On April 27-28 I was able to compete in an unsanctioned contest in Eagle Lake with 18 other teams, many of them FBA regulars. I had a blast as usual and was even made an official member of Unknown BBQ. When the scoring was over and the results were announced I was fortunate enough to win a 3rd in chicken, 4th in ribs, a 1st in pork and a 1st in brisket as well as Grand Champion!
This was a first year event hosted at the Winter Haven airport and was a fundraiser for Juvenille Diabetes via “Bryce’s Buddies”. They had a backyard division and a pro division for restaurants and caterers which I entered. There were 20-some teams in all and included the local wing joints, sports bars, and BBQ teams. I figured what the heck, I’ve never competed in just a wing contest before. Plus it would give us a chance to vend locally.
There were 3 categories of wings to turn in: traditional buffalo, dry rub, and open. I cooked my wing entries on my smoker and it did a great job. I’m going to discuss my recipes but at the awards show we took 1st in traditional buffalo, 1st in dry rub, and 2nd in open giving us Grand Champion! Not bad for our first try.
As always, a big thank you to Amy, Robin, Tammy and Woody for all of their help with vending. In spite of the windy conditions and multitudes of other vendors they still managed to get our product out there for many to experience! They do a great job 🙂
The smokers arrived on Wednesday and they looked great! I worked late into the night pushing them up onto my trailer and securing them down for the 7 hour drive north to Thomaston. Some of the roads in GA can be pretty rough so I wanted to be extra careful.
Normally when you get a new pit the first thing you do is light a fire in it to get it seasoned and begin learning its characteristics. Unfortunately I didn’t have any extra time to learn them this time since I was already at the contest. And this was a big contest, with 69 pro teams competing along with a taping of the TV show “BBQ Pitmasters”. But I felt confident and was excited to cook on them, so there was no turning back now.
Of course with new pits come new surprises and this time was no different. Through a combination of my inexperience with pellet cookers and weak power at my site, I woke up at 5am expecting to find my butts and briskets well on their way to being finished. Instead the pellet cooker was cold and the food temp’d out at a measley 120°. In other words I was about 4 hours behind schedule of where I wanted to be. Not good! I seriously thought about packing up and heading home but regrouped and decided to make the best of it. I am not a “hot and fast” cooker, but guys do it every weekend with great results so it was time for me to give it a try. For the sake of time let me just say that I was able to get extra charcoal from Rescue Smokers, LJ Smokin’, and Finely Ready BBQ. I got my new stickburner up to 300° and kept it there all morning. I had all 4 meats on it at the same time and by the time the awards were over I had taken a 4th in Pork and a 3rd in Brisket, securing me 3rd overall in a field of 69. It goes without saying that I was more than satisfied with my results, especially after my early setback. And as happy as I was to take 3rd, I was even more happy to watch my brothers from Unknown BBQ (Q School grads) win Grand Champion in their first trip to GA and in this very tough field! These guys are on fire!
On another note this was my last cookoff with my Stumps/Lang setup. They served me very well and now it’s time for the new chapter to begin.