There were a few firsts at the Snowshoe grilling challenge in Abington, Mass. For one, it was the first time I ever competed in an event completely by myself. Also, it was the first time that the weather was nice for the entire event.
Overall, the event was great. The Q Haven solo project got one call for 5th place fish, and finished 7th overall out of 16 teams.
I knew for a few weeks that I was going to have to cook by myself. Sheila had to go to Florida for work, and my brother could not get out of work. So, it was going to be just me. To offset this, I made sure to keep things simple, scaled back my setup and did all the prep work at home Friday. Look closely at the picture above, and you can see how bare bones I was.
It was great to arrive at a contest site with bright sunshine. Every event we cooked last year, it rained, usually like a monsoon, or there were high winds that caused other problems. The weather was no factor on this weekend. People told me that at last year's Snowshoe, temperatures were freezing, so we clearly lucked out.
The four grilling categories were fish, sausage, beef and vegetable. For the fish, I cooked a swordfish steak and a sea bass. I turned in the swordfish, as the sea bass didn't seem right to me. It did well, taking 5th place.
Next was sausage. I got the sausage from a place on Franklin Avenue in Hartford that makes all kinds of great Italian food. Used sweet Italian sausage. Didn't do well here, took 15th out of 16. Scores were mostly 7's and 8's, with a few 6's too. The other teams must have scored really high.
For beef, I cooked NY Strip steaks, and made sauce bernaise. The sauce came out great, but I wasn't completely happy with the meat. Took 8th in this category.
The final category was vegetable. I did grilled portobellos with melted cheese. They were really good, but only took 7th place.
I forgot my camera, so have no pictures of any of the turn ins. I will be sure to remember it next week at Grillin' on the Bay in Brooklyn, NY.
Overall, the event was fun and a good experience. It was great to see Mike and Kris from the Lakeside Smokers, along with the folks from I Smell Smoke! and Chris from iQue. Gary and Michelle Taft from Lunchmeat ran a great event! And the beer was really inexpensive at the VFW hall bar. Can't forget the Big Boned BBQ crew, who were sited next to me and are always fun to be around.
I Smell Smoke won the event, taking first place in three of four categories. Tried their beef rib after it was all over, was delicious. Been thinking about cooking beef rib since the trip to Holy Smokes last month, gotta try it!