Monday, September 3, 2012

Back into the Breach Once More: Trials of competition prep.

Well boys and girls, it's that time again.  The time when thoughts turn to the next BBQ competition.  This competition will be a milestone for Team Grandpa's Pride because ready or not, we are going pro.  My theory is the worst we can do is come in dead last.  Even if we do, they can't cook us and eat us 'cause that would be illegal and not very nice.  As those who know me can attest, I tend to be a wee bit obsessive about a lot of things.  For instance, closet doors should be closed, I can't stand folded under paper on a note pad, and why the heck can't people hang pictures so they are balanced on the walls!  This of course is a small sampling of my idiosyncratic behaviors.  I digress.  I have also mentioned my teammates refer to me, lovingly I'm sure, as Adolf.  I'm not particularly sure why they picked that name, but I'm sure they have a good reason.  I have a simple theory:  If you aren't playing to win, why play at all.  So, the thoughts turn to how to prepare for a BBQ competition.  Surprise of surprise, I have a check list.  Laugh if you want, but when you are in the middle of a competition and are preparing your turn in boxes, that's not the time you want to realize you forgot the strainer for your brisket dipping sauce.  So what does a somewhat, slightly obsessive team captain do to get ready for a competition you ask?  I get my checklist ready and my wife says a quiet, asking-for-patience prayer (I know, I've heard her do it, but she also says it a lot when there is no BBQ involved.  Not sure why though?).  All kidding aside, I do make a list, I get everything together and check off the items as they are packed in my war chest.  It isn't that simple though.  There are sauces and glazes to be made, rubs to prepare, meat to shop for and purchase, wood to split, truck/trailer to load, team shirt to wash, and brines to mix.  Oh, and most importantly check the list twice.  Yes the competitions are fun, but I like to win......a lot, so my preparation involves a lot of fun but with a serious side to it.  I would love to be in a position one day where Sherri, Riley, my team and I travel the Southeast doing competitions on the weekends.  What better way to see the country?  I've already started my preparations for the Foggy Bottom BBQ Bash in November.  I've made some sauce, but will probably make some more.  I've been steadily testing and practicing.  This last weekend involved ribs and chicken.  They both turned out pretty good.  I have a couple of adjustments to make on the chicken though.  I do believe the ribs are dialed in though, so I'm happy about that.  As a side note, my ribs passed the Gray-Gray test.  Gray is the adorable, youngest son of Robb and Kim Meredeth.  I gave them some ribs for Robb's birthday.  From what I was told, Gray said, "They are burning my mouth but they are gooooood!"  What higher praise can there be?