Friday, December 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
We made our sauce for the tenderloin in a cast iron pan and the sauce started picking up some metalic flavors from the pan. We transferred it to a different pan and thought we were alright. Obviously we were wrong. That must have been the burnt taste the judges were complaining about. Maybe the longer the sauce sat the more pronounced the flavor got, we'll never know since we didn't taste it after turning in the venison. We also had other issues with the tenderloin. We originally wanted to turn in kabobs with cherries bet were informed it was against the rules. We also wanted to use a rub as a garnish but that was nixed too.
I won't even go into the crab. Let's just say it was not the freshest seafood on the planet.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
It's been a long time since that trailer has been home. I'm looking forward to having it back in the yard so I can do some Holiday cooking. Maybe I'll bone out a couple of Turkeys and roast them in the FE one day this week. I also have a new larger firebox for my Caldera sitting in the trailer that Fred dropped off for me at the Jack. I'm curious how long of a burn time I will get with the larger firebox.
It looks like I have a lot of playing to do.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
With a belly full of Southern delights it was time to prep the meat for competition. We trimmed our butts and briskets at home but we still had to trim Ribs and Chicken. Doug worked on the ribs and Charlie trimmed the chicken while I made up our injections for the pork and brisket. Once the meat was injected we put it in Zip Lock bags and then back into the cooler to rest before it was time to cook. We discussed when we would put the meat on the cooker and had to take into consideration that turn-in times were one hour later than a normal KCBS competition. We also discussed how we would present our meat in the boxes because the rules stated we had to have at least 7 pieces as opposed to the normal 6.
After the meat was prepped it was time to join the parade which is led by the
I left the reception around because it was time to light the pit and get ready to cook some meat. I loaded up my Backwoods smoker with Wicked Good Charcoal and BBQr's Delight Pecan Smoke Stix and waited for it to come up to temp. It was somewhere around this time that I found out about my Friend Scotties Father passing. I tried to offer what comfort I could but knew there was really nothing I could do for him except let him know I was there for him.
At I loaded the Butts and briskets into the Backwoods. A couple of people from the Qhaven bbq team stopped by for a visit and to share a drink. The wind was kicking up pretty good at times but it didn’t seem to affect the smoker. We had several visitors during the night.
The weather was much improved in the morning. Charlie got up at 6:00 am to season the ribs and put them on the smoker. He also added more charcoal, wood and water to the smoker. I got up around 7:30 to get ready for the day. The Chicken went on the smoker around 11:00 am and the brisket and butts came off to get some rest time. The ribs needed a little more time. Everything was looking pretty good. We had some visitors at this time but regrettably I really couldn't spend much time with them, we had too much to do. Doug spent most of the morning prepping his dessert. Charlie cooked our chefs choice entry.
The one entry I didn't like was our Pork. Of course pork is what we did best in. We did spend extra time on it trying to improve it's taste and texture. I guess it paid off. Between turn-ins and awards I got a visit from drbbq and Lee Ann Whippen who have both been on the television show The Barbecue Championship series. I have known both of them for awhile. I attended a drbbq cooking class a few years ago and I consider us friends. I have competed against Lee Ann several times and we have become friends. They both wanted to sample my ribs and brisket and I thought that was a real compliment in itself. I didn't really ask them what they thought because I didn't want to put them on the spot. My good friend Garry Howard from the smokering.com also stopped by.
After that we started breaking down camp and getting ready for the awards ceremony.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
This is one of the most prestigious events in the world of competition Barbecue. Teams from all over the country dream of being able to compete in this event. To qualify for the contest you need to win a State Championship or a contest with 50 teams or more. If there is more than one qualifying contest in your state you then go into a draw with any other teams that qualified in that state.
We qualified for the Jack by winning the Massachusetts State Championship and the
We flew out of
Bye the time we were all checked in it was time to get some dinner. It was pretty cold and rainy outside but we decided to walk to Demos Steak and Spaghetti house, a restaurant where we had eaten when we were in
We hit several bars on Broadway including Tootsies and Robert's and got to listen to some great music. By I was ready to hit the sack. A couple of our team members stayed out and headed over to Bourbon Street blues and Boogie Bar and said the house band was awesome. They strolled back to the Hotel around . I'm told Joe ordered some food and proceeded to fall asleep. Doug heard a knock on the door around and had some choice words for the delivery guy who woke him out of a sound sleep. Sorry delivery guy it wasn't your fault.
We got up around and had some breakfast then it was off to
We got set up and I took my Parents to lunch at the famous Miss Mary Bobo's. The food was excellent and we made friends with the Hostess who visited with us the next day at the competition. If you’re in
I also have mixed feelings about our performance at the Jack. We took 22nd chicken, 22nd ribs, 12th Pork and 19th Brisket which put us 12th overall. We never heard our name called once but we actually finished better overall then we have in years past. Really a pretty good showing but not as exciting as last year when we won first place ribs. I guess I should be happy about that but I came into the Jack this year with a confidence I've never had in the past. Well I guess we'll see what happens next year.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I just found a blog from another New England team that will be competing in the Jack. The name of the team is Qhaven and this is their rookie season. To earn a spot at the Jack in your rookie season is quite an accomplishement and one they should be very proud of. If you want to see the Jack through the eyes of a rookie check out Ted's blog.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Well the first show of the Barbeque Championship Series aired on Versus last night. So what didn't you see ?
The Woodchicks were late getting a start on their Lobster because Lee Ann wanted to wait and time here Lobster perfectly. The only problem was she had to go up front for the Chicken Judging. Something she didn't plan for. It completely through her timing off and ultimately lost her the battle.
Darrell made the comment to Fast Eddy that he should smack the guy that gave him his stuffing recipe. What you didn't see was Eddy explaining to the judges beforehand that a local gentlaman that he did business with gave him this wonderful family recipe for the stuffing.
On the show the judges looked like it was all just fun and games but in reality they took the judging very seriously. They sampled each entry seperately and judged them for apperance taste and tenderness. It was a very long process, not something you could show on a one hour television program and keep the viewers attention.
The order that the shows are being aired is not the order that they were filmed in.
I've seen comments by some people on the net that they were dissapointed that more cooking was not shown. I'm afraid that some of that can be blamed on the cooks themselves. We were all told that if you are about to do something interesting grab a camera crew and we will film it. Maybe we didn't do enough of that or maybe what we thought was interesting didn't make it past the cutting room floor. This is all pretty new territory and both the cooks and the producers are learning as we go along.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Well we’ve been driving around the country for the last several years and other then a few minor instances we’ve never had any trouble. I guess we were due. Pat broke down in Cloverdale
We drove about 500 miles in pouring rain that night and decided it would be wise to stop and get a room. On the news we saw reports of Tornadoes and Snow all along the path we had driven. When we drove out to
Now we have to figure out how we’re going to get Charlie the truck and the trailer to
Oct. 29 10:00 p.m. ET Mike Davis vs. Joe Davidson and Hillard Pouncy
Nov. 5 8:00 p.m. ET Bryon Chism vs. Adam Perry Lang and James Britt
Nov. 12 10:00 p.m. ET Johnny Trigg vs. Mike Wozniak and Mike Zofchak
Nov. 19 10:00 p.m. ET Bart Clark vs. Ernie Mellor and Emma Feigenbaum
Nov. 26 10:00 p.m. ET Myron Mixon vs. Jack McDavid and Sara Horowitz (I'm in this one)
Dec. 3 10:30 p.m. ET Semifinal Round One
Dec. 10 10:30 p.m. ET Semifinal Round Two
Dec. 17 10:30 p.m. ET Final
Monday, October 09, 2006
We were also able to redeem ourselves in the Brisket category. We took 37th out of 475 teams. I was very happy with that after how it scored the day before. I cooked the same recipe. We placed 8th in chicken officially making it our best category for the weekend. That's quite an accomplishment considering chicken has been a weekness all year long. The ribs placed 118th not great but not bad considering the amount of teams entered. Pork was 29th which I thought was great in that field. So if you add them all together where did that put us overall ? 4th place my friends. That's right !! Oh yeah !! Wooo Hoooo ! 4th out of 475 teams. WOW !!
I just got some bad news. Pat our team member that's doing all the driving is having some mechanical problems with the truck. He's stuck somewhere in Indiana but he sounds like his spirits are high. Hopefully it's nothing major and we'll see him home soon. Pat did all our meat presentation for the Open Contest. He was a big part of our success.
I need to thank all my team mates. Charlie who trimmed all the chicken and kept the fires burning and got up at 5:30am after partying all night to put our ribs on. Carlotta who does all the box prep and dish washing and runs all the boxes to turn in. Carmen that just looks cute when she goes up with us to receive our ribbons. Pat who did all the driving helped us set up and break down and did some first class boxes for the open. Doug who couldn't make it out to the Royal but he trimmed all the butts and briskets before we left and got us some super cheap nice hotel rooms at the Marriott.
It was a blast and we'll be back next year to do it all again.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Congrats to Mike and Debbie Davis for winning Grand and the Smokin Clones for their Reserve Grand. Both teams difinately earned it !! They're great cooks.
Allot of my friends also got calls today and I'm syched for them. Pellet Envy, Cancer Sucks Chicago.com, Dizzy Pigs, Philly Pigs, The Slabs, Carcass Cookers, Cool Smoke I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. Don't hold it against me the Agave has been flowing.
Time to put the meat on for tomorrows cook. Ther are thousands of people and whole bunch of parties going on. The music is cranking and the bodies are swaying and it's a damn good time.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I'll try to post when I land but we have a bunch of work to do when I get there and then I'm supposed to go to Arthur Bryants with some friends if I'm done setting up.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I hop on a plane at 6:00 am tomorrow and head out to one of the premier BBQ events in the country. The American Royal Barbecue. We are entered in both the Invitational contest which we will begin cooking tomorrow night and the open contest that we will cook on Friday night. If you've never cooked back to back barbecue contest then you don't know how exhausting it can be. Especially when your cooking in a paved parking lot. Your feet ache, your back aches, your head aches, every muscle of your body aches. Your probably thinking then why put yourself through all that. Because it's a hell of a lot of fun. You get to hang with people from all walks of life all with a passion for barbecue and barbecue competitions. There's some drinking, some bs'ing, some great eats and just a real feeling of community. Barbecue people are the best.
I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Some people set up in the same spot every year and talk to the same people every year. I like to get a different spot so I can meet new people and make new friends. Sometimes you end up next to one of the big names in Barbecue and sometimes you get set up next to a first time team. If you end up next to one of the big boys you should pick their brains and get some ideas to improve your barbecue. Most teams are willing to share at least some of what they do. If you end up next to a rookie it's your job to help them out in any way you can and make their experience as great as yours has been in the past.
We'll be set up in spot 792. Stop by and say hi.
I Smell Smoke !!!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Is the old saying it's not the cooker it's the cook true ? I don't know but it wasn't dificult operating the Caldera and there's not much of a learning curve to get it to perform.
I cooked all four meats in the Caldera. Two Butts, Two Briskets, Two racks of ribs and eight Chicken thighs. There was plenty of room. I finished the thighs off on a hot grill to crisp the skin a little.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
I was going to take some pictures but of course the batteries on my camera are dead. I'll see if I can get some batteries close by and take a few shots. I'm flying solo so I doubt I'll have time to take pics of my Turn In boxes. I believe there are 18 teams competing and many of them are rookies. I think that's great, the more teams we can get the better. I'm going to go mingle now and meet some of the new teams. Wish me luck in the competition.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Well first it takes somebody willing to drive the 1500 miles to get our equipment to the contest. Thankfully our team member Pat is up for the task. Then it takes roughly $800 dollars to keep the gas tank full for the roundtrip. Charlie,Carlotta and Carmen were lucky enough to get free airfare thanks to Pats wonderful parents who happen to have a stash of frequent flyer miles. That saves us $600 right there. I on the other hand have to shell out the $200 for airfare. If you want to play you gotta pay right ? Then we need two hotel rooms for Saturday night because after cooking two contests back to back a shower and a bed are the only two things in life worth living for. This my friends is where it pays to have a teammate that works in the Hotel Industry. We have two discounted rooms at the lovely Marriott hotel which cost $39 each. You can't beat that !! Thanks Doug we wish you were making the trip with us.
Then there is the question of meat and garnish. Do we bring it ? Should we just attempt to purchase the meat there ? Well we decided to do a little of both. I think the big meats (brisket and pork butt) travel just fine and will be ok in a cooler for a few days. The smaller meats (chicken and ribs) don't travel all that well in my opinion. Now in the past I've taken my chances and drove around looking for suitable meat. Not this time. We've been doing this competition thing for close to 10 years now and we've managed to make friends all across the country. I have a friend in KC that's going to get us some Ribs, Chicken and Garnish. Thank you very much. I hope we can return the favor some day when you head out East to compete.
So as you can see it takes planning, money and a little help from our friends to make it possible for us to compete so far from home and still feel we have a fighting chance to win. I have traveled and borrowed equipment from people in the past but it's just not the same as having all of your own stuff to cook with. As long as we pack everything in the trailer we should be good to go. We're looking forward to the Royal and looking forward to seeing all our friends that we only bump into a few times a year.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I've aquired a Caldera Tallboy smoker. I fired it up tonight to see how it runs. Loaded a picnic shoulder around 9:00pm and we'll see what we end up with in the morning. I will also cook some Johnsonville Sausages and some chicken thighs pack it all up and head out to watch the Pats beat up on the Jets. Life is good.
Monday, September 11, 2006
We have a homemade water filler for our Backwoods but I left the water Jug in Reno(oops). Our waterpan got pretty low sometime during the night and the temp on the cooker spiked to 325 degrees. One Brisket got completely overcooked but luckily we were able to salvage the second brisket. The Pork turned out a little darker than normal but tasted pretty good. We've struggled with chicken all year long so we decided to cook some white meat as well as dark since we will need to do that for the Jack Daniels contest this year. Since our chicken hasn't done that well all year we didn't see it as too risky. We were happy with the results but there is definately room for improvement. We need to get more flavor into the breast meat.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I swear there's more work getting ready for a bbq competition then there is once you get on site. We need to buy Meat, make sure all of our spices and cooking gear like gloves, aluminum pans, foil, paper towel etc.... are stocked up. Deciding what to buy to cook for dinner. Finding Garnish that looks good enough to turn into the judges (this could involve going to 3 different stores). This weekend we not only have a bbq comp but a grilling competition as well which means we have to do twice the shopping. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have to work for a living. It's a real balancing act trying to get all this done and not ignoring our work and family lives. But if it wasn't fun we wouldn't do it right ?
We're going for a three peat in the
Wish us luck
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Jack McDavid- Jack was one of the original Food Network Stars cooking along side Bobby Flay in Grillin and Chillin. He can take it as well as he can dish it out. I had to laugh though when he told me that I talk too much.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Over the next few days I plan to post some reflections and finally get some pictures posted.
One thought I'll share with you now is that it's a lot easier to drive 2700 miles to get someplace then it is to drive 2700 miles to get home. I'm worn out.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
We helped out checkered pig bbq yesterday by seasoning and loading about 35 cases of ribs to be served at the Reno ribfest which goes on for 6 days. They expect to sell nearly 400 cases of ribs during the event. Those boys are woking they're tails off. The line never ends.
After being filmed for a tv show you start to wonder am I going to look like a total dork on tv. Is the show going to be fun to watch. How many of my pork cooking techniques are you all going to know once the show airs ?
Eating at a crappy buffet 5 days in a row is not a good thing. Then you find out after the fact that you could use the free meal tickets at the hotel deli. Now you tell me. Thanks Rod.
When theres 75K on the line you find out who your real friends are and who truly are the good guys in bbq.
Some of the big names in bbq are really fine outstanding people and a blast to hang with. It's true we all put our pants on one leg at a time.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
There are now 8 teams eliminated and four that will move on to the semi finals. Today is the filming of the last two preliminary rounds. Everything is filmed in front of a live audience and it's a lot of fun.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Before each battle the three competing teams are told two of the three categories they will be competing in. The third category is a mystery. It's the third category that's really going to test the skill of the cooks. It's pretty wild.
There was some controversy today but it was handled and it didn't effect the outcome of the c ompetition. We're going to go watch the first turn in for episode two and get some sleep so we'll be on top of our game tomorrow.
Paybacks a you know what.........
I wanna give a shout out to all the fine folks that have left comments on the blog. Thanks for all the well wishes and encouragement. It means allot.
I also want to wish Laura McDavid a happy 16th birthday.
It's interesting to see how the cooks and the tv crew react. Individual personalities become very apparent in situations where everything doesn't run completely smooth. Some people go with the flow and others tend to blow up at people that don't have anything to do with the problems they are experiencing. We all know that championship bbq cooks are pretty much type A personalities.
It's late good night
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Our latest schedule puts us on stage at 7:00pm tonight doing the practice shoot. Supposedly there are 18 camera crews here to shoot the show and I'm told that's more cameras than they use at the Superbowl.
Well back to hanging out and cooking up some butts and ribs for the crew.
We'll be participating in a practice cook today. We'll be cooking just like we will in the actual competition. This will give the camera crews a chance to perfect all the camera angles and see how the action will flow.
There is a ribfest that attracts 400,000 people in 6 days that is going on right in the square where the show is being filmed. It's going to be packed with people.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I'll keep you posted and let you know what it's like behind the scenes of the television production. I'm told there are 100 people on the production staff. That's a heck of allot of people to produce just a little old bbq special. The staff members we have met so far have been great and I'm really looking forward to working with them.
Monday, August 28, 2006
We dropped the trailer at the filming site and I think it through them for a bit of a curve ball. There scrambling now to see where they can set it up or whether they'll need to unbolt my cookers from the back. They'll get it done I'm not worried about it.
We're all checked in to our hotel room and it's time for a shower and a nap. We might take a ride to Lake Taho later. We'll see how we feel.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Jack just had a triple espresso, I think I'm in for the ride of my life !!! 200 miles down 2100 to go. The rain just started to fall and the sun is going down. I'll keep ya posted.
Friday, August 25, 2006
The Park is packed this year, they have teams all the way down to the end of the block. Yet it still feels roomy and inviting. Mel was quick to greet us, show us our spot and get the meat inspected. I've already had visits from the Hawgshead team, Crispy Critters, Vinny from the BBQ Brethren and members of the Dizzy Pig team who came with Tequila in hand.
Time to trim the meat. I'll start with brisket. I like to trim allot of fat from my briskets so I have some work to do.
Check back for an update later today.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Other then a sensless traffic jam in Bridgeport CT and a wrong turn here in NJ the trip was pretty uneventful. We made it out of the Boston area in record time. There must be allot of people on vacation this week.
I'll check in tomorrow when we hit New Holland, hopefully we'll get there by 10:00 am. I need to stop at Yoders Market and get some Garnish and some honey soaked pecans. Those things are dynamite.
The next part of my adventure will begin immediately after the brisket category in New Holland. I'll hop in to a truck with Jack McDavid of Food Channel fame and Jim Boggs and together we'll make a 2300 mile trek to Reno Nevada to compete in the OLN television special which will air sometime in October.
I'll share with you my experiences on this adventure or misadventure, only time will tell.
Time to google some directions