Go Naked 2012 – 5th Overall


2012 began with a weekend of cooking at Mason Dixon BBQ in GreenCastle, PA.  We attended the Paul Kirk Pitmaster BBQ class on Friday, followed by the increasingly popular Go Naked Cookoff on Saturday hosted by the owner of Mason Dixon BBQ, the ever accommodating Eric Forrester.  The weather was near perfect with the exception of an occasional strong wind gust, but way better than the snow and rain from 2011.

The Paul Kirk class was informative and full of many inquisitive students eager to learn the secrets of Chef Paul’s success.  We went over the basics of trimming, preparing, and cooking all four competition meat categories (chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder, and brisket) under the watchful eye of Chef Paul and Denny of DennyMike’s who supplied some rubs and sauces used throughout the class.  We also received a good education on the fundamentals of building a well balanced rub.  Greg and Penny of Spices Inc. assisted by providing a plethora of fresh spices from which we made our own rub used for cooking the chicken and ribs.  We were surprised at how good our rub ended up being considering we concocted the recipe in less than ten minutes.  We were even more surprised that we cooked a nearly perfect slab of spare ribs on our large Big Green Egg (BGE) using no foil and no spritz.  The appearance, texture, and taste where absolutely spot on!  We went into the weekend with the mind set of no matter what we learned in the class, we would not change our pre-determined game plan for Saturday’s Go Naked competition, but these ribs had us questioning our game plan…

Joel & Erin with Chef Paul Kirk on the day of Go Naked BBQ.

Saturday morning brought more sun and less wind with temps nearing 60 degrees … I would call it perfect BBQ weather.  We struggled with going against our cooking plan for ribs, but with the success we had on Friday, we decided we would try both methods.  We had six slabs so we cooked three with our fresh made rub using the Spices Inc. ingredients, and three our traditional way with our planned flavor profile and cooking method.  Go Naked only has two meat categories for judging, chicken and ribs, and a third people’s choice category of chicken wings was also thrown in the mix.  Our chicken was consistently in the top ten last year, so we changed nothing and it came out as expected.  After turn in, I predicted an 8th place call in chicken.

Ribs prepped and ready for some smoke.

A lot of fat dripped off of our chicken wings and onto the BGE plate setter which happened to be the same BGE that had our three slabs of ribs with our new rub.  They looked beautiful, but sadly they had a slightly off taste which we think was due to the burning chicken juice.  Part of us ‘maturing’ as a competitive team has been to plan for everything and then some.  An example of this is judging by taste that something will not score well, no matter how small the discrepancy seems to be, and adjusting accordingly.  We turned our attention to the remaining three slabs of ribs which we cooked in a separate BGE.  The ribs came out decent, but they didn’t make us say ‘wow’ when we tasted them.  We were able to get a box put together and turned in on time and that was it, our first competition was complete and there were no real hiccups along the way!

It turned out I was one off on my forecasted chicken placement (we got 7th instead of 8th) and we were surprised by a 7th place in ribs as well.  When the points were combined, we ended up with 5th place overall out of 30 teams.  Congratulations to 5-0 BBQ who took grand champion.  Even for a non KCBS competition, the teams that showed up to competed were very high quality teams and we consider a top ten placement a good accomplishment so early in the season.

The best part of the weekend was Friday night.  We had left our chiminea at home, so to stay warm we lit a fire in our BGE and huddled around it sharing ‘war’ stories about BBQ with our friends from Deguello BBQ, Drilling and Grilling, Tipsy Pigs BBQ, Hollywood and Swine and Porter Mac’s Rockin BBQ.  There was even an occasional appearance from Sal of Smokin Gnome BBQ who was present all weekend to help Eric with the contest … and to drink our beer!  It’s always fun the night before the cooking begins to relax with a cold beverage and learn more about the friends you are competing against.  Thanks to Eric for organizing a fantastic event and we are already blocking off the same weekend for Go Naked 2013!  Time to gear up for Annapolis the first weekend of May!

Sorry Sal, we thought it would be funny (it was) to steal and hide your golf cart!

April 10, 2012  |  Chicken, Ribs, Uncategorized  |  Share


  1. Congrats! Way to represent the Eggheads at the contest.

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