Sunday, April 06, 2008
Blog Res-Que: Catching up since last year
Well if you were a regular follower of this blog, which I doubt any one is, you would think that I've stopped cooking and given up of my quest for a championship. Not True! I actually just got lazy about my posting and it's now time to catch up and get the blog back on track. There's really nothing spectacular to report. None the less, I've made some changes in a all three of the regular categories (brisket, ribs and chicken) and I'm starting to see some good results which I hope will increase the number of calls this year. So here's where I've been cooking since my last post from July 2007:
September 14-15, 2007: Springtown Wild West Festival and BBQ cook-off. I won an 8th place in brisket. 38 teams entered.
October 5-6, 2007: Keller Lion's Club Cook-off. No awards received. 57 teams entered.
October 12-14, 2007: 24th Annual Traders Village Open and the Obie Cue Backyard Chicken Challenge. I made the finals table in the Backyard Chicken Challenge. 123 teams entered.
October 26-27, 2007: National Championship BBQ Cook-off, Meridian, TX. I made the finals table in Ribs and won a discount coupon to the 2008 event. 140 teams entered.
February 22-23, 2008: Irving Elk's Lodge BBQ Cook-off. Made the finals table in brisket. 48 teams entered.
March 14-15, 2008: West Volunteer Fire Dept. Cook-off, West, TX. I made the finals in all three categories with 114 teams entered. I came real close on this one.
March 28-29, 2008: Irving Knights of Columbus BBQ Cook-off. Made 7th place in Ribs. 27 teams entered.
So that gets us up to date since last year. This year looks like another busy cooking year. My cooking buddy and I have been invited to cook for under the Lost Gonzo Team name in the American Royal In Kansas City later in the year and we just might do it. Meanwhile, the next cook-off is next weekend in Decatur, TX and I promise a full report after the event.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Texas Allstar Shootout BBQ, West, TX
Leave it to the good folks down in West to put on another great cook-off. This years event, held at the West Knights of Columbus hall, drew 72 teams, including many of IBCA's top cooks. This was also the added money event for the TxBA pit. Sweetening the pot always draws out the good cooks.
This was also the maiden voyage of my new smoker. I managed to get it finished just before the cook-off and was anxious to see how well it performed.
All in all it was a successful cook-off for me for several reasons. First off, the new cooker performed very well. I give it a grade of 90 with points deducted only for the poor performance of the latches I chose for the firebox door. Those will be replaced before the next event. As for cooking, I managed a ninth place finish in chicken and a finals table performance in the rib category. The chicken finish was a miracle because the first chickens I cooked exploded and the skin split into shreds. They looked horrible and I was not going to even attempt to turn them in. As luck would have it, my buddy Tony had some extra chickens in his cooler. He gave me one and I quickly preped it and threw it on the Big Green Egg with only an hour left before turn-in. I cranked the heat up some and it was done just in time. The rest is history. Many thanks to Tony for bailing me out on that one. Tony also did well in chicken with a seventh place finish. Congrats!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Father's Day 2007
Well I know this isn't BBQ to the purest, but my family bought me a new gasser for father's day. I had my parent's over for lunch today and grilled up some chicken on the new grill. Pretty tasty if I say so myself. Not the same flavor as grilled on the BGE but it's faster to get started and it holds more food. I'm sure we will be using it frequently. Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out there!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Colleyville Bar-B-Q and Chili Cook-off
This is one of my favorite cook-offs of the year. One reason is it's close to home, but besides that, it's fun and it draws a lot of really good cooks. There is also a lot going on during the event. The event benefits the Texas Special Olympics and the event promoter, Det. Kevin Walling of the Colleyville police department did a heck of a job along with his fellow officers, the mayor and business men like Charley Hall of Hall's Grocery. I believe they raised in the neighborhood of $15,000 for the Texas Special Olympics.
Friday evening there was a free catfish cook-off for everyone. Donations for the TSO were accepted and they raised $1000 for the charity. Congrats to Robert Waters and "Big Robert" Erlason for a job well done.
There was also a chili cook-off Friday put on by the Texas Chili Association. I decided at the last minute to enter and cooked a fairly good pot but not my best. I didn't place in the top ten of the 35 teams that entered. One thing I can say was I did not come in "dead ass last", an award not claimed by any of the cooks.
The barbeque entries were the standard three, chicken, ribs and brisket. I made three good products and managed to reach the finals table in chicken and brisket. A little disappointing but not bad given the 75 teams that entered and the calibre of the competition. Better luck next time.
The next cook-off for me will be at the end of July in West, TX where I hope to unveil the new smoker.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Terrell Heritage Jubilee Cook-off
The weather could not have been nicer for this cook-off. It was located in a city park with plenty of shade and electrical hook-ups which made it even nicer. There were plenty of cooks and once again some tough competition. This event was designated a Texas State Championship which put the winner in the Jack Daniel's Cook-off. 82 teams showed up to cook in the open division. No winners for me this go round but I did make the finals table in chicken and brisket. That put me in the top 20 or better both those events which isn't all that bad.
Congrats to Eric Holtzer of Deez BBQ for a 4th place finish in chicken!
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Irving Knights of Columbus Cook-off
OK.... I'm now officially in a slump. It's the dog days of BBQ cooking. This was my second cook in a row without a call. I was mildly bummed but I shall press onward.
The weather was really
bad on Friday night. Torrential rains swept through dumped inches water on us all. At one point I stepped out of my motor home and found myself standing in about six inches of water. Fortunately there wasn't any bad winds or tornadoes. By Saturday morning, the bad weather had passed and it turned out to be a nice day.
I was hanging with the usual cast of characters, Robert, Dale, Tony and Sheila. Eric and Melissa came over Saturday to cheer everyone on. Despite my lack of success, the group did very well. Robert, a.k.a. Smokin Waters, a.k.a. Picnic Stick, placed first in ribs and second in brisket. It was good enough for him to receive the Grand Champion trophy. Congrats to Robert! Tony, a.k.a. Grillas in the Pits, placed second to Robert in ribs and 9th in chicken. I believe it was his first two calls so congrats to Tony! Another honorable mention was Brian, the Keller Steeler who got three 7th calls in his first IBCA event.
For me, I'll continue to work on my new smoker and hope for better luck next time in Terrell.
p.s. The dog belonged to someone in the area but took a liking to the cooks. I wonder why. Robert still owes me ten bucks because it was a Mastiff!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
My Smoker Project
A few months ago I decided I needed a more efficient and less labor intensive smoker than my current stick burner. I came across the Prairie BBQ Association Forum and started reading about gravity fed, insulated smokers modeled after the popular Stump's Smoker. Being from Texas, I has never seen or even heard of a Stump's. The closest think I've seen used around here was a Backwoods smoker. Anyway, I decided I would build my own gravity fed smoker and add a few modifications that I had in mind. I began drawing the plans and ended up with a cook chamber 40" tall by 30" wide and 24" deep. This was going to be big and heavy so I knew I would have to mount it to a trailer to haul it to competitions. After the plans were drawn I ordered the steel from a supplier I knew and prepared to start building. First off, I had to by a welder and learn how to use it. Yes, I had decided to build my own steel smoker and I had never
welded a single scrap of steel. I bought a Hobart 140 at Northern Tool and a cheap plasma cutter from China off Ebay. Lack of experience had never stopped me from other endeavors. I had taught myself how to build and recondition old tube amplifiers just a few years ago with no experience in electronics. Before I knew it, I was welding decent beads and it was time to start my build. So far I have built the frame, drain pan and charcoal chute/fire box.
I think I have a few novel ideas that differ from the traditional "Stumper". I'm going to add a convection fan inside the cook chamber and well as a pellet feeder to serve as the smoke source. I've also decided on a tubular heat diffuser that will go across the full width of the cook chamber bottom. Construction is slow for it's cooking season and I've been going to a few comps. The weekends are about the only time I have to work on it. Maybe I should take a week off and knock it out.
Here is a link to a photo album with the construction picture up to now."LINK"