An Evening with 10 Kentucky Craft Distillers and a BBQ’d Hog Named Sylvia

Twyford-BBQ-at-Copper-and-KingsOriginally published by Distillery Trail

What better way to spend an evening than visiting a first class hip distillery, enjoying bourbon tastings from 10 Kentucky craft distillers, live music and BBQ.

Part of the 2015 Kentucky Bourbon Affair included an evening at Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy Distillery (Photo gallery below.) The distillery was host to nine of their distillery competitors, live music and a BBQ’d Kentucky Proud hog named Sylvia. It always amazes me to see the comradery shared between these distillery competitors. All 10 distilleries are craft members of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and they really do support each other. Each of the distillers provided select samples of their product for guests. Distilleries included Willett Distillery, MB Roland Distillery, Wilderness Trail Distillery, Barrel House Distillery, Boundary Oak Distillery, The Gentleman Distillery, Limestone Branch Distillery, Copper & Kings, Corsair Distillery and The Old Pogue Distillery. You can see their featured bottles along with Sylvia in the video below.

Enough about bourbon, this is really a story about BBQ.

When life gives you lemons, you make BBQ.

We’ve all heard the saying when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, Randy Twyford’s story is kind of like that and we are all better off for it. Randy and his wife Maria established Twyford BBQ in 2008 when he got laid off from his job as a sales manager for a major paint company. They had been doing KCBS BBQ competitions (Kansas City Barbeque Society) since 2004 and catering was a side job that grew their reputation for good BBQ and word spread. Today, Randy’s full-time “world headquarters” is a large, inconspicuous looking metal shed on their farm outside Jacksonville, Illinois. You can contact Randy via the Twyford BBQ & Catering website here.

“We believe the real secret to good BBQ is keep it simple and let the meat speak for itself.  Rubs and sauces should always be used as accents, never to overpower the flavor of the meat.  Our rubs and sauces contain the usual basic ingredients with slight twists of flavor that we have developed along the way.  Anyone who wants to master BBQ at home can easily access most of today’s top rubs and sauces through the Internet.” ~ Randy Twyford

Twyford BBQ Sylvia

The hog they smoked at Copper & Kings as a part of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair came from Marksbury Farm Market in Garrard County, Kentucky, which specializes in old heritage breed hogs raised naturally. Randy says, “When we smoke a whole hog we have a tradition of naming the guest of honor. “Miss Sylvia” was prepared very simply being coated heavily with our rub throughout the body cavity. She was placed in my Old Hickory ELDX smoker using hog racks made especially for whole hog cooking. Sylvia cooked a total of 24 hours at a low, slow 225 degrees in haze of sweet cherry wood smoke (cherry wood smoke produces a milder sweeter smoke flavor). Once Sylvia had developed a perfect light mahogany color she was wrapped in foil to prevent overbrowning and help accelerate the cooking process.”

Randy was kind enough to share his rub recipe with us. You can now enjoy this same great flavor at your own BBQ. Like any BBQ lover, start with this, tweak it and make it your own.

BBQ Rub Ingredients

  • 1/4 c salt
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c powdered brown sugar (See below on how to make)
  • 1/4 c paprika
  • 1 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp tellicherry black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coco powder

To make Powdered Brown Sugar.

  1. Take the ¼ cup of brown sugar the recipe calls for and spread it out on a foiled baking sheet.
  2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
  3. Put foiled baking sheet with brown sugar spread on it in the oven for 5 minutes.
  4. Pull it out of oven and let it cool, then put in a spice grinder and pulse it until like powder.

If you don’t happen to have a Old Hickory ELDX smoker for a 90 pound hog available, you can try this on your gas grill using these 3-2-1 cooking tips from Randy in this video. Enjoy!

Championship BBQ Ribs Cooked on a Gas Grill

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