New Jersey State Barbecue Championship

North Wildwood, NJ

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Big Lou Elrose



Learn what it takes to cook great Barbecue from national competitive barbecue authority Big Lou Elrose.  

Whether you are a backyard cook looking to impress your family and friends, or an aspiring competitor ready to take your skills to the next level, Big Lou Elrose will teach you valuable lessons in BBQ.  

This two hour class will cover :  


Food Safety



Slathers, Mops and Glazes




Competition Barbecue

Everyone knows you can’t just talk about great barbecue without tasting it, so you can count on some great samples too.  


Seating is limited. Pre-Registration is required.  

Big Lou Elrose's BBQ will be offered twice during the 2009 New Jersey State Barbecue Championship.  

Saturday July 11, at 12:30 pm  

Sunday, July 12, at 12:30 pm  

Tuition is $30  

For a registration form, e-mail, and mention “cooking class” in the subject line, or call 609-523-6565  
 About the Instructor from a recent interview


Talking BBQ: A Conversation with “Big Lou”

What does a six-foot-five former NYPD motorcycle cop know about barbecue? Plenty.

By Scott Hume, Editor-in-Chief -- Restaurants and Institutions, 5/27/2008 2:48:00 PM

Lou “Big Lou” ElroseWhat does a six-foot-five former NYPD motorcycle cop know about barbecue? Plenty.
Lou “Big Lou” Elrose turned in his badge a few years ago to pursue his passion, which is cooking great barbecued beef, pork and whatever else he can think of. He was on the competitive barbecuing circuit for a while before signing on as deputy pitmaster at New York City’s Hill Country restaurant.
Now he’s the pitmaster at Wildwood Barbeque, B.R. Guest Restaurants’ new down-home, 222-seat restaurant on toney Park Avenue South in Manhattan. R&I talked to Big Lou shortly after the restaurant opened in late April.
So you think barbecue can sell in New York City?
Absolutely. Well, good barbecue can.
What’s good barbecue to you?
Good barbecue is someone who takes their time and cooks it low and slow and pays attention to the little details.
What’s your style? Are you a rub or a sauce barbecue chef?
I’m a New York City kid, born and raised in Brooklyn. I cook all styles. I competed on the competition barbecue circuit for a while and when you compete you have to cook to where you are. I’m a member of the Kanas City Barbecue Society and I’m a certified Kansas City Barbeque Judge. The judges are usually local and you have to appeal to their tastes. If I were to go to North Carolina and serve pulled pork with tomatoey, sweet sauce, they’d hate it; it would have to be vinegary sauce. If I went to New England and served vinegar-based barbecue, they’d kill me, too. So I use a combination of rubs and sauces.
With all my beef, my briskets and my short ribs, I use a Texas rub.
What’s in that?
A Texas rub is just salt, pepper and cayenne because it’s all about the flavor of the beef. No sauces. At a lot of barbecue restaurants in Texas, you can’t even get sauce. Not on the table.


Wild Park Brisket Sandwich

But with pork, then, you’re saucing?
I’m doing a little bit. I’m doing a vinegary Carolina mop sauce. On the spareribs, I’m doing a Memphis dry rub and then on my baby back ribs a Kansas City sauce. I’m cooking so that when anybody comes from anywhere, they’re going to like our barbecue.
That’s what New Yorkers are about.
Do New Yorkers need a little bit of barbecue education?
Absolutely. Especially when it comes to chicken. With barbecued chicken you have to educate people.
I put an apricot dry rub on the chicken before it goes in the smoker. And when it comes out, I put an apricot glaze on it. The chicken cooks for about 2 ½ hours in the smoker. When I take it out, the chicken should be cooked to about 160F or 170F.
What happens is that the bone in the thigh and the leg turns red, so people cut it into it and say “Oh my gosh, this undercooked!” but the juices are running clear and it’s a beautiful piece of chicken. That’s where the education comes in. This is real barbecue.
Do you run your smokers through the night?


Texas Jailhouse Chili

The smokers are running 24/7. My lunch briskets go in the smoker at 7 p.m. and cook all night long. And my dinner briskets go in at mignight. So my briskets cook anywhere from 14 to 16 hours. My whole pork shoulders cook for up to 18 hours.
How creative do you want to be with your menu? Can you add some personality or do you need to keep your barbecue pretty traditional?
I’m trying to do a little bit of both. I’m trying to keep to tradition so when people from Texas taste the brisket, it’s right. Some of the best compliments I got at Hill Country were when people said the brisket was like being back home. That’s what I want people to say.
And some things I want be a little bit different with. Like I’m serving a Denver-cut American lamb sparerib, which nobody else in this city has. That’s me. Every couple of months I want to do a wild game night with possum and gator and elk or whatever. Something a little different.
I think we’re also the only barbecue restaurant in the country that’s using only all-natural meats. From our chicken wings to chicken and beef and pork, it’s all natural. No hormones, no steroids. I pay a lot more per pound for my meat than others, but it’s worth it because it tastes better and it’s healthier.
What are you favorite side dishes that you’ve created to go with barbecue?
My favorite right now is our Texas Jailhouse Chili [with smoked brisket, Cheddar cheese and sour cream]. The mac and cheese is terrific. I like it creamy, not dried out, so I’m using shell macaroni instead of elbows because it holds the cheese sauce better. And our creamed spinach is to die for. The sides are doing phenomenal.
Side dishes are important to good barbecue, aren’t they?
Oh, absolutely. A lot of barbecue restaurants say the meat is great but the sides are horrible. I don’t want to hear that from our restaurants. You’ll never hear that at a B.R. Guest restaurant. Everything from sides to desserts to the beer is great.
What’s on your dessert menu?
WildwoodWe’ve got these great house-made s’mores; we’ve got a killer 8-layer Chocolate Fudge Cake, an 11-layer carrot cake, a good cobbler. Great house-made ice cream.
Has it been fun to be able to create a concept from the ground up, to set the menu in motion and see it work?
Oh, yeah. Well, I’m not sure it’s been fun. It’s been a lot of work and a lot of hours. Once we get it all together, in six months, we’ll all be laughing.
Have you been able to find staff in New York City who know barbecue?
I’m doing a lot of training of kitchen staff. But I brought in a guy, Matt Fisher, who’s been on the barbecue circuit. He’s my assistant and he’s a real barbecue junkie. There’s a lot of barbecue junkies out there.
What did you learn from being on the circuit?
You got to cook to people’s tastes. [Hill Country pitmaster] Robbie Richter and I went up to New England once and we wanted to do something different, so we cooked a brisket with a lot of Asian influences. And we came in dead last. It was some of the best brisket you’d ever want to eat, but the people up there want traditional barbecue and if you go off that road, they don’t like it. It was a lesson well learned.
Two years ago, Robbie and I drove down to Douglas , Ga., which is a long drive from New York City. We must have stopped in six barbecue joints along the way. These places open at 11 a.m., they sell out their food and they go home by 2 p.m. They fill their smokers to capacity every day, sell it and they go home. That’s barbecue.
There must be many days you envy them that schedule!
Believe it. I only wish it were so easy.