Jim Quessenberry – BBQ of the Old Days – KWYN Yawn Patrol 1993

00:05 Interviewer
Jim, describe for me the old pure, unadulterated barbecue of the old days. Used to be a big event… now days people say “We’re gonna have barbecue” They come over for a few hours in the afternoon, and they slap something on possibly even the grill. But back in the old days. I’m assuming they stayed up all night it was a big event. They prepared for it and describe a real barbecue back in the old days for us.
00:34 Jim Quessenberry
Well when I was a little boy out there at Birdeye, every fourth of July, the local people, primarily black people, they were they would dig these pits in the ground. And they always had two or three goats they’d barbecue. a lot of people did hogs and all, but … at Birdeye they did goats on the fourth July, and they would make an all day all night ritual out of the dern thing they’d they would slaughter those goats and dress them and have them on the fire, you know, and and they built a side fire,
01:10
where they burn the wood, and they would render the hot coals. And then take a shovel and you know… sift the coals in under the meat. And they would stay up all night with that with those goats, and I remember, I was a little boy, and I used to be so upset when dad make me go home, you know go to bed.
01:30
I never was old enough to stay up with them, and I just really envied them, you know, and…
01:33 Interviewer
They would stay up all night long?
01:34 Jim Quessenberry
All night long, and eat the next day and they had enough to feed everybody, and somebody would take some home and everything… and those things I know went on all over this at least southern part of the country.
01:46 Interviwer
Now I’m not sure whether you had this at Birdeye, but were there for example music related to some of these? …like some of the barbecues would people bring their guitars and fiddles?

01:49 Jim Quessenberry

Oh yeah, I’m sure they did. I don’t remember that being a part of it there at Birdeye, but I’m sure… but now I tell you what… but they may very well have done that at Birdeye.
02:03
Because I’ve heard lots of stories about ole BB King, who back in those days, BB King hung around over there at Cold Water and Twist all the time. And a lot of the old plantation owners and all tried to keep him run off because he’d be on somebody’s front porch playing that guitar and they couldn’t get people back in the fields because he’s pulling them and drawing them, you know.

What Makes Wagyu Beef So Good?

wagyu steak

What makes Wagyu beef so good? To find out, we need to learn what wagyu Beef really is. Simply put, wagyu, pronounced “wa” meaning Japanese, and “gyu” meaning cow, is an old breed of Japanese beef cattle, but there is much more to this tasty breed of cattle than a name. Originally, wagyu were selected for their physical endurance. The livestock with more intramuscular fat cells was chosen because of their ability to easily store energy… What we in the business refer to as “marbling.”

The distinctive flavor and tenderness of wagyu beef is a rare eating experience due to its finely marbled consistency… A super beef, famous for its appearance, and so tender, it literally melts in your mouth…

It’s not only a gourmet pleasure, it’s also safe for you. The un-saturated to saturation fat ratio in wagyu has been discovered by health experts to be higher than in other beef. 40% of the saturated fat is a stearic acid form, which is considered to have minimal cholesterol effects.

Wagyu is also higher in fatty acids known as CLA, linoleic conjugate acid. Due to higher concentrations of linoleic acid, wagyu beef contains the highest CLA of foods per gram— around 30 percent higher than other cattle breeds.

I got to have real wagyu beef last November, and I was not disappointed at all. I took a trip to Japan, just for fun. I love to travel the world, see the sights, meet the people, and of course, eat the food. I was traveling with my friend Joey. We have been several world cities together including New York, Dallas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Berlin, Istanbul, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. The latest trip was to the Japanese cities listed. Joey had told me Japan was one of his favorite places he had ever been to. He had insisted I go there. It didn’t take much convincing since I had an awesome travel voucher from Google Fi burning a hole in my pocket. So we did just that.

Here’s a referral code to get a $20 credit when you join Google Fi! Redeem it at https://g.co/fi/r/8UH82X

I had so many great meals, but I was blown away by my first wagyu experience. We were in a train station in Tokyo, with some nice restaurants all around the food court area. We had been in Tokyo a few days, and by that time we were starting to look for something besides noodles or fish. So we decided upon a restaurant that had steak on the menu. As you began to learn in Japan, most if not all restaurants have visual representations of their foods from the menu right outside the entrance to lure you in. It worked.

We sat down, were promptly greeted with warm, damp towels, and offered water as we looked through the menu. A beautiful looking dish with 3 different cuts of wagyu beef and side of fried potatoes? Yes Please!! With a reasonable price of 3500 Yen, (Just under $35) it was a no brainer for us to order this platter, knowing we would be experiencing something we couldn’t easily experience at home.

My first Wagyu platter.
My first ever Wagyu platter.

The platter was served with a little salt, real wasabi, and a dish of Au Jus on the side. The steak from all 3 cuts was so good I rarely dipped them in anything, however, I tried all of those things as well. The steak itself when cooked looks and smells like any other steak I’ve had, but when I took that first bite and the steak just melted in my mouth, I knew it’s something I had never experienced before. Of course, the steak texture was still there, but it was so tender and the flavor was as rich as heaven.

After we returned from Japan, and having had the best steaks of our lives, we decided to see if it was possible to get that amazing experience in The States. We did our research and this is what we found… My Experience with American Wagyu

How good is American Wagyu Beef? My Experience with American Wagyu

American wagyu

After my friend Joey and I returned to The States from our trip to Japan, we were wanting to try American wagyu to see how it compared to Japanese wagyu. We found the website MishimaReserve.com which specializes in selling American Wagyu beef. We opted for the highest quality rib-eye they carry. It came in a day later than anticipated, but was still frozen. We were a little worried since we dropped about $100 a piece on them. Once the order came in, our worries subsided. There they were… beautifully marbled frozen American wagyu rib-eyes. As our worries faded momentarily, we then realized that we had to cook these things. I shouldn’t have been worried I’ve cooked countless steaks, and the only critics were ourselves, but when you have invested in such an expensive cut of meat, you definitely don’t want to mess it up.

Weber with Steaks

The steaks turned out amazing! Such a tender texture with buttery taste seasoned with our own Steak Beautiful – Hickory. The recipe was quite simple. In fact, it was really just a matter of cook time.

2 Steaks (we preferred these American wagyu rib-eyes)
1 Bottle of Steak Beautiful – Hickory
A hot charcoal fire

(Prep) If your steaks are frozen like ours were thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.

  1. Once thawed, remove steaks from fridge season them with Steak Beautiful – Hickory
  2. Light fire. Get coals peak hot.
  3. Place seasoned steaks on grill, over direct heat, and let them cook 4 to 5 mins
  4. Flip steaks. Continue to cook 3 to 5 mins for medium rare, 5 to 7 mins for medium, and for well done, just open the charcoal bag and grab a few briquettes to snack on.
  5. Let steaks rest. Serve with a baked potato or grilled asparagus.

The Smokestack Lightning Interview Tapes: Origin Story on Competing

 

Lolis Elie interviewing Jim Quessenberry

[00:00:00] Lolis Elie: How did you get into the actual barbecue business? Did you start off doing some competitions or…

[00:00:06] Jim Quessenberry: Yeah. Uh, well, see, I was in food service in Memphis. I was in …. with the Britling cafeterias over there. B, R, I, T, L, I, N, G, and uh, they’re an old company. They have cafeterias in Memphis. They have a cafeteria is in Nashville called B and w cafeteria.

[00:00:31] They have cafeterias in Kentucky, Louisville, Lexington, and all up in there called, uh… Blue Boar… Blue Boar like a boar hog. And, uh, the actual company, is a very, very old company that came out of… Uh… It came out of Birmingham years and year ago, but, uh, It’s an old family owned company. I worked for them for oh, four or five [00:01:00] years, four years, I guess. Which, you know, I’ve always been interested in food, I mean, even as a hobby. Well, I got into it as a business there. And I’ve always been into barbecue. My folks, that’s what the idea did to entertain when we were kids. Uh, you know, the both of them together kind of made a, uh, an indelible impression on me. So, uh, when these contests started coming along. It was a natural pursuit. You know, something I knew I was pretty fair at, so I just started doing them. And. uh..

[00:01:34] Lolis Elie: What year was that?

[00:01:36] Jim Quessenberry: Woo… uh… ’78 maybe…

[00:01:39] Lolis Elie: You do Memphis in May in ’78? first one?

[00:01:42] Jim Quessenberry: Yeah, been to every one of them. Under one name or other. We’ve been under a lot of different team names was always, always been me. And, a lot of my folks that I have now, have never, you know, have never been to two or three contests. A lot of folks I had with me back then, don’t go [00:02:00] to them anymore because they’ve all decided they’re too old. Me, I don’t ever get too old.

[00:02:04] Lolis Elie: Hmm… Did you ever win any of them?

[00:02:07] Jim Quessenberry: Yeah, we won uh… second one year… We won second in the second year they had it, we second in whole hog. We won third in… I believe 84, and uh… I won a comp… A side competition they had over there one year. John Morel was one of the sponsors. They had a contest called The Jet Net Ham Contest, which is nothing but a boneless ham in a jet net. And I won that. And that was really an accomplishment ‘cause it had about 200 entries. Um, but, uh, we’ve been pretty consistent about scoring fairly high. During one little period there, like about a five or six year period, we didn’t… We didn’t come in any worse than tenth place, which in a place… competition that big, that’s pretty good. Of course, we’ve come in… We’ve [00:03:00] literally brought up the rear before. You know.

[00:03:04]

We “never get too old.” That’s why Sauce Beautiful has been the preferred choice for thousands for over 30 years.

The Smokestack Lightning Interview Tapes: Cleveland Rib Mafia

Here we have another segment from the Smokestack Lightning interview tapes. Jim Quessenberry tells his story of locking horns in Cleveland over ribs, and how his ribs went missing like Jimmy Hoffa.

The Smokestack Lightning Interview Tapes: Jim Quessenberry’s BBQ Origins

I have recently come across some amazing recordings that I believed were lost to time. But, I did a little research and uncovered these amazing treasures. I reached out to author Lolis Elie, and he directed me to the Southern Foodways Alliance. He had donated all of the cassettes to them. There is more to come… Listen below as dad tells Lolis Elie and Frank Stewart a little about his beginnings in BBQ. -Michael Quessenberry

Interview with Jim Quessenberry by Lolis Elie and Frank Stewart

Lolis Elie: [00:00:01] Well, how did you get into this barbecue business? And, you can go back before the sauces themselves… the sauce and rub…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:10] Um… It’s been basically a hobby all my life, and…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:16] Actually, BBQ has been a big part of… uh…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:21] Most of our family… uh… celebrations… be it Easter,

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:28] Fourth of July, all your three day weekends, like your labor day, and Memorial Day, and that type of thing, you know?

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:37] Um… Even Christmas.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:39] Somebody’s always barbecue and something, you know, my brother-in-law over here. He always prided himself and doing a wild goose. I think it’s wild… maybe domestic… he always does a goose for Christmas and you know, I’m always doing something Christmas a big fresh ham or something, but…

Lolis Elie: [00:00:56] You say fresh ham, you mean green or like…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:59] Yeah Green ham. Yeah. I didn’t know you knew what a green ham was man.. Where you been learning all this shit?

Lolis Elie: [00:01:04] I used to read Green Eggs and Ham, man.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:04] *laughs*

Frank Stewart: [00:01:05] He’s a smart boy.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:06] Yeah he is.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:13] You’d be surprised how many people don’t know what a green… what green meat is.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:17] Oh no, I, We… The people at Craig’s and Duvall’s Bluff.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:21] Yeah.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:21] I was trying to figure out if they were doing green or slightly smoked, so I got the terminology. But I can tell you where I got it from. The guy at Cozy Corner, Ray Robinson… When you go talk to him, tell him, Uh.. you know, tell him you know us. In fact, we told him we come here to see you.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:34] Yeah.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:34] We told him about you.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:36] Yeah, I want to meet him.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:37] Also, he has a totally different style from everybody else… If we even talk about food… half… shoot… At this point, half the time it’s not about barbecue. It’s one of our stop off points. If we finish, you know, doing Memphis in May, We will crash there for a minute.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:51] Yeah, I’m gonna check him out, but I need me a new place to stop.

Frank Stewart: [00:01:54] Oh Yeah. He’s efficient. He closes at 7.

Jim Quessenberry [00:01:54] Oh really?

Lolis Elie: [00:02:02] Yeah.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:02:02] Independent type dude… That’s what I like.

Frank Stewart: [00:02:03] Opens promptly at 10, and closes promptly at 7.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:02:03] That’s great!

Frank Stewart: [00:02:03] He is not open on Sunday and Monday.

Lolis Elie: [00:02:03] Right.

Jim Quessenberry’s Prime Rib

Jim and his Arkansas Trav’lers cooking team took the grand prize and first place for his prime rib recipe at the Irish Cup Invitational Barbecue Festival in Ireland in 1985. Timing is important on this one; practice makes perfect!

1 5-pound standing rib roast,
nicely marbled

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 bottle of Sauce Beautiful – White

1/4 cup olive oil

Freshly cracked black peppercorns

1 small bottle of prepared horseradish

With a boning knife, carefully separate the rib bones from the roast, keeping them in one piece. Then remove the lip, or fat, layer in one piece. This will leave you with three pieces of meat: the ribs, the lip, and the ribeye.

Sprinkle the ribeye with garlic powder, then reassemble the three pieces and tie them tightly with butcher’s string, binding each rib. Brush the roast generously with olive oil, then cover the entire surface with cracked pepper. Insert a meat thermometer in the center of the roast.

Cook in a closed barbecue unit (Jim preferred his Weber kettle) over medium (250°F) indirect heat. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, checking frequently after 2 hours, to an internal temperature of 140°F for medium rare. Then wrap the roast tightly in foil and head for the kitchen; it’s carving time. (The foil wrap is important, as it allows the roast a little extra steaming time.) Carve into slices at least 1/2-inch thick There should be a slice to fit everyone’s preference, from the well-done outside tot he rare center. Serve with Sauce Beautiful – White (add prepared horseradish to taste).

Serves 10

Pioneering Days of BBQ

In the early days of competition BBQ, the rules were just being written. It was like the “wild west” days of BBQ. Many techniques were not mainstream, and even some at the time were considered cheating, such as injection. In this audio clip from 1987, Jim Quessenberry gives Ardie Davis a tour of his whole hog smoker, which at one time had a propane burner in it. The main source of heat was the propane, but it was indirect, and allowed for using logs for the smoke flavor. The thing was as big as a camper trailer and cook easily 4 or more hogs at the same time. Listen below…

Jim Quessenberry and Ardie Davis talk smokers and whole hog.

Jim Q: 00:00
Alright, when I built this thing, I built it to take to Cleveland to a rib championship, but cost efficiency is the main thing there, You know? I have this burner here… This 500,000 Btu burner, It came out of one of these green house furnaces. Alright, that burner, See I use instead of a wood box under there… And then I put me a little log in there for the smoke. You dig? All right, see you draw your heat underneath your water jacket, back up, and back across and it pulls that little hickory smoke over and back. Okay… The Memphians and all, had a little problem with the rules. They didn’t want a propane man out here. So… I built that firebox. It does a wonderful job. It’s just a little slower than propane. Hey my man… (talking to a passer by)

Ardie D: 00:53
I didn’t taste any…

Jim Q: 00:54
Alright! Alright! How you doing? I’m Jim Quessenberry. Good to see ya. (talking to a passer by)

Ardie D: 00:57
I didn’t taste any whole hogs worth a smoke that was as good as yours.

Jim Q: 01:00
Thanks… now, part of that is the wood I use.

Jim Q: 01:04
What we do… We cut that hickory…

Ardie D: 01:06
You can see that red ring on it.

Jim Q: 01:08
That’s Sandy… That’s my girlfriend.

Ardie D: 01:09
You got it hands down… or there’s something wrong.

Jim Q: 01:21
Man I appreciate that, but I’m so damn anxious, I don’t wanna know. I don’t wanna disappoint myself if I don’t make it.

Ardie D: 01:21
You can’t. That’s the thing. I mean uh… in a contest like… You can come in last…

Jim Q: 01:26
Well sure…

Ardie D: 01:27
I don’t know… I don’t know what it is. He makes the best that I’ve tasted here. I mean, it is good stuff.

Jim Q: 01:35
Boy, I appreciate that… Grab you a little nibble off that shoulder over there. That’ll give you a little sample right there.

Smoked Harvest Stuffed Pork Loin

Smoked Harvest Stuffed Pork Loin

Ingredients:

1 ct 6 oz. STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
2 ct Small Apples, Chopped
3 Tbsp Dried Cranberries
1 cup PLANTERS Pecans, Chopped
1 Tbsp Dried Sage Leaves
1 ct Pork Loin (4 lb.), Butterflied
1 tbsp Jim Quessenberry’s Rub Beautiful

Directions:

Recommended: 1 serving sauce (Sauce Beautiful Original, Hot, White, or Gold)

1. Start off-set charcoal fire in Weber grill. Make sure coals are burning well. We like to add apple wood chips for an added sweet smokey flavor.

2. Prepare stuffing according to instructions on the box. Remove from stove top; stir in apples, cranberries, pecans and sage.

3. Lay butterflied loin flat with sliced side up. Spread layer of stuffing on top side of loin; Roll the loin up with the stuffing inside, placing the end seam down, on sheet of aluminum foil or aluminum pan covered in cooking spray. Use butcher twine to hold the loin together. Season with Rub Beautiful.

4. slow smoke until meat is (160ºF) approx. 45 min. Rest 10 min. before slicing.

Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast Sliders

Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast Sliders

This recipe is a game changer (pun intended). Here in Northeast Arkansas we like to hunt, grill, and eat.  We like to change things up a bit from the normal grilled chicken, burgers, etc.  Game recipes are starting to grow in popularity.  Cregeen’s Irish Pub in Jonesboro, AR has been using Jim Quessenberry’s products on their BBQ sandwiches, nachos, and wings for several years.  They wanted to add some game to their menu which gave them a chance to introduce Quessenberry’s white BBQ sauce to their customer base.  Sauce Beautiful – White is perfect for poultry, fish, and goes good on a pulled pork sandwich just as well.  If you want to try your hand at an amazing dish that is guaranteed to delight, follow the recipe below. If you happen to be in the Jonesboro, AR area and aren’t looking to grill for yourself, Come by Cregeen’s Irish Pub and get these sliders paired with a tall cold beer.

Ingredients:

9 ct Quail, Dressed
1 tbsp Jim Quessenberry’s Rub Beautiful
½ tsp Black Pepper
9 slices Bacon
2 tbsp Butter or Margarine, Melted
2 pkgs 4 pack – King’s Hawaiian Savory Butter Dinner Rolls
1 ct Red Onion, Small (Optional)
1 btl Jim Quessenberry’s Sauce Beautiful – White

Directions:

Step 1

Sprinkle quail with Rub Beautiful and black pepper. Wrap breasts with bacon slices using toothpicks to hold in place. Place, breast side down, in a roasting pan. Brush with melted butter.

Step 2

Grill wrapped breasts on direct heat (out of pan) for 3 to 4 mins per side (Or place pan in oven at 450° for 10 mins) Place pan of wrapped breasts on indirect heat of smoker/grill (Or in oven) Bake at 325°, covered, 40 to 45 minutes or until internal temp up to 160°. Then Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before plating.

Step 3

(Optional) Sautee red onion rings in butter using a skillet over direct heat.

Step 4

Remember to remove toothpicks from breasts.  Place 3 breasts on 3 rolls per plate with optional sautéed onions.  Serve with a dish of white sauce for dipping, and a favorite side. (Ex. Onion Rings, Potato Salad, Side Salad, Fries, Etc.)

Serves 3 people

Serves 3