The BBQ Blog chronicles our adventures in search of the perfect all-natural BBQ.
Well, the time has come to get back in the ring. My team - the Better BBQ Bureau - and I will be returning to the competition world on March 27th, 2010 in Brooklyn, NYC at Grilling on the Bay. I'm very excited and looking forward to bringing home some more trophies.
Stay tuned for updates.
Despite the temperature and a couple of other issues yesterday at Grillin' on the Bay (New York City's only Grilling competition), we won 4 trophies and a ribbon including Reserve Champion!
We were less than one point away from winning Grand Champion. Congrats to SmokeInDaEye BBQ team. Not only did he win Grand Champion, it was his birthday.
Here are the Grillin' On The Bay results.
We hit the cycle with a 4th in fish, a 3rd in Chef's Choice (we did Jerk Ribeye), a 2nd in Pork (we did Ribs), and 1st in Chicken. This was by far our best chicken turn-in as far as scores go, including one 9-9-9 and one 9-8-9.
Woot! We were happy with the results, and super-psyched that Robert pulled of the competition despite many set backs. He did a really great job, and every time I see him at one of these comps I realize what a truly nice guy he is and what a big role he is playing in bringing BBQ to NYC. Thanks Robert and thanks St. Mark's for hosting us.
We are not doing anymore comps until October because of scheduling conflicts, so we are happy to let these trophies get us through the summer.
Grillin' on the Bay, taking place this weekend June 7th, 2008, in Brooklyn, NY still has some slots left for teams to compete. They had to reschedule and change the venue for it this year so maybe people don't know they still can enter. Please email them right away and let them know you are interested and get your cooking application here.
The title kind of says it all but Merl Whitebook posted some new info about Kansas City Barbecue Society rules for certified judges over at the The Virtual Weber Bullet forum. The gist is that you must have your KCBS membership card with you in order to prove that you have a current membership (and, I gather, current dues have been paid.)
Grillin' on the Bay has been rescheduled and restored to last year's format. They competition will be only a NEBS-sanctioned grilling comp and will NOT have a KCBS-sanctioned BBQ component.
I wanted to be NYC's first KCBS grand-champion, but I'll have to wait until next year. Hah.
If you can not cook that day, I'll bet they will be looking for judges, so get in touch with them.
Kind of old news, but I have been off the bbq forums for the last couple months so I just found out: Grillin' on the Bay has been postponed.
To me this is a HUGE bummer. I was planning on being NYC's first Grand Champion. Heh. Heh.
Seriously, maybe Robert and Matt should look for a spot here in Queens - the lot under the Triboro Bridge next to Astoria Park would work and so would Randall's Island. I will help if you give a shout out.
I got the following info from Lisa LeeKing at Food Network that she asked me to pass along. Seeing how this is going to go down in my own backyard (NYC), so to speak, I think I'm going to get together a Three-Minute video and make a submission myself. I think my pork tenderloin will do well - just like we cooked out at Burning Man this past summer.
Let me know if you are going to enter, and let them know you heard it here when you do - good luck to all. Maybe a new grilling star will be born.
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.
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!
Jason, T. Adam and I got a chance to compete in Grillin' On the Bay and boy did we have fun. How did we do? Not great, but not bad. We got a call in Chef's choice for our lamb loin chops (another great recipe implemented by Jason). I normally grill them with a dijon mustard-based marinade at Burning Man (where I have cooked about 10 million of them), but Jason came up with a different style of marinade and dry rub that really did the meat justice. As you can see in this post from Eating for Brooklyn, they were well liked, but the judges mistook them for beef as opposed to lamb. Anyway, a ribbon is a ribbon. You go into these things thinking you are going to win, but every little tiny mistake adds up. Our fish looked AMAZING, but I forgot the planks I wanted to cook on and I didn't make proper adjustments. Oh well. I still had fun, but I want a full on overnight KCBS-style comp here in the city. Maybe in Corona Park or Randall's Island. Hmmm. I want to thank Matt and Robert - it is hard to put these events together and they did a really great job. Logistics in this city can be a nightmare if you don't have oodles of cash to throw at the problem. I also want to thank my teammates Jason Parisi and T. Adam Woods. On to the pics. This was our set up from afar. Injecting our chicken. Chicken on the grill. Fish on the grill. Should not have had the foil and used the extra rack. Fish looked great. Probably the highest presentation scores we have ever had. Here you can see our Weber kettles in the foreground and Jason and I in the background. Our pork chops ala Jason are in the box and about to be taken to the judges. Jason is layering on the dry rub for the lamb loin chops. We are checking the temp of the lamb loin chops so we don't over cook them. The lamb loin chops are ready to go to the judgeing table. Jason taking a well deserved drink. All the photos werer taken by T. Adam Woods who besides being our Quartermaster and Turn-In Chief is also a academically trained professional photographer. If you need any photography in the NYC area drop me an email and I will put you in touch with him.
Jason, T. Adam and I got a chance to compete in Grillin' On the Bay and boy did we have fun. How did we do? Not great, but not bad. We got a call in Chef's choice for our lamb loin chops (another great recipe implemented by Jason). I normally grill them with a dijon mustard-based marinade at Burning Man (where I have cooked about 10 million of them), but Jason came up with a different style of marinade and dry rub that really did the meat justice.
As you can see in this post from Eating for Brooklyn, they were well liked, but the judges mistook them for beef as opposed to lamb.
Anyway, a ribbon is a ribbon. You go into these things thinking you are going to win, but every little tiny mistake adds up. Our fish looked AMAZING, but I forgot the planks I wanted to cook on and I didn't make proper adjustments. Oh well. I still had fun, but I want a full on overnight KCBS-style comp here in the city. Maybe in Corona Park or Randall's Island. Hmmm.
I want to thank Matt and Robert - it is hard to put these events together and they did a really great job. Logistics in this city can be a nightmare if you don't have oodles of cash to throw at the problem.
I also want to thank my teammates Jason Parisi and T. Adam Woods.
On to the pics.
This was our set up from afar.
Injecting our chicken.
Chicken on the grill.
Fish on the grill. Should not have had the foil and used the extra rack.
Fish looked great. Probably the highest presentation scores we have ever had.
Here you can see our Weber kettles in the foreground and Jason and I in the background.
Our pork chops ala Jason are in the box and about to be taken to the judges.
Jason is layering on the dry rub for the lamb loin chops.
We are checking the temp of the lamb loin chops so we don't over cook them.
The lamb loin chops are ready to go to the judgeing table.
Jason taking a well deserved drink.
All the photos werer taken by T. Adam Woods who besides being our Quartermaster and Turn-In Chief is also a academically trained professional photographer. If you need any photography in the NYC area drop me an email and I will put you in touch with him.
According to Arlie in this post on the BBQ Brethern Forums, the Guitarbeque at Asbury Park is not happening this year.
I am very bummed out - the first competition I ever attended was last year's Guitarbeque. Arlie let me assist him in the Judge's tent, so I got to see how judging more or less works from a great perspective before I ever competed. I wanted to complete the round-trip and compete this year and win something. It would have been nicely poetic.
Anyway, Arile says he is attempting to find a new location on the same dates, so we'll see if that happens.
I understand that a lot of people involved in the World of BBQ are not really interested in the cutting edge of technology and a lot of them don't really utilze the internet for much in thier lives. Half the fun of BBQ for me is that I get away from my computer and can escape for some stolen hours from my normally hyper-connected life. I can meditate on the smoke rolling from my smokers or the flames dancing on the stage of my grill. Anyway, the point is I understand why the BBQ competition community can not be expected, as a whole, to be internet savy.
Still, there is no reason why, in 2007, I still have to print out an HTML page (that is undoubtedly formatted perfectly on it's creators WYSWIG editor, but less so in my browser), fill it out by hand, and then snail-mail it with a check. How about some real-time signup stats? I would love that.
ATTENTION BBQ CONTEST ORGANIZERS: I build websites for a living, and I'm sure we can come to some arrangement that will allow me to help you set up some simple forms that work with PayPal that will make all of ours lives easier.
I love that you work so hard to make these comps come together - with a little bit of investment in technology you could rest a little bit easier at night.
Life has kept me away from being able to blog for the last couple months, but I assure you the pursuit of BBQ has continued. I am gearing up for two major BBQ adventures this spring and summer. First, I will be hitting the competition trail and try to compete at least two more times this year than I did last. Second, planning has already begun for this year's PlayaQ at Burning Man. There are a lot of big ideas in the works, but now comes the time to see which ideas will make it to the playa and which ones will be returned to the dream cloud.
Stay tuned - it will be fun and I will be posting more video.
Robert over at WhiteTrashBBQ, breaks the news that the Long Island Grill Kings Competition will not be happening again. I take this news with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. As you may know, I just started competing this year, and the Long Island Grill Kings competition was my first. Based upon my two experiences competing after the Grill Kings comp (Hudson Valley Ribfest, Octoberfest), I can say that it was poorly run and much less fun than it should have been.
But it was my first time getting to be in the company of bbq greats and I learned more that weekend than I would have ever guessed possible.
The Grill King is Dead, Long Live the Grill King!
My team - the Better BBQ Bureau - won first place ribs at the KCBS sanctioned Hudson Valley Ribfest. It is still quite thrilling. This is the only the second competition we have ever entered and we got a first place call!
And what is really cool the day before we got another first place call for the NEBS sanctioned grilling contest in Pork Chops. We also placed 6th in fish and 4th overall for Saturday's event. The pork chops were awesome and though I thought of using french-ed pork chops, the credit belongs to team member Jason Parisi and his kick ass mouthwatering recipe that he perfected on his stoop in Brooklyn. Woo Hoo.
The Better BBQ Bureau is Jason Parisi, T. Adam Woods, Josh Ginsburg, and me, the team captain, Bryan Rice (a.k.a. Rev. Smoke in the Burning Man world).
We also had a lot of support from our friends especially Lisa, Rachel, and Abby. It was quite a fun weekend. Michael Fick and the rest of the Rotary Club in New Paltz really did an outstanding job.
Now I am off to Burning Man where I will be smoking 50 Butts, 50 Briskets, 70 racks of ribs, and about 1000 lbs of chicken.