Before we get started this week, I would like to thank all of the interested cooks and BBQ followers who have sent me notes expressing their enjoyment of the new "BBQ & A" feature. I started this as a trial idea and it seems to be working out. I'll try to keep it going and feature the best BBQ cooks with an emphasis on competition cooking.
This week I received contributions from three cookers that I really admire. All of these guys are top-notch competitors and extremely versatile cooks. I asked them if they ever had a nightmare experience or if things just ever went sideways while they were at contest and how did they react?
Our three featured BBQ'rs this week include Rob "Rub" Bagby of the extremely successful Florida BBQ Association team Swamp Boys, Steve Farrin, best known for his work with perennial New England BBQ Society championship contenders I Smell Smoke and finally, one of the best cookers from a state that boasts more than a few quality competition teams, Donny Teel of Buffalo's BBQ in Sperry, OK.
One note...you will notice two more in-depth answers and one answer that could be considered...well, less than wordy. So far I have found all of the cooks that have taken part in this deal to be extremely honest and their answers reflect their personalities. This week is no exception.
Rub: I have had my share of misfortune. I had a grease fire at 5:30 AM Saturday in 2005, and came so close to packing up all my stuff and heading home. It threw my timing off and charred parts of my butts and briskets. I was able to salvage some of it, and it turned out not to be as bad as I thought; I came in 6th overall. Two other contests I was DQ'd in chicken for having blood present near the bone. Came in DAL in both of those. If you've never been DQ'd at a contest, it's kind of like taking a kick in the nads. I don't recommend it.
Steve: Oh I've had a few of those. In Harvard Mass in 2008 I was short handed, it poured all weekend, our site was a total mud pit and around midnight the ground fault on the contest generator kept tripping every 15 minutes. I run an FEC100 without any battery backup or generator of my own. The FE was just not going to work out so we lit my Backwoods smoker moved all the meat over and finished the contest on it. We were the Grand Champs that day. I actually wrote about it on my blog (click here).
Donny: I really have never had that many problems at a contest. ‘Course some things go wrong - but that is when the real good cooks separate themselves from everyone else, knowing what to do to overcome the situation.