Friday, September 25, 2009

The Big Leagues.

There is an amazing feeling when you win your first award in competition. Up until then, you watch the usual suspects up there receiving awards on a regular basis and wonder just what it is that they are doing to win. How many times I wished I could be a fly on the wall as they were prepping and cooking just to see what was being done. You taste your own food and you know it is really good, but it just doesn’t seem to bring home the glory, at least until the first time. Yaahoo! We did it! What a great feeling. Our first award! The smart ones go and write down everything that was done to achieve success. The more creative types like me, which lack the organizational skill of some people, just revel in the experience. We forget to write things down and are soon found at the next competition trying to recall just what it was that we did the last time. Eventually I figured it out and started to write down what we indeed had done to achieve success after competitions. A little more organization helps the cause as my memory just isn’t what it used to be. My wife and friends literally had to beat organizational skills into me, but once they took hold my life certainly became easier. That said I still like to “just wing it” away from work.

We have won awards in all four of the categories in barbecue competition. Pork shoulder, beef brisket, pork ribs and chicken. Each cut has its idiosyncrasies and has to be cooked and treated completely different from each other. Different sauces, rubs, cooking times, methods and wood for each cut, while having to submit each one to a set of certified judges in nine minute windows over a four hour period takes practice and attention to detail. As the competitions came and went we started to get a growing collection of awards from our efforts and were very proud of what we had accomplished. Early this year I decided to get a little more serious about barbecue competition. I decided that I would stay focused the whole night. I would tend to the fire more attentively, watch the temperature, mist the meat or just basically baby the food. The results were dramatic. Our awards for the last year tripled.

In August 2009 we won the Canadian National BBQ Championships in Whistler BC. In Whistler we also won the Cork and Pork contest having to pair our pulled pork with a Zinfandel from Ravens Wood. These are two big accomplishments for one contest and you can read more about that on our website at . This contest of 39 teams from Canada and the United States is the big one for us and is what generated invitations from three big competitions in the US. The American Royal Barbecue Competition in Kansas City Missouri, The Jack Daniels World Championship in Lynchburg Tennessee and The Best of The Best in Douglas Georgia. Wow! This is the stuff I watched on The Food Network just a few years earlier. We are going to the big leagues!

I never imagined we would be in the place that we are right now, preparing for the barbecue trip of a lifetime. We will be documenting our travels and blogging all the way. We will post a ton of pictures and videos of our experiences, who we meet, what we do and what we see from Vancouver to Florida and back via the Gulf Coast. Bookmark us and spread the word because this is going to be quite the ride!

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