If you have come to this blog post in hopes of learning all of Harry Soo's secrets... You are going to be disappointed. You still have to take his class. I'm just giving you an in depth look into what I enjoyed and a summary of all of the information that Harry covers.
I love to BBQ, I am no professional by any means but I do like to consider myself an avid novice. One day I make amazing ribs that I would compare to some of the top 10 I have tasted at competitions; and some days it's bland undercooked mishmash. I have seen and been told some of the best ways to BBQ by the best teams in the US and I still can't get it right. I try to BBQ when I can but like many of you, I still struggle with consistency in my final product.
I think of it like bowling; it looks like you're just rolling a ball down a lane. How hard can it be, right? You won't know until you try it. This is one of the aspects that I enjoyed about Harry Soo's class. It's very hands on. Your not just watching him do it, you get to try it yourself with real time feed back.
The class cost $349 per student for each class, so Harry squeezes in tons of information. You meet at 7:45 am at his home and are there till about 3 to 5 pm. You can't put a time on BBQ, it's done when it's done. Here is a list of what Harry covers in his class:
How to light a fire
How to make your own rubs and sauces
How to prepare chicken, ribs, pork, brisket, and tri-tip
How to prepare injections and marinades
Detailed instructions on cooking methods
Equipment and Accessories
Overview of BBQ contests and judging
Cooking long-haul Brisket and Pork Butts
Cooking spareribs, St. Louis Ribs, and Baby Back Ribs
Cooking Tri-Tip Santa Maria Style
Cooking Half Chickens and Chicken Thighs
Cooking Sausages and Links
Answering your grilling and BBQ problems and questions
Certificates and Conclusion
What's special thing about Harry is no matter where he is, he is always experimenting. Today Harry smoked a red wattle pig raised at Cooks Pig Ranch - one of the pig producers featured right here on MEAT ME. Raised locally and supplied to nearby restaurants and cooks like Harry Soo.
This particular class, we had the opportunity to be joined by Harry's fiancé, Donna, from the Professional BBQ Team "Butcher's Daughter". Along with Harry's expertise, we got to hear Donna's technique on the same process. Here Donna talks about temperature and what type of bark color to look for.
Harry goes over the details of what to look for when smoking a whole hog on a Daniel Boone Deluxe Pellet Smoker. He is giving away this particular model on his site. I would look for it on his giveaways page.
After discussing different types of smokers Harry goes over the specifics of barbecue safety and food handeling. Harry gets right into it with how to make the perfect rub to use on your meats.
After a quick taste test, we're off to sampling different sauces that Harry uses with his barbecuing and how each effects the final flavor.
Without missing a beat we are mixing the injection we will be using on both the brisket and pork butt. Since the brisket takes longer to smoke than the class allows we check in on one that was started the night before to get an understanding of where your bark is at and what to look for when it's finished.
Before injecting the meats, Harry discusses the different ways to trim the 2 meats; one that he would recommend for backyard smoking and one that he uses in competition.
Once the injections are mixed and sampled we each take turns injecting each piece of meat so we know exactly what to look for when we are do it on our own. Harry has a list of recommended products to use on his website which help with the learning curve.
After injections, it is time to start applying the rub to the meat. Harry covers the various ways in which to apply the rub as well as what to avoid. We all take turns using Harry's technique.
Donna is working on a special lamb recipe that she is using for a competition where you aren't allowed to use any modern day products. I don't mind the extra meat. I'll take whatever I can get. It was delicious.
You can't barbecue without a fire. Harry covers that too. From the type of coals and wood to keeping the fire burning for a whole 16 - 18 hours.
Once the meat is prepped it is ready to go on the the Weber Smokey Mountain where he talks about various ways of keeping the fire up to temperature.
The brisket is ready to be wrapped so everyone takes turns using Harry's technique. Sauce the meat, then wrap it. You have to make sure to keep the air out.
Trimming spare ribs is done in a very specific manner. Each person gets a chance to cut as well as remove the membrane.
Tri-Tip not to be confused with Bi-Tip (just kidding - there's no such thing) is then smoked differently with a piece of wood on the grill as opposed to a traditional smoker.
Harry and Donna have different styles of trimming chicken and they both show you the right way. There is no wrong way - each is unique to the cook.
After everyone gets a chance to cut chicken, it's time to season and prepare it to go in the smoker.
The epic pig is done and delicious. Stuffed from head to toe - it really is a delicious treat.
Harry also sears up some sashimi grade tuna, that is also seasoned with the rub we created at the beginning of the day. After preparing all that food it is finally time to eat.
Delicious and perfectly cooked try-tip side by side with some pork butt. Harry makes sure everyone taste the "Money Muscle"!
Brisket, done! I always look for the jiggle test. Shake the table and if the top of the brisket moves in the opposite direction of the bottom, 9 times out of 10 it's perfect.
The chicken is done and ready to be sauced, along with the ribs.
Finally after all that information we stuff our faces and talk shop about what we just learned compared to what we thought we knew.
It's official: my Certificate Of Completion. I did it! Now lets see if I can put it to good use. That will come next month.
As you can see, everyone in the class is pretty happy with their barbecue experience. Harry covers so much information it's impossible to write it all down. He does supply you with a note book that contains all the information that he covers in the class. When ever there is subjective material, he does expect you to write down what your prefer.
All in all, it was a pretty awesome class and when I was finished I was pretty overwhelmed with all the information I had just taken in. If I had any criticism it would be that Harry covers too much information in a barbecue 101 class, but then again I am sure if he covered less people would complain that were wasn't enough.
People come from all over to take his class so he has to make it worth it. One man rode out from Maryland on a motorcycle so you know his class is to be taken seriously.
You can find out more about Harry Soo's class at: http://www.slapyodaddybbq.com/classes-2/
DON'T MISS OUT! The first week of October is the American Royal and I will be doing a traveling documentary with El Fuego Fiasco as they embark on thier first trip out to Kansas City, MS. I will be launching videos and photos daily with exciting updates.
Look out - for what I believe - to be one of the most exciting adventures to hit MEAT ME!
Barbecue is No Joke!
aka MEAT ME