This weekend we were at the “New Palestine Wine, Brew & Bar-B-Que Too” competition
This competition was going to be a true test of skills as a good portion of those competing were championship teams. 6 of the teams alone were in the overall top 100 of the KCBS TOY. Leslie was optimistic and wanting to win it all, I on the other hand was just hoping to get a call in the categories. Seeing the team list it was looking like it would be a challenge to crack it.
We started out on Thursday to prevent having to maneuver around the other 56 teams and to get some good rest before the near sleepless cooking night begins. The event location was fantastic and utilities were nearly perfect. Water and electricity were close by, the only negative would be it was only 15 amp.
The sites were on grass and really helped keep the near 100 degree temperatures from being totally unbearable. My only concern with grass was the possibility of rain making it a challenge to leave, but it only sprinkled on us.
During the cook’s meeting we were told that the standard turn in times were going to be delayed 1 hour. As insignificant as this may sound, it is a mental factor. As cook’s you work/cook on a routine timeline and throwing a 1 hour delay into the mix forces you to rethink and to re-plan your timeline. For me, it almost cost me a category.
I went ahead and started my big meats as usual. I normally plan for them to be done ahead of turn-in and rest in the Cambro. Ribs & chicken cook on a specific timeline with very little variation and every timeline event is important. As the time for chicken comes around I realized at the last minute that I had not had my chicken ready for the cooker. A sudden rush of urgency hit me and I scrambled to get them on. I managed to get them cooking just about on time. After 1/2 hour of cooking it hit me, I forgot to inject them. Unfortunately at that point it was too late to do anything about it and we’d just have to hope for the best.
Throughout the day things seemed to be fairly smooth and easy, other than making a mental effort to remember the time delays. Remember I’m trying to keep focused with little sleep.
I noticed something during turn in times, as stressful as that time period should be, I get into a very energetic yet calm mood. Maybe it’s the beer, maybe it’s just me, who knows.
As 5:00 came around our nerves started in again with hopes of hearing our name called.
During the award announcements we were shocked at the lack of expected names being called. And in the end a little disappointed at not hearing our name.
I still had hopes that we scored well. Last week the KCBS implemented a new scoring program and this was the first time that we got a chance to see it for ourselves. It showed us who was being judged on the same table as us and how each judge/table had scored during the event. I am totally thrilled about this new format, as it gives me something new to play with. I just have to figure out what I want to know from it.
In the end our category scores were good and our overall score was the best that we have ever done. We are moving in the right direction for an eventual win, it’s just not going as quickly as I would like.
I’m hoping we can still add a couple more comps to our schedule, if not our next one is Sept 27-28 in Danville, IL