Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2007 Schedule

I have posted the planned Q Haven team schedule for 2007. We may add an event or two, based on whether or not we can all attend. Here's the tentative schedule.

- January 13-14: First Annual Winter Sizzler, Lincoln NH
- March 10th: Snoeshoe Grilling Challenge, Abington, MA
- March 31st: Grilling on the Bay, Brooklyn, NY
- May 19-20: Rhode Island State BBQ Championship, Warwick, RI
- May 26-28: Connecticut State Championship, Lime Rock, CT
- June 23-24: TBA
- July 6-8: Guitarbeque, Asbury Park, NJ
- July 28-29: Harpoon BBQ Championship of New England (hopefully)
- August 18-19: Hudson Valley Ribfest, New Paltz, NY
- September 8-9: Rib and Brews Festival, Lowell, MA

The TBA in June is because there are two New England events that are apparently scheduled for the same weekend. One is the New Hampshire Rock-n-Ribfest, where we won grand champions in 2006. The other is scheduled to be held in East Hartford, Connecticut, which is a half-hour from our house. If the contest schedule remains the same, we will have to make a difficult decision. I am leaning towards the CT event, just based on logistics.

I hope to add one or two more events during the summer, we'll have to see if we can make it work.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Going to Lincoln

Well it's official, the check and application is in the mail, we're going to Lincoln for the Winter Sizzler BBQ Competition.

I'm starting to get excited. The month of December is flying by, the holidays will fly by, next thing we know it will be MLK weekend and time to get back to it. I really expected that after the Jack, there would be at least five months of relative inactivity before the grilling competitions in March and the New England season opener in Rhode Island in May. Now we have something much closer to look forward to.

Q Haven started off so well in our rookie season. Third place in Rhode Island, grand champions at New Hampshire, then we hit the wall. Three more competitions including the Jack, and only one call. That was for dessert at the Jack, and they gave us the wrong ribbon. They took it away and told us they would send us a new one, and now I can't get anyone to answer e-mails about it.

Adding insult to injury, we recently got amended scores from the Jack, and apparently they forgot to add the international teams when they tallied the scores, and now they're saying we were 12th in dessert, not 10th. We probably should have kept that 5th place sauce ribbon, as I highly doubt we will be getting the one we were called to the stage for. The whole scoring thing was a complete mess, they need to work that out.

I went off on a Jack tangent there, but the real point is that I am not really happy with the way things went in those last three events. The first two events, I relied on my research and practice and it paid off. After that, everyone wanted to be more involved, with the added pressure of additional family and friends coming to events and being interested in what was going on. While that is great when people are interested, it can be a distraction and cause me to lose focus.

Hopefully we will be able to get the ship going straight again in 2007. I've already done a few practice cooks over the last month, and will keep practicing until the busy season comes in the spring.

In the meantime, I'm going to get a little "spying" in this week. Sheila and I are going into New York City on Friday to do the whole Christmas thing, and are planning to stop by Adam Perry Lang's restaurant Daisy May's BBQ in Manhattan. I hear good things, and am looking forward to sampling his Q.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Q Mobile

The days of renting cargo vans to get to and from BBQ competitions are now over.

I have traded in my beloved 2005 Ford Mustang for a Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer. It's a whole lot of truck, with a big V8 for hauling stuff and all the bells and whistles to keep my wife happy.

This is something I have been considering for some time as part of our competition plan for 2007. It just gets way too expensive to compete when in addition to meat, entry fees and all the other associated costs, you have to pay $200 to $250 for a cargo van and the fuel for a vehicle that gets 8 miles to the gallon.

Having our own truck will make a huge difference this year. With a Mustang and a VW Jetta, we certainly couldn't get it done with our own vehicles. It also removed the biggest financial constraint to competing for us, the van rentals. It will allow us to hit so many more events.

It was so difficult to get rid of the Mustang. I loved that car. It was two years ago today that I bought it. I was one of the first people to get it with the new body style, and it was so much fun to drive. I kept it in immaculate condition, and had a great Sirius install. While I will miss driving the Stang, I do not regret the decision. We are committed to BBQ competitions for the long haul, and now we have the wheels to guide us on our journey.

The Stang

Now, I can turn my sights to what I want to pull with the truck. Right now I'm somewhat torn between a pop-up camper or a cargo trailer. I despise sleeping in tents, and am very intrigued by the pop up camper idea. We could fit it right in our site at most competitions, and be able to sleep comfortably. Also, if it is nice enough, maybe it will reduce the amount we spend on hotels!