Well it’s a new year and a new season for Degüello BBQ. 2012 was filled with incredible highs, to include our second and third career Grand Championships, our first visit to the American Royal, our first call in the American Royal Invitational, and most improbably, a return trip to the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue. Along with the highs, however, we suffered some late-season inconsistency that left the year on a bit of a low. As a result, I’ve been anticipating a return to competition for over five months.
You can’t usually pick your battles or battlegrounds, and if I could, 2013 would’ve started on more favorable terra firma south of the Mason-Dixon Line. But I was rested, ready and fresh off a trip to San Antonio during which I worshipped at some of the shrines of Texas BBQ in Lockhart and Luling. The inspiration seemed to have worked, as Degüello BBQ took first place in ribs and 7th place overall at the 3rd annual Go Naked BBQ Show in Greencastle PA. Big congrats to Drilling and Grilling for taking the Grand Championship and Philly Underhogs for the Reserve Grand Championship.
Go Naked is a chicken and ribs, no electronics, pits and wits only comp. No problem, right? I’d had some success at the inaugural Go Naked. On the other hand, I struck out at last years’s event. Add to that the new for 2013 wrinkle that this would be a no sauce comp as well. Full disclosure, I think sauce is often redundant and/or unnecessary when you have great BBQ. But I’m not a BBQ judge, and more precisely I’m not a BBQ judge north of the Mason-Dixon Line. So that was a bit of a concern when working up a plan. In the end, I decided to go with a straightforward cooking profile and glaze with Texas Pepper Jelly for a little sweetness. The plan worked great on ribs and not so well on chicken. Here’s the rundown on the categories (sorry for the lack of pictures, but I was quite busy this weekend and didn’t get any good ones):
Chicken: 15th out of 24 (151.4284)
Wagshal’s chicken was excellent as always, but in retrospect my cooking method was not the best one for a no-sauce comp. A central part of my standard comp recipe is a sweet and savory sauce, liberally applied. When I tasted this chicken, it was oddly out of balance. Not bland, but more like it was missing something. The missing ingredient was, of course, the sauce. I’ve already formulated a plan for next year. And sorry, cyber-shiggers, I’m not sharing it here.
Ribs: 1st out of 24 (169.1428)
On the other hand, the no sauce ribs tasted great with a Texas Pepper Jelly glaze. Really, I feel like I’ve turned in better boxes, but this was good enough today. And it never hurts to have heritage pork with thick meat and straight bones. Again Wagshal’s carried the day here. We’ve had some ribs success, with being our third category win, eighth top five and many more top tens. But I think I am really hitting stride with the heritage product. Hopefully we can keep bringing it strong in ribs this year.
This was a good start to the 2013 season, but there is a lot of BBQ to come. We will cook the best we can, let the judges do their job and try not to let the inevitable clunker(s) get us down too much. Next up for Degüello BBQ is the Naptown barBAYq in Annapolis MD.