So things went more or less ok in Lowell, once all the drama of getting there was behind us.
We were cruising along ok...I wasn't really happy with the parsley and lettuce we brought, lets just say it didn't travel well. But we managed to put together 4 " not godawful" boxes, well, I thought we did.
Chicken was, all in all, not a very good entry for us. But there were bright spots. Usually, we're somewhere near the bottom of the barrel. We kind of swim upstream, given that the common rule is thighs rule. We are silly enough to believe that chicken breast can score. So far, we've only been right once out of 12 times...but this wasn't all bad....we had a 999, and a 988 score....along with an 877, a 668, a 688, and a 767. For those that are not familiar, the first number is for appearance of the entry, second is for taste, and third is texture. Appearance is worth 1/2 of what taste is, taste is worth half of what texture is. (per KCBS rules) Anyway, we were 13 of 30...not as bad as usual! At least we were top half!
Ribs were not what I'd hoped, as I'd had trouble maintaining a constant temp of around 225. Go much higher and you don't get exactly what one would like, but when I tasted them, I thought we had a decent shot at some kind of call. We put together a pretty nice box. (appearance scores 888886.....6?...WTF?) Thing was....right after we finished the box, this glorious sunny, hot, day...the day the weather-guessers said would have NO CHANCE of any sort of shower, a freak storm blew up out of nowhere. All of a sudden, we had sideways rain, and winds that must have run up to 50-60 mph! One team actually lost thier ribs to the wind, another lost thier shelter...one of those pole houses they sell at the warehouse stores. We had some losses, some of our stuff blew away, some got soaked and ruined. We had several tree limbs fell in our sauce pots, but we were already finished with them, (the sauces) so no huge loss. Most importantly, nobody was hurt!
Something I have to mention is the assistance that Tom and Pam Bagby and thier freind, gave us, keeping our EZ-UP from blowing away during that little "micro-burst". When the rain and wind started, Diane was semi-panicked, with memories of last years Elk Grove contest dancing in her head.Tom and another gentlemen, who were across from us when all hell broke loose, were kind enough to help us prevent the destruction of our canopy. For thier efforts, we awarded them with as much food as they wanted, and Tom at least, stayed around visiting for a while while his lovely wife Pam went to make sure their classic VW convertible was protected from the elements. He asked lots of questions about what we cooked, how we cooked it, etc....all the while we were doing pork, and then brisket, but we were happy to talk with him and share a few samples, because, as well told them, they were more than just visitors now, they were truly freinds!
We finished up with pork, in 5th place, and brisket in 16th, a 17th place finish overall. But, if nothing else, we were top 5 in both of our 2 comps this year in pork, so we must be doing something right! We stayed overnight Saturday, and enjoyed Lowell's wonderful fireworks show, and Sunday...off to Escanaba, on the second leg of the circle Lake Michigan tour!