We’re proud to bring you a guest article written by our friend Mike, from Lynn, Massachusetts. Mike is a frequent reader of this blog (as well as a long-time personal friend of The Bushman) and he knows our readers love articles about food! So, please enjoy Mike’s first guest article:
The 2009 Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party
Photos and article by Mike01905
Its time again fro the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party. “The Phantom Gourmet” is a TV show in the Boston area. They review restaurants throughout most of the 6-state New England region and they review everything that is food related. Whether its Chinese, Sushi, Pizza, BBQ, Seafood, Bakeries, Candy shops, and anything else you can think of, they’ve reviewed it.
For the past 3 years, TV show has sponsored their BBQ Beach Party. They visited various BBQ Masters around the USA and invited the best of those that they visited to come to Boston to take part. The first 2 years were held at Boston City Hall Plaza. This year they held the event in 2 locations. On June 19-21 they were at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Ledyard, CT and on June 26-28 they were at Suffolk Downs in East Boston, MA.
Now I’m not much of a writer… but here is my article that MJ wanted me to write on the 2009 Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party. I think at this time I need to give MJ’s “food warning” for this article.
The Phantom Gourmet (www.phantomgourmet.com) BBQ Beach Party that I attended was held at Suffolk Downs in East Boston from June 26tth thru June 28th. They trucked in 100 tons (90.7 metric tons) of sand to create their “beach”. There were 8 BBQ Teams that took part in this event. Seven of them were from different parts of the USA and one came all the way from Australia. Seven of the eight BBQ Teams took part in the event last year with one new BBQ Team this year.
Taking part in this years BBQ Beach Party were…
- Paul “Aussom Aussie” Mackay – Aussom Aussie BBQ – Sydney, Australia
- Dallas “Beef Baron” Green – Cowboys Barbecue and Rib Co. – Fort Worth, Texas
- Joey Sutphen – Joey’s Texas Thunder BBQ – Amarillo, Texas
- Dennis “The Don” Carrino – Porky N’ Beans – St Lucie, Florida
- Johnny “No Sauce” Willingham – Willingham’s BBQ – Memphis, Tennessee
- “Happy” Jack Mcdavid – Jack’s Down Home Barbecue – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Dan “Arkansas” Johnson – Johnson’s Bar-B-Que – Chesapeake, Virginia
- Steve “Boston Bulldog” Uliss – Firefly’s Bar-B-Que – Boston, Massachusetts
All of these teams arrived with big 50 to 60 foot (15 to 18 meters) long trailers that were complete with smokers, grills, meats, and everything else they needed for the event. All of them have won many awards in different parts of the USA and in other countries. They’ve won “Best Ribs, “Best Sauce”, and other various categories.
Now ribs were the biggest seller of the event, then probably followed by pulled pork sandwiches.
All of these BBQ Teams smoke their ribs anywhere from 4 to 6 hours before putting them on the grill and applying their BBQ sauce to them. They smoke their brisket and pork shoulder 16 to 18 hours before putting them on the grill and applying the BBQ sauce. Some of the BBQ teams had items that only they made and they all had their own special BBQ sauces.
- Aussom Aussie BBQ – The Aussom Aussie has won more than 150 awards in the USA, Canada, And of course Australia. His BBS sauce is “fruit based” because at a time, apples were cheaper than tomatoes in Australia. The “base” of his BBQ sauce is made from Apple, Pineapple, Orange, and Tomato. Then he adds in his combination of spices to give it his award winning taste. His BBQ sauce tastes sweeter than most other sauces.
- Cowboys Barbecue and Rib Co. – His BBQ Sauce has won “Best Sauce” awards over and over. He’s the winner of over 180 State, Regional, and World titles. He can’t be missed at BBQ Competitions in his big 10-gallon (or would you call it a 15 gallon) foam cowboy hats. Probably best known for his BBQ brisket.
- Firefly’s Bar-B-Que – The hometown favorite. They had a couple of nice items for the BBQ Beach Party. With Boston/New England being known for its fresh seafood, they had a plate they sold that they called “Bellies and Bones” which consisted of 3 BBQ ribs and 6oz (170 grams) of fried clams. They also had “The Bulldowg” which is an 8oz (227 gram) Pearl Hot Dog along with shredded chedder cheese and BBQ pulled pork all piled into an 8inch (20cm) long roll. The hot dog was so big, it looked more like a sausage.
- Jack’s Down Home Barbecue – Even tho he is an incredible overall chef (even won Food & Wine magazine’s “Best Chefs in America” award), BBQ is what he loves to do the most. Probably best known for his ribs and pulled pork, he also makes some great BBQ nachos.
- Joey’s Texas Thunder BBQ – Winner of many BBQ awards… probably best known for his ribs and BBQ sauce. When at various events… he’s also known for his red, white, and blue cowboy boots and his big, chrome 6-shooter which are actually a smoker.
- Johnson’s Bar-B-Que – Known for having probably the hottest BBQ sauce at the BBQ Beach Party. He had 3 kinds with him. His X rated sauce is called All American. His XX rated sauce is called Fire Starter. His XXX rated sauce is called Thermo-Nuclear. They say “Johnson’s Thermo-Nuclear sauce will improve your cardiovascular system, sinus, colon, and pancreas instantly. No Guts, No Glory” (ok… I wimped out and only tried his XX rated Fire Starter sauce which had a mighty kick to it). For his Thermo-Nuclear sauce, you must sign a “release of liability” form. You have to be LESS than 7 months pregnant AND you must be 21 years of age or have parental consent.
- Porky N’ Beans – “The Don” (as he’s known as) has won many Best Ribs and Best Sauce awards over the years. He’s known for creating the “Kansas City Double Stacked” sandwich which is half BBQ beef and half BBQ pork on a double-decker roll. He also had HUGE BBQ Beef Ribs (need a knife and fork to eat them) as well as smoked and BBQ’ed turkey legs.
- Willingham’s BBQ – Their saying is “BBQ sauce was invented to cover up the mistakes of bad BBQ”. They don’t use any BBQ sauce on the things they make. They’ve been winning BBQ awards going back to 1983 for Best Ribs, Best Pork, Best Lamb, Best Brisket, and even Best Whole Hog.
No matter who you bought things from, all of the BBQ Teams had tables setup with 3 or 4 different styles of their BBQ sauce so you could add more sauce to what you bought (I believe only Johnson’s Bar-B-Que didn’t have containers of BBQ sauce to add to what you bought). Even Willingham’s BBQ had containers of BBQ sauce if you wanted to add some of their sauce to their items.
All of the places had the standard items and some places had things that only they had. Aussom Aussie BBQ had BBQ Shrimp on the Barbie. Porky n’ Beans had huge beef ribs as well as smoked and BBQ’ed turkey legs. Willingham’s BBQ had southern fried catfish and hush puppies (being from the northern USA, I have NO idea what those are). Jack’s Down Home Barbecue had BBQ nachos. Firefly’s had deep fried clams.
Prices were pretty much the same for everyone that served up the same things. A 3 rib “sampler” or “teaser” was USD $6, a 6 rib “half slab” was USD $12, and a 13 rib “full slab” was USD $22. Pulled Pork and BBQ Chicken sandwiches were USD $7. You could add USD $3 to various items to make them a platter (with beans, cole slaw, and cornbread).
If you were in the mood for something other than BBQ… there were other things to choose from. The Upper Crust was there selling their very thin and very crunchy crust pizza. Fuddruckers was there selling their burgers, hot dogs, french fries, and onion rings. Boardwalk Fries was there selling roasted corn on the cob, french fries and chicken fingers.
And of course… there was plenty of water, soda, and beer to go around.
There was also some entertainment at the BBQ Beach Party. The BaHa Brother’s band played each night. They are a cover band that plays mostly “beach music” (Jimmy Buffett, The Beach Boys) but also covers other classic music from the 50’s to the 90’s. They had a mechanical bull for those that wanted to try to stay on for 8 seconds as well as a mechanical surf board for those that wanted to try and “hang ten”. Also, since the event was held at Suffolk Downs, on Saturday there was also live horse racing going on.
Tickets for the event were USD $5 if you bought them in advance online and USD $10 if you bought them at the event.
Now that the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party is over, they are probably starting to work on next year’s event. Next
up for the Phantom Gourmet is their Food Festival which will be held on September 26, 2009 in the shadows of historic Fenway Park. Tickets are USD $40 which allows you to sample the food of all of places that will be there (advertising 80 different places), give you access to the clubs in the area that will be doing things for the food festival, and so on. Beverages aren’t included in the USD $40 ticket. It’s a 21 and older event.
If you would like to see the rest of the pictures for this event as well as last years Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party and other pictures I’ve taken at various events, go to my Flickr page located at…
Thanks for a great on-the-ground report Mike! Wish we could have been there! Looks like an incredible food fest of BBQ offerings, sauces and a lot more!