The timing couldn’t have been better. Right after I finished in Detroit with the Steve Harvey Morning Show (see below), I hopped a plane to Chicago, rented a car, and drove into the middle of corn country to a small town called Shannon, IL. This was where they were holding the Butt to Butt XII®, which is an invite only contest for the top 10 pork cookers in the country. I was invited because of my win in Pork Shoulder at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational BBQ Contest. Then immediately following that there was the Illinois State BBQ Championship which I would also compete in.
The Butt to Butt was a very tough contest. I wasn’t real confident in the product I turned in, and the judges didn’t like it either. I came in 6th. Out of 6. It just wasn’t my day for pork. That said, I am very proud to have been 1 of only 10 invited. To cook in this was a check off on my bbq bucket list, so that’s good.
The Illinois State Championship was a whole new day, so I shook off the disappointment from earlier and got down to business. I had 3 guys come join me for a private class for the weekend: Ken, Pat, and Tim. We all got along great, I think they picked up some tips, and they were a big help. Ken and Pat even brought along their Stump’s Smokers for me to use.
I borrowed everything I needed camp-wise from Scottie (CancerSucksChicago.com), Todd (Plowboys), and Ron (Captain Ron’s Brew-n-Que). I can’t say enough great things about these guys and their sincere desire to help me out. They made it possible for me to fly in basically empty handed and cook a full blown contest. And we didn’t just cook it, we did pretty darn good! I got a 4th in Chicken, a 10th in Ribs, a 16th in Pork, and a 19th in Brisket to come in 6th Overall out of 61 pro teams in the IL State Championship, all on borrowed equipment!
Great friends and college buddies (Pat, Mary and Tessa) came out to visit from WI, and brought their friends Madeline and Philip. Mary’s Mother and Father were also able to come out, so it was a party! It was a fantastic weekend in “The Field of Dreams” and I am so glad I got to experience it with old and new friends.