Friday, October 30, 2009

Lunch at Bobby Flay's Burger Bar

Good stuff!
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Best chicken ever

On the road in Virginia.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009


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Mike finds long lost twon brother in nashville

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Charcoal Charlie

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Our table at Miss Mary Bobo's

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Awesome Lunch

Family style lunch at the legendary Miss Mary Bobo's in Lynchburg. Fried catfish, meatloaf, fried okra, creamed corn, green beans with ham, cornbread, apples with Jack Daniels. Everything a growing boy needs!

Thanks so much to Stephanie Wilson for including me in such a great lunch!
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The Teams Parade

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Home cookin at Mary Bobo's

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Miss Mary Bobo's

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Damn Dip at the Jack!

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At The Jack

Just to back up a little, my team Q Haven did not qualify for the Jack. I'm here with Lakeside Smokers, as my good friend Mike Boisvert invited me to join them for their first trip to Lynchburg. I was honored to be asked and am glad to be able to share the experience. Brendan Burek of Transformer BBQ is here with us as well.

We left Tuesday morning in Mike's father's RV, a beautiful class C motor home. I was supposed to help with the driving, but Brendan and Mike's father in law Al drove the whole way. I feel bad that I didn't help drive, but I enjoyed not having to drive. When I compete, I do all the driving, so it was a refreshing change of pace for me.

Anyway, we arrived last night and just relaxed. Today, we will get the setup done and do a little sightseeing. Tomorrow, the real fun begins!
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Off to the Jack

Traveling in style!
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Abbott's, Lobster in The Rough

Went to one of Connecticut's more famous lobster spots Sunday. Abbott's, Lobster in the Rough is located in the Noank section of Groton, not far from Mystic. I had heard a lot about the place since moving to Eastern Connecticut, and this being their last weekend of operation until winter shutdown we decided to check it out.
Abbott's is right on the shore, and you have to take a few narrow streets through this quaint little village to get there. Being October, the crowds were nothing like what I had heard in the summer, where the place is just packed. We were able to go right to the booth and order, a process that is apparently very difficult in the summer.
This is the line on a Sunday in October. Might have been a little longer because it was their closing weekend

The location is really nice. Right on the Long Island Sound, there are great views all around. Boaters can actually sail right to the place and tie up, chow down and sail off.
You can eat inside or out at picnic tables scattered on the grounds, along with several that are out on the pier.

I decided to have what Abbott's is famous for, the hot lobster roll. At most places in New England, a lobster roll is served on a hot dog style roll. Not here, as theirs is served on a hamburger roll with about a lobster's worth of meat on each sandwich. At $12.95 it was not a bad deal.

I really enjoyed the lobster roll. Not too buttery, really just a pile of warm lobster on a sandwich roll. Simple, delicious.

Sheila got the tuna fish roll, which was more mayo than tuna and she said "tasted like Miracle Whip." We split an order of shrimp cocktail, which were of the peel and eat variety. I don't like peeling shrimp, but they were really good, fresh, cold and crisp.

Max enjoyed his grilled cheese too. They even have their own potato chips!

For the real lobster heads, they sell whole lobsters too in a variety of sizes. Here's the menu (if you can read it!)

We had a nice time, our little family on a Sunday afternoon at Abbott's. Max particularly liked watching the huge striped bass that were swimming to the surface and snapping up crackers thrown by the kids!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The American Royal

Got back from the American Royal a few days ago. It was my first time at the Royal, and if I ever go cook it myself I will now have a really good understanding of what it is all about.

Several weeks ago, Brendan of Transformer BBQ asked if I would be interested in helping to drive out to KC with him. This would be a different experience for me for sure. With my own team, I am the one who does all the planning, shopping, driving and most of the work, so I was not sure how I would handle being a spare part. But I decided that it would be a good experience and that if I could help Brendan, it would be worth it.

So the plan was to leave Brendan's in Canton, Massachusetts Wednesday morning 9/30. We would drive to outside Buffalo NY, where we would be picking up Brendan's trailer and Mike of Giggling Pigs, who would be driving out with us. We drove straight through to Kansas City, only stopping for gas and quick bites to eat. It took around 27 hours.

Once in KC, we went to the American Royal site and dropped off the trailer. Many of the teams were already there setting up, and it was clear that this was no normal BBQ contest. You always hear that it is the largest contest in the world, 500 teams, etc, but until you see it you can't really grasp the enormity of it. It is truly impressive.

Despite our exhaustion from the drive, we went to lunch at Oklahoma Joe's. Stephanie Wilson of The Slabs works there and at the adjoining Kansas City BBQ Store. Steph had set us up with an awesome welcome lunch, complete with ribs, brisket, burnt ends and sides. It was a great feast and an awesome way to kick off a long weekend of BBQ.

Then it was back to the site to start getting ready for the weekend. For the record, I didn't plan or pack properly for this trip. I knew that sleeping arrangements would be "potluck" for me, as the RV on our site was full. Also, KC was hosting the Royal, a NASCAR race and a Chief's football game, so getting a hotel room was pretty much out. I didn't pack a pillow, blanket or a towel. I bought a towel along the way, and it ended up being my pillow for the weekend in my various sleeping locations.

My mood improved greatly Friday when I finally was able to take a shower, my first in more than two days.

The cooking I was really not a part of. Mike and Kris of Lakeside Smokers were flying in to cook the invitational contest Saturday, while Transformer was cooking the open contest Sunday. They both have their own way of doing things and my goal was not to get in the way. I did try to help out wherever possible, doing dishes, straightening up, etc.
Friday night at the Royal was just crazy. That's the only way to describe it. Many of the teams hold parties, some are small affairs, some much larger. In fact, some of them have rock bands or DJ's, with huge crowds resembling a college bar scene. This was especially true in an area known as the "dark side." It's a section of the contest site that is located under a highway overpass, where the hardest partying takes place.

The Darkside

Anyway, the cooking Saturday seemed to go fine. I got to taste some of Lakeside's food and thought it was all really good, especially the brisket. Unfortunately, Lakeside didn't get any calls, but they finished 27th overall, which is pretty impressive considering that there were 119 contest winning teams entered, really the best of the best.

The open contest was Sunday, with around 500 teams cooking. Both Saturday and Sunday, I was the box runner for Yabba Dabba Que. Their site was a walk of more than five minutes to where the turn ins were, so needless to say I got my exercise.

Eric Mitchell, Yabba Dabba Que

In the end, the New England teams did not fare very well in the open BBQ contest. The only call was for 9th overall for I Smell Smoke!!!, which itself is very impressive. Yabba Dabba Que also got a perfect 180 score for their dessert entry, which was only good for 5th place, as there were a total of six 180s given in the category.
I prepared the potato entry for Transformer in the side dish category, and it didn't do very well, finishing 104th out of 130 entries.

Once the awards were over, within minutes we were back in the truck and headed east. Another 26 hours later, we arrived at Brendan's in Massachusetts, and two hours after that I was home. That was some hard core traveling for sure.
All photos stolen from Lakeside Smokers. For tons more pics visit his Picasa site HERE.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Turn ins at the royal open

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Saturday, October 03, 2009


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Keg stand

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Dusk at the Royal.
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Invitational Awards

About to start
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Grits contest at the Slabs

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Friday, October 02, 2009


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Thursday, October 01, 2009

We Made It!!!

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