Saturday, March 13, 2010
We started the season off right last weekend at the Snowshoe Grilling Challenge, taking reserve grand champion honors for the event. It was a lot of work to get there though...
For weeks before the contest, I was torn about what to cook. The categories were ribeye steak, chicken wings, sausage fatty and chef's choice. I debated a lot of different things, but in the end I followed my gut and it paid off.
I decided that we were going to travel absolutely bare bones to this contest. I always bring way too much crap to contests, which is a pain for several reasons. One, things get confusing and hard to find when you have so much unnecessary stuff. Also, loading and unloading is made more difficult when there is too much stuff. So I brought my smoker, portable gas grill (allowed at the Snowshoe), two tables, one bin, one cooler and the three bin wash station. That's all.
The contest itself is just a great time. While the prize money is not huge, most of the big New England teams are there, so the competition is very stiff to say the least. So to do well at this contest is significant for us, and hopefully sets the tone for a great 2010 season. There were 21 teams at the contest. The weather was perfect, and organizers Gary and Michelle Taft did a nice job putting things together.
For the ribeye steak, I changed my mind numerous times before we settled on the final recipe. At one point I considered just slapping A1 on the steak and turning it in. In the end, I decided to grill the steaks with salt and pepper, then finish it with a gorganzola horseradish cream sauce. The sauce was ok but tasted too much like bleu cheese dressing. The steak took 11th place.
Next was wings. This was a no brainer for me, just used my KCBS flavor profile, smoked the wings and finished with BBQ sauce. No garnish made this category easier. Took 5th place.
Next was the sausage fatty category. I had been working on something that I was calling a "pizza" fatty. Unfortunately, I really wanted to put pepperoni into it, but when I found out it could contain no pre-cooked meats I abandoned this plan. Without the pepperoni it just tasted like a meatball. Went back to my core fatty recipe, breakfast sausage, cheese, peppers. Finished with a maple chipolte glaze. Came out really good, better than expected. 2nd place.
Chef's choice. What the heck do you cook here Ted? My first thought was that since the turn in was at 1:30, I would do ribs. If I did baby backs, I could probably get them done with plenty of time to spare. However, it would have required us getting there extremely early by my standards. So after much deliberation, I took Sheila's advice and decided to go with ABT's. They came out pretty good. We had a whole elaborate plan for the turn in box, but it never came together. However, Sheila made the box look pretty good, and the judges gave it 6th place.
So three calls in the top six and one 11th place was good enough for reserve grand champions. Couldn't top I Smell Smoke though, Charlie and Carlotta put up a monster score and won the contest. They must have cooked some awesome food.
So in the end, it was good to see a lot of friends and make a few new ones at the Snowshoe. Can't wait to get out there and cook again!
Posted by Ted Lorson at 6:40 AM