On July 27-28, Degüello BBQ competed in the second annual Bluemont BBQ Bash in Bluemont VA. Bluemont has special significance for us, as this was the competition that got us our first career Grand Championship, put us into the draw for the Jack Daniel’s Invitational World Championship Barbecue and ultimately punched our ticket to Lynchburg last year. As a result, we were looking to acquit ourselves well in the second year of this really nice competition. Alas, things didn’t go quite as well as last year. With 40 teams in the mix, Degüello BBQ took 5th place chicken, 5th place ribs, 15th place pork and a gut-wrenching 31st place brisket to finish 7th overall. We were happy to add two more plates to our already large collection of Fortessa dinnerware from last year, but I won’t lie; we had higher hopes for our performance this weekend. But as always, I take responsibility and ownership for each and every entry we provide to the judges. I absolutely refuse to blame distractions, weather, phase of the moon or anything else for the outcome. OK, I do blame Pennsylvania judges for our near career chicken call shutout in their state (that’s a joke guys. I don’t really blame you, but it is a fact we have exactly one career call in PA and it was a 9th place call less than ten miles north of the MD/PA border). But if one WERE looking for excuses, here’s a nice one:
It wasn’t enough to try and slice off my left index finger five days before the Naptown barBAYq back in May. No, I had to try and slice off my RIGHT index finger on Thursday night at about 10:45 PM. I embedded my Global boning knife nice and deep right above the first knuckle. We debated whether or not to go to the ER and ultimately decided against it. When it was still bleeding the next morning, I began to rethink that decision, but by then it was too late so I just bound it up really tight and tried not to bump it again. Not a good start to the weekend. And although it didn’t really impact any of my prep work, I wish I hadn’t done it because it was pretty painful and a real hassle to deal with. When all was said and done, Bluemont had a new Grand Champion with 3Eyz securing their sixth overall victory of the year and Cool Smoke taking the RGC. Thanks again to Great Country Farms for hosting us and to Jaclyn Jenkins for doing an outstanding job running the competition again this year.
Here’s the contest rundown:
Chicken: 5th out of 40 (171.4286)
Wagshal’s chicken was solid as always, and we were happy to hear our name right off the bat in the friendly confines of Virginia. I’m pretty happy with our chicken cooks on the Backwoods now, and I feel it’s just a case of a missed point here or there between top five or a higher finish. We hit it right on with taste and tenderness, and appearance was nice. We could probably stand to get our thighs looking a wee bit more uniform, but overall chicken is on target.
Ribs: 5th out of 40 (166.8570)
Wagshal’s pork, a great cooker and a proven recipe and process equalled another rock solid rib cook and our third top five rib finish in a row. We’ll keep the ship on course while trying to find where those missing points are falling out in the hopes of easing a little higher up the finishing order.
Pork: 15th out of 40 (161.7142)
Pork continues to be “consistently inconsistent”. We didn’t have a terrible result, but we certainly were not happy with the drift toward mid-pack from our 9th place finish in Gettysburg. Good taste, uneventful cook, and we had plenty of what I thought was good tasting, tender pork. After we got our results, Sharon suggested that we look for better pieces from other parts of the shoulders. I’ve gotten stuck on pulling from only certain areas, and I think we are likely neglecting better product. We will be more thorough with our evaluation and selection next time out. Also, I still think we are not getting the really vivid, intense flavor that seems to hit with the judges. I do not think it’s the recipe, but I have a new adjunct I am going to try next time out.
Brisket: 31st out of 40 (150.2856)
You’d think I would learn after overcooking two briskets in a row, each progressively worse than the last. But you’d be wrong. This was easily our worst brisket entry this year and it was the proverbial “turd in the punchbowl” that ruined any chance we had of defending our GC. Once again, when the brisket feels done, it is done. It doesn’t matter if it’s eight degrees under or seven degrees over a target temperature; if it feels right it needs to come off the smoker. I won’t reference the last two write ups because they say the exact same thing. But I have overcooked my last brisket for awhile. OK? OK.
Well, a little slip in the overall finish this time out, but we were fortunate enough to finish in the top ten for the fifth time in six tries this year. Let’s see if we can right the ship next time out as we head to Cumberland, MD for the Mountain Maryland BBQ Cookoff on August 17-18.