Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Part 1 the begining

Who are those guys?
We are a new BBQ team from Street, Maryland. We have just finished our rookie year. Hopefully, this blog will give a little insight to starting a BBQ team, competing in the start up season, and cooking/competing in the seasons to come.

Summer of 2004
I had the application for the “Tailgater challenge” at the Bel Air BBQ Bash all filled out with the check written, in an envelope, sitting on my desk. I just could not bring my self to mail it.

I had been to the Bash in Bel Air the year before and walked around looking at all the different cookers and talking to many of the contestants. I even found myself riding through town the following Saturday just to get a whiff!

Pretty intimidating to me. Months before I had bought my first smoker, a $200 offset from BBQ Galore. I had produced some decent stuff with the offset and my Weber kettle, folks liked my Que, but a contest, I don’t know about that. Talking it over with my friend Mike and to heck with it, we would enter and see what happens. What is the worst thing that could happen; we would sit around for a Friday afternoon and drink a few beers, that ain’t all bad. We cooked up some pulled pork, got a couple of dozen ears of sweet corn and some cold beer and invited a few friends to stop by and see us.

Mike and I arrived at the appointed time and unloaded the truck. We went to the cooks meeting and were given our rack of ribs to cook. We fired up the offset and were in business. At least we thought. They also gave us a turn in box and told us that we could garnish our ribs, garnish, we did not have any of that with us, what could we use? what was legal?, and we thought this would be easy.

Not to worry, the fellow next to us, Ron Loveland (Ribinit), was very helpful. He filled us in and a few cell phone calls later we had it covered. Cooker going, sitting back having a beer in the middle of town on a Friday afternoon in August, this sure beat working! It wasn’t long when we had a visit by two very friendly guys Steve Farrin and Dave Frary. They introduced themselves, asked some questions, made a couple of suggestions and invited us to stop by and see them at their site later on. They were cooking as Team Agave over on the “other” side, where the big boys were.

Our ribs were cooked and we made up our box, looking back, I wish we had taken a picture. I think there were 12 teams, we got a “call” for 6th place and even got a ribbon! Many friends stopped by and had some grub, overall, we had a ball. I would say this was the beginning, I was hooked but didn’t know it yet.

After we cleaned up, we walked over to see Steve and Dave. They were very friendly and showed us around their set up, answered many questions and even offered a shot of the magic agave juice to the new guys. We wandered around after a lot of the crowd left and spoke to many of the other cooks, all very willing to show you around and talk BBQ. This sure looked like fun. But the thought of cooking 4 categories, and one of them was brisket, all done on a rigid time schedule, I am not too sure about that. And brisket, never cooked one of those before. Before we left, Steve asked me to stop by on Saturday to taste their que, hmmmm, Saturday, I had nothing else to do.

Saturday early afternoon found my wife Jo and I walking through the smoke and excitement of turn in time. You could feel the excitement, but not much to see as a spectator, not like watching a NASCAR race or a football game, just not much for the spectator to see. Until we got to Team Agaves site. Steve and Dave were in the middle of their turn ins. They made us welcome and we stayed out of the way and just watched. Now, this was exciting. The best thing was that Steve gave us samples, especially the brisket, how did he get that so tender. Jo and I stayed after turn in and helped Steve and Dave clean up and pack up and they gave us a couple of zip locks full of meat to take home, not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Around 3:00 (before awards) Jo and I hit the road but not before exchanging e mail addresses with our new friends. Steve suggested that I visit the BBQ Forum and said I could get a lot of good information there. He also gave me a container of Blues Hog Rub and suggested I give it a try on my next rib cook. We wished the team luck and went home with our carry out bags and a new found appreciation of competition cooking.

Wednesday afternoon and the local paper is delivered, Steve and Dave are on the front page, Team Agave wins the Bel Air bash! How about that! I think I will check out that BBQ Forum and see what this is all about.

1 comment:

Tim Craig said...

I just ran across your blog and am looking forward to reading more posts and following your progression.

I've been bitten by the BBQ bug too - and I haven't even been to a comp! =)
Just reading the forums and doing some home Q gets a guy thinking about it.

I'm hoping to hit a few comps this year and help out existing teams to get a feel for it, and get trained up and certified as a CBJ. Them I'll work on doing more...

On to Part 2!