Thursday, May 4, 2017

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest presented by Wassi's Meat Market

[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post; however, Smithfield and Certified Angus Beef are both sponsors of Nibble Me This.

We attended and cooked at the 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest this weekend and it was another rockin' food festival.  

This Eggfest was presented by Wassi's Meat Market and it benefits Candlelighters of Brevard. Wassi's is a top notch butcher shop and Big Green Egg dealer located in Melbourne, FL and I have to admit, I get jealous when I see those central Florida Eggers getting to shop there every weekend!  

The event was held at the Radisson Resort at the Port again this year. The weather was absolutely gorgeous as 30 or 40 (my guesstimate, I didn't count) culinary teams cooked up some amazing food on Big Green Eggs and served samples to the thousands in attendance.  We handed out about 1,500 samples this year.  Here's a look back.  

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's Meat Market - a Big Green Egg food festival

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's Meat Market - a Big Green Egg food festival
Loaded up and ready to roll.  Things I take to every Eggfest are my knife bag, my gear box, EZ-ups (with tie downs in case of winds), folding prep tables, disposable cutting boards, a bin full of seasonings, and plenty of coolers and 2 Cambro's. 
It's 716 miles from our house to the event.  I like to take the scenic route through the Great Smoky Mountains.  It's 19 miles longer than the I-75/I-10 route through Atlanta but way faster and more enjoyable.

We stop in Jacksonville first, to see family and for a day of prepping at my sister's house (aka "Nibble Me Sis").

First part of prep day is getting supplies. We hit Costco, Restaurant Depot, Gordon Food Services, Publix, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a stop or two.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest food festival featuring Big Green Egg
Our menu for this year included the popular Jordan's Drunk Pickles and Beef Tenderloin Crostini, both repeats from our last Eggfest.  The three newbies were Green Chile Breakfast Casserole, Bacon Crusted Salmon, and Cilantro Lime Wings with Habanero Butter.

We'll be posting some of the recipes and will link back to them here once they are up and live.

Sean's Green Chile Breakfast Casserole
Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin Crostini
Candied Bacon Crusted Salmon

Smoking Green Chile Pork for the Jordan's Drunk Pickles. You can see that my sister uses Craycort grates too!

Alubkirky's Green Chile Seasoning Rub
We used Albukirky Green Chile Seasoning for the pork and in the breakfast casserole. We needed a little more "oomph" in the casserole so I suggested we steal a page from competition BBQ.  We finely ground some of the Albukirky's Green Chile Seasoning into a dust like Gun Powder that we use in competitions.  This lets us use it as a finish dusting where it leaves the taste but no texture.  We love this stuff and use it often. 

There's no time for foolin' around and we're always businesslike.  I'm super cereal!

Nibble Me This', Chris Grove, preparing Certified Angus Beef tenderloins for the Eggfest.
Prepping the Certified Angus Beef tenderloins.  We saved the trimmings for food for the Eggfest after party.

For the salmon, I modified a recipe from Chris Lilly's Fire and Smoke: A Pitmaster's Secrets (great book, pick it up!). I figured if bacon crusted salmon is good, then candied bacon crusted salmon would be phenomenal.  I was right, according to the crowds.

Taste testing the seasoning for our candied bacon.

Slightly under cook the bacon because now it goes into a food processor to make into candied bacon dust.

I finally got to break in the Mini-Max that we won at the North Florida Eggfest earlier this year.  Look at that virgin white!  

2017 Wassi's Sunshine State Eggfest pictures and recipes.
We did a test run on the salmon recipe. Normally you plank grill directly over coals but we were going to be cooking mostly indirect at this event and wanted to make sure it would still work.  When cooking at Eggfests, it makes sense to either 1) start with lower temp cooking recipes and work up in temperature though out the day or 2) plan a menu that cooks everything in the same temp ranges and set ups (minimizes handling and change outs).

Candied Bacon Crusted Salmon at 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's
I pulled the salmon at 130°f and it was perfect.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's
Pork butts both done and ready to rest in the cooler.

Before heading out the next morning, we finished prepping the stuffing for the Jordan's Drunk Pickles.  It's a LOT easier to do this at home instead of chopping it all at the event.

We also made a batch of Sean's Green Chile Breakfast Casserole. In part because we were trying something new but mainly because we were hungry!

Then we drove down to Cape Canaveral to hook up with the rest of our team, who were coming over from Tampa.  Alexis drove so we could get there sooner.  I drive like a turtle, she's more of a rabbit.  Don't get me started on the tortoise and the hare....I see more dead turtles on the road than rabbits :) ;).

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's
Finally we arrive - Wow! This IS a big deal!  (I may or may not have photoshopped this sign)

Chris of Nibble Me This at the 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's
I seem to have misplaced my Egg....has anyone seen one lying around?

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's
Usually I don't keep shirts from events other than the cool ones from the Pensacola Eggfest. But I had to get one of these, what a great design! 

We bought enough pickles for 960 servings. That meant we had to cut pickles in half 480 times and core a pickle half out 960 times.  We had a "pickle party" in our hotel room.  Yes, I'm aware that can mean other things.  It was boring work but we laughed our butts off making juvenile jokes to pass the time.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's
Thanks to Marcia, the Queen of Green, we got our same corner spot as last year with a group of our friends. This is just moments after the gates opened and the least crowded it would be for the rest of the day.

Nibble Me This at 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's
Rhonda making the garlic butter crostini.  I have to figure a less labor intensive way to do these en masse. 

Carson and I ready to feed some crowds!

Jordan's Drunk Pickles recipe 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest by Wassi's
Sean and Rhonda with one of the first batches of Jordan's Drunk Pickles. The picture in the middle is of Jordan, Rhonda's son, who we lost last February. We do this at each Eggfest as a way to celebrate his life instead of mourning the loss. Photo credit:  Pat M.

Left to right, Laurie, Sean, Rhonda, and Scott serving the Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin Crostini while a guest applies gorgonzola sauce to his.

Thermoworks Timestick 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Smart trick here.  If you look above each Egg you'll see a colored Thermapen TimeStick hanging (two red and on blue).  When you put something in an Egg, you set the timer.  That way if you get busy, someone else will know to check on the food.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Carson (left) serving Candied Bacon Crusted Salmon while Sean and Scott double team the Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin on Garlic Butter Crostini.  The lines just kept coming.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest Wassi's Meat Market
I finally got to meet Kevin Sandridge of The BBQ Beat.  We have known each other online for over 5 years and travel in the same circles.  I even had the pleasure of meeting his dad at a contest up in Knoxville.  But this is the first time Kevin and I were ever at the same place at the same time (squashing the rumors that he and I were the same person, ha ha).  Kevin was cool enough to take some pictures with my camera since I didn't have time to leave our outdoor kitchen area.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest Wassi's Meat Market
The crowds seemed to flow pretty heavily all day, there weren't many breaks.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest Wassi's Meat Market
The crowds got to enjoy a fantastic line up of food cooked on Green Eggs.  If there is an Eggfest near you, you should check it out even if you don't grill. It is entertaining and you will love the food.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest Wassi's Meat Market
Speaking of entertainment, they had a DJ throughout the day and cooking lessons.  Renowned author, Dr. BBQ, Ray Lampe, was there as well. I'm not sure if he was demoing or just there to cook as I only ever got to see him for about 10 seconds as he and I were both getting ready in the morning.

Big Green Craig at 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest Wassi's Meat Market
Big Green Craig cooked on several XXL Eggs, including a whole hog, massive bone in whole ribeyes, and a bacon wrapped gator.

Big Green Craig at 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest Wassi's Meat Market
See?  I said it was massive!

Fogo at 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Fogo Charcoal was on hand to share the word about their premium charcoal...which somehow I have managed to not try yet. A ton of Eggers swear by this coal. I usually use Rockwood and Parker's because that's what I can get locally.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Carson keeping the pickles coming out like clockwork.

Jordan's Drunk Pickles at 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Alexis, Laurie and Scott stuffing pickles.  It was a lot of work but much easier than last year when we were having to make up the stuffing mix for each batch.

Rhonda slicing up some of Sean's Green Chile Breakfast Casserole, which was really tasty.  

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Cilantro lime wings on an XL, it was nice having the extra room on a grill.

Candied Bacon Crusted Salmon about to go into the grill.

More guests strolling the grounds.

The great folks from Flame Boss were at the Eggfest.  They make electronic control units that will monitor and adjust your Egg temperature via your smart phone.  They are not the only ones creating these but they are my favorite

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Chris Gentry of Gentry's BBQ showing off his brisket that cooked all night long. Check out their website for more about their sauces.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
The inside conference room serves as a dining area and a place for the vendors to set up.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
I like that you are starting to see vendors that aren't exactly "grilling related" coming to these events.  They realize the value of this market and that Big Green Egg users are generally inclined to spend money on quality gadgets and gear.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Team "Risk it for the brisket" rocking and rolling.

The Backwater BBQ guys were on hand as well.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest

Cilantro Lime wings 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Finishing the Cilantro Lime Wings and making the habanero butter

Certified Angus Beef tenderloin 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Certified Angus Beef tenderloin, perfectly reverse seared to medium rare. We served this dish on garlic butter crostini, arugula, and either gorgonzola sauce or horseradish cream sauce.

salmon at 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
We didn't want to serve the salmon all at once so we split it into 1.5 to 2 pound sections and cooked it a few times throughout the day.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest Big Green Egg food festival
Journalist, Egger, and fellow Tarheel fan, Mark Puente, captured this shot of us serving the reverse seared, Certified Angus Beef tenderloin.

Smithfield Smokehouse Reserve ham at 2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
We served this Smithfield Smokehouse Reserve ham glazed with our homemade glaze (brown sugar, bourbon, sweet tea, honey, BBQ rub, and coarse grain mustard) on sweet Hawaiian rolls. We actually wanted to save it for the after party but we ended up serving it after running through the rest of our food.  The crowds loved it and were surprised that it was from Sam's and not a specialty store.

Sunshine State Eggfest
After a long, hot day we couldn't wait to get into the pool for our "official" team photo.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
The best part of an Eggfest is an impromptu after party.  A bunch of the cook teams set up in the parking lot, break out our own Eggs, and cook up any food that we have left with whatever ingredients we have on hand.  It's good fun.

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
Speaking of breaking Eggs.....we did have one Mini-Max go ass over elbows off of a table.  The Egg shell was okay but the fire bowl and fire ring broke.  

2017 Sunshine State Eggfest
When you have leftovers like this huge ribeye, leftovers don't suck!

In a flash, the weekend was over and we were back stuck in traffic on our way home to Knoxville.

We had a great time seeing everyone, meeting new friends and catching up with the old ones. Special thanks to Tom, Pat, and Kevin for helping out when we needed a hand!  I'm already looking forward to the next one! Even if you don't grill, you should check out an Eggfest if there is one in your area.