Really falling behind with my blogging these days. I'll catch up eventually.
Made a last minute decision to cook Grill-n-Daze, a one day grilling event in Southwick, Massachusetts on July 17th. I originally was just going to go up and vend, but when the organizer told me that I wouldn't have to pay the vending fee if I competed, I decided why not just enter the contest as well.
I originally thought the contest was on Saturday. However, a few days before I was informed that the event was actually Sunday. This would not have been a problem if I did not have to work that Sunday, and would never be able to get it off on such short notice. It just meant that I had to cook all day and write all night. Needless to say it was an extremely long night.
Mostly this event is cooked by locals. I arrived Saturday afternoon, just me and Max. At first I was a little confused about the contest location, because there was not a sole there. But I was in the right place. Bob of Smokey O's came down and we went to lunch at one of the local spots, it was a nice afternoon.
I had heard there were huge crowds at this event in years past, but it was extremely hot and that kept some of the people away. But we sold all of our ribs and had a good time there.
The contest had me a little worried. It was one of those deals for an established team that many consider a no win situation. If we do well, people would say that we are just beating up on the backyard teams. If we don't do well, people would say "haha, you lost to a bunch of backyarders." But I decided that I really don't care what people say any more, and I'm just going to do what I want to do and have fun doing it. So we entered three of the four categories, chicken, beef and pork.
I viewed this as a tune up for Harpoon, cooking my competition chicken and pork recipes, and beef short ribs for the beef category. I quickly found out that I would not be able to practice presentation, because the turn in boxes we got were literally half the size of the usual ones we get at KCBS contests. I literally crammed six pieces of each category into the box and turned them in with no garnish.
Awards came, and no call for chicken. Here we go...not a good sign. Then came pork, first place. Beef, first place. Really cool trophies, mini-Weber grills. Overall we had a good time, very different than most contests we cook, and we met some great people. That's what its all about.
I'll try to get the Harpoon post up soon. In the meantime, I am heading up to Saratoga Springs, NY Friday to cook the Taste of BBQ Nationals event at the raceway.