Niagara Gazette

Niagara Living

August 1, 2008

BBQ TIPS: Cooking contest promoter shares secrets


WHAT: Smokin’ Eagles Championship ’08 National Barbecue Festival

WHEN: Aug. 15-16

WHERE: The Summit, 6929 Williams Road, Wheatfield n MORE INFORMATION: Cal Roy Gregory at 695-3755 or e-mail

When Roy Gregory cooks barbecue, you can smell it all over his neighborhood.

“We draw a crowd when we fire up the barbecue,” he said.

As if to prove him right, a car pulls into the driveway and a friend steps out to say hello. The timing may have been a coincidence, though, because Gregory cooks barbecue a lot.

He loves it so much that he’s hosting the Smokin’ Eagles Championship ‘08 National Barbecue Festival later this month at The Summit mall. There will be chefs competing with secret recipes for barbecued chicken, brisket, pork and pork ribs, and there will also be music and vendors selling barbecue-related items from grills to world-class ribs.

Gregory, a retired truck driver, built a huge smoker in his spare time and has barbecued for fundraisers and for friends who stop by with their holiday meats, he said.

Recently, while preparing a dozen or so pork shoulders for pulled pork sandwiches for a fundraiser at his Eagles Club on Ward Road, he took some time to give grilling tips for would be competitors:

n WHAT TO COOK THE MEAT IN: If you have a regular gas grill instead of a smoker, light the flame on one side of the grill and cook the meat on the other. For those with a home smoker, Gregory likes to use oak and cherry wood for his offset firebox. For fail-safe barbecue, purchase a water can smoker. He has seen them on sale for $49, but noted “you can pick one up at a garage sale for around $20.”

n SMOKE FLAVORING: In one of his first attempts, he found he had used way too much smoke flavor. You’ve got to learn to regulate smoke flavor, he said. If you use a gas grill, you have to use liquid smoke or try wetting a few wood chips (his favorite barbecue book recommends mesquite or hickory) and wrapping them in tin foil, then poking four or five holes in the foil. When the chips start to smolder, throw the meat on. The meat only takes so much flavor for the first four hours or so before it sears. After that, the meat bakes inside of itself.

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