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Photo by NBN Cooking Crew
Pork loin on rotisserie unit

Kettle grill attachments from Grillin Solutions

By: Barbecue News Cooking Crew

Over the years, we have used kettle type grills as a standard for our product tests. Any time new attachments for this type of grill come along, we love to give them a whirl, but sadly many of them will not make the grade to be included here. The new Grillin Solutions attachments have proven worthy of being shared with you and is also now on our top five list of best grill helpers for kettle type grills.


Photo by Grillin Solutions
Santa Maria style use of the kettle grill attachment.


Photo by NBN Cooking Crew
Whole chicken on rotisserie unit

The attachment these guys have produced will turn your kettle into a Santa Maria style pit by offering a way to raise or lower your grilling grate. They have also designed a way to take the grate off and use a rotisserie unit with the attachment. We used the attachment both ways, but we fell in love with the rotisserie unit after we did a whole pork loin using the Bandito’s BBQ seasoning that they sent with the unit. No offense to any Georgia Barbecue Association cooks who prepare these as part of their competitions, but this was hands down the most flavorful pork loin we have ever tasted! The only draw back to using this in a competition would be the small hole in the center of your entry might disqualify you or cost you a few points on presentation.

The attachment that we tested was a prototype and was sent to us even before they had their website up and going. We actually questioned them about a few rust spots that we saw popping up, and they have since added a stainless steel ring and crank handle on the units. The rust issue was the only negative thing we noticed about the unit, but the stainless steel will most certainly fix that issue. We really loved using this attachment because it opens up a different style of cooking without having to purchase another complete grill or pit.

The unit itself lists for $174.99, and set up is super simple, very easily attaches to your kettle style grill in minutes. The rotisserie attachment is listed at $119.99 and even accepts a few different baskets they have designed as well. You can find a video on our Facebook page where we were testing the unit and find more details about Grillin Solutions on their website at www.GrillinSoutions.com. The Bandito’s BBQ seasoning is made and offered as well by Oak Pit BBQ Company from Arroyo Grande, CA. You can find them on the web at www.OakPitBBQco.com.

 


Photo by Kell Phelps
This is a panoramic view from the open air La Vista Smokehouse in Isabela, Puerto Rico. Every seat in the place overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

BBQ in Paradise

Gunner Roe is a fellow that is no stranger to true barbecue. We have had the opportunity to feature Gunner several times in the pages of the National Barbecue News, the last time of which was a cover that featured his nearly famous “pig boat” that he and his family used as a mobile food unit. This month we caught up with Gunner again in Jobos Isabela, Puerto Rico, where he is still using his pitmaster skills to feed the masses...but in a much different setting.

Barbecue has a huge following in Puerto Rico. where the pig roast (or “lechon” in Spanish) is an island tradition that goes back to the days of Christopher Columbus. Anyone who is going to do barbecue in Puerto Rico better make sure to bring his/her A-game each and every time they fire the pit up. The Puerto Rican people are very loyal and very proud of their Lechon. They even have a place just south of San Juan called “La Ruta del Lechón,” or “the pork highway in the mountains” of Guavate and in the town of Cayey. With a history this rich in tradition, you know there will be a ton of pressure in barbecuing for the public, but Gunner is more than meeting this challenge.


Photo by Kell Phelps
This Puerto Rican staple is called Mampasteao (a mix of red beans, rice, plantains, and cilantro). It has now become our favorite BBQ side dish!

I was very fortunate to bring my better half Janet with me on this assignment. It was already evening when we first arrived at the La Vista Smokehouse, but right away we both could tell that the view from the open air dining area was simply spectacular. It actually sits about 240 feet above sea level and is only about a half mile from the beach. The panoramic photo helps to show a little bit of the view, but in reality it simply cannot do it justice. This is definitely the best view of any restaurant I have ever been in…period!


Photo by Kell Phelps
Gunner insists on doing true barbecue, and nothing can replace his original American Barbecue Systems unit that he uses almost daily.

As we had the opportunity to travel around the area, we asked people if they knew about La Vista Smokehouse. Even up to 40 miles away in the town of Rincon, we met a young lady who had nothing but praises for how the place combined local cuisine with true American barbecue. Just hearing the experiences of the local people whet our appetites even more before we could get there for dinner. The following for the place is growing but at a pace that is manageable for now. Gunner does all of the smoking for the restaurant currently, but he knows the time has come that he must find the right person to step up and take this task away from him.


Photo by Kell Phelps
Mofongo, made with plantains and topped with pork or brisket, is a perfect combination of American BBQ mixed with traditional Puerto Rican cuisine.

The food really lived up to all of our expectations. Our dinners were excellent over the three evenings we had the opportunity to dine there. Gunner and his staff have really come up with a great combination of American smoked barbecue and authentic Puerto Rican dishes, just as we had been told from the locals. Upon the very first night eating there, Janet and I both found a new favorite side for any barbecue. Mampasteao is a rice and red bean mixture that is simply a must have. We had to have it every time we ate and even carried some back with us for a midnight snack. Another local dish that was a big hit with our taste buds was the Mofongo. This dish is made from fried plantains but has the consistency of bread when finished. They topped off this dish with either pulled pork, beef brisket, or chopped chicken, and all were outstanding. The barbecue alone is really great, but when combined with some of the different local dishes and the views from the open-air tables, it is a unique experience that we will never forget.


Photo by Kell Phelps
Here is a small sample platter with tostones at the top of the plate, complete with ribs, pulled pork, sausage, brisket, and smoked wings.

Of course, no meal is ever complete without dessert, and they actually saved the best for last. All the main dishes come with the opportunity to have true southern cornbread, which for me can always replace just about any dessert dish. Our first meal was finished off with the local favorite Tres Leches Cake (“three milks cake” in English) that just blew our socks off. Our last meal was finished off with the southern cornbread drenched in the Tres Leches from the cake. This off-the-cuff creation is Gunner’s favorite breakfast, and it sent us home dreaming about a return visit.

Gunner even has a mascot for the place called Bambi. The four-month-old female potbelly pig was a huge hit with everyone, but when she had her cowboy hat on, she really got the attention then. The atmosphere was really laid back and very beach- or island-like, which is always a welcome sight to see in any BBQ joint we visit. The only thing lacking was a full size bed to catch a nap after pigging out.


Photo by Kell Phelps
Iguanas are a common site in Puerto Rico, and Gunner is working to make this island nuisance a menu item soon as well!

On our travels there, we saw tons of iguanas. These things are huge and can be found everywhere on the island. Gunner is in the process of working to get these on the menu soon. He told us, “They have a taste close to gator tail and are a real nuisance on the island.” We look forward to trying some of that on our next trip. In closing, we can tell you that this place is fantastic, and we will be going back again soon for the relaxation and food. Gunner and staff really have assembled a unique and true barbecue joint, while catering to the local “must have” dishes as well. Their effort has just landed them a spot on our Best of the Best Barbecue Restaurant guide. If you want more information about this amazing place, you can find them on facebook at La Vista Smokehouse.


Photo by Kell Phelps
Gunner and his pet pig Bambi. She is a local star at La Vista Smokehouse in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

 

 

RECIPE OF THE MONTH

Grilled Wild Pacific Salmon with Ginger Lemongrass Sauce

Fire Up The Grill
By Steve Collins
The Home Chef
steve@thehomechef.net
www.thehomechef.net

 

 

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BOOK REVIEW

Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting from OX Restaurant

Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton

 

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