Tuesday, March 30, 2010

USA Barbecue Championship Recap

The first one is in the books. It appears as though North Little Rock and the team survived the event. Although we didn't finish as well as we had hoped, we had a great time and enjoyed cooking against the best of the best.
I left Wednesday morning for the trek down the the trailer and made it all the way to Joplin Missouri before calling it a night. I found a lovely Super 8 that was a bit dirty and a little scary looking, however, for $39.99 I couldn't complain. I killed a little time Thursday morning in Joplin, bought some ribs, had some breakfast and was on to the final leg to North Little Rock. The rest of the ride was uneventful and I arrived unscathed at about 2:30.

Matt and Brian were driving separate and wouldn't be arriving until Friday afternoon, so I was on my own for setup. Check in at the event went fairly smoothly, especially considering the number of teams they were trying to direct. I found my spot and spent the afternoon setting up. A group of us from the BBQ-Brethren went to supper at The Flying Fish, I ate way too much and was fast asleep by 11pm.

Friday morning it was finally time to go into official contest mode and the day went fast trimming and prepping. It was at the cooks meeting that it really set in that this event really was the who's-who of BBQ. 226 teams and a large percentage of them could win this event.

The big meats went on as usual Friday night and we stayed up way too late drinking and carrying-on. As a result of that Saturday morning came very early, but like usual everything went on in time and before we knew it it was time to turn in chicken. We were a little out of sync (I'm sure Friday night had nothing to do with that) but we figured it out and all in all the turnins went smoothly. As usual we placed our guesses as to where each category would finish. Also, as usual we were all over the board. Here are a couple of pictures of our chicken and brisket boxes, very good looking boxes in my opinion.
The weather had been really nice the entire event but after turnin's it began to cloud up and it began to rain and got very windy about the time the awards ceremony started. Due to the size of the event and the large purse the organizers decided to payout the Top 40 in each category. We were disappointed as the chicken category passed without our name being called. I really thought we had earned a call in chicken, as they started ribs I knew better than to have hope for a top 40 and I was correct. On to pork, again I thought we had earned a Top 40 with some of the best pork we have turned out. This time the judges agreed and TippyCanoe BBQ Crew got a call for 9th place Pork. Generally 9th place pork wouldn't be all that impressive, but in this event I was thrilled. Brisket also passed without a call. At this point I was very interested in seeing our overall scores. In the end I would be very happy with Brisket, satisfied with the ribs, and scratching my head over the chicken,

Chicken 215th place (ouch)
Ribs 137th place
Pork 9th place
Brisket 57th place
Overall 99th place

They hated the chicken and it really hurt our overall score. All in all, it was a great time and that one good call always makes it worth it and has us coming back for more. I think I have diagnosed the chicken problem and I'm looking forward to giving it another go in a couple of weeks at the Capital City Cookoff in Jefferson City Missouri.

Thanks for reading!

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