My first competition is under my belt (well… 1st half of an competition since I only turned in chicken and ribs). This weekend I went to Chandler, OK for their annual Hog Wild BBQ and Chrome Fest. It was a good time to put some of my practice to work while also learning a lot about the process and getting to know some of my fellow competitors from around the state. To tell you the truth if I was intimidated when I saw the names of some of the teams competing in Chandler – Fast Eddy, Butcher BBQ (I buy some of their products), Clark Crew BBQ (Travis cooked at the class I went to, took Reserve Grand Champion, and is one of the leading teams on the KCBS circuit in average score per contest), Caveman Cuisine (who ended up being the Grand Champion), and several teams sponsored by name brands you would recognize. Luckily, I set my goals lows: make both of my turn-in times for chicken and ribs & NOT FINISH DEAD LAST :)
First thing was to get organized and realize what I had forgotten. After hearing horror stories about pop-up shelter tents flying away, I used a trick I read on BBQBrethren and simply filled 5 gallon water buckets on each corner (For those who don’t know 1 gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds). The nice thing about this trick is, I don’t have to haul sand around and I can just dump the water out when I am done. Now for the things I forgot… You will probably notice that my cooking site has no chair, that would be because I left it in the garage. So, I just used my cooler as a seat. As far as physical supplies that I meant to bring, it was an obvious oversight but nothing that would be unrecoverable. I did however forget my honey to put on my ribs, but as it would happen, I have recently started using Kosmos Honey Powder on my chicken thighs. As for things that I didn’t even think of and wished I had: a fan (I know but I didn’t think of it), bleach wipes, and a tent – although that camper next to me did look awfully nice. I have no idea why I didn’t think of a fan for a late June contest in Oklahoma. I just planned on sleeping in the back of the Acadia, which I knew would be hot but it was that or the bugs and I hate mosquitos.
Here is my site about 90 minutes after arriving and unpacking. A couple of things to notice is the rookie (AKA Me) parking his SUV on the opposite side of the shelter from the road and the little pink ribbon. My parking became an issue when I realized I had made it very difficult for me to go out and get any last minute supplies I may have needed. The little pink ribbon is how this contest mark each team for meat inspection. In KCBS competition, the event reps must insure that each team has brought fresh meats that have not yet been seasoned or marinated. AND no chair, can you tell I missed my chair?
Here is the site at 5 am with my chimney starter lit to get my WSM up to temp. At this point, all the intimidation of the other teams was gone and I was focused on nailing my temps and techniques.
Here is the 6 chicken thighs I selected for my turn in at noon. I was extremely pleased with my chicken and felt the moisture and taste were good and the skin was bite through! However, as you will see later, the judges were less impressed. Always room to improve, right?
Here are my pork ribs I turned in. Honestly, I was a little disappointed with them but I wasn’t about to not turn something in. For the record, the top left and bottom right two were what I was looking for on color, but they were not cooperating with me on cutting. Look and you will see that my cuts are nowhere near straight!
So, here are the results. Out of 37 teams, I was 30th in chicken and 13th in ribs. 13th!!! I was only 3 places away from getting a call and a very small check. As I am told “That is how it goes in BBQ” when your results don’t agree with how you felt about what you turned in. I sat through the entire awards ceremony waiting to see my results with my sons going nuts from sitting still for an hour and was crazy happy that I finished higher than over half of the teams in ribs!
To celebrate, we went and took a little helicopter ride over Chandler, OK before going back to Edmond to eat some Hideaway Pizza.
Till next time…