Well, our first foray in the world of competitive BBQ has come and gone. It was a very positive experience and we are very excited about taking the lessons we learned at Pork In The Park and applying them as we move forward.
By the numbers, we finished 74th out of 132 teams. Considering we absolutely tanked one category (more on that later) we were happy with that outcome. But we can’t put a price or rank on the experience we gained in competition as well as the sportsmanship and camaraderie displayed at the event by fellow competitors.
Here’s the breakdown on our four category submissions:
49th out of 132
We did a modified version of the Pickled Pig Method and used our own selections for rub and sauce. I thought the appearance was good. Could’ve been a little more consistent in size, but in my mind that’s a minor point. I was disappointed with the flavor, though. It wasn’t bad, but it was kind of blah as it seemed to be missing any heat. I will do some tweaking with our glaze and address that moving forward. On the plus side, however, I just ate the last two pieces tonight. Four days on, they have total bite through skin! I think I can attribute that in part to the quality of the chicken, but I also think our prep certainly contributed.
124th out of 132
Bad. Really bad. They were tough as shoe leather, the taste was bland, and I realized after I started cutting that I’d inadvertently left some of the membrane on the slabs. I’m sure I put some of the membrane sporting pieces in the box. Those ribs deserved their rank.
21st out of 132
As bad as our ribs were, the pork butt was great. When I began working on the two butts, I found I had such nice sliced pieces that I made the snap decision to put only sliced in the box. In retrospect, I think I should’ve put some chunks in, too. They were awesome and I think offering a variety of pieces from the butts would’ve scored even higher. Beautiful appearance, taste was A+ and tenderness? Spot on IMO.
70th out of 132
Another disappointment. I feel we had good prep and presentation, but I put the briskets on waaay too early. As a result, I had to pull them around 6:30 AM and they sat in our Carlisle cooler for six plus hours before slicing and boxing. I am certain the extended rest negatively impacted the juiciness of the brisket. The taste was OK, but again I felt like something was missing. In this case I think I just went a little light on the rub.
That’s the readout on our submissions. As for the rest of the event, we had some observations:
- Sandy Fulton put on a first class event. Well organized and attended. Good swag, too.
- Sportsmanship and cooperation between teams was a highlight. Our neighbors AW’s BBQ shared their 10th place award-winning seafood submission, venison burgers, and their KCBS submissions. And when the power went out at 2:00AM, Alex helped me look for help to get the breakers reset, shone a light while I set up my standby power, and told me to catch some rest when the power came back on and that he’d wake me if we had another outage.
- We met some of our friends as well as heretofore “internet only” acquaintances. Big shout outs to Huck Sr. and Huck Jr. of Huck’s Hut, Jeff Burkett of Smokis Porkis, Brian and Marilyn Meagher of Hot Sauce Daily, Bob Trudnak of The BBQ Guru, Tom and Christy Adams of Virginia BBQ Pirates, and Heath, Brett and Rex of Pork Barrel BBQ. Great seeing all of you in Salisbury and we hope our paths cross again soon out there on the competitive circuit.
Next up for us is a BBQ class run by KCBS Team of the Pellet Envy’s Rod Gray on April 30. Then it’s on to the inaugural Middletown Delaware BBQ Cookoff on May 22 and the Safeway National Capital BBQ Battle on June 26.