The first contest of the year was one for the books!
It all started with the drive down to Huntsville. If you Google a trip from Edmond, OK to Huntsville, TX, you will find an estimated drive time of 5 1/2 to 6 hours. With bad weather rolling in, Dallas was a complete nightmare to drive through; the trip from Denton to Hutchins took 6 hours. My departure time from Edmond was 0730 and we rolled into the Huntsville Fair Grounds a little after 8 pm with my entire family stuck in the car with me. Hats off to the organizers and KCBS reps that waited for Clark Crew BBQ and myself to arrive late for check-in and inspections. Kristi’s aunt and uncle met us at the fairgrounds and they all went to Houston while I got squared away.
Other than setting up and starting my process about 5 hours late, the cook went fairly smoothly. I was very pleased with my decision to switch from Kingsford to Duraflame charcoal. It takes a little longer to light but cruised and maintained temperature much better (Not to mention it was only 34-38 degrees out while I was cooking). It did make less ash than the blue bag, but only modestly less rather than significantly less as suggested by multiple reviews. To my palate, I was pleased with my brisket and chicken but not my ribs or pork shoulder. As usual, the judges disagreed with me.
Results (61 teams)
Chicken 22nd – 165.1428
Ribs 8th – 172.0000 (a personal best score)
Pork Shoulder 37th – 160.0116
Brisket 19th – 165.1772
Overall 19th – 662.3316
Shotgun Fred handed out some very cool ribbons
Congrats to some great Oklahoma teams: Kosmos Q RGC; Clark Crew BBQ 3rd; American Dream BBQ 6th; Buffalos BBQ 9th.
After a short night and a long day of BBQ, my wife’s aunt and uncle took me out to eat some crawfish and then went back to their house to chat over a few beers (which I admittedly started to fall asleep during).
Not to be outdone by the trip down, one of the tires on my Uhaul trailer decided to blow about an hour out from Houston. To Uhaul’s credit, they had a guy out there with a new tire in under an hour.
I have updated the Oklahoma Jayhawk pages to include BBQ results. Next stop is Miam-UH , OK (known to the rest of the world as Miami) for a doubleheader.
Till next time…
Love my new BBQ Logo magnet! I also decided that, rather than posting every time I update my competition schedule, I would make a new page on my blog. Please check there if you want to follow me.
In the early weeks of January my wife decided that having a separate refrigerator in the garage was no longer a convenience but a necessity. 1st step was to clean and rearrange the garage and add a new power outlet/breaker. Next we looked around OKC for a unit that was affordable and a good size. We ended up purchasing a Frigidaire unit from Hahn.
It was plugged in on Thursday night and was incrementally changed over the weekend as suggested by the manufacturer. Despite having the freezer and refrigerator set to max cold, it would not maintain a temperature below 40 degrees on Monday with an ambient temperature below 60 degrees. Whether it was a lemon unit or not, I do not know, but when Hahn offered me a “garage kit” that Metro Appliance, Harry’s and Best Buy had never heard of, I decided it needed to be returned. In Hahn’s defense, they were pleasant and easy to work with; plus they had our credit return filed within 48 hours.
Lesson learned that, yet again, “you get what you pay for.” Having no problems with our Kenmore chest freezer unit, I decided to spend $200 more and get an all-refrigerator Kenmore unit.
It was delivered today and is already hanging steady at 38 degrees. Now it just needs some meat!
Till next time…
A little change of venues for the season
Around October I thought it would be fun to take the family with me on a trip. I was needing continuing education credits and there was a meeting at Disney World the first week of December; so, we decided to just do it. It was a great time and the boys really liked it. They were too short for lots of the rides. But the ones they were tall enough for, they enjoyed immensely. The Seven Dwarfs Mine ride was a favorite; we may have two little roller coaster lovers (which will make their mom happy). Although the rides were fun, they are young enough that meeting the characters and going to the shows was more entertaining for them.
Here is a quick photo of me and my sons on our last night of Disney at the Fantasmic show.
My shoulder has been bothering me off and on for about 6 months; lifting kiddos on/off rides and holding them up so they could see the fireworks/shows was the last little push it needed to really hurt. I’ve had joint pain before – this was different with pain shooting down my scapula while lifting any amount of weight. Luckily, McBride clinic got me in the next day. I know everyone complains about how much medical care costs these days, but I would have paid triple the price for the steroid injection. In less than a week my shoulder had basically quit hurting.
Never one to sit still for long, I decided to tinker a little bit. I altered my Weber smoker cart, made a holder for all my grates and a cart for my cooler. I’ve also made a switch to Duraflame Harwood Charcoal Briquets because multiple reviews have reported consistent burn times similar to Kingsford blue bag with significantly less ash production. I was interested in Wicked Good Charcoal briquets but they are out of production due to a manufacturing problem.
Till next time…
After a few emails and searches through the KCBS events calendar and comparing it to my work schedule, I’ve have preliminarily nailed down this ambitious schedule for my second year in competition BBQ. My plan is to enter into all of the 14 highlighted events (Blue = 3 RMBBQA Cup Events; Yellow = 7 OKBS ToY Events; Green = 4 KCBS events).
I hope to avoid the Top Gear motto of Ambitious But Rubbish, but we will see.
Till next time…
It is hard to believe that it is already October. Technically, as the American Royal has come and gone for another year, qualifying for next year’s Royal and Jack invites has already begun. I am preparing for my last contest of 2014 – On October 24th and 25th, I will join 20+ other teams in Fort Gibson, OK. I feel like I have learned quite a bit this year and met some great people along the way.
Much to my surprise, I was sent an email invite by the RMBBQA to attend the annual awards banquet. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend. Not one to be patient, I let my curiosity get the better of me and checked out the RMBBQA website to find that I had placed 8th overall and 2nd in Brisket out of 24 teams for the Shot Glass competition. For those that don’t know, the RMBBQA has two points races each year (The Cup for teams that compete in 6 or more contests and the Shot Glass for teams that compete in 3 to 5 contests). Unfortunately, my rib, pork shoulder, and chicken scores were right down the middle – Always room for improvement, right?
But in the meantime, the Hogan Clan is driving to Albuquerque for the annual balloon festival this weekend!
Till next time…
It was a nice cool weekend in Garden City, Kansas. It started off with a little rain during setup, but stopped by Friday evening. The remaining days were perfect BBQ weather. After a lot of asking and support from my fellow BBQ teams, I agreed to cook the double header on Saturday and Sunday. A special thanks goes out to David and his wife of The American Dream and Travis of Clark Crew BBQ who quite literally bought my chicken, pork and brisket for the second day of the double header as I only packed for one day.
My father-in-law Larry came down from Scott City to help me with setting up my shelter/supplies, finishing my cooks for turn-ins, and stayed to help me pack it all up. My family came by to visit on Saturday. Here is a picture of my wife, father-in-law and myself in our team shirts.
Saturday went fairly standard for me with most of my scores in the mid to low 160s until I got a call for 6th place brisket (finally cracking into the 170s with a 171). Saturday night was a bit brutal as I had to prep/trim all of my meats while dealing with all of the drunk people staggering out of the hotel’s bar. But after not much sleep, the cook went fairly well. I thought my brisket on Saturday was the best I had ever made, but the judges disagreed and gave me a 174 on Sunday. To my palate the brisket was a little more dry than Saturday but I got some tips from teams on how to make some changes for next time. My chicken is slowly improving and earned a 169. My pork shoulder and rib scores are just stagnant and I’m going to need to try something new.
All in all it was a successful weekend as I earned just enough money to pay for my entry fees and learned a lot doing it back-to-back. Next stop is my last for 2014 – Fort Gibson, OK
Till next time…