A week or so ago Chris and I decided to make a quick run down to the backwoods of Laurie, MO for the Laurie Hillbilly BBQ Contest. It was a last minute decision…I got a hold of the contest organizer, found out they still had room for a few more teams and we made our plan and left town around 3:00 pm on Friday.
Early in the week we enlisted an old BBQ friend of ours to be a part of the team. Richard Sterling is from the Laurie area, but he most recently called Nebraska home - living not far from my home town up there. He had quite a bit of success cooking contests around Nebraska and Iowa a few years ago. Rich has since relocated back to Missouri and sold his cooker. Actually it was Chris who bought his H&S Trailer Smoker a few months ago.
Our plan was to have Rich cook chicken and run boxes. We’d cook our regular ribs, pork and brisket and see what turns out.
We pulled in to the cook site a little after 6:00 pm and quickly set up camp. We had a pretty good spot, not too far from turn-ins and right under a shade tree. Not that it mattered if we were under a tree or not – it was 90+ degrees most of the weekend and the air was humid and thicker than molasses.
We cooked our four categories with little incident and got everything turned in on time with Rich’s help. We packed up quickly and cooled down (temporarily) by rinsing off in a cold shower and throwing on a change of clothes. By the time the awards rolled around I was just as hot as before.
We were sweating at the awards (literally) as we didn’t get a call until we hit 4th in the last category of brisket. When we don’t get a top 10 call in a category after the end of a long contest, my immediate thought (and hope) is “well, maybe we finished 11th.”
That was almost the case here. We ended up 13th in ribs and 11th in pork. Three of our four turn-ins faired pretty well with some solid scores. But the judges beat us up pretty bad on our chicken. As we tasted it in preparation for turn-in, I think we all thought we had a chance, but it wasn’t going to happen for us this day.
Out of 76 teams, we finished 18th and enjoyed sharing in the success of many friends including The Slabs, Early Bird BBQ, Smoke on Wheels and Pork Pullin’ Plowboys, all of which celebrated top category and overall finishes.
I will say that I did miss having my little buddy at the contest with us. This is the second contest in a row that my 18 month-old son Jackson was not there to share some time with us. Jack is my little good luck charm and when he wasn't able to go to Shannon, IL with us last month, at least Chris and I had our wives there. I have found that it's just a lot more fun to have our family with us when we're cooking.
Next up is a contest that we have done for four years. We'll be smokin' on the street in downtown Excelsior Springs, MO. If you're there, be sure to stop by and say hey!