On September 21-22, Degüello BBQ competed in the inaugural Smokin’ on the Track BBQ Festival in Shenandoah VA. This was a late addition to our schedule driven by the need for a shakedown on our new trailer. I’ve decided to call it the Big Yellow BBQ Battle Wagon for obvious reasons:
I am really glad we made this trip for a few reasons. The organizers, led by Carey Verba, put on an excellent first-year competition. Teams were set up on pit row at the Shenandoah Speedway, with each team getting dedicated water and electricity in a 20’ by 40’ spot. And we were very happy with the outcome as well. With 17 teams competing, Degüello BBQ took 6th place chicken, 1st place ribs, 3rd place pork, 6th place brisket and our third career Grand Championship and second of 2012. Congrats to Mike Fay of Aporkalypse Now for taking Reserve Grand Champion. Thanks to Mike, Springfield swept the top two spots!
Here’s the contest rundown:
Chicken: 6th out of 17 (163.4286)
Chicken was good, not great on this day. Wagshal’s chicken was excellent as always, though, which takes the biggest variable out of the cook. I am keeping a closer eye on vertical temperature differentials in the Extended Party, and I now believe we are cooking chicken at somewhat varying temperatures from week to week. This week, I think we cooked at a lower temp, and this probably contributed to the less than optimum tenderness in the finished product. It was still good, but I was not completely satisfied. Nonetheless, we did get a call and I was happy to hear our name early.
Ribs: 1st out of 17 (169.1428)
Ribs keep hitting, and these were spot on. Our buddy Neil Pappalardo of Grand Slam BBQ took 3rd place in ribs, and as he walked to get his medal and cash I said “hey Neil, know anyone who can cook ribs that wants to go to the Royal with me?” Neil has graciously volunteered to accompany me to the American Royal this year so Sharon can stay home and save vacation time for our final event of the year, so I was joking around with him. Nice to see Neil get some recognition, and even better, he’s going to be with me in Kansas City as we throw down with 150-plus reigning grand champions from across the United States. Hopefully we can keep this level of performance going for the rest of the year.
Pork: 3rd out of 17 (162.8570)
Pork is now officially the new fickle mistress for Degüello BBQ. After the disappointing pork finish at Shrewsbury, I took the lessons from that weekend and applied them here. First, I made sure we had properly cooked slices i.e. not overdone. Second, I simplified the injection. And third, I added some additional flavor. Properly cooked product with lots of flavor paid off today, and now I am looking to build on today’s finish.
Brisket: 6th out of 17 (154.2858)
We cooked our best brisket in almost two months, and for our efforts we got our first brisket call since July. I’m still not happy with the cooking process, as the late cook stall continues to be a problem. But this was a good-tasting, properly tender brisket and for now that will do. Also, this was by far the biggest brisket I have ever cooked. I’m not even sure this was a “cow brisket”; is there such a thing as a “mastodon brisket”?
Our third career GC could not have come at a better time. It’s a great feeling to be rolling into our next event on positive momentum, not to mention on a little healthier checkbook. And our next event is one of the biggest: Degüello BBQ will be heading to the 33rd Annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City MO.
I dubbed this brisket “Cowzilla”
I think the palm tree brings the whole space together
The very nice JK Adams laser-etched cutting board we received as Grand Champion