bed Bath & Beyond

Do you love BACON? Have you been dying to try Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky? If you are in the Washington, DC area come out to Bed Bath & Beyond in Vienna, Virginia, this Saturday, June 6 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm to sample all three of our Bacon Jerky Flavors (Spicy Srirachi, Old Fashioned Maple, and Honey Pepper).

What – Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky Sampling

When – Saturday, June 6, 2015 between 12:00pm and 4:00pm

Where – Bed Bath & Beyond, 2051 Chain Bridge Rd, Vienna, VA 22182

Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky Snack

Can’t make it to Vienna, VA this Saturday? Fear not, get your Pork Barrel BBQ Bacon Jerky Sampler Pack HERE!


BBQ Competition – Beltway BBQ Showdown – Ft. Washington, MD – Pork Barrel BBQ Wins Grand Championship

The Pork Barrel BBQ Competition BBQ Team had an excellent cook at it’s second contest of the 2015 competition season in Ft. Washington, MD this past weekend at the Beltway BBQ Showdown. This was our fifth time cooking this contest and it remains one of our favorites. Johnathan Jones, the contest organizer, does a great job creating a very cooker friendly contest. I also love it because I can be home and in the shower less than 30 minutes after awards! After a brief period where it looked like we could be in for some heavy rain none came and the weather couldn’t have been nicer for the remainder of the contest.


After shaking the winter rust off in Annapolis, MD a few weeks ago we had a very solid cook hat ended in us being named Grand Champions!!  Before I talk in more detail about the cook I want to give a big thank you to our sponsors, ICEHOLE Coolers for keeping our meats nice and fresh and our drinks nice and cool, East Coast Smokin’ Woods for providing us with an awesome supply of Hickory, Oak & Cherry to fuel the Jambo, and Butcher BBQ for supply us with amazing injections and Bird Booster!


Here’s how we did:


We continued our hot streak with Chicken, finishing in 5th place out of 38 teams with a 171.9884. I felt like we had a very good chance of hearing our name called after I took the first bite of chicken right after taking it off the smoker. It had great color, good bite through skin and was very moist. I’ve said it a hundred times and will probably say it a hundred more, if you aren’t using Butcher BBQ Bird Booster products you probably aren’t hearing your name called for chicken as often as you’d like to. 


After Annapolis where our ribs had very little flavor I spent a lot of time reconsidering my rib recipe and had several phone calls with rib master Rod Gray of Pellet Envy. After Rod’s council I revamped my recipe and made some tweeks to my cooking technique and was very pleased with the improvement. I still have some work to do, but in the end these four racks of ribs failed to do what so many racks have done to us in the past – cost us a chance at the Grand Championship. Our ribs had great flavor and did enough to keep us in the fight for Grand. We finished 13th out of 38 teams with a score of 163.9656. 


After a middle of the pack finish in Annapolis I did some tweeking on my Pork recipe and it paid off big time. This was one of the best pork boxes I’ve turned in in quite some time – it was juicy, had great flavor and a killer money muscle. We finished in 3rd place out of 36 teams with a score of 173.1428.


Brisket was a mixed bag for us – it had great, really great, flavor, but it was slightly overcooked which made cutting slices somewhat difficult. If this brisket had come off the smoker 10-15 minutes earlier this could have been a brisket with a chance at a top finish. We ended up in 9th place out of 36 teams with a score of 165.6800. 


Thanks to a very consistent cook with all above average turn-ins we finished 1st out of 39 teams with an overall score of 674.7768 and were named Grand Champions of the 2015 Beltway BBQ Battle, helping us score some good points in the Kansas City Barbeque Society and MABBA Team of the Year races. It was great sharing our first GC of the year with my five week old son Hudson (Hope he doesn’t get to used to GC’s!). Congratulations to Michael Fay and his Aporkalypse Now team on being named Reserve Grand Champions. 

Again, a huge thank you to our sponsors – ICEHOLE Coolers, East Coast Smokin’ Wood, & Butcher BBQ – without your support we couldn’t be doing what we love to do so many weekends each year! Thank you for your support and for making such remarkable products! Be sure to support those who support BBQ by visiting our sponsors websites and ordering from them!

We’ve got a couple weeks off before our next contest. We’ll see you in Buckhannon, WV the weekend of June 19-20 for the Almost Heaven BBQ Bash – winner gets an auto to the Jack!