Archive for June, 2012

Swinetastic 2012 Hands Us Another 6th Place Finish

After a call in pork and ribs, 3rd place brisket was our third call of the day. I'm sure the cheerleaders were sad that we didn't get called up for one final trophy!

This year in Frederick, Maryland, 69 teams showed up to compete for cash and trophies; making it our biggest competition of the year.  We knew that with the quality of the teams competing, anything finishing in the top 15 was a good accomplishment.  We had three categories in the top ten, and our chicken bombed for a third time straight since our 1st place finish in Annapolis.  Damn you chicken … Damn you!

First things first, usually the end of  our post is a congrats to the Grand Champion of an event, but it’s fitting to put that first this week.  A very big contgrats for a well deserved victory to Deguello BBQ.  Kit puts in countless hours of research and practice to improve his competition BBQ and it was obvious this week just how hard he has worked.  A great rebound from what he deemed a “middle of the pack” performance in Delaware just a few weeks ago.  Great job Deguello BBQ … we were cheering for you!  We would also like to congratulate Tasty Licks BBQ for coming in a close second for the reserve Grand Champion position.

Our cook went as expected. We made very minor adjustments to our chicken, which we now know should have been MAJOR adjustments. Three consecutive finishes where we placed below 20th … we are going to revisit a few things before our next competition.  Ribs, pork and brisket all gave us top ten calls with our brisket coming in 3rd making it three competitions in a row where our brisket made top 5.  Yeah brisket!  Booooo Chicken!  We will work on bringing our chicken back up over the next few weeks.

Sal missed his chance for the best Smokin' Gnome mascot yet!

We’ve been taking our mutts with us the past few competitions and they are adjusting rather nicely to living in our trailer from time to time.  Our Shih tzu, Cosmo,  is alway curious and ended up under the trailer where our cookers are and got some grease drippings on his head.  Our remedy was to make an impromptu foil hat for him … which ended up looking suspiciously like a real life yard gnome.  This had us worried because Sal from Smokin’ Gnome BBQ was cooking just across the way from us.  We decided that before we caught Sal stealing our real life gnome, we’d offer to trade him straight up for his inflatable gnome posted outside of his camp.  Unfortunately for all of us, he wouldn’t take the bait so we still have our Shih tzu and Sal still has his gnome … our loss.

Happy Father's Day! Always celebrated with SPAM and eggs!

The Swinetastic BBQ competition happens to fall on fathers day weekend, and the proceeds for the event go to the American Cancer Society … So it’s only fitting in memory of my father, a former consultant for Hormel, that we always stay until Sunday and cook a family tradition of Spam and scrambled eggs for breakfast.  You may think you don’t like Spam … or would never try Spam barring some natural disaster … but Spam and eggs is GOOD!  Anyone staying Saturday night in 2013 can come over for breakfast Sunday morning!

Although we wanted to burn our chicken recipe, we promise it wasn't us who started the dumpster on fire!

We had fun as always at Swinetastic, but are looking forward to a few weeks off.  We may revisit our chicken recipe, but Chris, we promise we didn’t burn our old recipe in your dumpster!!!  Our weekends in July will undoubtedly be filled with practice cooks and the freezer will soon be packed with experimental chicken thighs … but that’s what makes ‘time off’ so much fun!

7th Overall For Our First Visit to the Beltway BBQ Showdown

Even the scrap ribs were rather tasty!

With only 29 teams registered for the Showdown, the level of competition was surprisingly high.  We did not have the best cook this week and we knew it even before the meat was off the smoker… but we did everything we could to give the judges the best we had available by turn in time.  The results were 3rd place ribs and 3rd place brisket which helped carry our low scores from 19th place chicken and 20th place pork to an overall 7th place finish.

We tried to be organized this year and sat down with a calendar before the season started.  We planned out each competition knowing we were going to have our busiest season yet.  After a strong finish in Delaware a couple weeks ago, Jeremy from Seadog BBQ unintentionally talked us into adding one more and we ended up competing in the Beltway BBQ Showdown in Fort Washington, Maryland.  Our original plan was to take the few weeks after Delaware to ensure we were 100% ready for the Swinetastic BBQ Festival in Frederick, MD on June 16th.  After Jeremy mentioned there was still room at the Beltway, we changed our mind and decided maybe it was best to just keep in the rhythm of competing.

We pulled in early Friday morning to a very well laid out competitor area.  Sites were clearly marked, water was easily accessible and each team had a power drop right in front of their site.  Weather was going to be a factor Friday night, so we prepared accordingly … At least as much as you can for a tornado.  As the weather warnings went off, all we could do is watch as the clouds began to spin and drop to the ground a mile away from us.  Although they claimed there was a tornado in the same county, we never saw a full funnel cloud hit the ground … but it was close enough for us!

PLEASE don't become a tornado … PLEASE! … Or is it already?

Saturdays cook was uneventful.  Our chicken ended up a little ahead of schedule and our test bites were on the dry side.  we were not too surprised that we were not leading the pack with the yard bird.  It’s frustrating to go from 1st in Annapolis to 26th and 20th the competitions after that.  We had a discussion about it and may have identified the slightest, inadvertent change in technique that may have been impacting the final product.  We are going to make the adjustment for Frederick, but keep the same flavor profile that got us 1st in Annapolis.  In Delaware, we had almost nothing worth turning in for ribs.  This week we cooked better racks of ribs and had plenty to choose from … I guess we chose the 3rd place ribs instead of the 1st place ones! In the pork category,  our pork was a little dry.  The butts cooked on schedule and the temps were right … but they still came out a little over done in our opinion.  This was reflected in our scoring.  On to brisket … guess what … dry.  Not overly dry, and the flavor was right on, but a large section of the flat was more dry than normal.  I sliced the entire thing until we found some slices with moisture.  Although we turned in fewer slices than normal, we still managed to fill the box with good flavored meat and managed to get that 3rd place call.

A huge congrats to 3Eyz BBQ for taking Grand Champion!  With so many reserves, we knew their time was coming and it was well earned.  We keep telling Dan and Chris that someday there will be a competition that we are going to nudge them out of the top seats, but that seems to be quite a lofty goal.  Great job guys!

We have a weekend of fun and relaxation coming up at the “Dizzyfest” at Chris Capell’s BBQ store in Manassas, VA this weekend.  Then it’s game time in Frederick.  That’s a big one this year and the team list looks like the who’s who of Mid Atlanta Barbecue!  Looking forward to a weekend of serious competition!

June 5, 2012  |  Brisket, Chicken, KCBS Competition, Pork, Ribs, Uncategorized  |  2 Comments  |  Share