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    Entries in Barbecue (3)


    Barbecue and New Beginnings

    Today kicks off that annual end of summer celebration in the United States known as Labor Day weekend.

    As I write this, it's late and I can't be bothered to look up the specifics about the origin of the Labor Day holiday, but I am fairly sure it was born from a long history of employers exploiting the workforce with long hours, unreasonable pressures, low pay, poor working conditions, and unrealistic expectations.  

    Thankfully, those days are long behind us. 

    They are, aren't they?

    These days Labor Day weekend is mostly about transition, the change of the seasons, the end of summer vacation for students, and the start of 'serious' business since vacation and holiday time is pretty much over for most workers.

    And of course Labor Day weekend is about barbecue.  Who doesn't spend at least some time on Labor Day weekend at the grill, burning perfectly searing some steaks or concocting their favorite burger recipe.

    For me, I plan on spending some quality time with three of the things that have come to mean a lot to me - my butcher, my smoker, and my grill.

    I hope you have a fantastic long holiday weekend.  No matter how tough things may be out there for you, Labor Day offers the promise of the end of one phase of your life and the start of another.  

    I mark this transition with gobs of smoky, delicious meats, how you mark it is up to you, but for sure once Labor Day is passed, it all starts over again.


    Do You Have $10?

    No, this is not a request for a loan, or even a pitch to donate for earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

    Although if you do want to loan me the $10, I suggest you send it to the Red Cross instead.

    Rather, I just wanted to highlight a story I came across last week, about a regular guy that set his dreams in motion with just $10.

    Mike Neal liked to barbecue (and I admit the barbecue angle was what led me to find this story), and he dreamed of someday having his own barbecue restaurant.  So instead of waiting, hoping, or simply ignoring that dream, Neal simply went for it. 

    From the story:

    "I had $10, and I went out and got one pack of ribs," said Neal. He set up a grill outside a furniture store and began cooking ribs slathered in his family's special sauce."I'd sell for $5 a sandwich, and people came and started buying them, and I'd go back and get more food, and before I knew it something was happening," he said.

    Eventually, continued hard work and dedication led to Neal opening his own restaurant, Michael Neal's Southern Grill,  and developing and marketing his signature barbecue sauce in stores like Walmart.

    Sure Neal had a talent for barbecue, and sure good barbecue is about the most wonderful food in the world, but the story is not really about that. The message to me is that you can start small, even $10 small, and still see your dreams realized.  Neal did not see having only $10 as a constraint, he saw it as an opportunity. A start.

    So let me ask again, do you have $10?

    Postscript - This restaurant is in the 513, winner of the Best HR City. What is it with that town?

    I would give you the link to the restaurant's web site or Facebook page, but I don't think they have either, but it sounds like Neal is doing fine without them.


    Dinosaur BBQ Book Giveaway 

    This week I was the fortunate recipient of a gift card for Barnes & Noble, a token of appreciation for a presentation I helped to give on 'Innovation in the Classroom'.  I attempted to preach the gospel of blogs, twitter, and networking to a very skeptical crowd of faculty members.

    I am not sure that I won over any converts that day, but I hope that it was just the first skirmish in a longer campaign.

    At any rate, I picked up a few books for the family, and with the remainder I wanted to share some of the spoils with a blog reader. Since I received the gift card mostly for talking about the blog,  I figured

    it was the least I could do.

    Rather than give away a boring technology or business book, I went for something I can unequivocally give my highest personal endorsement.

    The book I will give away to a commenter to this post (selected at random) is the Dinosaur Bar b que, An American Roadhouse cookbook, hardcover edition.

    I received this book originally about three years ago as a gift, and I have probably made over half of the recipes in it, and the fundamental smoking techniques and advice are the basis for all the smoking that I do today.

    It is a fantastic book and an even better restaurant, so if you ever get to Rochester or Syracuse be sure to check it out.

    So if you are interested in winning a copy of the best barbecue book around, leave a comment on the post, I will select a winner at random on Monday morning, July 13.

    Thanks very much for reading and for helping to give me content for my little 'innovation' presentation, and I hope you enjoy the Barbecue.