The BBQ Blog chronicles our adventures in search of the perfect all-natural BBQ.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hudson Valley Ribfest - Two New Trophies and a bit more!

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Wow. What can I say. We came home from the Hudson Valley Ribfest with two new trophies - one from the NEBS Grilling competition and one from the KCBS BBQ competition and we finished with our best overall ranking ever.

In the NEBS Grilling Comp, 40 teams competed. Our lamb only did average, which I was bummed about because I really liked it - maybe the Moroccan flavoring was not the way to go. We placed tenth with our fish - it was decent, but was lacking any real 'hook' to it. I think I need to really focus my recipe for next time. Most likely next year's Grillin' on the Bay in Brooklyn (we are not grilling at Oinktoberfest this year). My mood was lifted considerably when we were called up for a Third Place Trophy in the Beef Steak category for the Jerk Rib Steak we submitted.

I always look at the grilling competition as warm up to the BBQ comp, and I don't usually get too worked up about it. I basically felt the same way about this one, but I must admit that thought it is easier to express with a trophy in hand. Plus, the last two times I entered a steak category - for various reasons - I over cooked them and we never got very good results. I feel vindicated that I finally came closer to cooking at the comp as the same way I was grilling steaks at home. It also helped that Josh had just taken a cooking class where they cooked steaks and he a great assistance in The Poke Test. We thought it might have been a few degrees under what we wanted, and there is always room for improvement. But the recipe was a success.

I felt it was a good omen as well, because last year we got a trophy in the Grilling comp, and we went on to pick up the first place in Ribs the next day. I guess I was right.

Because this competition was so large they called out the top ten spots for recognition and this was cool because we got to hear our name out loud three times.

Out of 57 teams, we placed 10th in Chicken, 16th in Pork, 10th in Brisket, and -drum roll please - we got a trophy for Third in Ribs. Now most people might be bummed to have a first last year and a third this year, but I assure you that I am not. I am very happy about it. We had some huge problems with how the ribs we got were butchered (all but two had shiners), and I wound up only have two racks of ribs to cook even worth trying to cook! Luckily they were tasty. Plus with this competition, almost double what they had last year and triple points being handed out, our Third in Ribs is just as good in terms of score as the first last year.

And now for the best part - our overall rank. Up until now, we have never been too concerned with our overall rank because we were just happy to do one category well enough to get a call. Well - that will never change because I will always be psyched about any accomplishment because it means I am learning and growing. As we heard our name called out and held a trophy in our hands, Josh, Adam, and I started to realize that we might have done pretty well in our overall ranking - we knew we couldn't be at the very top because Dirty Dick's had already done very well as had I-Que and I Smell Smoke, but still it seemed our name was called more times than most of the others and after we got our score sheets we were blown away.

Out of 57 teams we came in Fouth Place! Woo hoo. I finally feel like last year wasn't a fluke and that I might actually be able to make some pretty good BBQ. I still can't believe how well we did. It was a great feeling.

The only bummer of the awards was that Jerry did not attend. It is fun to see him and Linda standing in the background with smiles on their faces knowing who was about to get a call.

After a long clean up (we have to get better about how we strike camp) we had semi-slow ride home, but all Adam and I could really say was "I can't believe we got Fourth!" and "I can't believe we got another trophy in Ribs." Well, obviously the Hudson Valley Ribfest is going to always hold a special place of honor to us and I already told Stephanie and Mike to sign us up for next year.

We got nailed by a storm on Friday night (which crushed I-Que's camp but apparently brought them good luck because they were Grand Champion) but the weather was nice the rest of the time. Overall, the event was nicely run from our perspective, and I got to hang out with and meet some new people. One of the coolest things was that I was set up right behind one of my favorite BBQ bloggers and grilling comp organizers WhiteTrashBBQ (Robert Fernandez). It was fun to see how everyone does their thing.

To all the organizers, volunteers, vendors, judges, reps, and my fellow competitors I just want to say thank-you very much.

And to Josh and Adam - your hard work, support, and creativity was more than I could have asked for but not less than I expected. You guys rule.

Congrats to I-Que and Dirty Dick! I am nipping at your heels - one of these days...one of these days.... Heh heh.

I will post some video and pics later, but for now I have to get ready to leave for Burning Man this week. The day after tomorrow as a matter of fact! How about that?

Here are the KCBS results.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Defending a Trophy

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I am not nervous but I am a little anxious. Almost a year ago, I returned from the Hudson Valley Ribfest with a first place trophy in ribs. It was only my second competition and I didn't even realize how monumental of an achievement that was, because I did not understand how good the other teams we place ahead of were. We beat out Purple Turtle, Hill Country, Dirty Dick's, Daisy May's, and I Smell Smoke just to name a few. I didn't understand. Now I do. How much nicer it was to be ignorant.

I am realistic. This year there are at least 54 teams. That means to get in the top ten, it will be quite an achievement. (Let alone winning anything.) With that many teams, there is no way the judging is going to be totally consistent. What that means is that you need to just do your best, and hope your table of judges likes to score higher than everyone else's table.

We will be cooking whole pork shoulder this time for competition that is being supplied by a local and humane heritage pork producer Flying Pig Farms. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

So can we repeat? Beat out all those other teams that have already competed 7 or 8 times since then? Will we be sunk by the Anchormen or my fellow blogger of BBQ WhiteTrashBBQ? Will Dirty Dick's kick our butts sans Legs or will Lunchmeat surface like a submarine and torpedo everyone?

I just hope we can make our turn-in times and the we cook the best that we can possibly cook. Let the dice roll. Bring on the carnival!

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