Friday, December 15, 2006

150 lbs of pork, one FE100 and a bottle of Tequila

I'm going to attemp to cook 150lbs of pork on my FE100 this weekend. Should be interesting. Hmmm I might need more Tequila.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The show was fun to watch

The show was both fun and painful to watch. We came out of the gate very strong with a 25 point lead. Our pork couldn't have come out better and the cracklins we included just put us over the top. It was all down hill from there though.

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

Tonight's the night

Well the episode of the Barbecue Championship series that I participated in will be on tonight at 10:00pm on the versus chanel. I hope it's enjoyable.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Going to get my trailer

I'm sitting at a rest stop on Route 2 in Leominster MA waiting for Charlie to drop off my trailer. I have my fingers crossed that he doesn't have any problems and that I don't have any trouble on my way home.

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

Winter Q

I was chatting with my fellow New England bbq'rs on the NewEngland BBQ Yahoo list last week and made the following post: "We need to organize a contest for December. Not just grilling but Barbecue. I'm Jonesing for a contest. I don't want the season to end" Well that little comment blossomed into a fullblown Barbecue contest that will be held in Lincoln New Hampshire on January 14th and 15th at the Inn Seasons Resort. There will be more info posted on the NEBS website if your interested.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Charlie and crew made it home safely last night. We're glad to have them home safe and sound. I'll have to give him a call tonight so we can plan our next roadtrip..........NOT.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

On the road again

Well the 2nd transmission has been installed and the gang is on the road again 200 miles closer to home. Keep your fingers crossed !!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Saga continues

Charlie called me around 4:00pm. The good news is they traveled around 450 miles. The bad news is the new transimission just crapped out. He's somewhere in Virginia waiting for another transmission to arrive which probably won't be until sometime Friday. I'm at a loss for words.

Jack Continued

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 Lynchburg High School band. While waiting for the parade to start I got to spend some time with Guy Fieri from the food network. We met at a bbq class in Houston before he bacame famous. I really enjoyed talking to him and hearing about all the exciting things he has coming up. The parade goes from the contest site through the center of town and over to the Visitors center where there are busses waiting to take people up the hill to a reception party. To be honest the reception was a bit of a disappointment this year. They served chili which was very good but really not up to par with the fried chicken and sides that were served last year. But it was good meeting and chatting with people from all over the world. There was plenty of free Jack Daniels and Lynchburg lemonade to go around.

I left the reception around 9:00pm 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 11:00 pm 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 also stopped by.

After that we started breaking down camp and getting ready for the awards ceremony.

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, 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.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The cooker is up to temp and the butts and briskets are rerubbed and on the pit. I'm not sure what the burn time is on a load of charcoal so I'll have to get up a couple of times during the night to make sure I don't run out of coal. I wasn't planning on getting much sleep this weekend. Even though the cooker will probably burn for a good 6 or 7 hours I'm nervous and I probably won't sleep anyway.
Well here I am in beautiful Cape Cod Massachusetts at the contest site. It's currently 53 degrees and clear. I have my site all set up and my meat all trimmed and prepped and ready to go into the smoker. I'll put my briskets and butts on around 10 or 11 pm. Ribs will go on around 6:00 am and chicken into the cooker at 10:00 am. I used Pardise Ridge rub on the Brisket and Butts and I also put a litte Harley's rub on the brisket. For chicken I'm probalby going to use Texas Rib Rangers Rub and ribs I'll use Home BBQ rib rub. For sauces I have KC MasterPiece and Sweet Baby Rays. I'll probaly doctor them up with some honey and some other choice ingredients.

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

I'll be competing with Team Agave this weekend in Cape Cod. We'll be cooking on the Caldera and maybe a WSM and trying a bunch of different rubs and sauces. It should be fun.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What does it take to compete 1500 miles from home

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

Trying out a new cooker

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

Success in Lowell

It was a great ending/beginning of the NEBS barbecue season for our team. We won our 5th Massachusetts State Championship. It's a great feeling to do well in our home State. There were a few bumps along the way but all in all it was a great weekend. We were set up next to one of our favorite competitors the gang from Lunchmeat. They're a lot of fun to be around and just a great bunch of folks. We placed 6th in Chicken, 4th in ribs, 3rd in pork and 3rd in Brisket. Lunchmeat took Reserve Grand.

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. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 08, 2006

Gearing up for a comp this weekend

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 Mass State championship held in Lowell this weekend. If we can win this one then the pressure to qualify for next years Jack Daniels contest is off our backs. unless of course someone hosts a second Massachusetts State championship sometime during the year.

Wish us luck

Should I continue ?

While the trip to Reno is over I still have some barbecuing to do in a couple of premier events, the American Royal Invitational and the Jack Daniels World Championship. They'll be less secrecy involved with these two events and I'll be able to share more of my experiences with you. If anyone is still reading let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Traveling Companions

Jim Boggs- Jim brought 14 maps and an atlas so we wouldn't get lost traveling I80 for 2600 miles. Somehow Jim managed to get us lost.

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.

Views from the road

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's a wrap

Well it's done. We have a winner. I'm sure the word will get out but your not gonna hear it from me. I think the format of the show will be pretty entertaining. I'll try to let you know when it's going to be on tv.

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

Random thoughts

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

This stuff looks easy when you watch it on tv

We got up at 6:00 am and didn't get to bed until 4:00 am. My dogs are tired. They film two show simultaneously, one on the nice shaded A side and one on the Sunny sparse B side. We spent most of the day on B side trying to keep cool and trying to cook our butts off. What a blast. I'll tell you one thing Myron and his teammate Dave are a lot of fun to be around. We had a blast.

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

Extreme BBQ

Wow !! That's all I can say. This is not your typical bbq competition. You guys are not gonna be dissapointed with this show. I don't know how much footage will end up on the cutting room floor but there's gonna be plenty of good stuff to keep.

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.

That's a wrap

The first episode is in the can. Two teams have been eliminated from the competition. I can't say who won and who lost and I can't post any action shots from the set. Sorry I wish I could.

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.

This is not KCBS my friends

The judges have tasted the first entry. They didn't take just one bite, they made a meal of it. No water and saltines, just a choice of water, red wine or white wine. The cooks had to explain their entry to the judges before the tasting began and they had to answer any questions that the judges asked. There isn't a ziplock bag or a cooler in sight. These judges mean business.

The Games People Play

That schedule change I mentioned. Well that might not be true. We got the info from another competitor and failed to verify it. It doesn't really effect us since we're not cooking until Friday but we did want to witness the first competition.

Paybacks a you know what.........

The Schedule

Remember what I said about schedule changes ? Well the 8:00 am start for today has been moved to 2:45pm. It's gonna be a late night.

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.


The end of a long day

Well we ended up not being in the practice cook which was actually a good thing. We got to watch the whole thing from the sidelines and I think it was a good way to see it from the audiences perspective as well as the judges perspective. I think this years judges are going to be a real fun group of people. They seemed to interact well together as well as with the teams cooking in the contest. It's gonna be way different from last year and I think it will be enjoyable to watch.

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

Competitor Line-up

Printed with permission of the executive producer

Mike Davis
Hilard Pouncy
Joe Davidson

Byron Chism
James Britt
Adam Perry Lang

Johnny Trigg
Ladder 55
Mike Wosniak

Bart Clark
Emma Feigenbaum
Ernie Mellor

Ray Lampe
Wood Chicks
Fast Eddie

Myron Mixon
Sara Horowitz
Jack McDavid

Live from the set

If you ever do a tv show and they give you a schedule to follow, take it and throw it in the trash. The schedule is bound to change 15 times within a 1 hour period. I'm hanging here with Dizzy Pig, the Guru Guys, The green egg people, Mike from backwoods, Fast Eddy is within view, Jack McDavid, Some folks from the buttrub team.

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.

Today the insanity begins

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

Here's a picture of the production staff on the set of the competition. The brackets have been set and all the teams know who they're competing against, what they're cooking in 2 out of the 3 cooks and what cookers they have to use. I'll post the bracket if I get permission from the show. I will tell you that Jack, Jim and I will be cooking against a very successful MIM cook and a wildcard that was on the tv show Hells Kitchen. It's not going to be easy.

Today is the Big Meet and Greet

We're headed down to the filming location to meet with all the cooks competing in the competition. It's going to be a real whose who of BBQ. Mike Davis, Johnny Trigg, Joe Davidson, Myron Mixon, Byron Chism, Ray Lampe, Jack McDavid, and a whole bunch of other bigtime bbq names. It will be exciting just being in the same place with all of these great cooks. Imagine having the opportunity to competes against them. I'm getting real excited and I can't wait for the challenge to begin.

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 Made it

Well folks here we are. If you've never made the drive across this beautiful country you don't know what your missing. From the plains to the mountains through the dessert and all beneath that big beautiful sky, it's well worth the trip.

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

What's a roadtrip without a flat tire

Indiana doesn't like us. We pulled over for our regular 200 mile gas fillup and when I walked to the front of the truck Iheard a hissing sound. My first fear was that we were overheating. It turned out we were leaking air from the tire valve stem. We have a spare no big deal right ? Wrong ! It took us 30 minutes to figure out where the darn Jack and tire iron were hidden in the truck. Then the tire iron won't fit on to remove the aftermarket hub caps so we ripped it off. Finally get the tire changed and go into Hardees for some breakfast. There only serving microwaved burgers so we skipped that. Tried to get and ice cream out of the vending machine. It was out of order. Then we missed the on ramp to I 80. Spent 1/2 hour driving in circles trying to get back to the highway. Chalk it up to lack of sleep.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

On the road Baby !!

Well we took off right after the last turn in and hit the road. Received several phone calls informing me We won New Holland. Woooo Hoooo !!!!! I wish I was there to see my dads face he must have gone nuts. It's a weird feeling winning a contest and not being there to make the walk. That's what we work so hard for.

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 Arrival

We pulled into New Holland around 11:30 a little behind schedule. Driving over to our site we run into the famous or is that infamous Woodoggies. You couldn't ask for a warmer welcome when arriving anywhere here in these United States. A handshake or a quick manly hug just isn't enough for John. He had to plant two sloppy kisses one on each cheek. Ah well it's nice to know your among friends.

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

5 hours and 250 miles later

Well we made it to our stopping point for tonight. I'm sitting here in a very nice Marriott Courtyard with a marvelous $49 dollar rate thanks to my good friend Doug. It's nice to have friends with connections. I'm in Whippany NJ.

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.

Good Night

And So it Begins

I'll be leaving my home in Massachusetts tonight to set out on a bbq adventure. The first part in the adventure will take me to New Holland Pennsylvania to compete in the New Holland Summerfest bbq competition. My Father and I are the defending champs at this event. I'm really looking forward to seeing some old friends I haven't seen in some time.

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