Well, it is almost time for the first competition of the year and I am very excited. My competitor’s packet for Pork In The Park arrived Saturday, and I thought it was nice that Sandy Fulton customized the cover sheets with the team name.
Since this will be my first actual competition, I’m keeping it simple with regard to the actual cooking. Selecting what to bring, packing it up for easy access onsite, and managing the logistics of site setup with the RV (while hopefully getting a little time to chat with current friends as well as making some new ones) is a lot to manage. So, when it comes to the actual cooking, I’m sticking with the recipes and techniques I have had the most consistent results with over the past year. On Pitmasters, fellow Texan Johnny Trigg said that competition is not the place to experiment with new recipes. Seeing that Mr. Trigg has probably forgotten more about BBQ than I know, I’ll heed his advice. Of course, he was referring to Tuffy Stone’s trying a new brisket recipe for the first time in competition, and if I remember correctly, Tuffy got a first in brisket that week. But I’m not Tuffy or Johnny by a long shot, so I’ll stick with what I know this time around.
I had the chance to use my Onyx Everything Oven again Saturday. I found some really great Boston Butts at Wegmans, so I cooked one during the day. I employed Bob Trudnak’s advice to close the vents further, and I also cooked with an empty water pan. The near closed system was great! No temp creep like last time, and I used dramatically less charcoal. Since I was in a practice mood, I decided to put the finished product in a box. Granted, I spent maybe ten minutes putting the garnish in that box, with little consideration for color consistency, uniform height and fullness. But I just wanted to have something to put the pork in, and my neighbors were super impressed when I brought them a box of pork on a bed of parsley!
Boston Butt just as it went in the Onyx
The Onyx setup at home
Pork on the chopping block. I like the sheen, but I think this came out a little dark for my taste.
This is the box I made. The camera does not lie, and looking at this picture I see about seven things I’d like to fix. But hey, it was 10:30 PM, I was hungry, and I simply wanted to go through the steps.
Tom and Christy of Virginia BBQ Pirates and Heath and Brett of Pork Barrel BBQ will be at PITP, too. Tom and Christy have shared some great advice, and Heath and Brett’s rub and sauce gets raves every time I use it. Looking forward to seeing both of those teams again, and I’ve got more invites to stop by and chat with other competitors. So I guess I’d better get that prep locked down to allow time to socialize!