The Champion's Table
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Friday, April 13, 2018

Hidden Gem: The Big Bib BBQ in San Antonio, TX

The menu items in this post were provided by The Big Bib BBQ but the opinions expressed here are my own.

After a historical walk through The Alamo, it was time for some lunch. When in Texas, it’s always BBQ time! Everything in Texas is big so we stopped at The Big Bib BBQ. They offer true Texas-style BBQ, slow-cooked for up to 14 hours every day with aged oak and mesquite woods and their special dry rub. Being a KCBS Certified BBQ Judge, I had to see what kind of BBQ they were packing. We were so glad we stopped!

Just like any true BBQ joint, there is a queue to get to that ‘que. The interior is very casual but has a friendly atmosphere with southern charm. They also have an outdoor patio where you can get a true backyard BBQ experience.

You can order your BBQ any way you want – meat by the pound, sandwiches, plates, and family packs along with sides, desserts, and drinks. Here’s a look at what we tried:

Rib Tips are the ends that are cut off when butchering a St. Louis-style spare rib. Chicago-style BBQ utilizes these scraps into rib tips. When done right, they are like the “burnt ends” of a brisket. The Big Bib BBQ does them just right. They were smoky, tender, and juicy. One of the best I’ve ever had! Rating: 5/5

Baby Back Ribs were perfectly cooked, competition-style. The meat comes of the bone, not quite fall off the bone, which would be overcooked. It had a great rub for full flavor along with the smoke. I could eat a slab of those with no problem. Rating: 5/5

Brisket is made with certified Angus Beef. This brisket was one of the best cooked I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. Normally in restaurants and in competitions, I find that brisket is either under cooked or way over cooked. It should be sturdy enough to slice and not fall apart. When sliced, it can relax over the finger without snapping in half or be straight as a board. I also love when the fat cap is left on the brisket, which a lot of KCBS judges do not like. I personally think it helps to keep the brisket juicy and adds more flavor as it cooks. That said, this brisket checked all the boxes for me. I could eat a pound of this all by myself. I just love brisket and when it’s cooked like this, I love it even more. Rating: 5/5

Mild Sausage is hardwood smoked and crafted. Their sausage was a medium grind sausage with a good flavor of pork, smoke, and spices. I liked it sliced but also thought it would be great just inside a bun (like a hot dog) or sliced up in a sandwich. The casing had a nice snap to it which would make it perfect inside a bun. Rating: 5/5

Jalapeno Sausage is a stable in Texas BBQ. It was a medium grind sausage that was just a tad spicy, not uncomfortable. It was juicy and had a good flavor. This would be great in a sandwich or in a bun with melted cheddar cheese. Rating: 4.8/5

Turkey Breast is smoked all day until melt-in-your-mouth tender. This was one of the best smoked turkeys I’ve ever had. Juicy and tender yet still easily sliceable. I could eat this as is or stacked inside a sandwich with melted cheese on top. Rating: 5/5

Baked Potato Casserole tasted exactly like a loaded baked potato. It was creamy from the butter and sour cream along with the flavor of cheese and smoky, salty bacon.

Sweet Potato Casserole was thick and has the aroma of sweet potatoes. It was almost like eating sweet potato pie! Rating: 5/5

Chili Beans is not just beans but more like a meaty chili. Unlike the sweet barbeque beans in California, theirs were savorier and hearty like chili with chunks of meat. You could just have a side of chili beans and bread for lunch. Rating: 5/5

Time to hit the road and continue to El Paso, TX.

For more information:
104 Lanark Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78218
Hours: Closed on Monday, Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Parking: Free lot in front of restaurant

If you enjoyed this post, continue reading these:

The Big Bib Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cracker Barrel saves the day with delicious comfort food in Lafayette, LA

The menu items in this post were provided by Cracker Barrel but the opinions expressed here are my own.

After a busy morning of dropping my mom off at the airport, packing up the car, getting some breakfast to-go from Home2Suites, it was time to hit the road back to California. Unexpected construction from Mississippi to Louisiana caused a major delay leaving us stuck on a bridge for almost an hour plus all the traffic ahead. I pulled up my Waze app and we cut through some back roads to get around the traffic, probably saving us about 2 hours. By the time we arrived in Lafayette, we were very hungry for a very late lunch. The silver lining was – we missed the lunch crowd. Cracker Barrel in Lafayette is right off the I-10 and, like most of their locations, quite easy to find.

U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Country Dinner Plate is served with two country vegetables n’ sides plus complimentary buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins with real butter. I ordered the fried catfish with macaroni n’ cheese and cheese grits. I am a sucker for grits! The catfish was nice and crispy on the outside with the cornmeal adding a crunchy texture. The fish was succulent and tender on the inside. The macaroni n’ cheese was pretty good. It was cooked casserole-style and came complete with crispy cheese edges. The grits were lovely, creamy yet plump texture with cheesy flavor throughout. Rating: 4.8/5

Uncle Herschel’s Favorite is two farm fresh eggs with grits, your choice of fried apples or hash brown casserole, and your choice of meat (sugar cured ham, U.S. catfish fillet, 8 oz. hamburger steak, hickory-smoked country ham, fried chicken tenderloins, or grilled pork chops). The hubby also went with the catfish. The yolks on these eggs were huge! They must be using extra large eggs. Fried apples are one of our favorites at Cracker Barrel, a sweet side to balance out the savory flavors in any dish. Rating: 5/5

All-American Apple Pie was served with no sugar added and topped with premium vanilla ice cream. This must be one of the best apple pies I have ever had. It was all about the crust! The crust tasted homemade like my Dad’s. The apples were just sweet and tart enough. We ate the ice cream at the restaurant and got the pies to-go for later. Rating: 5/5

Apple Strudel Pie is topped with premium vanilla ice cream. This also must be the best Dutch apple I’ve ever had! Again, it was all about the crust. Plus, the apples were just sweet enough. The strudel crumbled on top added a bit more sweetness and a crispy texture. Rating: 5/5

Time to hit the road and continue to Live Oak, TX.

For more information:
116 Alcide Dominque Dr.
Lafayette, LA 70506
Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Parking: Free lot in front of restaurant

If you enjoyed this post, continue reading these:

Cracker Barrel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Tailgating with a Twist: Twisted Tea Korean Fried Chicken Wings

This post was sponsored by Twisted Tea but the opinions expressed here are my own.

Although rain had been forecasted for the Inland Empire last weekend, a beautiful morning greeted us when I arrived in Fontana to join Twisted Tea at Auto Club Speedway for a day of epic tailgating. The sound of the rubber meeting the track meant the morning qualifying runs for the Auto Club 400 were already under way. In the Fan Zone outside of the track, all the race car sponsors were showing off their wares to the fans, which for Twisted Tea is their yellow and blue Twisted Tea tailgate RV. This year, the No. 1 hard iced tea is teaming up with Ty Dillon, driver of the No. 13 Chevrolet SS, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Germain Racing for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

The Twisted Tea RV is hitting the road to inspire drinkers around the country to tailgate. At the tailgate, Twisted Tea is sharing ultimate Tailgating Pro Tips to help people throw bigger and better tailgates.

In addition to the tailgating tips, Twisted Tea is having a photo contest for fans to win their very own twisted tailgate. People can enter the contest by showing how they tailgate like a pro by taking photos and posting on social media using the hashtag #TwistedTailgate and follow @twistedtea on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Winner will be chosen at the end of summer 2018 and receive the opportunity to host their own Twisted Tailgate with the Twisted Tea RV.

For more information on the contest, visit the website:

Now, let me share tailgating pro tips so you can have everything you need to hopefully win the contest! 

      Pro Tip #1 – Invite the Right Crew! Tailgates bring people together and the right crew will make for an epic tailgate. You’re in charge of filling it with good people who can have a good time. For example, during the Fontana weekend, Twisted Tea brought in Casey Webb, host of Man vs. Food to help me grill up some delicious twisted hot dogs. You can pretty much invite anyone, but always make sure you invite the one friend that brings Twisted Tea with them.

       Pro Tip #2 – Fire Up the Grill! Every tailgate needs a good food spread. Make a checklist with something from each of the major food groups, like Twisted Braised Ribs, Rib Eyes and Twisted Tea Sauce, Twisted Mustard Brats, Twisted Cheese Dipping Sauce, Twisted Tea Candied Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs, and/or try my tailgate recipe for Twisted Tea Korean Fried Chicken Wings.

Twisted Tea Korean Fried Chicken Wings by OC Food Diva

3 lbs chicken wings
¾ cup chickpea flour

Korean Sauce:
¾ cup shoyu (soy sauce)
½ cup Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea
¼ cup sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon gochujang
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup chopped green onions

Green onion, chopped
Toasted sesame seeds

1.         Pre-heat deep-fryer to 375°F using your grill side burner or stand-alone propane burner.
2.         Dredge chicken wings in chickpea flour. Shake off excess and place in fryer.
3.         Deep-fry for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on rack or paper towels.
4.         Combine shoyu, Twisted Tea, sugar, garlic, gochujang, sesame oil, and green onions.
5.         Dip wings into sauce and place on serving platter.
6.         Sprinkle green onions and sesame seeds on top and serve.

       Pro Tip #3 – Let the Games Begin! It’s always great to put out a classic, like cornhole, horseshoes, or ring toss. Just remember that every tailgate game must follow these three rules: Simple to learn; Easy to play; Only needs one hand (the other hand will be occupied holding a Twisted Tea Original or Half and Half).

       Pro Tip #4 – Keep the Twisted Tea Cold! Here’s a list of how to keep your beverages from getting warm, ranked from easiest to hardest: Use a dependable cooler and cold packs; Fill an inflatable pool with ice; Hook-up a full-sized fridge to the backup generator; Rent a monster truck and fill it with ice; Freeze those Bag N Boxes before packing them in your cooler. You’ll keep the cans cold, and when the bags eventually melt, more Twisted Tea.

       Pro Tip #5 – Make the Music Flow! Every tailgate needs a great soundtrack. Create a playlist that you can jam to during the tailgate, then make sure to bring something you can use to rock out, like a Twisted Tea 24 oz. can boombox. To build your own, search #TwistedHacks.

       Pro Tip #6 – Unwind with a Twist! Not every tailgate is perfect. The napkins will blow away. The 6-foot sub you ordered will end up measuring 5½ feet but no need to sweat it. Open another can of Twisted Tea and follow these simple steps to unwind with a twist: Take a deep breath; Take a long sip of Twisted Tea; Repeat until the sun goes down.

       #7 – Get Everyone Home Safe! If a guest has a little too much to drink at your tailgate, DON’T LET THEM DRIVE HOME. Call a cab or offer up a sofa! PLEASE DRIVE RESPONSIBLY.

Well, that’s all for tailgate tips - use them wisely! Be on the lookout for the Twisted Tea RV and driver appearances throughout the race season! And try my Twisted Tea Korean Fried Chicken Wings at your next tailgate!