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.