Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life before Que

…am I obsessed?

I just finished up my 4th year on the competition BBQ circuit with my own team. If you add in a season or three where I cooked a few amateur events and helped an existing team, pretty soon I realize I been fooling around this game for about 7 years. Still what I would consider somewhat of a rookie compared to many guys on the circuit, what I’ve noticed is BBQ and outdoor cooking is taking more and more of my time.

This year my team cooked in 6 contests. If you add in a weekend cooking class, 3 additional contests attended as a spectator, a Que trade show weekend, 2 judging events, a couple of catering gigs, numerous practice cooks, and before you know it there is not much time for anything else, which is exactly my point here.

When I first toyed with the idea of starting my own competition team I was still busy, or so it seemed, but I did have some free time. My lawn, while not the neighborhood showplace was at least, fed, watered, cut and trimmed. I maintained a large perennial garden at home, spent a lot of time hunting and fishing, kept my truck washed, and occasionally had time to clean the garage. Alright, I am exaggerating about the garage part, but you get my point.

It seems today, if I am not cooking, grilling or smoking, then I am at home, surfing the net looking, reading and writing about some type of outdoor cooking. I lay in bed at night thinking and scheming of ways and methods to try and improve my product. While taking my afternoon walk, I think about my equipment list and what I need to replenish before our next event. Do I need another cooker? Should I practice this weekend? What will we do for the chefs’ choice in Salisbury next spring? And on and on and on.

This is not to mention the list I have put together for products I would like to design and develop to make things easier for folks involved in competition BBQ cooking. I have a list started; I just need a couple of weeks and a few thousand dollars to finish the designing and to build a few demos to test. I am sure I’ll find the time to get to this during the offseason this winter. Yea, right.

Last night, as I returned from my walk I glanced into what, just a few short years ago, was a very fine collection of the genus Hosta. Instead of a collection that any gardener would be proud to display, I see a collection of plants that need some attention, surrounded by weeds that have been neglected and are now thriving. The entire area is quickly becoming inundated with the latest seasonal tree dropping, leaves. I continue towards the house, past my dirty truck and into my garage. The 2 car garage, which up until about 4 years ago used to actually contain a car once in a while, is now cluttered with a collection of coolers, foil pans, large pots and lids, smokers, bags of charcoal, a pig roaster, folding tables and chairs, EZ-Ups, well you get the picture.

I was thinking the other day that I should seek professional help, but decided against the idea, fearing what the councilor might say. Maybe I just need to take a time management class. I saw in the catalog that several are offered at our local Community College as non-credit adult evening classes. Maybe I am not obsessed; I just need to prioritize a bit better. I am sure I can find some time to tend to a few of the duties and tasks that have fallen victim to my addiction to Que.

Besides, if I could find a few hours a weekend, I could work on developing that new brisket and pork procedure that I read about last weekend on the internet. As for all those leaves that I see falling onto my formally well maintained lawn and garden, maybe I can get one of the neighborhood kids to rake them for me, you know, free me up for something more pressing, more important, like practicing my chicken!

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