Month: September 2016

Chicken Drumsticks On The Smoker (awesome & easy)

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This is going to be a pretty short cooking piece for me. Why? Because you mostly throw them on and let the smoke do the rest. My wife and daughter as well as myself love getting wings and drumsticks in bars. Football, wings and beer. It’s a simple tradition.

I use my smoker often but I had never used it to do drumsticks. It hadn’t crossed my mind actually. Seemed small and like they wouldn’t turn out. I saw a piece about it on  a bar website and thought I would give it a shot. The result was awesome.

Normally when I smoke meat a build a larger fire slowly until it reaches appropriate heat and then add occasionally but let the heat draw down. Ill keep the heat up for quite awhile though and let it draw down to smoke. Given the size of these little things that wouldn’t work. Soooo, a little pile of charcoal and my first pieces of wood (hickory, apple and a bit of grapevine from my property). As soon as the fire was cranked I dropped the  drumsticks on. It kept them at a high heat for about 8 minutes. As the fire rapidly slowed I never added heat. just bits of wood to smolder for the smoke. Vey little heat after the start. Just smoke for hours and hours. About six hours of slow low smoke. Perfection. They had a great taste that was smoky and just the right texture. Served it with homemade hot sauces and  spicy butternut squash cakes( another article on that part next week)


Give it a try. Drumsticks are inexpensive and you can just hang and do other things while they cook. Lots of other things. So easy and so good. A great football treat on game day. Again, they are inexpensive. Got these from Mahomet IGA for a little bit of nothing. Great hometown store that does not look like it’s in a small town!

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Enjoying Fat City Bar And Grill (indoor tailgate before the game)

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I’ve been going to this place for a long time. In fact since it was a dive music bar called the Alley Cat. It was a bit famous back then for some of the unusual acts that played there. Then it go a heavy remodel and became fat city. Kind of a sports bar with live music and gaming. They have also recently added another building called City Center which has national touring acts both country and rock as well as local heroes.

It is a great place to grab a burger and a beer. Lots of seating and a great menu at a great price. A very good bar selection as well especially for a sports type place. it’s just a cool place to hang out and relax or on some nights if you lie to get rowdy lol. Not really a rowdy guy anymore other than in the ring but it is a fun place for all ages.

On a recent Saturday my wife and I decided to skip the usual tailgate parties and here before the game. A few beers and a great meal was perfect before heading to Memorial Stadium for the game. Actually it was the best part as the Illini played terrible that day(love em but it’s fact lol). It was nice to sit there and relax while checking all the screens for other games going on around the country. Perfect.

She had the buffalo chicken salad which was huge and quite good. Spicy but not overly which is how she likes it. Plenty of food. Plenty of flavor. I had a double burger with cheese and bacon(yeah I’m a healthy cook but I have my weaknesses!). Add fries and it was awesome. Lots of food done right for less than $8. Hard to beat.

As for beer I had both a Green line (goose) and A nice Lagunitas IPA and she had a the Leinies Grapefruit Shandy. She liked it and she rarely drinks beer! So many choices and a great list. Check out some pictures and we will talk after the jump


Give Fat City A shot if you are in the area (Champaign/Urbana) Check out the concert schedule on their website and make a trip of it. Maybe you’ll see us there.

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Pictures From Beautiful Southern Illinois (travel pics)

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My dad’s family moved from the native territory (called reservations elsewhere ) to drill the oilfields in Southern Illinois. AS a child we spent a ton of time in this area hiking and eating. Much of it is beyond rural lol. Great food, beautiful scenery and cool country folk. It is truly it’s own little world. Great state parks including Garden of The Gods and Cave In Rock ( famous from movies).as well as others. Much of the area still has native culture (Cherokee and osage which is my heritage). It creates an interesting area full of food, music and a love of nature. I’ll be doing more in depth posts including hotel stays and restaurant reviews . For now take a look at the natural beauty.   It’s a great place for an inexpensive trip, and worth it no matter where you are from.


Don’t overlook this great area to take a trip. Nature, food and country culture. You can’t go wrong with that!

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Random Fun Shots From Our Travels (a goofy pictorial)

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Just for fun I thought I would toss on a few outtake type shots from various trips. Trips from all over for fighting, writing and also my daughters dance comp(maybe some rodeo for my son). I shoot a lot of background stuff for extra and not all of them are great, but all tell a story about people/places and surroundings. Take a look and enjoy. Branson.           Virginia Beach and Colonial Williamburg, Destin, Daytona plus Chicago and Vegas. Heck even some I don’t know( West Virginia, Gatlinburg and who knows lol).


Pictures in And Around Virginia Beach Hotel And Conference Center .

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I’ve done a bit on this area but I just found a few more shots from this hotel itself. We were there for an event so I was not able to put together tons for a full review( relaxing after the event lol). The hotel was nice and not expensive. Nowhere near as luxurious as I often stay but great. In fact some things made it even better. The deck and deck bar were awesome. Seaboard cool with a touch of class. The week I was there I lost count of how many weddings were there.

It’s on the Chesapeake Bay where it meets the Atlantic so not the meat market beach. Serene but active at the same time. Gorgeous beach homes around. You could see the storms roll in and watch the gulls in the changing sky. Sit on the deck and have a cocktail. Night was especially perfect. Looking fro crabs and watching groups of people working nets for them. Camp fires on the beach. Sitting on the deck and getting a cocktail late into the night watching the waves and hearing the workers on tankers in the bay speak in various languages. Truly an experience. We also saw tons of dolphins just hanging out close to shore. Hopefully I will get a chance to do a full travel piece before long on this area and hotel, in the meantime enjoy the relaxing pictures.


This a great area. History and seafood. Relaxing and nightlife at the same time. It truly is one of my favorite areas of the world(that is saying a lot!!!!) I would like to give this hotel another shot for a full review, so look for it soon.

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Killing Time In Rosemont (ok waiting for a flight at Ohare)

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Rosemont IL and I go way back. I fought there several times including at the very cool convention center. Took my sport karate team to a National held there several times. Plus lots of conferences for business. At times I have had a love hate relationship with it. Recently they seem to have made great strides to add some cool restaurants and a great mall( wait,I’ll get to that lol). The retail and food end is growing instead of just being hotels next to a huge airport.

Recently my wife and I had some time to kill there while waiting for a flight. Her first stop, the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Oh dear lord. I have to say it was way cooler than most outlet malls. Upscale, unusual stores and an interesting food court. Far more than I expected. And yes oh boy did she buyyyyy!!!!!

After the mall we hit one of our Chicago favorites Giordanos Pizza . Great stuffed pizza. Great bar and good beer/wine list. It is one of those places we seem to hit quite often when we are up that way. I know, we should only be at foodie type places lol. Nope, we hit those but this place is like comfort food for me. Always going to happen. Take a look at pictures from the afternoon to get an idea of the are. Ill be spending a weekend there soon and do a more in depth piece. Talk after the jump.


If you happen to be in the Midwest this could be a cool getaway weekend for you. Shopping, awesome food (yes some world class foodie places are there as well) and great hotels. Give it a look and watch for my next in depth piece. Contact us for personalized promotion including blog feature and Live Tweets (best value &best reaction). Fun, effective and inexpensive. Email and follow @combatsportlife on twitter.

Today’s links of awesome places to go. If I like them, you will like them!!!



Fountains and Gorgeous Water Features of Vegas (pictorial)

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One of my favorite things about Las Vegas is all the gorgeous water features and fountains. You can just walk around and be mesmerized. I love to just walk around and absorb the sights and sounds. The visually stunning installations never cease to amaze me.

From The amazing Caesars and Forum Shops to the Lake of dreams at the Wynn, you can spend hours just having a drink and looking at them. Add the amazing fountain at Bellagio and the canals at Venetian and Palazzo and it is mind blowing. Take a look at some simple shots I took.


Vegas is so much more than many people think. Just walking around can be a world class experience. Open your eyes and look at the things around you.