Monday, August 18, 2014

Wow, it's been a busy summer so far, can't believe it's been 5 months since I last posted.

A lot has happened in that time to be sure! We've struggled to get back into the "groove" we felt we were in before I got sick in 2012. Still no calls (to speak of) but we think we're getting things worked out.

Our first sanctioned contest was in early May, the Masters In May event held in Fremont, WI.
This was the second year of this comp, and our second year attending. We arrived on Thursday, as we did last year. It just makes getting set up easier, and we know we'll be onsite when the meat inspectors come out Friday morning.

As usual, we had some great neighbors, and all in all had a very nice weekend!

Saturday morning, the 9:22 was once again sponsored by the good folks at Jim Beam, who supplied their new maple flavored Kentucky bourbon. Honestly, the stuff tastes like maple syrup!

As far as scoring, we didn't have too much to brag about. We were 43rd of 62 overall, 53rd in chicken, 15th in ribs (I AM happy about that, we used to do well in ribs and I believe we may be getting back on track here). In pork, we got 57th...sheesh...that hurt! And finally in brisket we were 21st, which, while I'd like to have done better, I can live with. The positive we came away with was that we got everything done on time, had fun, and actually beat a fairly well known bbq restaurateur featured on Pitmasters television show, and a legendary pitmaster known in KC as "the baron" in the overall scores!

When it all was over, I rode into town and get some take-out from a great little bar on the river in town called The Bridge. I brought it back to our site, and we enjoyed our dinner, and then spent the evening by our fire pit with our friends and neighbors Moose's BBQ.

Next was Westmont, IL, just up the road a couple of miles. For the first of their many years, this years contest was a back to back. Two separate contests, one Friday-Saturday, and the next Saturday-Sunday. This was our first, and likely our last, back to back. It is absolutely just too much work, IMHO.

This was also only the second time we'd see the new KCBS score sheet format, which allows a cook to see which tables they landed at, and against which teams. It's an eye opener to say the least! Comp 1 of 2 had 43 teams. We ended up 36th of 43 the first contest, 33rd in chicken, 41st in ribs (so much for that back on track comment about Fremont, 34th in pork, and 36th in brisket. Just discouraging as all get out. But, we got right back on the horse, and did the second comp.

At that one, we did 56th of 72 overall, with 50th in chicken, 62nd in ribs, 46th in pork, and 56th in brisket.  Oh, we did get 6th of 13 in dessert. All in all an exhausting (and kind of depressing) weekend. Oh, and the thermistor on our fridge died, so everything ended up freezing up in our fridge. Good think we had the comp meats in the cooler!

So now, after 3 comps, while we feel our food was good, the judges didn't disagree. The odd thing is we judged a contest in St. Charles IL this past weekend, and I had some awful stuff, including some pork that I just couldn't swallow, I actually had to spit it out!  So I'm confused about our scores, to say the least.

We'd intended to go to UP Hog Wild, in Harris, MI this past weekend, but unfortunately, the sponsor backed out and the event was cancelled, which is why we judged at St. Charles.
But now we have 3 more to go...the Kenosha Grill Games in August, this weekend in fact, the Puckaway Pig Fest in Montello, WI in September, and Arthur, IL in October....sure hope the second half of our season is better than the first! We are considering a 7th in October, The Casino Queen in St. Louis, IL
I'll try to get some more photos up in future posts (and make them more frequent) for the rest of the season.

Thanks for reading! Until next time....