This past weekend we competed in the Safeway National Capital BBQ Battle in Washington DC. This contest is a huge deal, attracting big name teams from across the U.S. Also, this is a two day comp, with a KCBS sanctioned event on Saturday and an MIM-style event on Sunday. There were 61 announced competitors, but the official tally was 57 teams that turned in entries in the KCBS side of the contest. This was our third ever KCBS comp, and we took 3rd for our chicken and finished 10th overall.
Considering the field, which included current and former KCBS Teams of the Year, current and former MIM champions, the current Mid-Atlantic BBQ Association Team of the Year, and the reigning Champions of Pork in the Park and multiple other competitions, we were very happy with our results. Perhaps the biggest news, however, was the heat. Absolutely oppressive temps hovering around 100F coupled with 90 percent plus humidity made this a very challenging contest. The heat and lack of sleep compelled me to bag the Sunday MIM-style contest as I was absolutely spent by Saturday night.
Here’s the contest rundown:
Chicken: 3rd out of 57 (168.5716)
I was very happy with the way the chicken came out. After our Middletown results, I stuck with our chicken source and method and it paid off big time again. Great texture and “almost” perfect bite through skin. Ironically, I thought our Middletown chicken looked better, but our appearance scores were virtually identical. I found time to trim the chicken on site before the event and that was a big help.
Ribs: 27th out of 57 (152.5710)
Once again, our worst category. A marginally better outcome from Middletown, but still disappointing. I did a better job selecting the ribs, avoiding the curved bones and getting some meatier slabs this time. Better temp control this time around, too but I felt they were still overdone. I am going to try cooking ribs on my WSM and see how that works for our next comp.
Pork: 11th out of 57 (162.8570)
Along with our chicken, I felt this was our best submission. Great taste and tenderness, but I had trouble getting good pulled pieces for the box (I suspect I was getting a little disoriented by the heat by this time). I thought the presentation was quite nice too. Again, I forgot to put on my finishing rub, and maybe that would’ve bumped the taste scores up a bit. But in a field full of MIM champs past and present who live, breathe eat and sleep pork I’ll take that result.
Brisket: 11th out of 57 (156.5714)
The only category where we regressed on our score from Middletown and I place that outcome squarely on my decision to enter the Rancher’s Reserve brisket contest. We were given two small packer briskets with really thin flats and small points. I think the smaller brisket was around 9 lbs. Nonetheless, I was able to get tender (albeit thin) slices and some really tender burnt ends from the two briskets. Again, I would’ve preferred to cook bigger briskets in the 15 lb. range, but we did what we could with the meat we wee given and I was satisfied with the result.
This was another really good weekend for Degüello BBQ. But after experiencing a near physical meltdown due to the heat, I have decided we will not compete again without our travel trailer. I was lucky this time, but I will not push my luck with the elements again.
Next up for Degüello BBQ (hopefully) is the Dillard Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival in Dillard GA. Hoping the organizers can find a slot for us.