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By Chuckmonster on Wednesday, 6th June 2012 6:01pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 13


As I mentioned way back when, me and my lovely wife moved into our first house earlier this year. The first thing on the list, other than cleaning and repairs, was to procure a device upon which meats and the occasional vegetable could be kissed by flame and smoke.

I lusted, and continue to lust, for a Big Green Egg, or any ceramic kamado grill for that matter. Unfortunately, my severe lack of available funds led me to a Weber knock off on sale at Sears. It does the job. You wait, Big Green Egg, you will be mine.... YOU WILL BE MINE!

Hand in hand with my BBQ lust, I became obsessed with a truly idiotic television show I found on The Netflix - BBQ Pitmasters - a cooking competition which pits grilling experts against each other in the race to become the Kingsford Grand Champion. Season 1 was more documentary style, where they traveled around the country to various rib cook offs watching the favored contenders work their magic on ribs, brisket, pork shoulder and whole hog categories. It was hokey, but still mouthwatering. For Season 2, they turned the competition into a fully staged cooking competition in the Top Chef tradition.... it sucked. Season 3, which just started airing on Destination America, formerly Planet Green, an offshoot of the Discovery network, combines the two - an "on location" cooking competition which pit three top Que'masters at each metropolitan cook off to compete for a place in the Kingsford cup. It definitely isn't Top Chef. But if you like BBQ, it is mouthwatering TV food porn.

In Las Vegas, Tony Roma's is not only famous for ribs, it is famous for being the last restaurant Ace Rothstein ate at before his Cadillac Fleetwood 88 exploded around his salmon colored suit.

Alas, BBQ is finally getting its due. Sort of.

Bellagio is hosting a "Barbeque Secrets" event wherein Executive Chef Edmund Wong will be grilling up some sockeye salmon, char siu, keilbasa and beef tenderloin while having it paired with a variety of craft beers from Bellagio Master Sommelier Jason Smith.


For the true BBQ aficionado, this is grilling, this isn't true BBQ. BBQ takes from 5 to 16 hours of low and slow cooking to properly smoke the meat until the muscles relax and the meat becomes tender without drying out. With the possible exception of char siu, I can't help but be suspect about the validity of this presentation as a true BBQ demonstration. I guess we can get that at the county fair instead of Bellagio.

Anyways, this might not be targeted towards those of us who looooove the brisket and the finger licking lusciousness of a great rack of ribs, but it still has a lot to offer on the menu.

Does any place in Vegas host a rib cook off? I know the JA Nugget in Reno/Sparks has one every summer that attracts a massive amount of folks.

Tagged: bbq   bellagio   dining   pork   


Comments & Discussion:

Note to self, start tweeting a photo of the Big Green Egg corporate offices/showroom every time I drive past them and torment Chuck with them...... ;)

I do remember some BBQ cook off at Mandalay Bay a few years back that I caught on the Food Network, but I'm not sure whether or not they still hold it.

Edmund Wong spoke at last week's RD&E conference at the M. When the moderator asked him what kind of restaurant he'd open if capital wasn't an issue, he said a BBQ place. Having talked to him about it, he knows an incredible amount about BBQ variations across the US and the world, and is pretty fired up for a chance to present some of the,. He'd make a great Vegas Gang guest sometime.

Skip the tenderloin & fish and stick to a nice Texas style, beef brisket...yumm...


@vespajet - torment away
@dave702 - great news... he's a great chef and would love to see these techniques of cooking move further into the culinary zeitgeist.

Great link mc! droolworthy brisket!

@mctrees02 I'm too lazy to do that. It's easier for me to drive to a place here in Atlanta called Fox Brothers BBQ which is run by two brothers originally from Texas. They make the best brisket I have ever had and probably the best this side of Texas. They call their BBQ "Southern" as it's a mix of Texas style and the various variations of Carolina style. They do their meat on real smokers, not some gas fired hybrid like some places use (They do their smoking in much the same manner as Pecan Lodge does in that clip.).

Living in Georgia, we really don't have a "Georgia" style of BBQ and most places here doing pork do so in a manner similar to the various Carolina styles. Some elements of Texas and Memphis style are used as well. The BBQ place we go to has been in business since 1947 and is the second oldest BBQ place still operating and is the only BBQ place in Atlanta that still uses an open pit (They're grandfathered so as long as they stay open, they can keep using the open pit.). This place is so Old School that for a number of years they had no sort of inside seating (you either ate in your car or stood up at some outside tables. They only recently started to take plastic. They're beginning to have the fourth generation of the family starting to work there now, so it looks as though the place will be sticking around for some time to come.

Hey Chuckmonster, I'm a BBQ / smoker lover myself too. I was looking at big green eggs a couple of weeks ago myself. They are crazy expensive! I saw a charbroil knock off for a fraction of the price at lowes. I looked up reviews for it and most were favorable. I have a cheap water smoker that I finally figured out.(after a few mods). Last month I made some killer brisket and last week I made some darn good ribs. I use the tips and judging techniques from the BBQ pitmasters show. I think I;m going to get a 4 in 1 smoker BBQ that sams club has right now as a fathers day treat.

I just finished the last pieces of leftover brisket from a 17 hour smoke on my Bradley smoker that was done this past weekend. If there's a Vegas restaurant that can compare to the Jack Daniels single barrel injected slab like I just had, please let me know. I'll be there in August.

If I remember correctly from an episode of Pub Crawl, the Country Music fan fest at Mandalay parking lot which takes place during the CMT awards weekend has a BBQ contest component, plus the ability to buy and try from a wide variety of contestants.

@Dave702 The strip needs a good BBQ joint.

I've not been to one of their Las Vegas locations, but Memphis Championship Barbecue is run by the same family as 17th Street BBQ from Southern Illinois, and they serve excellent, award-winning 'que. Great side dishes too.

Since moving to Alabama 20 years ago, I have been on a quest and trying as many BBQ places as possible. Many hits, but a few drastic misses. IMHO, best BBQ is at the hole-in-the-wall joints.

But if you are in MS on I-10, you have to stop at the Shed BBQ (I-10, exit 57).

Every trip to Biloxi includes a stop on the way home to have lunch at the Shed. In fact, just had lunch there Monday.

The place burned down in February, but the next day they were serving meals in a tent. Not much has changed since, but who cares about the seating conditions when you literally EAT THE RIBS WITH A FORK! The meat just falls off the bones.

Although they don't sell ceramic grills, I got to see a Grillworks grill over at Chef Dan Barber's restaurant in NY. Those are some amazing looking grills - http://www.grillery.com

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