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2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled

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Food Trip to Orlando With BBQ and Spiny Lobsters

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  • smarkley
    replied
    Wow great story and the gub looks great... I never heard of spiny lobsters before, I am a land locked rocky mountain guy. We don't know much about seafood in these parts, unless it is a Steelhead or some other kind of trout.

    Leave a comment:


  • RAmorris
    started a topic Food Trip to Orlando With BBQ and Spiny Lobsters

    Food Trip to Orlando With BBQ and Spiny Lobsters

    My wife, Kate, and I took a food trip to Orlando today. We had lunch at 4 Rivers Smokehouse, and then bought Florida spiny lobsters at Lombardi’s seafood.

    John Rivers, owner of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, spent 20 years in the healthcare industry before retiring as president of a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company. During that time, he had the opportunity to travel the country, honing his taste and talent for barbecue perfection. As he soaked up the flavors and practices of ‘cue fare countrywide, John’s dream of de-regionalizing BBQ was born.

    4 Rivers Smokehouse began with the launch of the “Barbecue Ministry” in 2004, when John hosted a cookout fundraiser to support a local family whose young daughter was battling cancer. This one event resulted in a passion for supporting local schools, churches, and charitable organizations, and a few years later, smoking thousands of pounds of meat out of a garage just wouldn’t cut it anymore.

    After trials, tribulations, and a whole lot of burnt ends, they finally flipped that “Hot Brisket Now” sign on in October of 2009. Within the first hour, a line had formed out the door…and then around the corner and around the block. Today, 4 Rivers has several locations across the state of Florida, with plans for continued expansion and more than 1,000 amazing folks on the 4 Rivers team. Most importantly, the Barbecue Ministry remains their foundation and focus, and will until the cows come home.

    Rivers’ concept immediately attracted local and national recognition, with two invitations to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, four consecutive invitations to present at the 2011 – 2014 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and appearances on NBC and FOX morning shows. He’s also been celebrated by USA Today, Paula Deen Magazine, FOOD Magazine, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Cigar Aficionado, Restaurant Business, and TravelandLesiure.com, and named a finalist for the 2013 Florida Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

    Kate and I were lucky that our strategy for eating at 4 Rivers worked. We arrived at 2:30 PM and their parking lot, which reminds me of the parking lot for a Super Walmart, was no longer full. And we only had about an hour’s wait! If we had arrived at noon, the wait would have been much longer. I had the brontosaurus beef rib, a very meaty 7 inch long beef short rib that with 2 sides sells for $24.99. It literally melted in my mouth. My two sides were fried okra and collard greens. Kate had the smokehouse turkey with cornbread salad, fried pickles, and smoked jalapenos for $11.99. As a customer at the table next to ours told us, “I don’t like barbecue, but this is the best food I’ve ever eaten!” 4 Rivers is the best BBQ I have ever eaten in a restaurant, and is as good as any I make on my smokers.

    Unlike northern or Maine lobsters, Florida lobsters have spines instead of claws, and thus are called spiny lobsters. These are two forward-projecting whip-like antennae that are about two-thirds as long as the lobster’s body, covered in 1-2mm sharp spines that help protect them from predators. In addition to Florida, spiny lobsters are caught (trapped) in the Bahamas, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Brazil. Spiny lobsters are harvested commercially in baited traps marked with buoys. Recreational harvest, which accounts for about 10 percent of Florida’s lobster catch, is by diving using gloves, a lobster net, tail snare, and tickle stick to coax lobsters out of holes. The commercial and recreational harvest season for spiny lobsters in Florida is from August 6 through March 31. There’s also a special two-day season in July for recreational harvest before the start of the general open season. Personally, I think spiny lobsters are sweeter and more flavorful than northern lobsters.

    I have been buying seafood from Lombardi’s since 1979. It was started in 1961 by Tony Lombardi, a Florida commercial shrimp fisherman. It grew into retail and wholesale stores, an oyster plant in Apalachicola, Florida, a consolidation warehouse in Miami, and a 69,000 sq. ft. processing and distribution facility in South Orlando. But in 2006, the family divested the large business, and today Lombardi’s seafood consists of a wholesale and a retail store with a café, located in Winter Park, Florida. Because of the volume their wholesale business does, mostly to restaurants, and the resulting through put of fresh seafood, the seafood in their retail store is always very fresh.

    It has been raining almost every day here in central Florida since the first of June, and today was no exception. So our hopes of grilling the lobsters we bought at Lombardi’s were met with the reality of a thunderstorm that started about 6 PM. So we baked them in the oven. Caesar’s salad and buttered sourdough bread were our sides. They were incredibly good! Here are pictures.

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We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for tentatively March 18-21, 2022. Click here for more info: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/forum/announcements/misc/1014106-meat-up-in-memphis-2021-canceled
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