Monday, September 15, 2008

An achievment worth writing about.

This weekend I Smell Smoke won it's 5th straight Massachusetts Championship in a row. Overall the team has won 7 Massachusetts State Championships. I can't make any grand claims about this being the biggest streak or anything because I haven't done the research but I'll bet it's right up there near the top.

The team won it's first Massachusetts State Championship in 1997 at the Pig in Pepper Festival in Westford Mass. This was actually the first Grand Championship the team had ever won. We had a dry spell for a few years and did not win our second Mass State Championship until 2001 which was also the Pig and Pepper Festival.

In 2002 there were two Mass State Championships, one in Lowell and one in Acton. The Yahoos managed to win both of those events but I Smell Smoke was Reserve Grand in the Acton event and this marked the rise of our teams success. We placed Reserve Grand in several contests that year.

From 2003 to 2007 the Massachusetts State Championship was held in Lowell Massachusetts. I Smell Smoke did not compete in 2003. I Smell Smoke was Grand Champ of the Lowell event from 2004 to 2007.

That brings us to the present. This years Massachusetts State Championship was held in Harvard Mass at the Harvard fall festival and 35 teams competed in the event. The team was short 2 founding members and the weather posed some problems as well. Doug and Charlie were not able to make it due to other commitments but the rest of the team was up for the challenge. It rained during the night and our site became a mud bowl. The rain also knocked out the power several times forcing us to move our meat from the Cookshack pellet smoker (requires electricity) to our Backwoods Smoker. In the end we persevered placing 8th in chicken, 7th in ribs, 2nd in pork, 2nd in Brisket and Grand Champion for the 5th Year in a Row. BaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhBaQue !

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Paltz aka Hudson Valley Ribfest

Well I picked the wrong time to start blogging again. Our results in New Paltz were less than steller, we didn't get a call all weekend in the Grilling Contest or the BBQ Contest. We ended up 16th overall in the grilling and 18th overall in the barbecue. I thought all of our food was good this weekend but the judges just didn't agree. We spent a few minutes behind the trailer crying about it and then we did the Hampster Dance to cheer ourselves up.

I'm headed to New Holland Pennsylvania this weekend to cook in the New Holland Summerfest. I've had some success there in the past but didn't do great last year. I'm not changing a thing so we'll see what happens this weekend. Wish us luck.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Heading to New Paltz NY this weekend

Well it's been a pretty successful season so far. In New Hampshire we won both the grilling and barbecue contests and a couple of weeks ago we won the bbq contest at the Harpoon Brewery. Harpoon is one of those special events. We vend and have a lot of friends and family around so its a crazy weekend and winning is just icing on the cake.

This weekend is New Paltz. We've done pretty well there the past few years and it's a great family friendly event. There's a public swimming pool next door with showers which I wish all contests had. Saturday we'll be grilling fish, steak, sausage and pork chops. Sunday is the 4 KCBS categories and an apple category. Last year we did cinnamon apple jello shots for the apple entry. They didn't do great but I think Doug had a blast making them. If your in the New Paltz area this weekend stop by the Ulster County Fairgrounds and say hi.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Peter's Pond

We competed at the Peter's Pond Rib and Brisket festival in Cape Cod this weekend. We took 1st Chicken (no it's not a mistake), 6th ribs, 1st pork and 1st brisket. Oh and we were the Grand Champions !

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Great Pork BBQlossal...Des Moines Iowa

It was hot, it was windy and it was a lot of fun. The BBQlossal is a unique contest in that all of the categories are pork. Ribs, Loin, Whole Hog and Shoulder. We got a call for 8th place Ribs and 5th place loin and ended up 7th overall out of 61 teams.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A little Update

The bbq season has started off a little slow but it's about to kick into high gear. I'm headed to the Great Pork BBQlossal in Des Moines Iowa this weekend to cook under the team name of Hawgeyes Nation. I'll be teaming up with Scottie Johnson of and Mike Tucker of After that we have the Peter's Pond Rib and brisket festival in Cape Cod, The Rotary Ribfest in Merrimack NH, a rib cookoff at Jakes in Waltham, a bbq class in Warminster PA, a contest and bbq class in Lake Placid New York and then a contest in New Jersey. Things are about to get very, very busy ! I'll try to post after each event but no Promises....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Making Pastrami from Commercial Corned Beef

I'm making my first attempt at pastrami today. I'm using store bought corned beef that I've been soaking in water for a couple of days to remove some of the salt. I bought points because they were half the price of the flats and I like the point on a brisket better anyway. I rubbed each corned beef with 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper, 1 tablespoon cracked white pepper, 1 tablespoon cracked coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon coarsely ground freeze dried garlic, 1 tablespoon paprika for color and 1 teaspoon onion powder. If you've ever wondered what makes pastrami uniquely pastrami it's definitely the coriander. It has a very pastrami like smell.I'm cooking on the FE100. Cooked the first 2 hours on smoke setting which fluctuates between 160 and 180 on my cooker. Just turned it up to 240. That is all...
The picture above is the Pastrami after 4 hours in the cooker. It's starting to look pretty tasty !!
Six hours 151 degrees and humming along.After 8 hours the Pastrami was 175 Degrees. I removed it from the smoker let it cool and refrigerated overnight. On Easter Morning I steamed the brisket for 3 hours to complete the process. The end product was moist, tender and very flavorful. This was my first try at making Pastrami and other than pressing the rub into the meat more so it will adhere better I can't really think of any way to improve it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cost Update

Entry Fee $135
2 bone in pork butts 20.65 lbs @ $1.19/lb = $24.57
2 All Natural briskets 18.95 lbs @ $2.95/lb= $55.90

We still have to purchase ribs and chicken.

About the briskets. I'm sure that price seems high and the weight low but it's an all natural grass fed product that has worked very well for us.

About the pork. Boneless butts are going for .90 some odd cents but we definately prefer the bone in variety. You would think bone in would be cheaper but they're not. Go figure.

Grand total so far $215.47. We still have a lot of shopping to do and this doesn't include rubs, sauces, injections, marinades, charcoal and wood. We have sponsors for several of those items but if your planning to get into competition bbq you'll have to purchase them.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Let's get this season started !!

Well we're ready to start off the new bbq season here in good old New England. It's currently 43 degrees outside and the weekend forecast calls for rain and snow with a low of 24. I feel bad for anyone that doesn't have an insulated pit, our Backwoods should do just fine in this weather.

I thought I might try to track our expenses a little better this year and share some of those figures with you. The entry fee for this contest is $135 dollars. The contest was originally supposed to take place in Hancock MA which is 160 miles from my house but it's been moved to Maynard MA which is less than 30 miles. My truck gets about 9 miles to the gallon towing my trailer so that's roughly $40 dollars of fuel savings. We were going to get 3 hotel rooms in Hancock which were $97 each so that's another savings of $291 dollars. This move of venue has saved us a bunch of money.

Well with all that savings I started thinking about the possible 20 degree temps and ordered a propane heater online. It was only $60 dollars and it lasts 6 hours on 1lb of propane. It was a no brainer to me, I just hope it gets here before the contest.
I'll let you know what our meat costs are when I find out. Now I just have to remember how to cook competition bbq.

Edit: 10 seconds after hitting submit for this post I got an email saying the heater has been shipped. Oh boy oh boy. That's good news.