Got an excited call from Rodney Ray the day after The Bee published its special "Now We're Cookin'!" premium section on the Fourth of July.
Ray, pictured here, is the pitmaster at T&R Taste of Texas, and specializes in smoking ribs, tri-tip, pork shoulder, chicken and hot links over hickory, mesquite, applewood and pecan (3621 Broadway, Sacramento; 916-739-1669).
The premium section featured advice for home cooks from three restaurateurs who are expert at barbecue, plus guides to new barbecue-centric gear and where to get the best frozen treats.
One of the stories I wrote was Ray's response to the proposition: If he were to host a Fourth of July barbecue party in his backyard, what would it be like? The thought was that readers could get some informed tips from Ray and emulate parts of his plan.
So, what's up, Rodney?
"I wanted to tell you that the Fourth of July was a roaring success, the biggest day of the year for us," he said. "I prepared enough food for 200 people, which usually takes me all day to sell. But on Thursday I sold out in two hours."
How was that possible? "It was the perfect storm," he said. "The article in The Bee came out, it was hot that day and nobody wanted to barbecue, and we had our regular crowd come in. It was crazy. We had tons of big orders - five to 10 slabs of ribs per order, 10 pounds of tri-tip at a time..."
Like we keep saying, Sacramento is a 'cue kind of town.