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Grilling With Rich (GWR): Tell us a little about yourself and How did you get into Barbecuing and Grilling?
Jason Day (JD): I was born and raised in Kansas City, so I’ve been around the barbecue culture my entire life. Plus I come from a large family, and our gatherings/reunions were always centered around a barbecue or grill. I started taking an interest in cooking when I was in college and had to start fending for myself. I was craving those home cooked meals I grew up on, and quickly learned that the only way I was going to get them was if I learned to cook them myself….so I did.
GWR: Why do you love barbecue and why are you addicted to it?
Grilling with Rich and The Book: "BBQ Makes Everything Better"
JD: The main reason is because it’s damn delicious!!! I love the flavor of smoke, and am completely fascinated by how it can transform a relatively simple recipe into a gourmet feast. I cook a majority of my meals on my grills/smokers, and can typically only go a day or two before I start getting withdrawal cravings.
GWR: In your opinion what makes it so popular and enjoyable?
JD: At its core, barbecue is comfort food. We all have those memories of dad (or mom) tending the grill, and the flavor of those recipes can take you right back to childhood. And as with many hobbies/passions, it can be as simple or complex as you’d like to make it. A simple chicken leg grilled on a cheap-o charcoal grill can be just as tasty as a whole hog that’s been slow roasted in a large custom built smoker.
GWR: On your website, you focus a lot on Pork, why do you love pork so much? that your favorite food to barbecue?
JD: Pork is one of nature’s creations that came out absolutely perfect. When you examine a hog from snout to tail, there’s so many versatile cuts of meat that are completely unique in their own special way. Pork tends to get a bad wrap, so we celebrate it with all the passion and glory that it deserves!
GWR: What is your favorite food to grill and barbecue? and why is it your favorite thing to bbq?
JD: This is a tough question because I love many foods for different reasons. Right now though, I’d have to say beef tenderloin. I made a red-wine soaked cedar plank beef tenderloin this past weekend that was absolutely outrageous. I haven’t stopped thinking about it! That being said, I’m also a tad bit ADD when it comes to food, so next week I’ll be obsessed with something different.
GWR: Do you barbecue on a normal basis or is now just once in a while?
JD: I barbecue regularly. If I’m not eating something hot off the grill, then I’m incorporating my leftovers into new and fun recipes.
GWR: Tell us a bit about the inspiration for the book?
JD: The book is a collection of recipes that we cook on a regular basis. We wanted to create a book that someone could pickup and find recipes that they would feel comfortable cooking in their own home, no matter their level of expertise. Barbecue can be somewhat intimidating for people that aren’t all that experienced, so we started the book by laying down a good foundation of the basic processes for the standard barbecue meats (chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket). We don’t hide our love for bacon, so we also have an entire chapter dedicated to those tasty little strips of meat candy!
GWR: If you had to pick one recipe from you book that is your favorite what would it be and why??
JD: Red Wine Italian Beef. It’s a seasoned chuck roast that’s smoked in a bath of red wine with onions and pepperoncinis. It’s then shredded and served over warm French loaves topped with a sliced of melting provolone cheese and a side of the au jus for dipping. My wife loves this recipe, so I love to cook it for her.
GWR: What is your best barbecue adventure? and what is your favorite barbecue adventure?
JD: This is a long story, but it’s definitely a memorable one! When we were in New York to cook Bacon Explosion on Fox News, we had a small incident of missing bacon that caused quite the panic. We flew in on Thursday evening for a Friday morning segment. Our friend Clint from Smoke In Da Eye, who lives in New York, was kind enough to round up supplies and ingredients for us the day before we arrived, that way we wouldn’t have to run around NYC tracking everything down at the last minute. As we were departing from KC, we got a call from CNN who also wanted to film a segment while we were in town. We were already on a tight schedule, so CNN decided that they wanted to pick us up at the airport and take us directly to Blue Smoke where they had already prepped a few Bacon Explosions and were sampling it out to visitors in their dining room. That sounded good to us, so we showed up, filmed our segment, and then Clint joined us (with supplies in hand) for a celebratory barbecue dinner with the owner and manager of the restaurant. They offered to fry up a couple pounds of bacon for us, and put the rest of it in the fridge while we were hanging out.
A few hours (and cocktails) later we migrated downstairs to a bar in the Jazz Club to continue our celebration. I have to point out that by this time Clint had taken off to catch the last train home, so he’s in no way responsible for the events that transpired. While we’re getting the tour of the Jazz Club, a few of the folks from CNN came back into the bar. Full on knowing that we had to be at the studio at 4:00 am, we proceed to close down the bar with our new found friends. At some point we realized we only had about an hour before needing to be at Fox, so we snagged our bag of supplies and hailed cab.
After a 20 minute power-nap, we headed over to the studio to get setup and prep our food. Chris Marks met us there with a Good One smoker, and everything was going perfectly smooth. We started the prep work and dug into our bag of supplies. It was at that exact moment that my stomach literally hit the ground. We had forgotten to take the raw bacon out of the fridge at the restaurant!!! We were going live on Fox News in a few hours to show the country how to make Bacon Explosion, and we didn’t have any bacon!!! Luckily we were in the city that never sleeps, so we could just run down to the market and buy some more. WRONG! NYC was asleep and Time Square was desolate. Not one person was in sight. It was just like that creepy end of the world U2 video. For hours we ran up and down the side street banging on deli doors trying to get our hands on a couple pounds of raw bacon. Failure, after failure, we hopped in cabs and drove to markets, all of which were closed and locked up.
With about 15 minutes before our first live tease, we were residing to the fact that we were about to flop on national TV. Out of nowhere, a producer from the show comes running around the corner with a fist full of floppy bacon strips. As she approaches us completely out of breath, she throws the bacon on the table while yelling “MAKE DO” as she sprinted into the studio. It was cheap deli bacon, but it was bacon. And just as we were going live with our our first spot, we were able to start building our first Bacon Explosion. The rest of the day went off without hitch, and full segment that we did about an hour later came out great. The producer had called-in a favor to a friend who owned a deli not too far away, and he made a special trip down to open the restaurant for her. It was a saving grace that we will be always thankful for, but I will forever argue that New York does in fact sleep!
GWR: Well thank you for taking some time and participating in Grilling with Rich’s Meet the Pros, one last question, what do you think about Grilling with Rich?
JD: The world can never have enough barbecue resources, so I have a great amount of respect for anyone who has the passion and energy to document and share their experiences for the greater good of others. Hats off to Grillin with Rich!
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