Monday, January 19, 2009

Crave the Que

Too much of a good thing?

I can remember a time when just the smell of a SIA, (smoker in action), would set my mouth to watering. If you recall in one of my first blog entries, I rode around the streets of Bel Air on Saturday morning of the 2003 contest just to whiff the air. That was the truth. Intoxicating would be putting it lightly. As the old saying goes, that was then, this is now.

One would think that if a fellow was into cooking BBQ contests, well, that guy must love his BBQ. I remembered a thought I had while driving home from the 2004 Bel BBQ Bash after first meeting Steve with several zip lock bag full of BBQ’d delights. Why in the world would a BBQ guy give away all of these fine eats? I just couldn’t figure it out. It made no sense to me.

A subsequent conversation with Steve in 2007 when I cooked with him at Salisbury helped fill in the blanks. “ I just can’t eat that stuff any more”, Steve told me on Saturday after the turn ins, as I once again loaded up my zip locks with Steve’s championship submissions. How could that be, I thought. Oh well, all the more for me, no sense in it going to waste.

The family would be waiting in the driveway upon my return if they knew I was in possession of bags of smoky goodness from Steve. As I arrived back at the homestead, there were no questions, how was the trip? Did you have fun? How did you do? The only question I would hear is “where is the cooler?” My, how times have changed.

After cooking a couple of hundred pounds of Que in the past 3 years I can honestly say, “I can’t eat that stuff.” Well, maybe not that direct, let me explain. When we travel to a BBQ contest we always have a camp meal on Friday night, one thing is certain, it won’t be BBQ. Pasta, seafood, steak, anything but Que.

Saturday during turn-ins we have to sample our product as we proceed through the schedule. I have to tell you, when we get to brisket, the last turn-in, I sometimes have trouble taking a sample. When the contest is over, and its time to divide the remains, I have to force myself to take some home. Even the other guys on the team have become less than excited when it comes to left-overs. When we first started this operation, there would sometimes be shoving matches while divvying up the take outs. Today, when asked who wants some Que to take home, sometimes, the only shoving is the team members knocking each other over to get away from the bagged goods. Amazing.

After a contest, I don’t want any BBQ for at least a couple of days. Saturday dinner when I return from a contest weekend is usually pizza, fresh fish or a crab cake, anything but the 4 KCBS meats, and especially nothing that has been anywhere near a brush filled with BBQ sauce.

Much has been written and discussed on the various BBQ forums that I visit from time to time about what others prefer to eat after a contest weekend. Some prefer sweets, pasta is another favorite. There does seem to be a consensus among most BBQ cooks, ANYTHING BUT BBQ. While it is very hard to get two cooks to agree on anything, there does not seem to be much disagreement on this question.

Upon reflection, I gotta say I don’t much like it. It almost seems that I have lost my desire for BBQ’d meats, I know my family has. I guess that they could be justified in their lack of desire for my Que. They have eaten an awful lot of BBQ product in the past 36 months. (I won’t even mention the Chicken obsession of 2008) They never request Que for dinner anymore, who could blame them. My biggest complaint is, I no longer want BBQ for dinner either, or for lunch for that matter.

This past holiday season I cooked several slabs of spares to take to a Christmas party. I ate one small rib to test for seasoning, that was it. At the party when they were served, I opted for a ham sandwich and a bowl of soup. Wow, I can hardly believe it myself.

I will still eat and sample my product as I test cook for the upcoming competition season, but to make a meal of “that” stuff, I think not. I think I’ll just have a salad. On second thought, last weekend as I was working on my chicken attack, I stumbled upon a new twist for my formally feathered friend that has some possibilities. I made the same recipe again this weekend for a football party and actually found myself going back for seconds, hmmmmm I could be onto something here.

Maybe, it’s just like another old saying goes, too much of a good thing. Not that I am trying to say my product is good, well, you get the point, maybe it’s just too much Que. I sure hope not. I know that through the power of positive thinking and a lot of hard work, I can recapture my desires of old and once again learn to “crave the Que.” I can’t wait!


Transformer BBQ said...

I'm with you... I'm happy to cook it, love to compete... but I will have a bite or two, and that's it.


Anonymous said...


You forgot to mention the joy of smelling like Que for a weekend......

Anonymous said...

Oh and I'm "anonymous" for the previous post.


I guess that really doesn't make me anonymous then, does it? Oh well...