When I Smell Smoke travels to a distant contest there is usually a whole lot of planning involved, not so for Little Rock Arkansas. On February 2nd I received an ad for the contest in my email and forwarded it to the rest of the team thinking I'd get a reply along the lines of "Yeah Right". Instead I get reply from Carlotta saying "Are you driving ?" and then one from Charlie saying "I'll Drive !". A few emails and a few days later the next thing I knew I was sending in the $350 dollar entry fee for a contest 1446 miles from home. Charlie, Carlotta and Carmen driving and me flying. Somewhere along the line we talked Transformer BBQ into making the trip too, I think their decision was even more spur of the moment than ours was. Rather than having two vehicles drive almost 1500 miles from New England to Arkansas we agreed to take their equipment in our trailer so they could fly out.
The flights to Arkansas were uneventful, the drive on the other hand was a mix of rain sleet and snow all the way from Fitzwilliam NH to Little Rock Arkansas. Even so there were no complaints from our 'Drive Team' when they hit the hotel. We all hit a Mexican Restaurant called Cozy Mels (I know Cheesy name) that turned out to be a great place to eat. We were joined by The Slabs and Smoke on Wheels bbq teams and a good time was had by all.
The weather for the weekend was rainy and in the high 30's to low 40's for the entire weekend. If the contest was a week earlier we would have been cooking in 80 degree sunny weather. Oh well that was out of our control so we just bundled up and dealt with it. Friday night The Slabs organized a St. Paddy's themed potluck which ended up being held on our site due to space constraints. Smoked Corned beef, cabbage with smoked sausage, bacon explosion potatoes, Reuben dip, steak soup, Irish stew, Baileys and Cream, Pizza, Green desserts, Green Soda, lots of beer and some beef sandwiches from Chicago made for a great spread. Thanks to all who attended we enjoyed your food and your company.
I slept through my alarm the next morning and woke up just in time for the potluck breakfast. Steph from The Slabs made Italian Strata and Grit Bake Casserole and there were some Krispy Kreme donuts that they were giving away somewhere on the contest grounds. There may have been more food but I was a little out of it and couldn't really say. I checked on my BBQ and my Pork Butts were done ! Uh oh. I was a little embarrassed pulling my meat off the cooker that early with so many eyes around the site but I had to get those Butts off before they cooked any further. I put them in the cambro but left the door open for a little while so the internal temp on the butts would drop and they would not continue to cook.
to be continued...