Rad Fondo BBQ get’s schooled in Arizona
Riots and looting ensue
On Friday, December 2nd, Scott and I piled into his Prius and made the 7-hour run out to Scottsdale, AZ. We were there to attend the Loot N’ Booty’s BBQ class on Saturday. Luckily Scott had some good friends in north of Scottsdale, so we had a great place to stay. If you are ever out in Phoenix, I definitely recommend you head out to Cave Creek and you should stop in to the Roadhouse for some chicken wings and a cold beer. The people watching is off the charts.
We were up early on Saturday, stopped for some gourmet coffee. We discovered Cave Creek is a hot bed for gourmet coffee shops. After receiving of our “medium roast” (it turns out coffee snobs do not make dark coffee) we drove over to the Green Mountain Grills (GMG) warehouse where the class took place. For this class Sterling Smith (Smitty) would be cooking on GMG pellet grills. Not really our cup of tea as we use a Humphreys Battle Box and a Hunsaker Vortex Drum smoker, but if I was a backyard guy with limited funds a pellet smoker really makes life easy. Those GMG’s were ready to cook within 10 minutes of lighting.
We were there to watch Smitty put on a full KCBS four meat cook, including turn in boxes. The class worked a bit in reverse of a standard competition cook in order to meet the class timelines. Smitty had a Snake River Farms Wagyu brisket trimmed ahead of time, so he could throw it on at the start of the class and ensure it was ready in the afternoon. We started with the brisket trim, and then proceed to the pork shoulder, ribs and then chicken.
We got to see exact techniques for all four meat trims, flavor profiles for each, injection techniques and the products used. We learned Smitty’s cooking procedures for everything and every step in the final 30 minutes before turn in of each meat. We have about 20 pages of notes and 250+ pictures. We have a debrief and note comparing session planned followed by practice cooks scheduled all the way up to the Newport Beach BBQ Competition.
It was nice to get validation that we are on the right track in most areas and learned exactly where we needed to revise our processes. We learned that we may have 15 steps in our process for each meat and Smitty had 45, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. Smitty was really able to fill in many of the gaps in our process.
We were able to ask as many questions as we liked (and we did) and Smitty was happy to answer them all. It never felt like he was holding back, Smitty was open and explained “why” he took specific measures. There were 25 students from 5 states and it was about the right number. We were all able to get up close without stepping on each other. I think about 70% of the class were competitive cooks, so you will definitely see Smitty’s students step their game up for 2017. If you were a beginning cook, took careful notes AND then went home and practiced, you would not embarrass yourself at your first comp for sure!
This was our first class so I really have nothing to compare it to but I will judge it on the KCBS scale. The class gets a 9. Not only is it worth every penny, Smitty is not charging enough for his class. He is raising his prices a bit on future classes but it’s still a bargain. Included in the price of admission was the classroom info, the opportunity to taste each meat and a swag bag that included a T-shirt, spices fromLoot N’ Booty and Triple 9 Swine, discount coupons for GMG product and a Thermopop. All that for $275? He could change that to $475 and still fill those seats.
Loot N’ Booty has a few more classes coming up. You better get in while the seats are empty and the price is still low. Note – Rad Fondo BBQ has no affiliation with Loot N’ Booty or Green Mountain Grills. We paid full price for the class and this review is unbiased. Except for the part where we met Smitty at the Vista BBQ competition and he was a nice guy.
A special thanks go out to Jason at Green Mountain Grills for hosting us.