Fun in July

The Hogan clan ended the month of July with vacation and BBQ.  I was able to get the last two weeks off of work, and we took advantage of the time to visit family.  My mom and stepdad moved to Texas about the same time we moved from Oklahoma to Kansas.  It was a bit of a drive but went fairly smoothly.

We spent a lot of our time just swimming in grandma and grandpa’s new pool with a couple of day trips.  It was so hot out that we limited most of our trips to the mornings or indoor sites.  Our day trips took us to: the Ft Worth Science Museum, Ft Worth Botanical Gardens, Reunion Tower and the Perot Museum.

The boys enjoyed the Ft Worth Science Museum and the planetarium show more than I thought they might. It had quite a bit of hands-on and interactive exhibits the boys really liked. The gift shop also gave us a little Jelly Bean game that was a cross between Russian Roulette and Bert’s Every Flavor Beans from Harry Potter. The box contained an assortment of different colored jelly beans and a spinner but the catch was that each color had two possible flavors. For example: coconut or spoiled milk; chocolate or dog food; etc – And wow did the flavors ever match their description. It was pretty funny to watch everyone’s reactions when they got one of the bad flavors.

We had considered taking the boys to Six Flags Over Texas but chickened out when the heat index was over 110 F.  Instead we took off in the morning and visited the Ft Worth Botanical Gardens which are almost entirely free.  We paid $6 to visit the tropical gardens area and the boys loved the huge leaves of some of the plants.  We walked the free areas and spotted quite a few colorful lizards among the beautiful plants before the boys started to get tired, hot, hungry and thirsty.  So we left before making it to the Japanese Gardens and headed to Reunion Tower in Dallas.  I thought it would be a novelty to eat a quick lunch at the revolving restaurant.  The food was okay but the boys really enjoyed the rotation and views.  After solving the hunger problem, we moved on to the Perot Museum.  We really should have allotted more time for this museum as every exhibit is interactive and they had an entire area of robotics and electronic experiments.  We ended the museum trip with a 3D National Parks movie before meeting grandma and grandpa in Ft Worth for dinner.

After returning home, I prepped and packed up for a local KCBS contest in Iola, KS.  It was nice only having to drive an hour.  The contest drew in some great teams.  Congrats to my friends from the American Dream on another GC.  I was lucky enough to get 10th place chicken and 10th overall.  Great contest that I hope to go back to next year.

Below are some pictures of swimming fun and from the observation deck of Reunion Tower.

Till next time…

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I decided to travel three weekends in a row the first time since starting competition BBQ. I honestly have no idea how some of the teams will do 6 out of 8 weekends in a two month span because this was exhausting. 

The first stop was Chandler, OK. This contest holds sentimental value as it was the first I ever competed in. I thought my chicken might catch fire it was so spicy but the judges disagreed. In the end I received: 6th place chicken, 4th place ribs, 8th place pork, and 5th overall. 

Next was a trip Hutchinson, KS. Only 30 minutes from my hometown of Lyons, Hutchinson was the “big town” to go shopping when I grew up. Mother Nature didn’t cooperate and sent us quite the storm. I was lucky to be on the relative high ground and stay out of the ankle deep water that some teams had to walk through. It was fun having some of my family make it out at various points during the contest. My cook earned me 4th place chicken and 9th place ribs for 10th overall. After the contest was over we spent time with my dad and his side of the family over the holiday weekend before coming home. 

The last stop was Fort Smith, AR. This contest is organized and rep’d by my favorite KCBS reps Ralph & Karen Williams. Unfortunately, my cook wasn’t up to the task. I thought my chicken and ribs were pretty consistent but my pork and brisket were honestly not that good this weekend. The judges rewarded me with no calls and the exact same score as last year, an abysmal 647. 

It was an experience but I don’t see anymore than two weekends in a row anytime in the near future. Next stop is Iola, KS

Till next time…

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Pecan Festival

Took a short trip down to Okmulgee, OK for a first year contest. Congrats to Travis Clark on GC and Donny Teel on RGC. The contest drew in 41 teams and only had a few hiccups. It was great to see more of my OK BBQ family!  They invited me to an awesome Friday night potluck (TNK BBQ) and hooked me up with some brown sugar since I forgot some (thanks KosmosQ!).

A few weeks ago, a KCBS judge approached me about fulfilling his cooking requirement to become a master judge. He wanted to cook with me because I use Weber products. So he joined me in Okmulgee to experience a KCBS contest from the other side. The 3 Amigos (the nickname I have given the Weber trio) held temp well but my cook just came up a short against the great cooks at Okmulgee. I didn’t manage any calls and only finished 16th out of 41. 

On the plus side, my portable ac unit kept it cooler inside than outside. I’m sure I will constantly find ways to improve or tweak my setup but it worked fairly well this weekend. Next stop of the year will be back in Chandler, OK (site of my first ever KCBS contest). 

Till next time…

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Branson Family Vacation

This past week we packed up the family and headed to Branson, MO with my in-laws to their timeshare.  We spent the whole week and dodged the rain for the most part. The boys had fun and were sad when we had to leave. 

We did quite a bit: stopped at Lambert’s because grandpa couldn’t miss throwed rolls; explored Dogwood Canyon; rented a pontoon boat and cruised the lake; went to the landing; wandered through  a small zoo where the boys fed everything from kangaroos to deer to emus; rode the rides at Silver Dollar City; played laser tag and raced go-carts; swam at the pool; and goofed with cousins. 

Here are a couple of pictures –

Till next time…

P.S. Since it rained for over 90 min at Silver Dollar City we got a raincheck for anytime in 2016

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Shaking off the rust…

First off, we all got #Boatrighted in Bixby. Congrats to Kent on the GC. 

What a way to get the BBQ year started!  I was the last team to pull in, landed right in the middle of all my OK BBQ family, and was right nextdoor to Three Hog Night Smokers. After unloading my new Cargo trailer and figuring out where to put everything for the first go at a new setup and attending the cook’s meeting, we all proceeded to surprise Donny & Cindy Teel on their 30th wedding anniversary. It was a great evening that was followed up by TNK hosting a breakfast to get us all fueled for Saturday. 

For having not cooked at a competition since October, it went fairly well. When the dust settled, my cook yielded me 4th place brisket and 13th overall out of 83 teams.  Next stop on the circuit is Okmulgee 

Till next time…

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Back in Kansas

It has been a few weeks since we loaded everything up and tranplanted our family back to Kansas. Surprisingly, only a few things got broken and the odd few items are still missing or misplaced, but so far the boys are loving that we are so close to Grandma and Grandpa and have ~12 acres to explore.  Along with the acreage comes some yard work and maintenance. I’ve been busy clearing out undergrowth and trimming trees and Kristi got herself a new Grasshopper mower.  The house has been unoccupied for a couple of years and needs a little TLC here and there but will be a great place. 

The only real issue we have had is that despite being less than 2.5-3 miles out of town, cellular reception and the ability to get internet has been less than ideal. I’m still hopeful for unlimited radio tower internet but Kristi is ready to throw in the towel and get satellite internet with bandwith limits. 

My shoulder is starting to feel pretty good and my BBQ habit has been on hold all spring, but I think I’m about ready to buy some stuff and get back out there. I’ve updated my schedule to work around the call schedule at my new job. Stop #1 will hopefully bring me to Bixby. 

Till next time (hopefully with internet and pictures)…

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OKC Farewell

Where to begin… I have accepted a new position in Coffeyville, Kansas. 

Four years ago we packed up everything and moved our little family from KC (Kristi and I had lived in the Lawrence/KC area since we were married) to OKC. Not knowing what to expect, we moved to a new state with a toddler and 4 month old. What we were met with was a great city with so many great memories and firsts…

Noah’s 1st birthday

First day of school for both of our sons

First T-ball game

First church group – Faithmates

First swimming lessons

Family cruise to Alaska

Kristi winning best in show at the state fair

My first mission trip to the Dominican Republic

Extended family vacations to Colorado and Texas

First KCBS BBQ contest in Chandler, OK

First (and second) time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity

Kristi and I traveling to Europe for the first time

And so many more…

But what we will miss the most is you!  We have made great friends and been so fortunate that you have included us in your lives. OKC and you will hold a special place in our hearts. 

While Edmond has become home, we are ready to move close to family.  Kristi and I had been talking about wanting our children in a smaller school district and buying a house with more land.  So when this opportunity came up, it felt right.

For all my BBQ friends, I will probably miss you this Spring but hope to see you at contests in the summer and fall. 

Till next time,

The Oklahoma Jayhawk

(I’ll probably keep the name)

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