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!


  1. Maggie and Mike Rauh

    All your neighbors will be glad to let you “practice” new chicken recipes on us!


    Maggie and Mike

  2. Joel and Erin I completely forgot to comment on your blog this time out. First of all thanks for the very nice words about our GC. You have no idea how much we wanted that one after getting the hand in Middletown.

    Last year at Swinetastic I was chatting with Paul Hess about our multiple near misses at getting that elusive first GC (at the time we had one RGC and two 3rds overall), and Paul told me that it would come soon as long as I kept on cooking consistently. We got another 3rd that day, and Paul and took home the chain saw art trophy that day. Then we had ANOTHER 3rd overall next time out at Holy Smoke three weeks later. I told Mark Breen of Serial Griller that I was actually getting discouraged by all those near misses and he told me any top five finish is a win and the GC would come when the time was right. And what do you know it came the very next week!

    You guys are exactly where we were this time last year. You are cooking consistently every time you go out, and there are going to be some ups and downs in each category. But 6th, 4th, 7th and 6th finishes this year is no accident. I am calling it right now. Pepper Monkey’s first career GC will happen this year, and I sincerely hope that we are there when it happens!

    • Thanks Kit. It does sound like we are in the same place as you have been before! We are feeling good about our finishes thus far, but of course having continued near misses does get frustrating. I think we are even more frustrated with ourselves because those near misses have usually been when we had three strong categories and the fourth fell off completely, usually chicken! We have July off and start up a busy schedule again in August. We had three comps in a row with our chicken worse than 20th, so we are going to do some practicing and possibly a minor change to the flavor profile, but nothing else is changing. We’ll get that GC some day!

      Thanks again for the encouragement, hope to see you soon.

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