Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Best of the Best.

Yours truly.

The next stop on our tour is Douglas, Georgia for the “Best of the Best” Invitational and the Open event at the National Barbecue Festival. The city of Douglas with a population of 15000 people is about 3 ½ hours south of Atlanta and a couple hours north of the Florida state line. Driving there is not done by interstate, but through secondary highways that meander through miles of pine tree forests. In between the groves of trees there are acres of land being farmed that are filled with blooming cotton. Did you know that scientists have studied the rings of Georgia pines and can tell every hurricane that has passed through in the last 100 years?

The cotton fields of Georgia.

Before I left Atlanta I arranged to pick up meat for the contest along the way in Macon Georgia . I always feel better when it is purchased and all packed away on ice. One less thing for me to worry about and it gives me piece of mind. The weather in southern Georgia for the weekend was beautiful. Hot, dry and a blue sky filled with white cumulous clouds. It also meant that I was going to go through a pile of ice keeping my ice chests cool. At Douglas they have a woman that comes around a few times a day in a golf cart with 20lb bags of ice. Nice and easy to look after your coolers.
This time I have no team mates as they have all gone home to work or school. I was going to have to do this contest on my own. I did know a couple of other teams, House of Q and Diva Q, so there were a couple of friends already there. One thing about BBQ competitions that I really like is the camaraderie between the teams. I always go home with a whole new set of friends.

In Georgia forget chicken kabobs. Florida is right next door.

The vending area.

The first night is the Best of the Best invitational competition. I prep my meat by myself and get it put back on ice in the coolers. By 9:00 pm I have my big cuts on the smokers. As morning comes I get my ribs on by 6:30 am and get ready to do the whole cook and turn in process. By the time I am done cooking, arranging and turning meat in for the day I am tired already. I start my clean up because I need to prep all the meat for the open competition the following day. As I chat back and forth with the other teams before heading to the award ceremony, I (as usual) wonder how I will do. When I get to the awards ceremony, I see the awards that they are handing out. They are solid brass bells that are nicely engraved. I do not know the significance of the bell but they sure are cool looking and I would really like one. As the awards were called out for ribs and I did not hear my name by the time it hit fifth place I figured I was done. Then it reached the last call which is first place and guess what? They called Smoke and Bones! First in ribs! Yahoo!!

First place ribs!

The next night and day are like a repeat except it is even more tiring. As we head off to the awards again I was happy with what I turned in. I worked really hard on cooking, presentation and details and was hoping for a call in something. As the awards came in I got a call in chicken. Awesome! Twice in one weekend and in two different categories! Next category is ribs. I did great yesterday so it must mean I will tank today. Nope! Called again! Yahoo! Next category pork shoulder. Guess what? Called again! Seriously... All three categories and I got to do the walk. One more round and that is for "over all". Yup, I got called again and placed fifth overall against some teams that I really look up to, and I did it cooking by myself. Not only did I do well, but my friends from House of Q, Diva Q, and the BBQ Effect each picked up an award as well!

I even wore my Jack-o-lantern shirt. It was Halloween afterall.

I wasn’t sure which way to go next as far as travel. Heat won out and I headed south. It is time to go play in the sun with my Paramotor. Next stop Miami.

1 comment:

  1. Thats awesome, good thing you brought the trailer to haul awards home with :)