By: Kevin Depot, Mr. Bobo's Traveling BBQ All-Stars Published:
Ladies and Gentleman, this is one blog that you are NOT going to want to ignore. We recently had the Harpoon Championships of New England BBQ up at our brewery in Windsor, Vermont. Teams competed from all over to be crowned barbecue champions. One category, the Chefs Choice (aka a dessert made with Harpoon beer), is obviously one of our favorites. The dessert that took first place was made by Kevin Depot. Not only did his Chocolate Maple Porter Cheesecake take first place, it also received a score of 180, which in the world of Kansas City Barbeque Society (aka the judges) is a perfect score! Without further ado…
For years I have been surrounded by BBQ culture. My father, Ray Depot, has been in the competitive BBQ scene for a majority of my lifetime. However, I have only been involved in a handful of KCBS competitions. Because my father has semi-retired from the competition scene, I am now looking to learn the craft of BBQ.
My father's former teammate, Eric Johnson of Mr. Bobo's Traveling BBQ All-Stars, graciously asked me to join him for the 2014 Harpoon BBQ Championship last month. I was given the task to take charge on the Chef's Choice category. After researching a number of ideas, I went with a cheesecake focused around Harpoon’s Maple Tap Imperial Porter.
I practiced with a few different ideas and my friends and co-workers benefited from my many taste testing sessions! The trick however was needing to cook the cheesecake in a BBQ smoker. Luckily, with a little patience and having practiced the recipe a few times before, I was very happy with the results and couldn’t have done it without the teamwork and support I got from Mr. Bobo’s Traveling BBQ All-Stars team.
It was my first solo effort entry in a KCBS competition. It will not be my last.
Chocolate Maple Porter Cheesecake Recipe
Serving size: 8 slices
1 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbs. granulated white sugar
5 oz melted butter
1/2 cup broken pretzel rods
7 oz 60% dark chocolate
1 Cup Harpoon Maple Tap Imperial Porter
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tbs. flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 Oz 60% dark chocolate
Maple Whipped Cream:
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Maple Syrup to taste
4 strips of bacon
dark brown sugar
fresh cracked black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
2. Cut Parchment Paper to fit bottom of your 9 in cake pan. Spray inside with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Mix melted butter and graham cracker crumbs in a separate bowl. With your fingers, form a thin layer of the graham cracker mixture covering cake pan including the sides. Sprinkle the broken pretzel rods on the bottom of the cake pan only. Bake crust in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to solidify.
4. Heat your 7oz of dark chocolate using a double boiler until completely melted. Mix 1 cup of Harpoon Maple Tap Imperial Porter with melted chocolate, set aside to cool.
5. In stand up mixer with paddle attachment, combine the room temperature cream cheese and 1 1/4 cup sugar until completely incorporated. Slowing add 1 Egg at a time remembering to scrape the sides in between each addition. Add your cooled Chocolate/Beer mixture. Now it is time to slowly incorporate your dry ingredients (2 Tbs Flour and 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder). Whip vigorously.
6. Fill your baked crust with your now mixed filling with just a little room left on top. You may have more filling than needed.
7. Take a 2 inch hotel pan and place your cake pan in the middle. Fill hotel pan with warm water till it reaches just underneath the top of the cake pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Once cooked, refrigerate cake overnight.
8. To make the ganache topping, simply melt 4 oz of dark chocolate with a double boiler and whip heated heavy cream until silky smooth peaks form. Spread a thin even layer of ganache on top of chilled cake and refrigerate until set.
With whisk or hand mixer, whip cream until soft peaks are formed. Add Maple Syrup to taste.
Black Pepper Candied Bacon:
1. Dice 4 strips of bacon into small pieces and cook in frying pan until they are very crisp. Let cooked bacon pieces sit on a paper towel until no longer hot.
2. In separate bowl add bacon bits and a dusting of dark brown sugar. Return sugared bacon into a non-stick pan and cook until the sugar is slightly caramelized. While bacon is still hot add fresh cracked pepper to taste.
By: Dan McGuire and Matt Deluca Published:
Dan McGuire, General Manager, Harpoon Beer Hall tells us what’s on tap:
Ever wondering what’s on tap in our Boston Beer Hall or Riverbend Taps in Vermont? Now you can check out everything we’ve got, from our year-round offerings, seasonals, and even our one-of-a-kind pilot batches only available at our breweries. Whether you just want to know what’s pouring before you come grab a pint, or you’re sitting in the Beer Hall or Riverbend Taps trying to decide what to order next, our new menu will help you make an educated decision!
Now about those pilot batches….
Matt Deluca, a Harpoon Brewer, explains the pilot system:
Our 10 barrel pilot system was installed on our main brew deck back in 2011. It allows our brewers to create unique, experimental beers in a much more hands-on, smaller capacity compared to our main 120-barrel system. Our pilot beers are brewed exclusively for ourBeer Hall and the Harpoon Riverbend Taps at our Windsor, VT brewery - which we find are the best and most appropriate venues to showcase what we’ve been working on.
Ideas for pilot batches come from every department within Harpoon: production, sales, or marketing. If the idea makes sense to us, we add it to the schedule. Typically, we are brewing 2-3 batches of experimental beers a week because once we put something on tap, it doesn’t last long!
All in all, the pilot system allows us to perfect a certain style without the risk of taking away space from our year-round and seasonal products. Many of our 100 Barrel releases and 22oz specialty beers had roots in the 10 barrel pilot system, so when you taste a pilot, you never know when you might be drinking our next wide-release beer!
To see what we have to offer today, please visit www.harpoonbrewery.com/menu.