Sunday, April 26, 2009

25th Annual PBC Grillin and Chillin for Charity

Of all the cook-offs I have ever been to this one probably was more work than all the ones I have ever done combined. This year being one of the directors of this cook-off I had the opportunity to help plan and learn a few things about what all is involved in putting a cook-off together. Aside from the director duties I also had a few other things going on such as a catering event Friday night for the Young Professionals of Midland. I had planned to cater for about 120 of our members but due to the weather and a few other things we only had about 61 show up. We also entered up a team to cook in the contest which is the very first time I have ever cooked under a different name.

Friday morning was very challenging. I arrived early to set up and start cooking and about 15 minutes after I put the food on I watched the wind pick my canopy up off the ground and carry it away. After I was able to retrieve it the wind continued to blow pretty much throughout the day. After I got back from Century Graphics to pick up the director shirts and apron's a few members of my team began to arrive and started to help put getting everything set up for our guests. We had water trucks in the arena but the dust still continued to blow most of the day. That was something I was not prepared for but it finally began to slow down about the time people started showing up. Friday night was a lot of fun but as soon as everyone began to disperse the real work began. It was time to start getting everything prepared for the contest and my team one by one began to call it a night and go home. After everyone had left I saw an ambulance arrive. I found out later that a couple of the camp's had gotten into a bad fight and one of the team members had seriously been hurt. It's sad things like this happen in an event that's put together as a fundraiser for charity.

Saturday everything seemed to be going our way for the most part. We entered up in Brisket, Ribs, Chicken, Fajitas, and Chili and most everything we had entered was really good. Out of about 50 teams competing we took 6th in Chicken but did not get a call in any of the other categories. I was disappointed our brisket did not place. We had a great brisket but the competition in this cook-off is really big. Most of the teams had sponsors and many of the Oil companies had their company's cooks competing. I think if many of them were to hit the circuit they would do very well. At least they did at this contest.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Roberts Ranch Smokin Red Dirt Championship

This past weekend was our first KCBS contest. It was the 4th annual Roberts Ranch Smokin Red Dirt State Championship held in Enid, OK. I decided to enter this contest for a couple of reasons. One was that at roughly 9 hours from home this is one of the closest KCBS contests to where we live in West Texas so it just seemed like the right thing to do. Another reason is that I really wanted to get out of Texas to do some contests this year. I do not agree with how some of them are ran. I also have been blessed to have had an opportunity to see how different KCBS contests are vs what we normally cook in Texas. It's a whole new ballgame and ready or not we came to play.

I did not want to take this contest on alone so with the help of a great friend of mine and teammate Chris Canon we decided to head out for Enid, OK Thursday after work. We stopped in Albany, TX on the way up to dine at Texas's # 4 ranked Steakhouse the Fort Griffin General Mercantile. This is one of the best steakhouses I have ever eaten at. It's well known for attracting a few celebrities and Robert Duvall has even made a replica in his own home of their bar, The Bee Hive, when he was down in Texas working on Lonesome Dove. We each had a Ribeye cooked medium rare. They are cooked directly over mesquite coals which is a staple of Ranch Style Cuisine. After we finished our dinner we took a look in the kitchen and chatted with the owner about some of the history of this wonderful place. We headed out shortly after that and arrived in Wichita Falls relatively late.

Friday morning after some coffee and a short nights rest we headed up to Enid and arrived shortly after lunch, got unloaded and visited with a few of the other teams. The weather had called for some wind and about three inches of rain, however we lucked out and just caught a small sprinkle Friday afternoon. We had some time to make some new friends but were not used to being assigned a cooking space and being told where to cook. That's a lot different from what were used to so getting set up took a little more effort than usual.

The contest was a great learning experience for us. With the help of Kelly Wertz of 4 Legs Up BBQ we learned how to prepare a garnished turn in box which we had never had to do before. Texas contests only allow for foil so it was a lot different than what we are used to doing. Once we had an idea how to do a box it was time to start getting ready to prep the meat to put on the cooker. We worked throughout the night and by the time the sun had come up we were tired and ready for some breakfast. After breakfast we went over to the 4 Leg's Up camp at 10:30 and enjoyed a double shot of some get you ready for the chaos whiskey and made a good luck toast to all who could partake.

One thing I really enjoyed about this contest was the fact that we were able to see how we faired overall against the other teams. Although I am not proud of a few of our showings I think we did what we could with what we had and that's really all you can do. Here's how we did.

Chicken 8th of 47
Ribs 44 of 47
Pork 38 of 46
Brisket 13th of 47

I will post our turn in pictures and would be open to any criticism or compliments. I already got enough from the judges but you can never learn enough of what looks good or what doesnt. I have done much better in ribs back home but here's how we ended up for this contest. The ribs were in a triple pack and had some extremely slanted bones which we couldn't see so it made them very hard to cut which is part of the reason we did so poorly in that category. One rack even had to be thrown away. The rest though is just something that will take a little work and a little practice.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Brethren of the Q......

I have decided that not blogging for awhile has really made me think about a few things that have been on my mind lately. Even though I have some great things going on this year I would have to say really that anything great that happens with barbecue would be pointless if it were not for the great people in this world and the relationships I have made along the way. That being said I would like to dedicate this blog to Daniel Hogan and to all the others whom have recently come into my life, and have shown me what truly lies behind just the meat and sauce of Barbecue. I will admit that good barbecue is part of it, however relationships you would not have had, friendships you would not have formed, and miles you would not have traveled are what makes barbecue so special. In the past if you would have told me I would be driving 9 hours to compete against some of the best cook's in the nation I would have laughed. If you would have told me I would have met some of the finest people BBQ has to offer in Austin, TX I would have looked you in the eye and called you a liar. If you had told me that they were from states other than TX I might have taken offense. All of these things are now real and true and just as the day is long more and more opportunities such as these are unfolding every day.

This year I was asked to be one of the director's for the Permian Basin Cookoff. This just so happens to be one of those opportunities. To me it's an honor to be a part of this group and allows me to give back to my community doing something I truly love and enjoy. It's one of the biggest cook-offs in West Texas and pay's not one red penny to the winner. The irony of this cook-off is that people will probably spend more money here than they will vs any other cook-off they go to this year. This cook off benefits two wonderful charities in our community and 100% of the proceeds will go to them as they receive no State or Federal funding. At our past board meeting I had the opportunity to have met and sat by Dan Hogan. Although I did not know Dan very well one of the first things I noticed about Dan was that he was a giver and because of him someone will have a chance at a much better life that they had not had before. BBQ played a major role in that and it's unfortunate he will not be here with us to share in it as he tragically lost his life two days later in a car accident. There are so many people in this world I would not have had the opportunity to have met if it were not related to BBQ in some form or fashion. I would have to say that my passion for barbecue is not what I had once thought it to be, but more of something that happens along the way.

To Be Continued........