Friday, July 9, 2010

Grilling Pellet Envy and Sam's Club Card Giveaway

One of the best things about BBQ and cooking is that you can get the opportunity to rub elbows with the top names in the game. It would be like a tennis fan getting to talk with Nadal or Roddick.

A few weeks ago, my favorite Sam's Club rep asked me if I'd be interested in the opportunity to "grill" Rod Gray of the competitive BBQ team Pellet Envy. Pellet Envy won last year's KCBS Team of the Year by besting about 4,800 other teams throughout the year's contests. If you have never been to a sanctioned BBQ contest, you don't understand what an achievement it is to win one event, let alone be consistent enough all year to win Team of the Year. It takes not only skill but an enormous amount of practice, dedication and sacrifice. For example, Rod spent weeks on end away from home and traveled 40,000+ miles to compete. Diva Q can tell you, it is hard work competing.

Of course I jumped at the chance and last week, Cyndi (Yes! You Can Grill) and I spent an hours long phone conversation picking Rod's brain for tips, trick, and techniques about grilling and BBQ. Rod was incredibly busy. Not only was he trying to get ready for the Daytona Smoke On The Water contest, he was also serving the likes of Dale Jarrett and other NASCAR personnel some amazing Q as part of a promotional event for Sam's.
Rod explaining to Dale that Dale's "pit crew" can't make BBQ cook any faster than Rod's "pit crew"....BBQ is done when it's done.

I have pages of notes from the conversation and have struggled with what I should write about, since I can't cover it all. I decided to limit it to one technique tip, one ingredient tip, and on preparation tip.

Technique Tip
Fruit woods like cherry or apple will increase coloring of the smoked meats but have lower heat. Oak and hickory put out higher heat (BTU). I have often mixed fruit and hardwoods but never knew the coloring or BTU issues.

Ingredient Tip
I asked about specialty meats like waygu beef or berkshire pork. Rod advised he doesn't use it in competition and his results last year speak for themselves. He uses USDA choice beef and gets all of his pork from Sam's because he can pretty much get them at any contest site.

Prime Secret: Rod mentioned that Sam's is dabbling in USDA prime beef. He said he has found it in Kansas City and Daytona Sam's only recently. It hasn't hit Tennessee as of this week but keep your eyes peeled, you might get lucky.

Preparation Tip
A common theme in several areas of discussion (common grilling mistakes/cooking for crowds/contests) was that ADVANCE PREP WORK MAKES GRILLING MORE FUN. Do anything you can a day or at least hours in advance to make the cooking fun for you. Plan your menu around that concept and follow your plan. Simple yet effective!

Sam's Club Giveaway
Sam's Club is sponsoring another giveaway for me. This time up for grabs for one lucky winner is:
1) A free Sam's Club membership (I think that's a $35 value if memory serves) and
2) a $25 Sam's Club gift card

To enter, all you have to do is check their website here and then in the comment section below tell me what is the closest Sam's location to you. A winner will be drawn via on Monday (7/12/10 7pm EST) and my rep will send the winner the prize directly.

FTC Disclosure Notice
While Sam's is sponsoring the giveaway prize, no compensation has been provided to me for posting this. I post these because I appreciate them supporting the competitive and recreational BBQ/grilling events.

I have been a paid member of Sam's Club since 1999 and enjoy getting a lot of my grilling products from them. Here is my top 10 list of things I get from my Sam's Club
  1. nitrile gloves (food handling)
  2. 1/4 cup plastic serving cups - they are recyclable and make "on the fly" measuring during prep work so amazingly easy!
  3. pork butts
  4. spare ribs (3 pack) (Thank you for not selling those nasty "enhanced" ribs)
  5. whole pork loin
  6. chicken wings
  7. bulk rolls of aluminum foil
  8. steam pans and 1/2 steam pans
  9. short paper products (paper plates, solo cups, serving trays)
  10. whole beef ribeye
Thanks to Sam's for setting up the call and Rod for being so gracious with our questions.


  1. The closest Sam's to me is located at:
    6336 College Grove Way
    San Diego, CA 92115

    kristisdeals1 at yahoo dot com

  2. Humacao Sam's Club
    Po Box 920
    Humacao, PR 00741
    Distance: 58.8 mi

    Less than 60 miles... A leisurely drive

    But seriously, in a month, back in kansas, I have been a member for more than 15 years... there is one in Overland Park KS that I shop at.

    What an incredible opportunity for you. Keep posting!

  3. There's no Sam's Club near me so I'm going to abstain from the giveaway but I will definitely be showing my dad these bbq tips!

    So when is your next bbq competition, mister grillmaster? :P

  4. 2801 Northwest 13th Street
    Gainesville, FL 32609

    My closest Sam's.....they are my local meat source.

    Rick Worley

  5. Mijoey,
    The Melbourne, Fl. Sam's Club is 5 miles away and very convenient.

  6. Bet you got some good tips from that interview. Lucky you. No Sam's Club here, so that's too bad for us. :(

  7. Wallaby says great blog

    Dayton Sam's Club #8136
    1111 Miamisburg-Centerville Road | Dayton, OH 45458
    (937) 436-0299 | (937) 291-019

  8. The closest Sam's to me is:

    Knoxville Sam's Club

    8435 Walbrook Dr

    Knoxville, TN 37923
    Distance: 26.7 mi

  9. 8435 Walbrook Dr
    Knoxville, Tn

  10. Wausau Sam's Club

    4000 Rib Mountain Dr.

    Wausau, WI 54401
    Distance: 38.6 mi

  11. The closest is the Kissimmee, FL SAMS, 14 miles away.... Or the one in Orlando if I take a different way home, its 17 miles ...:)

  12. Chris...the Sam's by me is:
    Chesterfield Sam's Club
    196 THF BLVD
    Chesterfield, MO 63005

    BBQ Bretheren name: Big_AL

  13. My closest to home is:

    3839 Mundy Mill Road
    Oakwood, GA 30566

  14. Cool opportunity to interview a grilling pro!

    Closest Sam's to me is in Lexington:
    063 New Circle Rd. Ne
    Lexington, KY 40505
    Distance: 14 mi

    Great contest!

  15. Chris- Sorry about the loss of your friend on the forum.
    I had fun catching up on everything you've been making. Loved the burger throwdown and the angel food dessert with grilled peaches. I'm still baffled that you don't like desserts all that much. I don't wanna hear that nonsense anymore;-)
    Great contest!
    closest Sam's to me is 1063 New Circle Rd. Ne in Lexington.

  16. the ribs look juicy! cant find the comment area for that post :) so im gonna leave it here!!

    have a lovely weekend love.


  17. Memphis is the closest one to me which is about an hour and a half away but we have to drive that all the time because our town is so small,it does not have much in it.
    got my fingers crossed.Thanks!

  18. Here is the closest to home:

    3530 Lakeland Highlands Rd
    Lakeland, FL 33803


  19. Hey Chris...this is the closest Sam's Club to me...which I always look at which longing since I don't have a membership:
    Mishawaka Sam's Club
    120 Indian Ridge Blvd
    Mishawaka, IN 46545

    Thanks for the opportunity!
    I also wanted to tell you that I am sorry for your loss...and those ribs are a beautiful, magical tribute =)

  20. Hi Chris,

    Great post about Carwash Mike, thank you.

    My Sams Club is about 2 miles away at:

    15255 N. Northsight

    Scottsdale, AZ 85260

    I belong to Costco but would love to try Sams. Have a great weekend.

    Troutman from Egghead forum (Scott)

  21. My closest Sam's is in North Charleston, South Carolina.

    Midnight Smoker from Egghead forum (Paul Jenkins)

  22. I've never heard of a Sam's Club so I am sure we don't have one. We belong to Costoc - is that the same thing?

    Anyway, I wanted to say that the post above was a touching tribute to your friend Mike. Sorry for your loss.

  23. I use Sams for the bulk of my BB-Q contest needs..

  24. Freehold NJ Sams Club closest to me.
    Pick me, I love meat.
    Dont go there.
    Cant find ur comment section in the above rib post?

  25. I'd love to win this. Not a member and have one close to me.
    Lone Tree Sam's Club
    7817 Park Meadows Dr.
    Lone Tree, CO 80124
    Distance: 3.7 mi

  26. Hi Chris,

    I have been reading your blog for a while now, but I haven't posted until today. Your tribute to your friend Carwash Mike was very touching. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Your recipes always look amazing, and I have been contemplating purchasing a Big Green Egg as a result! My husband and I grill on gas Weber Summit, but I would love to learn how to grill on a charcoal/ceramic grill. If I ever get brave enough to try it, your recipes will be the first ones I try! Thanks for sharing your passion!

    Kim in MD

    I have a Sam's Club just a few miles away-

    2100 Generals Highway
    Annapolis, MD 21401

  27. My Sam's is:

    West Jordan Sam's Club

    7571 South 3800 West

    West Jordan, UT 84084
    Distance: 2.2 mi

    We like shopping there, because you can get a lot of groceries in bulk and freeze them. Haven't been there in a few months, but I hear you can get 2 bags of charcoal for the price of one anywhere else.

  28. my Sam's Club membership ran out right around this time last year and boy, do I miss it! I love the deals and the club sized packages, I love to buy in bulk and take advantage of great prices. My closest Sams Club is:
    Augusta Sam's Club
    45 Market Place Dr.
    Augusta, ME 04330

    enjoyed reading your interview/questions, esp. the techniques tips which were very helpful about they types of wood used-hubby loves to cook with wood, so I enjoyed reading this.

    micaela6955 at msn dot com

  29. My nearest Sam's Club
    Cincinnati Sam's Club
    800 Kemper Common Circle
    Cincinnati, OH 45246
    Distance: 4.7 mi

    I have never shopped at a Sam's Club before but would be willing to try especially if they are selling prime beef. YUM! says my BGE :-)

    vohsmk is my user name on the BGE forum.

  30. How cool that you were able to interview him - I bet you picked up lots of great tips - not that you need them! My closest Sam's:

    Fishkill Sam's Club
    56 West Merritt Blvd
    Fishkill, NY 12524

  31. The closest Sam's to me is at:
    Little Rock Sam's Club
    900 S. Bowman Rd.
    Little Rock, AR 72211

  32. Well darn, I missed the giveaway. I have a couple different giveaways going on now, come on over to enter at Menagerie and Seaside Simplicity :-)


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