Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Our vehicle problems continue

Charlie picked up his truck and our trailer in Indy and made it 400 miles to the Jack with no problems. He kept saying he loves it when a plan comes together and I had to agree. Our luck would not hold out though. On the way from Lynchburg to Nashville after the contest his truck started making a horrble grinding noise coming from the rear of the truck. Yup you guessed his rear end is messed up. The truck is in the shop today and hopefully he'll be back on the road and headed home this afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jack Daniels World Championship Barbecue Contest

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 Vermont State championship. Both States only have one qualifying contest.

We flew out of Boston on Thursday morning at 9:40 am and arrived in Nashville at 11:30 am. The flight was uneventful and actually enjoyable thanks to the flight attendant who was friendly and proficient at her job. We rented a 12 passenger van which we picked up right at the airport terminal and drove to downtown Nashville to check into our hotel. Charlie, Carlotta and Carmen showed up at the hotel about an hour later and the staff of the Marriott was very helpful in finding us a place to park our trailer.

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 Nashville in 2002. The waitress was trying to teach us how to speak like a Southerner. She told us she knew we were from out of town because not one of us had said y’all while ordering our meals. It was pretty funny. The food was good and we were all set for a night out on the town.

We hit several bars on Broadway including Tootsies and Robert's and got to listen to some great music. By 1:30 am 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 3:00am. I'm told Joe ordered some food and proceeded to fall asleep. Doug heard a knock on the door around 4:00 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 7:00 am and had some breakfast then it was off to Lynchburg to set up camp in the rain. Upon arriving we were informed that we were the last team to get there. Mark Deleshaw the man ushering the teams to their sites told me were DAL (dead ass last) not something a competition team wants to hear. I told home that's ok that we planned to be the last to arrive and the last to make the trip to the stage. Some of the sites were mud bogs but we lucked out and got some high ground. The rain let up just as we were setting up but it was still pretty darn cold.

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 Lynchburg you should make reservations at Mary Bobo's. The wait staff is made up of Students working for a college scholarship. It's really a great thing.

More later

Some thoughts

I don't have time to make a full report on the Jack but I will fill you in later. Right now I'm just a complete jumble of emotions. I'm so happy for my friend Scottie Johnson because he won Grand Champion at Jack Daniels. I'm also so sorry for Scottie who lost his father to Cancer just two days ago. I can't imagine how he must feel at this time. His father wanted him to go to the Jack and I think it was meant to be. He was there with him.

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.

More later.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jack Daniels here we come

Charlie, Carlotta and Carmen hoppped on a jet today and are headed for Indiana to pick up their newly repaired truck and our trailer full of bbq equipment. From there they'll drive to Nashville and meet up with us tomorrow afternoon. Chris Hart and the iQue bbq team are bringing our meat and some other assorted stuff to Lynchburg. Thanks guys.

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

Show #1

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

Barbeque Championship Series

Versus the television network showing The Barbeque Championship Series has launched a website for the show. Be sure to check out the Sneak Peek video for a preview.

Click here to see the website.

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 Indiana on his way back from Kansas City. We crossed our fingers hoping it was a minor mechanical issue but no such luck. The transmission and possibly the transfer case on Charlie’s 1999 Chevy Silverado is shot. Pat was stranded! After a call for help on the BBQ Forum I found someplace safe in Indiana to bring my trailer so Charlie and I hit the road in my pickup truck at 4:00am Tuesday morning with the intention of towing his truck home. We arrived in Cloverdale around 7:30 pm and picked up the trailer and delivered it to Old Dave. Thank you very much Dave for helping out. It’s people like you that make BBQ great.

After dropping the trailer we were off to meet up with Pat who had been stranded in a motel for the last couple of days. The plan was to get some shuteye and pick up the truck in the morning. We picked up a car dolly early in the AM right across the parking lot from our Motel. When we got to the truck and tried to get it on the dolly we found out it wasn’t big enough. Major bummer! There was no way we were going to be able to tow the truck home. Luckily we were able to return the dolly for no charge. The shop where the truck had been towed originally quoted Charlie a price of $5000 to $7000 to repair the truck. I think they really didn’t want to deal with it so they quoted a high price. After meeting with us face to face they said they could install a Transmission for way less than that. We decided to leave the truck and have them repair it. We finally got back on the road around noon time.

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 Indiana we took a westerly route directly through Buffalo New York. Luckily for us we decided on a more easterly route on the way home. Buffalo had almost 2 feet of snow. We finally made it back to NH around 2:30 pm on Thursday. That’s three vacation days I really didn’t want to use but sometimes we don’t have a choice.

Now we have to figure out how we’re going to get Charlie the truck and the trailer to Tennessee for the Jack Daniels contest at the end of October. We’ll work it out.

Barbecue Championship Series Schedule

Oct. 22 10:00 p.m. ET Ray Lampe vs. Ed Maurin and Lee Ann Whippen
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

Wow what a weekend !!

I'm still tired and I'm finding it hard to write the words to express what a great weekend we had. Not just because we did well in the competition but because it was just an awesome time. From our next door neighbors to the neighbors across the street to all the freinds I got to spend time with it was just amazing.

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

It's a bright new day

The sun is shining and it's getting close to crunch time. Things are looking pretty good and we hope to have a good day. With close to 500 teams we know it's a crap shoot but we're still hoping for the best. Time to Rock and Roll.......

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ok so I'm a horrible blogger

Sorry no posts but there is just too much to do, too many people to see. I did pretty good in the comp yet I'm bumming out. We got 12th Chicken, 13th Ribs, 14th Pork and no call in Brisket which we thought put us in the running for Reserve Grand or Second reserve but no such luck. Our Brisket ended up 73rd out of 83 entries. Man that hurts. I thought it was our best entry today, I really did. No way did I think it was 73rd place brisket. NO WAY !! Oh well I'll get over it.

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

Travel Notes

I have a short layover in Milwaukee and I wanted to stay on the plane and sleep. No such luck they made us get off because they are changing crews. They took my toothpaste this morning so now I have an extra stop to make when I get to KC. Oh well the best thing to do is go with the flow. It doesn't make any sense to get all worked up and get yourself in a bad mood. Don't worry be Happy !!

I'm at the airport

It's 5:30 am Eastern time and I'm at the airport waiting for my flight. I keep wondering "what did we forget". I'm sure there's something but the beauty of this 'sport' is if you forget something people will take care of you. I've given people sauce, injection, rub, a fire extinguisher and even meat in the past. In fact last year at the Jack Daniels a team knocked their table over and lost all their sauce on the ground. They knew I used the same brand and asked if I had any extra. I was happy to take care of them. What other 'sport' can you say that about ? Notice I put sport in quotations ? I'm not sure what we do can be considered a sport but call it whatever you like. It's a competition.

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

Going to Kansas City. Kansas City Here I come !!

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

I won !

Well I can't believe it but I actually won the contest this weekend. The Caldera worked great and put out a very good product. I placed 5th in Chicken, 4th in Ribs, 5th in Pork and 1st in Brisket and won Grand Champion. I ended up using modified KC Masterpiec sauce using a recipe that my Friend Rick Salmon from Kansas gave me.

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.