Monday, June 15, 2009

The Great American BBQ (Collapse)

It’s time to play catch up. When last we spoke, Chris and I were gearing up for the Great American BBQ contest. Well…there wasn’t a lot that happened for us worth writing about, which is probably why the recap hasn’t shown up until now.

Chris brought the cooker out on Thursday night to scope out our spot and save us some set up time, allowing us both to work most of the day on Friday. Then we got down to business cooking for the Invitational. We also had an extra brisket on board for the Oklahoma Joe’s World Brisket Open. Our stuff came off in pretty decent shape with the exception of our briskets for the invitational. The taste was solid, but quite honestly, the rest was pretty crappy. Over cooked. Bad presentation. All around pretty poor.

I thought we had a chance for a call with any or all of our other entries. We ended up with two calls, but I’ll only claim one. They gave ribbons down to 20th place - which was nice - but with 44 teams in the Invitational, what is a 20th place call really worth? In our case, it’s worth a yellow ribbon for our pork. Our high point was a 10th place finish in ribs, but we ended up a lowly 35th place overall. Ugh.

The brisket-only contest sponsored by Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ restaurant recognized the top 10 finishing teams, all of whom made a second round cut and had their entries re-judged. We finished 13th, missing the cut by 1.1426 points. That was a good brisket. Maybe the one of the better ones we have cooked in a long time – so that felt good, but it still stung to miss that cut by such a slim margin. Chris Cox and his Brew N’ Bar-B-Que gang claimed the best brisket in the work title (just a couple weeks after taking grand champion in Lansing) and our buddy Doug from Toad Hollar BBQ in Maryville, MO finished a close second.

After the dismal finish in the invite, we regrouped and were re-energized to do well in the open. I’ll spare you the details. We crapped all over the place again. For the second year in a row, we didn’t earn a call. And for the second year in a row, I thought we had decent stuff. But it just wasn’t going to happen for us on this day.

The recovery of the weekend didn’t happen for us. However, it did happen for the Habitual Smokers crew out of Arkansas. They finished one spot below us in the invite at 36th and ended up winning the open, putting the hurt on the rest of the field and winning by 9 points over the next closest team. Those guys are real competitors and have done it before, winning the American Royal and Great American contests in years past.

We did have a good time, enjoying the new venue (Sandstone Amphitheater) and spending some time with our families and a few friends. We be back next year and hopefully we can put together a better performance then!

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