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Sunday, March 20, 2011

A few tips...

So I have a few tips that I'd like to share...some are things I learned along the way, and some are good tips I've read somewhere. I hope they help.

  • Don't cross contaminate foods. Use a separate cutting board for your meat, chicken and seafood. Along those same lines, do not use the same plate for cooked food that you used to bring out the raw food without washing it first.
  • Was your hands after handling raw food.
  • When cleaning your grill don't forget to remove the grates and get rid of any ash or bits of food. This will actually help improve the flavor of your food.
  • To reduce calories, you can remove chicken skin after it is cooked. If you remove the skin prior to cooking it will be tough & dry.
  • Be sure to give your grill enough time to warm up. While a gas grill will heat up quickly, charcoal can take up to 30 minutes. It is essential the grill be at the right temperature prior to placing meat on it.
  • Use a vegetable based grill spray or brush your grill grates lightly with oil to prevent food from sticking.
  • To reduce the chance of over-charring, apply your bbq sauce during the last 10-20 minutes of cooking.
  • For a little extra flavor toss a few wood chips over the coals, or if using a gas grill take some soaked wood chips then place them in a tin foil pouch. Poke a few holes with a fork and place the pouch directly on the burner.

More tips and tricks to come. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Recipe for leftover chicken?

So the other night, I'm looking around the kitchen for something to eat. I love to cook, but I was being a bit lazy. I checked the fridge and found a leftover chicken breast. It had been baked with just a little seasoning, but reheating it in the microwave (remember, being a bit lazy) would dry it out and who likes that?

Well, being that we make the best BBQ Sauce on the market I grabbed a bottle of Doomer's Original "Q" Sauce and the chicken. Now, shredding cold chicken breast is actually easier than you may think. A few cuts along the grain and you can pretty much peel it like string cheese.

Once you get all your shreds, toss them into a microwave safe bowl and add a little "Q" Sauce (you can also do this in a saucepan on low heat). Warm it up in the microwave, grab yourself some hamburger buns and enjoy!

I also have a few easy crock-pot recipes I'll share here in the future as well as some general bbq techniques and recipes for your grill. Until then, "Q" it up!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

BBQ Utensils

I just wanted to drop a quick note about those utensils that everyone gets for grilling. They are typically sold in a three piece set consisting of a turner, spatula, flipper, etc; a pair of tongs and a bbq fork.

As suggested, the turner is for turning or flipping items such as burgers, thin fish fillets (catfish, trout), etc. The tongs are for picking up and turning over items like steaks, chicken, firm fish (tuna, sword), etc. As for the bbq fork, I rarely use it...

The bbq fork is usually shown being used to pick up steaks, roasts, etc to put on the grill or turn. What they don't show you is that by piercing the meat in this way, preciously needed juices will be lost during the cooking. The only time I recommend you use the bbq fork is while using a large piece of meat, such as a roast or whole poultry and you have finished cooking it and are removing it from the grill.

This is all just my opinion, but it is based on years of personal experience. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Looking for shows to do...

So when we first got the sauces bottled, my wife and I were talking about shows we could do. We knew we may have to start with some flea markets, but we'd need to get into some wine shows, bbq festivals and out to stores.

I started checking out some of the large scale flea markets, checked the internet for different local festivals and craft shows. Since it was already so late in the season most of the events I wanted to do were already over or had to be booked further in advance than I had time for.

I ended up going to a few flea markets, some better than others. I also, thanks to my friend at the Wild Dog, was able to do the Hereford Fall Festival. I think that really helped spread the word about the sauce. I noted shows for the upcoming season. I also met another great vendor at the festival and they passed on some info about shows.

Pork in the Park is one that caught our eye quickly. Not too expensive, especially for a three day show. We worked out some plans for the kids and sent out our application. Once we get confirmation, we'll let everyone know. We're also looking into a few others such as Naptown barBAYq, MD State BBQ Bash, the Havre de Grace Seafood Festival and more. I'm trying to get in touch with the committee for Hereford's Independence Day Parade and will also be doing the Hereford Fall Festival again.

Once I confirm the shows and the dates I'll post them in the event section below as well as on facebook and twitter. If I hear of more shows I'll take a look and see if it's worth it for us right now...some of these things are really expensive. Anyway, we'll see what happens and I write about it later. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A little bit about DOOMER'S LLC...

So I figured I should give a few details about how I started my company.

As I continued to make small batches of BBQ sauce for friends and family, they continued to tell me I should be selling it. I always passed this off (thanking them of course) as just complimentary, but as more and more people said that, I began to realize they meant it. I didn't know the first thing about starting a business. I did however have the fortune of knowing a few self employed people. I spoke with them and also did a bunch of research on the internet.

I talked with the Health Department to get the details on starting a home-based sauce business. Unfortunately, you can't produce it directly out of your home here in Maryland, so that left me with two options. The first option was to build, buy or rent a commercial kitchen and have it certified by the Health Department. While this would allow me to keep my recipes secret, it would take longer and cost more than I was prepared for at that time. The second option was to seek a co-packaging company and have them bottle it for me. With limited start-up capital, we went with option two.

I looked for co-packaging/bottling companies and found one I liked very close to home. The thing that I most liked other than them being local is that they were run by a small family too. We began by going over some paperwork including the proper non-disclosures. Now, since I've never done this before I also reached out to an attorney friend who, fortunately, also happened to grow up in a small family business. He helped me to look over some of the paperwork to make sure it was all in order. After that, I signed the papers and began working with Mama Vida Inc.

They were great. They tested my sauces to make sure they were within required guidelines. We went over specifics regarding the ingredients and finalized the specs. From there it was a matter of getting labels for the bottles. Mama Vida had already been working with a packaging designer so I spoke with them and they started working on some initial concepts.

Once we had the concepts for the labels I asked the opinions of friends and family. We mixed and matched, changed colors, then finally narrowed everything down to the final proofs. After the packaging designers create the printing plates, it's all set to go. Order your labels, have them delivered to the bottler and begin production.

I had my attorney file for my licenses and production began. Once I tested the batches of sauce to verify the flavor was correct, we bottled it up, loaded it on the truck and I took it off to my storage facility. Since I now had the finished products, I began selling it to friends and family who had been anxiously awaiting it and I reached out to a few local retailers.

With the help of a good friend who owns Wild Dog's Gourmet Hot Dogs I got into my first retail location. He also began using it as a topping at his business. Within a short time I was in another location and then another. Now our sauces are available in 5 retail locations in the Baltimore area.

During this time I also started working with another friend who owns a web design company, Autumn Rain Design. We got the website up and running and within a short time began taking online orders. Since it didn't get on the market till late in the season I didn't get a chance to get to many shows, but there are a few in the works this year, so you'll also be able to find us there. Once events are confirmed I'll note them below in the event section as well as on facebook and twitter. Stay tuned for more fun stuff...