Smoked at Smoketoberfest

On October 14-15, Degüello BBQ competed in the  Smoketoberfest BBQ Challenge at the Grove in New Castle PA.  Smoketoberfest is a benefit event for the Make A Wish Foundation, with 100 percent of the event proceeds going to the organization.  This was our final event of the season in 2010, and after a really strong performance last year we were looking for a good finish here again.  Alas, it was not to be.  With 47 teams competing, we finished 44th in chicken, 12th in ribs, 8th in pork, 36th in brisket and 22nd overall.  Congrats to DCFD BBQ Team for taking the Grand Championship.  Also thanks again to Don Chomas for lending a hand while Sharon took a week off.  Here’s the contest rundown:

Chicken: 44th out of 47 (146.8566)

Absolutely rock bottom results.  I was utterly and completely shocked, as I felt pretty good about our submission.  In anticipation of the next week, I turned in white and dark meat.  Also, based on a fair amount of feedback/talk I’d been hearing about “too spicy chicken” I made a change to my rub.  I guess those were two ill-advised decisions, as this was the worst placing in any category we’ve ever had, with the exception of our brisket DQ in Lexington NC.

Ribs: 12th out of 47 (158.8572)

Once again, our usual ribs.  However, the wind on Saturday played havoc with temp control on the 22″ WSM and I spent the entire morning opening and closing the side door to maintain a proper temp.  Perhaps the temp swings hurt the quality of the end product, and maybe we just competed against lots of really good ribs.  My guess is it was a combination of both.

Pork: 8th out of 47 (165.7144)

And once again, pork goes the other way as we got our only call of the day.  Schizophrenia?   Whiplash?  Inconsistency?  I am a little unsure what to call it.  What I do know is that it’s gone way past unsettling.  I need to give some serious thought to what exactly is driving the extreme swings in pork results.  That’s what the offseason is for……

Brisket: 36h out of 47 (145.1428)

Bad finish, but it wasn’t exactly one of my stellar briskets either.  I’ve observed this year that the level of competition has gone up a lot, and if you don’t bring it strong in a category you’re not going to be happy with the score.  This is a great example how of the higher level of competition will humble you real quick.

Two consecutive  weekends of poor execution really hurt, and this one was particularly painful due to the chicken result and the timing.  The Mid-Atlantic is full of outstanding teams who bring it strong every weekend, though, so we need to step up our game. On the plus side, we’ve  had a strong run this year, and I’m confident we will bounce back strong.  As the season winds down, I’m already thinking about how to make some incremental improvements across all four categories in 2012.  For now, though, the biggest event in the short history of Degüello BBQ awaits as we prepare to cook on one of the biggest stages in competitive BBQ,   the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg TN on October 21-22.  Time to uncork a performance like the one that got us there.

Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 10:45 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had one hand holding their canopy down and the other trying to adjust vents to maintain temps! I’m sure it was unsettling to have scores all over the board the week before the Jack. A good competitor would simply push through it and focus on the next competition; which appears to be exactly what you did. So did you go back to your original rub for the Jack?

  2. Yep that is exactly what I did; I went back to my regular rub/sauce combo. I’ve had good results with that combo the past two years, but every time it hit just as quickly it would slide down the ranks a bit. So I decided to try something different and it seems it wasn’t received too well. Thanks for the compliment on the jack; the writeup is coming!

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