We have successfully competed in our first competition. We entered all three meat categories of chicken (half chicken), ribs and brisket plus the jackpot beans. The first turn-in due was the beans. They were damn sure good, probably some of the best I have made. We did not make them any different than usual except we poured a full can of keystone in them and this was the first time to cook then in a pot over a fire and not in the controlled environment of a crock pot. We got 2nd place in beans! Missed the jackpot but what the hell, we got 2nd! Wow what a rush - could this possibly be a sign of things to come?
Our chicken was not done and we had to go to some extreme measures to make sure it was ready to turn in. We got it done but really lost the effect we were going for. Needless to say we did not place in chicken - but we did learn a few lessons.
We have NEVER cooked ribs before. Thanks to the BBQ Brethren - I got some great advice. We used the 3-2-1 method and mopped about 15 minutes before pulling off the smoker. We could tell that they were looking very good and really got excited about them. The next problem after we got them cooked was to slice them. I had no idea how to do it other than watching enough Food TV and OLN to know about the "competition cut". They damn sure were not pretty - but the judges were specifically told not to account for appearance. The ribs got 6th place!
Brisket is our masterpiece. Been cooking brisket for years and it just gets better every time. We cooked four briskets - one for donation (part of the entry fee - sold by silent auction for charity) and three to choose from for turn in. I sliced into the first one and it was dry, real dry. I have never had one dry like that. I grabbed the next one, which was the largest one of the cook, and sliced it open. It was beautiful! Juicy, flavorful tender, not overdone - perfect. Not my best but damn sure nothing wrong with it. Well, it got us 9th in brisket. I was really hoping for better but did not have any idea of what the competition was turning in. I had no idea what we were up against.
Overall I have to say that after the awards - everybody knew we were there! We placed in three out of the four categories we entered. We got more awards than a lot of the more experienced teams. After the awards I found out that the top three Texas cooks (1, 2 and 3 in LSBS points) were at this competition. These were obviously the ones that were called up in every category. We really got a huge boost of confidence and are totally hooked.
Thanks are due to many people for making this a successful outing. First of all I have to thank my brother-in-law Steve "The Sneak" for his tremendous help and the remainder of my family including my wife, mother, sister and kids. Our friend Gary loaned us his motorhome and Brandon let us use his trailer (we just took the backyard cooker). East Side Speed Shop kept us looking good with our Detroit Muscle Authentic Speedware shirts.
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