Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bedford Labor Day Blues and BBQ Festival Cont......

It's not everyday that you can find a KCBS contest in Texas. In fact the Bedford Labor Day Blues and BBQ Festival is the very first KCBS contest ever to take place in TX and we were glad to be a part of it. Although the Bedford Labor Day Bluesfest has been around for a few years this was their very first year to incorporate a contest and they did a wonderful job of putting this together.

We pulled out of Midland a little after 11:00 Friday morning one hour behind our scheduled departure time of 10:00. After about four hours on the road we came up to an accident that had made me nervous the rest of the way in. A White Chevrolet Crew Cab was in the median and had apparently rolled about a $ 15,000 BBQ Pit that he was pulling behind him. I wanted to stop and give him a hand but there were others assisting and traffic was getting really bad coming into Weatherford. I have never seen anyone lose a pit in tow. I would caution anyone who pulls a BBQ pit to make sure all bearings are greased, tires are good shape and it's properly attached at the hitch. One mistake could mean disaster really quick. It's a good thing no one was injured.

We arrived in Bedford shortly after 4:00 PM, set up our cooking area and spent the rest of the evening with my sister in Dallas. We returned on Saturday and began to scope out the competition. I have cooked several contests this year but none as competitive as this one. I immediately recognized several teams from Texas and a few others that have dominated the KCBS circuit this year. We knew this was going to be a hard contest and after talking with some of the teams realized that we were cooking at a much higher level of competition than what we had previously thought.

For the most part Saturday evening went by pretty fast. My sister and Lance brought the kids by for some hamburgers and we spent the rest of the evening partying with our neighbors Hard Wood Barbecue. These guy's are a class act. They really know how to do it up right and had invited all of thier friends and family out to the cook-off. I think there were over one hundred people at thier campsite by the end of the night. They are a local team from the Metroplex who gets together when they can to have a good time, cook some great Barbecue, and likes to spend the fruits of their labor on having fun and showing others how to have a great time. After 11:00 rolled around quit time was enforced and the party shortly began to come to an end. I took Patty to the hotel and returned for a long night of prepping, cooking, building turn in boxes and trying to remember each and every little step of what needed to be done.

After a long night of cooking I watched the sun come up and was very tired from the previous night's lack of sleep. I picked Patty up from the hotel just in time to be back for the chicken turn in. I left out a few small steps on the chicken but thought it had great flavor. Some of the pieces had bite through skin while others did not. Ribs came next and have been something of a challenge this year. I used a new product called Texas Pepper Jelly and was amazed at how well it turned out. I think this will be something to incorporate as it made a big difference in overall flavor and appearance. Our next category was pork. Normally this is something I never cook so I decided to try a new recipe from the book Serious Barbecue. It was a little more complicated than what I am used to but had a great flavor. Our last and final category for the day was Brisket. I had been wet aging this Brisket for many weeks and had my first experience cooking a properly wet aged Brisket. The flavor was phenomenal, however it seemed to cook much faster than the Briskets we have cooked this year and came out a little on the dry side. I was pleased with our scores at this competition mainly because this was only our second KCBS competition and the teams we were competing against were some of the best we had ever crossed in one competition. Here's how we ended up:

Overall * 18th of 40
Chicken * 20th of 40
Ribs * 15th of 40
Pork * 17th of 40
Brisket * 22nd of 40

I could not have done this without the help of my wife Patricia. She has been with me every step of the way from my very first Brisket and has really been very supportive and helpfull in our competitions.