Archive for May, 2012

4th Overall in Middletown Delaware!

The picture perfect setting as seen from the Peppermonkey camp.

We decided early in the season that we couldn’t pass up Delaware this year.  It’s the only Delaware state tournament so the Grand Champion is automatically invited to the Jack Daniel World Championship Invitational Barbecue … “The Jack!”  Having had top ten finishes in both of our competitions this year, we came into Delaware confident, but well aware of the level of  competition that would be cooking all around us.

Friday evening started with Chef’s Choice and Dessert turn ins.  Our cook went well for both, but apparently the judges weren’t in the mood for what we turned in as the scores showed we landed in the middle of the pack for both categories.  No worries, we knew we weren’t there for the dessert, we were there to compete with BBQ.

Our cooking routine has finally reached the point where we are very comfortable the entire morning of turn ins.  There is always a little pressure as each box nears completion, but being organized and sticking to the same routine helps out enormously.  Our chicken was first place just two weeks ago in Annapolis and when we took a bite, we both agreed, the taste, texture and tenderness were equal to what got us that call.  At awards, as the top ten teams were called off, we realized our chicken may have not been the judge’s favorite this time.  Not only was it not top ten, it was not even top 25.  26th place chicken is not where we wanted to be, but following the golden rule of BBQ, we will not change anything for our next competition and see if we can get some better scores.

Our crystal and clay pigs watch over the meat on our Cambro.

Ribs were next and if there was a moment of stress on Saturday morning, it was when I pulled the ribs to glaze them and realized we didn’t have too many choices when it came to turn in quality ribs.  After the glaze was set we played around with each rack, tasted one or two, and realized we only had one rack that was worthy of presenting to the judges.  Earlier this season we made the mistake of adding a couple of ribs to a box to fill it up more and feel it hurt our overall score as they were not as tender as they should have been.  We learned from our mistake, stuck with cutting up only one rack and Erin did some box building magic.  5th place was the result and we were relieved that we made the right decision.

Peppermonkey camp set against the Delaware sky.

Our pork and brisket went as planned.  There were no surprises with the pork although we weren’t totally happy with some of the meat once we got it pulled.  We managed 13th which is about right where we expected to be.  After a miserable brisket cook in Annapolis, I knew just by touching it this week that we had something better to work with.  The taste confirmed that we had a decent shot at brisket and we ended up with a 5th place call for the beef category.

Delaware was a great site for a competition.  Had we thought to bring a gallon or two of bug killer, it would have been absolutely perfect.  We were very happy with a 4th place overall out of 52 teams, and technically we tied for 3rd, but our tie breaker score dropped us down to 4th.  Gonehoggin.com deserves a big congrats for their GC, good luck at the Jack!  Congrats to 3Eyz BBQ for their reserve place.  We certainly feel like Middletown will be a “Must attend” competition for us next year.  Time to gear up for Frederick, MD in just a few weeks!

Season Opener … 6th overall!

 

What turned out to be 1st place chicken is sauced and resting on the grate.

We warmed up 2012 with the Go Naked competition in April, but the Naptown BarBAYq was our first full KCBS competition of the year, and for the most part, we were happy with how things turned out.  We missed the first Naptown BarBAYq in 2011 because we were at the Waldorf, MD Eggfest.  This year we were eager for a competition and Annapolis was just too close to home to pass up.  Don and his crew did a fantastic job of meeting all the needs of the competition teams.  Seeing how this event was run and knowing it was only the second year (and the first year at the new location) we are certain to come back next year.

Friday night we entered two ancillary categories, but we never heard our named called for chef’s choice or for the seafood category.  It seems as though beating 3Eyz BBQ at any ancillary category will be the challenge of 2012.  We chose a dessert consisting of a peanut butter pie filling served over a brownie and topped with a chocolate dipped bacon coil ….. And for the record, it was very tasty!

The chocolate dipped bacon coil really topped off our peanut butter pie dessert!

We were fortunate to set up camp next to a first time team … I believe the team name was “We Beat Your Meat” (sorry guys if I have that wrong).  I say fortunate because we enjoy helping out new teams any way we can.  We realize we are far from veteran status, but we always look back to how nice Chris Capell and his Dizzy Pig crew treated us when we set up next to them for our first competition in 2010.  After that experience, we vowed to always assist a new team any chance we got and ensure they are treated the way we were when we were rookies. Ryan, the chief cook, led the team to an early call Friday night when they got 2nd overall in the ancillary categories.  Well done !!!  There were a lot of seasoned cooks at this event and these guys pulled in a nice check before the true competition even started!

After just a couple hours of sleep, the alarm sounded in the wee hours on Saturday morning, reminding us it was competition day.  The eggs were soon fired up and closely monitored. Our best cooks have been using no electronic temp controllers or fans … so we decided to start this year out the same way and cook using nothing more than thermometers and vent adjustments.  Overall, the cook went really well for the first of the year.  We waited to trim the brisket at the competition site and realized it was smaller and more thin than normal and we weren’t able to compensate enough during the cook.  Our brisket was early and had to rest longer than prefered which resulted in a poor brisket score.  The ribs were a different story; after a history of having them come out slightly over cooked, this time they were slightly under.  We had one rack that was just right, and should have boxed only that rack; but we decided to take a few others to fill the box and in hind sight, that may have affected our scores.  Pork and chicken landed us top ten calls; 6th in pork, and 1st in chicken!  We weren’t 100% confident in our chicken, but that has been a strong category for us and Erin forecasted early on that it would be our best of the day.

All smiles after a 1st place chicken call!

The Annapolis BarBAYq turned out to be a success for us.  With two calls and a 6th place overall, we are motivated to head to Delaware and improve on everything we did this weekend.  Thanks to Don and his crew for all the hard work they put into the event.  This is one that everyone should consider adding to their schedule if it isn’t there already.  See you there next year!