Tuesday, April 14, 2015
So, I'm sitting her at the ol' computer trying to put together my thoughts on Grandpa's Pride BBQ's participation in the Tri-State BBQ Festival. It was a great time to be sure. By thoughts, I mean of course, "Nos Sugere"......sort of. I think it would only be fair to point out the load out went easily, the trip was relaxing, the weather was sublime......then I actually got to the Houston County Farm Center and opened up Shangri-La to discover gravity is not just a good idea but a law. Apparently, if one doesn't tie down a fully loaded pellet smoker properly, said pellet smoker will fall over and spill approximately 23,994,839 apple wood pellets all over the place. So my arrival went something like this: 10:45 a.m. arrive, stretch, admire weather, and get backed into spot. 10:47 a.m. think to self, "What a great day. We are gonna rock this competition." 10:58 a.m. open door to Shangri-La and discover what can only be described as a crime scene. 10:59 a.m. ask the Lord to forgive me for the most unchristian words I had just said. Anyone else see that one coming? So problem solved and mess cleaned up. Fortunately, Igor Mk. 1.0 suffered no apparent damage. Heck, maybe it knocked some sense into the bloody thing. Anyway, thankfully Mr. Cook of Cook's Portable Smokehouse was there to help me lift the heavy-as-a-Buick pellet smoker back into its natural and upright position. I think it was a sign of things to come. I will say this, I got to spend a lot of time with Q-Fused BBQ AKA Will, Dwight, and Bob. Really good people. Bill and Theresa of B& T BBQ and Robin and Wink of Wink's BBQ too. I got to meet some new folks too such as Jim Elser of Sweet Smoke Q. For an Ohio State guy, he was really nice. He has a really sweet UDS with draft control that he builds and sells. I may, just may, have purchased one. It will arrive next week. Yes, another smoker to add to the collection. Can't help it, I'm hooked on BBQ smokers. So the cook went pretty well, except for fact we finished 39th of 50. Brisket killed us. We did well in ribs with a respectable finish of 19th out of 50. Given the field, I'm very happy with this. That's where the 'sort of' comes in. While we didn't do great overall, we did have some pretty good improvements and did well against the field. This field was pretty much a Who's who of BBQ. In addition to the other great teams already mentioned, there was Jack's Old South, Rescue Smokers, Moe Cason of Ponderosa BBQ, Character's BBQ, Swamp Boyz, Sweet Smoke Q, and many other great teams. In some categories, we did better than the great ones. In others, not so much. Good point of it all was it was fun. Robb got to hang out with me and help out the entire competition. My lovely wife put in a good day's work as well. Jimmy Wayne had to leave for an emergency that worked out ok. Keith had to work so wasn't able to be there. I did get to meet a lot of new and nice folks. Mr. Bateman came all the way from NM. Hague and his wife were set up right behind us. Nice guy and doing well on the circuit. I'm looking forward to seeing him at the next competition. Through out it all, I came to one inescapable conclusion: I will take a class before I compete again. It just makes sense. Competitions cost too much to go into them half cocked. I need to get some education so I can be more efficient and do better. Leaving Dothan, I was pretty sure I was done with BBQ competitions; however, after much soul searching and thoughtful discussion with Sherri, I'll keep at it. I just need to arm myself with knowledge.......and a sweet UDS from Sweet Smoke Q. Additionally, I did do something a bit different: I provided status updates on the port-a-potties. Yes, I do believe I've gone around the bend, and in reading my posts I would concur with myself. That alone is a bad sign. On a negative note, my dear friend Forrest Dilmore was unable to participate in the competition. Apparently, Forrest has/had a case of Diphtheria, Malaria, Hoof and Mouth Disease, post-nasal drip, and Ebola......all at once. Luckily, Forrest has the strength of 10 men where as I have the strength of 10 3rd graders. Lucky me. I sure hope he feels better soon. Anyway, signing off from Grandpa's Pride BBQ's Secret Test location far, far, FAR away from the port-a-potties this is Jeff Stone. Riley says, "Hello."