Archive for May, 2013

Falling Flat in Fredericksburg at the BBQ Jamboree

We traveled to Fredericksburg, VA last weekend to compete in the BBQ Jamboree for the first time.  This was a large competition with 60+ teams battling for bragging rights.  It was a fun competition and we enjoyed seeing some old friends that we haven’t seen since last year.  After a strong third place finish in Annapolis the week before, we were less than thrilled to never leave our seat during the awards ceremony.

Although the weather was better than expected, it seemed to rain on our parade in Fredericksburg, VA.

Although the weather was better than expected, it seemed to rain on our parade in Fredericksburg, VA.

Our chicken came in 20th; our ribs were scored at a near all-time low for us at 43rd.  This was surprising because the cook went well and we were pleased with the box we turned in.  Pork placed 11th and brisket landed at 13th.  All this added up to a 22nd overall finish.  Further evaluation of the scoring sheet showed that there were high and low scores coming from the same table in the same categories.  Even appearance was ranging from 9 to 7 which we normally have a little more dialed in.

Erin was able to give some boxing/presentation pointers to Cooter Jackson's BBQ as they prepped for turn ins during their very first competition.

Erin was able to give some boxing/presentation pointers to Cooter Jackson’s BBQ as they prepped for turn ins during their very first competition.

We are going to write the Jamboree off as a bad day for us and not make any changes heading into Middletown, DE this coming weekend.  We evaluated how our entire cook went and will ensure that we really focus on every detail and take nothing for granted.  When 60+ teams of this caliber come together, letting any minor detail slide could cause scores to wander.  Congrats to Beerbeque and to Hog-IT-Up BBQ on their Grand and Reserve Grand finishes.  These guys really cracked the code on consistency as they got calls all day long at the awards ceremony.  We were also happy to see Dizzy Pig only a few points behind for a strong third place finish.  Great job to all!  We also enjoyed cooking next to Cooter Jackson’s BBQ, a new team cooking at their very first competition.  These guys had obviously done their homework and we expect to see them cooking at more competitions this year.  As for us… we are prepped for our third competition in a row and will be showing up to Middletown with our game face on!

Always fun to see the filming of Pitmasters.  We won't spoil who won!

Always fun to see the filming of Pitmasters. We won’t spoil who won!

May 15, 2013  |  Brisket, Chicken, Events, KCBS Competition, Pork, Ribs  |  No Comments  |  Share

Near Miss in Naptown with a 3rd Place Overall Finish

Pre-awards photo.  Peppermonkeys were optimistic that they may hear their name called!

Pre-awards photo. Peppermonkeys were optimistic that they may hear their name called!

Our first full KCBS event this year left us thirsty for more competition by teasing us with a 3rd place finish. With two more back to back competitions coming up in the next two weeks, we’ll get to see if we simply had a lucky opening day or if we are still cooking as consistently as we were at the end of 2012.

Although we left last season with a Reserve Grand Champion finish, we made some pretty significant changes this year to most of our recipes. Primarily, we were not happy with the rub we had been using. Granted, the rub is only part of the equation, but it is still an important part to us. Thanks to our Dizzy Pig sponsorship, we are now very happy with our flavors and getting far better color on our meats than we were last year.  Thanks Dizzy Pig!

We also made the decision in the off season to expand our cooking space. We invested in our 7th … yes 7th, big green egg, and most recently added a BBQ Guru Onyx Oven to the collection. Having another egg allows us to cook each meat separately which some would say is too much work, but with green eggs managing four or five fires is not that difficult (if you are doing the math we can now leave two smaller eggs at home)! The Onyx is too new for us to really know the best way for us to use it, but we will be slowly working it more and more into our cooking schedule.

Pork butt getting good color early in the cook.

Pork butt getting good color early in the cook.

So the results … First place chicken! We had a good chicken cook and tweaked our presentation which the judges seem to really enjoy. Our ribs came in 6th.  It was a pleasant surprise that they made top ten, so we were happy to hear our name twice in a row at awards. Then came a second place pork call! It will be exciting to see if our pork can keep scoring well. We broke the unwritten rule about making more than one change at a time to any category in order to keep track of how the change affects your scores. This year we changed it all because we were bored with our pork. We came to Naptown with new rub, new injection, new cooking technique, even a new box design, and at least this time it payed off. Brisket was the category that sank us, we ended up 24th and were not all too surprised. Of course we tried something new here too, but rest assured, we are going back to our mildly successful 2012 recipe for the next few competitions.

Chicken getting the sauce set.

Chicken getting the sauce set.

We cannot complain about our 3rd place overall finish. Jacked Up BBQ took Grand Champion and 3 Eyz BBQ took reserve. These guys are some of the best, so hats off to both teams for another great day of cooking. We are already packing to head to the BBQ Jamboree in Fredericksburg, VA next weekend, and then the Middletown BBQ Cookoff in Delaware the weekend after. Hoping we see some consistency throughout these competitions.

May 6, 2013  |  Brisket, Chicken, Events, KCBS Competition, Pork  |  5 Comments  |  Share