We held our own at Middletown and managed to walk away with a top ten overall finish; however, our performance wasn’t really one to brag about.
We always enjoy competing at Middletown. Mose does a great job coordinating the event. We commented when we pulled in on Thursday evening that this was one of the few events where we have zero questions when we arrive. We knew where to set up, where everything was located, how to reach key people, etc. Great job Mose.
On to the cooking! Our routine has not changed all year and this weekend was no different. We were right on schedule with every category. When it came time for boxing and turn in, Erin was just about to place the last piece of chicken into the container when she noticed the bottom was charred, ok, burnt. Evidently a grate got too hot while our sauce was setting and it burned on the bottom. Luckily we always turn in at the beginning of our ten minute turn in window and this is exactly why. We decided to empty and rebuild the box. The couple of pieces that were charred were removed, the box was rebuilt, and easily turned in on time. Had Erin not caught this, our chicken scores certainly would have suffered, instead we came in 8th place. Our ribs were a little flat, nothing too exciting and our scores showed it with a disappointing 22nd place. Based on our recent rib failures, we may look at a small change in this category. Pork has done well for us so far this year and the look on Erin’s face prior to boxing it told me that the streak was about to come to an end. We discussed our pork as we tasted various parts and the parts that usually go into the box were not up to our standard. The box did come together although it didn’t have quit as much meat in it as normal. Erin’s boxing skill helped us pull off a 3rd place and considering the fact that it was a near disaster, we were pleased. Brisket did not go well for us, and the judges were being kind by giving us 34th place. Along with ribs, brisket has been a consistent problem area this season. We’ve already made a change for Swinetastic in June, so we’ll see if we can get our brisket scores up to where they were last year.
Although we were top ten, we feel like it was a middle of the pack cook for us because our lows were really low. We have already brainstormed what needs to change before we head to Frederick, MD in mid June. This competition is full of 65 powerful teams, so we will have to work hard and have a near perfect cook if we want to hear peppermonkeybbq get called during awards.