Well, the Des Plaines Winter Burn was a ball as always, and got our juices flowing for the coming season.
Our first move towards a better season this year than we did our last, was to try and upgrade our equipment a bit. We started by attending the 2012 Camping and RV show in Rosemont, where, after a day of running around comparing, we finally settled on a shiny new 2012 Jayco Jayflight model 22FB!
We'll be hopefully picking it up either this Saturday or next, and I'll post lots of photos as soon as I'm able!
Not having to set up and tear down that old pop-up should make a marked improvement in our results, AND our attitudes! It's a great old trailer, but I just don't have the time to fix the cables for the roof, etc. And wanted something that, at least for a while, just needs routine maintenance.
Since we don't have it in our possesion yet, this link shows what it looks like.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFbWOwLB4Vo
So now, we look forward to taking delivery, stocking it up, and our first sanctioned contest of the year at the Westmont, IL Red, White, & BBQ event, 5/25-27 at Ty Warner Park in Westmont!
But that won't be at least until Saturday. So I should mention a little about the outstanding meal we had last night at Sweet Baby Rays, in Elk Grove Village IL.
Dave Raymond, the owner, (and the original Sweet Baby Ray) had an idea to get Chicago Area Barbecue folks together, to spread the word about something called Operation Barbecue Relief, an organization founded in May of 2011 to assist those affected by the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, MO. Since then, Operation BBQ Relief has expanded and grown to now include many more members, now able to help many more people. More info about Operation BBQ Relief can be found here http://www.operationbbqrelief.org/about.html
Anyway, to bring all those folks together, he invited about 150 or so of his closest freinds to enjoy a phenomenal spread of some really fine food, and take a little time to talk about the cause. Among the crowd were scattered some local as well as national bbq personalities, including Lee Ann Whippen, of Wood Chicks BBQ as seen on BBQ Pitmasters, Barry Sorkin, of Chicago's Smoque restaurant, Mark Link, of Westmont's Uncle Bubs BBQ, and others, as well as a host of local competition bbq teams, and supporters of OBR as well. I have to apologize for not being able to list all the guests. It was ver loud, and where we were sitting, it was hard to hear a lot of the introductions.
The menu included a variety of appetizers, including gumbo shooters, bbq martinis, a mix of bbq beans, pulled pork, and slaw in a martini glass topped with a strip of millionaire bacon, burnt end bites, and bbq shrimp. Followed by the entree selections of pulled pork, brisket, St. Louis spare ribs, baby back ribs, Texas sausage, and jerk chicken, accompanied by sides including corn maque choux, potatoes tchoupitoulas, green chili mac, red beans and rice, bbq beans, and 2 cornbread varieties, and finally topped off by a selection of desserts that included pecan pie, key lime pie, and an assortment of mixed dessert platters. Dave and his whole crew put on an amazing event, for a very worthwhile cause! And every bite was delicious! Sadly, I forgot both my cell phone AND my camera, but there are lots of great photos of the event at SBR's Facebook page, which you can find here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Baby-Rays-Restaurants-Catering/198579583486159?__adt=9
So now we've got a 3 day wait ahead before hopefully being able to go pick up our new "bbq wagon"! Can't wait to get it loaded up and head out on our maiden voyage!