Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring 2008

Get ready!

It’s hard to believe that it is already early March. Time sure flies when your having fun. Winter around here was not too bad so far. A little snow, a little ice, some cold days, overall I would consider it fairly mild. Although, you would not know it looking at the checkbook when paying the heating bill.

We are planning to compete in seven contests this coming season. I have checked with the team members and we have agreed on a schedule. Most of the entry forms have been submitted and the excitement is building.

I have been busy writing this winter. Of course, I have been writing in the blog. I am not too sure that anyone is reading, however, I will continue to write for both of my loyal readers out there! I hope to keep updates coming when the season begins. I may even attempt to submit some contest recaps to KCBS for possible submission in the Bull Sheet. We will see and I will keep you posted.

Practice cooking has been on my list for this off season. I have been cooking alot of BBQ. My wife thinks I should be committed. I have been spending a lot of quality time with chicken thighs. The neighbors don’t care, as long as I keep feeding them Que. As for the kids, they are about filled up on BBQ and I can’t say as I blame them. Its to the point now when I light up the smoker on Sunday morning, the kids ask if we can order a pizza.

This past weekend I worked on chicken and ribs again. I was hoping I would be finished with chicken after this weekend, but it looks like I will be at it again next week, I am close, but still have some work to do. I have been doing some experimentation with some interesting results. I have also been working hard on my pork and brisket. Did I call this work?;) Needless to say, it will be a while before I crave chicken thighs again.

I have been squirreling away supplies all winter so I do not have to buy then all at once and have just about everything we need. The trailer soon will be moved from its winter parking spot. I plan to pull everything out and reorganize, removing any items that we haven’t used and trying to make more efficient use of the space that we have.

Our first contest for the year will be April 18-19 in Salisbury MD. Last year I cooked with Steve at this one and had a lot of fun. This year he is cooking with his regular team, “I Smell Smoke”. This is a great spot for a contest and the folks that run it do a great job. The event website shows 52 teams already registered and it is only early March. Every time I speak to one of the guys on the team, the conversation quickly turns to BBQ. Everyone is anxious for the season to begin.

At Salisbury, they have two additional categories on Friday night. My wife, Jo, is going to cook the Anything But event. She has been working hard with her planning and possible presentation. There is also a Perdue chicken contest. I think we will also enter this one as well.

On the many forums that I visit, folks are also looking forward to the new season. Contests are becoming a little more frequent down south and I am sure they will be moving north with the approach of springtime and warmer temperatures. Threads on the forums have discussed everything associated with contest cooking from garnish to judges and gas prices. Folks all around are looking forward to the 2008 competition season. Cabin fever would be a good term here.

This winter I became a member of the Mid Atlantic BBQ Association. The organization has been around for a while and sponsors, among other things, a BBQ Expo in April. Recently, as a result of the hard work of some of the members, they have improved their website. The web site now contains past event photos and a newly added MABBQA discussion forum. It is a very good place to exchange ideas and thoughts on BBQ competition and cooking in general.

A few hardy souls competed this past weekend in two winter contests up north. I am not sure we are ready with our, “cots under the easy-up” set up to tackle a mid winter event yet, but kudos to those that did. Some mighty brave souls.

For many here in the mid Atlantic area, Salisbury is the season opener. I am sure I speak for many of the teams in this region; April 18th can’t come soon enough!