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Smashburger opens and BBQ contest kick off at Fair


Gettin' Smashed

Well, I'd hoped to open this week's Food News with some goods on "Man v. Food," but it turns out the crew wasn't too keen on having reporters hanging on their every move. Can't say that I blame them. So if you want to see Adam Richman sweat it out over a double habanero at Flying Pie, you won't be getting any surreptitious iPhone footage from me. Instead, you'll just have to wait for the Travel Channel to air its Boise segments. I'll let you know when those dates are released.

So instead of stalking "Man v. Food," I spent last week on a restaurant detox after I'd binged the week before and racked up more than a dozen meals out on the town. This week, I'm recovered and ready to let someone else do the cooking again. My first stop will be at Smashburger's VIP opening, which happens as the paper goes to press on Tuesday night. Regular Food News readers may be surprised that I'm checking out an out-of-state franchise's opening--especially a fast-food burger joint's opening so soon after seeing Food, Inc.--but Idaho Statesman food critic Guy Hand's recent search for the city's best burgers has had me hankering for something reminiscent of an animal style from In-N-Out. Smashburger, which touts the same "fresh, never frozen" patty philosophy as the ineffable In-N-Out may stack up close ... we'll see.

For those of you who want to see for yourself, the Meridian restaurant opens to the public Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 3223 E. Louise Dr., Meridian.

King (or Queen) of the Barbecue

Fancy yourself good on the grill? Of course you do. Barbecuing is one of those things that everybody thinks they can do well. I blame it on some instinctual human need to cook over an open fire and, these days, to prove to ourselves that we can, indeed, make a meal over a fire in the great outdoors just like our ancestors did (with a little help from Kingsford or a tank of propane, that is).

But you're really good at it, right? And let me guess, you also make a barbecue sauce from a secret family recipe that was handed down from your great-grandmother, which you doctored up with your own top-secret ingredient. And every time the family gets together for a potluck you bring your famous barbecue and everybody goes on and on about how it's the best barbecue they've had since ... well, they can't remember when.

If you're really that good, then quit yapping about it already and get cooking.

At this year's Western Idaho Fair, the Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association is hosting a barbecue championship open to both amateurs and professionals. It's a wood- or charcoal-only event spanning two days in which entrants turn in sauce and beans on Saturday, Aug. 22, and pork butt, brisket, chicken and ribs on Sunday, Aug. 23.

Entry cost is $170 before Friday, Aug. 21. For details and rules, visit and to register, call 208-287-5650.

This Week's Wine and Dine

The third annual Eagle Food and Wine Festival is this weekend. Friday, Aug. 21, is the gala dinner and benefit auction at Boise State's Stueckle Sky Center to support Meals on Wheels and the Landing Community Youth Programs. Saturday, Aug. 22, noon to 6 p.m., is all about the wine tasting at Merrill Park from $20 per person. The chef's tent, with 14 chefs from all over the valley pairing samples of their food with a different winery, is taking reservations for noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. for $50 per person. If you need to brush up on your wine knowledge, Erickson Fine Wines will present Wine 101 at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

For more information and a complete list of events, visit