Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The BBQ Bailout

We had planned to cook the Freeze Your Butt Off contest when it was initially scheduled for February 14th and 15th. That was a weekend we had free, as this is the time of year when Sheila travels for work a lot. However, the contest was moved to February 28-March 1, and I was out, as Sheila would be away and I would have baby duty.

Then, the FYBO collapsed and was cancelled. While I was bummed for my friends who I know were excited to cook it, I wouldn't have been going anyway, so it was no big deal for me personally.

Then, the bailout came.

It wasn't in the form of the federal government stepping in and handing a blank check to those who mismanaged things like the current financial industry bailout. In this case, it was three like minded individuals who decided that they wanted a contest to happen to shake off the winter doldrums, and didn't understand why it had to be so difficult.

So Steve Farrin, Brendan Burek and Mike Boisvert stepped up and pulled together a contest in a little more than two weeks. They booked the Maynard Rod and Gun Club for March 1, set up a web site, laid out a loose set of rules and ordered trophies.

And the BBQ Bailout was born. It would be a one day, BBQ/grilling hybrid event, with the categories of chicken, sausage, flank steak and ribs. Unlike the overpriced, disorganized FYBO, this contest was for fun, with an entry fee of only $50. That's why 13 teams cooked the Bailout, while you could count the number of people who signed up for the FYBO on one hand.

Since Sheila would be away, we had arrangements for a friend to watch Max until Sheila got home Sunday. She caught an earlier flight and was home Saturday night, which was even better.

Another wise move by the organizers, they pushed the turn in times back, with the first one at 2 PM. This allowed me to get a good night's sleep before the contest, as I didn't even get up until 6:30 AM. Left at 7:30, was on site at 9.

I decided to make this a real practice cook. I decided to cook small amounts of food, leaving little room for error. I only cooked two racks of spare ribs and one sausage fatty. I also decided to try something different with the chicken, cooking whole birds and turning in white meat instead of the usual competition thighs. My brother Cristiaan was going to cook the flank steak category.

Chicken was first. I decided that I didn't want to cook thighs, as I usually do for a contest. I personally prefer white meat chicken, and decided to do whole chickens in the Backwoods. I hadn't smoked whole chickens in a long time, so I was a little worried about getting them fully cooked. The thermometer said they were done, and I turned in chunks of breast meat with a little sauce. The meat was very moist and juicy, but this entry was not a hit with the judges. 13th place out of 13 teams, dead ass last! Consider that experiment over.

Next came sausage. I retired my old sausage fatty recipe at the end of last season and have been working on a new one. So far, so good, 4th place. This was the only turn in that we have a picture of. We all forgot cameras, this is courtesy of Kim's cell phone.

Flank steak came third, and my brother Cristiaan handled this category. He made small flank steak sandwiches with a cheese mixture and sauteed onions. I'd list all the ingredients but I have no clue what they are. Whatever they were, it was good enough for a call, 5th place.

Ribs were last. I decided to challenge myself and only cook two racks of spares. The timing worked out just right, and the tenderness was almost exactly where I like it to be. All but two of the ribs came from the same rack. New sauce. 3rd place.

Overall, we were 5th for the contest. I haven't crunched the numbers to determine how much the last place chicken hurt us overall, but it couldn't have helped.

This contest was a good time. Just positive vibes all around. Let's do it again next year. Or next month...


Jared Huizenga said...

Great job, Ted et al! Looking forward to both competing against you and potentially tasting more of your food this year. Even the chicken.

Ted Lorson said...

Thanks Jared....

The chicken never really came together. The scores were not as bad as I thought they would be for a last place entry.

765 766 676 677 667 789

WhiteTrashBBQ said...

"This contest was a good time. Just positive vibes all around. Let's do it again next year. Or next month... "

Ya mean in Brooklyn?