For the only the second time ever, I entered a BBQ contest (first as Major League Grilling).
We (my wife and I) did pretty good, but the day started off horribly wrong. The plan was to leave by 5:30am, make a stop and be at the competition site by 7:30ish (the contest started at 8am) and have the meat cooking by 9am. So much for that, we’re already running behind because it takes me a while to tie everything down on the trailer. By this time, it’s 6:30am…uh oh.
After that, while bringing her out, I ram our trailer into the garage which knocked the sensor off. It took us a few minutes to figure out how to close the garage. Then we had to turn around after a few blocks because we forgot to bring the kids shoes (they were spending the day with grandma and grandpa while we BBQed).
Then the worst case scenario occurred, while driving along the back roads, my 2 month old Weber Smoky Mountain cooker falls off the back of the trailer…NOOOOO!!! By the time I slow the car to stop, the once glossy porcelain coated smoker was dragged about 50 feet. I felt horrible, just sick to my stomach. Fortunately, the smoker was not destroyed, but it suffered a lot of minor damage.
As long as the integrity of the smoker was intact (which it was), we were back on the road towards Cuba, MO. However, my nerves were a little rattled and now I’m being extremely cautious with the cargo on the trailer. I stop another 3 times to check that everything, and I mean everything, is fastened down tightly. This takes even more time off my BBQ schedule. By the time we arrive at my parents house, it’s already 7:45am…CRAP!
We toss the kids into my parents house like it was a drive-by getaway before they knew what hit’em and we were back on the road again. I think I was in shock because I wasn’t angry or I couldn’t joke about it for a minute. After a while, I just started to laugh about the whole morning that has yet to end.
Finally we arrive at 8:45am…HOLY CRAP!!! Without going into panic mode, we managed to get the ribs and pork steaks on the grill by 9:30 (only 30 minutes behind, right?). Not so much, the turn-in times were moved up an hour from originally thought. So instead of the ribs cooking for 5.5 hours, they will cook for 4.5 hours. This was actually a blessing because the ribs were pretty meager. Besides all the drama prior, the outside temperature was expected to be above 90 degrees all day long. Despite this, we managed to stay on track with all the BBQ.
We had a great day of barbecuing, but first up was the Chef’s Choice division. For days leading up to the contest I went back and forth on doing my famous blueberry muffin fatty or my new crave, peach caprese salad. I also considered a dessert because I thought it would score well on a hot day like today, but I couldn’t think of anything to do and how to keep it cool.
I went with the peach caprese salad with marinated skirt steak. But we couldn’t stop a final gaffe before turning it in at 1 o’clock.
The peaches turned out really soft and soggy because I grilled them too soon and stored them in the cooler for about an hour. As a result, I got frustrated with myself big time, but my wife was right there to pick me back up…thank God for her!
Next turn-in time was at 1:30pm for pork steaks. I couldn’t have been prouder of my steaks, they looked amazing…easily the best I’ve ever done.
They were sauced afterwards and 2 of the 4 best pork steaks I had were given to the judges. I’m proud of these bad boys.
I didn’t know what to think of my ribs…they were tiny, not a lot of meat on them. So I doctored them up by sacrificing a rib bone on both sides of the middle bone to create a meatier rib. But to turn in 6 of these was a challenge. Once again, I sauced them and gave the best 6 that I had to the judges a half hour after the last turn-in. This division was my wild card.
Chef’s Choice – 8th place, this was better than I anticipated. An improvement over my second to last finish in my other contest.
Pork Steaks – 1st place! Yes!!! I knew they were good for me, but I had no idea if the judges would like them, evidently they did.
Ribs – 2nd place! Upset!!! Another shocker, I didn’t think I would win with those puny ribs…lol!
Shocked beyond all belief, folks congratulated me and gave me hi-fives, fist bumps and a pat on the back. It felt good to be King for a day. I definatley be doing this contest and others in the future.
Special thank you to my wife, she was phenomenal all day long, even overcoming a debilitating injury to finish a championship run I love you.