Thursday, June 10, 2010

Upper Marlboro MD 6/4-6/5 Beltway BBQ Showdown

Mired in Mediocrity

Watkins Regional Park, just outside of Washington DC, was the third location for this 4th year contest and in our opinion was the best so far. The teams were situated in a parking lot that offered some nice shady spots for the teams that began arriving as early as Thursday evening. Jonathan Jones, the contest organizer has grown this event from 16 teams in 2007 to its present size of 39 entries.

Four years ago this was the first contest that we ever cooked. We were nervous in the service back in 2007, and have cooked a ton or two of BBQ since then, both good and bad. Either way, we were glad to be returning to the scene of the crime, back where it all began so to speak.

Jonathan is not sure where next years event will be held, but he promises that things will continue to grow and improve. A strong and dedicated group of Parks & Recreation employees along with a great bunch of volunteers will assist Jonathan in his quest to make the contest better each year.

The field included some new teams as well as some of the most seasoned in the Mid Atlantic region. The weather threatened at times, but the BBQ karma kept the rain away and the most the teams had to deal with was the heat, which wasn’t all that bad, reaching 95 degrees under our canopy during turn-ins. At least there was a bit of a breeze at times to make things somewhat bearable.

You’ve heard the old adage, “You’d better quit while you’re ahead.” Well, as is the case with most old sayings, there’s a whole lot of truth in them there words! As some of you know, we won our first Grand Championship last October in Harrisburg PA. Before that, we had been on a bit of a roll, at least as far as we were concerned.

Then came Dover and the rain and the wind. We were 16th out of 81 teams without a call to the stage. Oh well, we were still flying high from Harrisburg, and it was the last event for the year for us, we’ll get em in Salisbury.

Spring time came along with renewed hope and a lot of that other crap and before we knew it, it was time to fire up the cookers and head to the Eastern Shore. We heard our name called for 7th in ribs and left with a 21st place finish out of a strong 132 team field. Not bad, but certainly not impressive.

Green Lane PA was next for us, we had taken RGC there the year before so our hopes were high. A rib and brisket call did little to soften the sting of an 8th place overall finish in a 49 team event.

This week we returned to Upper Marlboro where we finished 4th last year. I thought our stuff was pretty good, (I know, that’s the kiss of death), and again, we struggled, finishing 9th against 39 teams. No calls to the stage. Believe me, I am not complaining, I just ain’t happy. It appears that the watg? squad is mired in mediocrity or stuck in a funk as it were. We are halfway through our season; we have cooked 3 and have 3 more to go, with the possibility of maybe adding one more. Anyway you look at it, our season is almost over. Somebody better step to the plate, and that somebody is me.

It looks to me like the Big Cheese, sometimes known as the Big Head, better ante up. Whatever I have been doing, I better do it better. I need a couple of dingers, and I mean homeruns. Bel Air, next on a schedule is not until August. I have plenty of time to get ready, I better not spend it frittering away in some resort in the south of France wearing nothing but a Speedo. AAARRRGGGGGG! I just got a mental image that I’d rather not repeat!

Instead of working on my tan, I need to get busy improving the taste and tenderness of my products. I need to reverse the trend and begin to get better with each outing, to struggle from the chains of averageness and to strive to soar like an eagle. You can pick any cliché that you want but the fact remains, times a wastin, and I better git to it. Hey, I wonder if that has already been said? Perhaps a new old adage will be born from our run-of the mill or middle of the road struggle, which ever you care to call it. I know for me, it’s been a fair to middling season so far, and I don’t much like it. Stay tuned, hopefully I can turn us around.

This years contest Grand Champion was 3 Eyz BBQ from Owings Mills MD, who also captured top honors in last years event. Dan Hixon, Dan McGrath and Chris Hall made up the 3 Eyz squad and took first place in both the rib and brisket category. They also won a 4th place trophy in the pork division. The contest Reserve Grand Champ was Texas Ribs and BBQ. The top spot in chicken went to Chix, Swine, and Bovine from Columbia MD with Smokey Bottom Boys from Abingdon MD bringing home the bacon and the first place iron in pork. Congrats to all that were called!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Buddy! You need more at bats.....

Dan H