FAIRBANKS, Alaska - For this week's Golden Art City, Amanda Brennan features local Barbecue Champion, Bill Staley.
Star Wars enthusiast, Northrim Bank Employee, culinary artist. Bill Staley was born and raised in Fairbanks. He left in the 90's to pursue two master's degrees from Arizona State University, but returned to the Interior in 2005. He has been a commercial loan officer since then, as well as an adjunct instructor for the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management.
Bill Staley; Culinary Artist>>"The piece they really like to eat is the point, because it is nothing but fat and evil and crust and salt and deliciousness."
He first started cooking when he was enamored with "dirty rice," a spicy Cajun dish where the white rice is "dirty" because it's flavored with chopped chicken livers and ground beef. In Staley's own interpretation of dirty rice and other recipes that he has mastered, his art is in full effect.
Bill Staley; Culinary Artist>>"Once you know the process to do cooking, then it's no longer a one quarter teaspoon of a this, it's a pinch. It's no longer a tablespoon of that. You know you need a certain amount of flour, or cornstarch, or whatever it is. You just start eyeballing stuff, and then really, it's up to you. A lot of people don't like cilantro, I don't understand those people, but it's your recipe. You make it the way you want it. That's the art."
Staley moved on to meatier confectionery delights. In 2010 he started entering barbecue competitions and has collected many ribbons and trophies throughout the years. Recently, he earned the blue ribbon at the 2017 Alaska Barbecue Championship for his brisket. Staley even developed a process to smoke brisket indoors during the winter months using a food saver, cooler, and sous vide stick.
Bill Staley; Culinary Artist>>"Stop with your Bluetooth chatter."
Although, he is a pit master, Staley considers himself a chemist when it comes to how he cooks his various meats.
Bill Staley; Culinary Artist>>"We'll put it at 135 and it will very slowly, and very thoroughly break down all those connective tissues."
Bill Staley is a barbecue champion, and he is not above sharing his recipes, procedures, and passion with other people. He encourages the culinary enthusiast to master whatever recipe they want, but once that is done, that is where you 'Do your own art!'
Alright, so this is Bill Staley's brisket that was sous vide. Am I saying that correctly? It was sous vide for 72 hours, and then put into the oven for about 20 minutes. And if anybody questions whether cooking is art...they just need to be quiet. That is art!
For this week's Golden Art City...
I'm going to have one more bite, I promise. One more. One more, I promise.
...this is Amanda Brennan.