Jan 302019
 

Eat with Swamp Boys!

If you enjoy BBQ and you live in or near Central Florida, consider yourself blessed. There are a lot of Florida BBQ Association (FBA) and Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) contests throughout the year for you, and you can find out about them from the websites I’ve listed. If you’ve never been to one they can be a little hard to figure out. Let me try to help.

Parking can be a challenge, but don’t let it be. At Smoke on the Water this weekend in Winter Haven, they have free satellite parking. That is the way to go. A free shuttle service will be running back and forth all weekend. Look for the Satellite Parking signs on Havendale Boulevard. This is a great way to avoid the stress of finding a spot to park.

It is important to understand that the majority of contests are organized and put on by volunteers, and they are usually raising money for local charities. If you’re not sure and want to know, ask someone or check their website. If you’re asked to pay for parking or to pay to get in, know that it is likely benefiting a local charity. And helping those in need is a good thing. That said, the majority are free to enter.

Now you’re inside the gate, and the wonderful smells of hickory smoke, juicy pork and chicken, and succulent beef are filling the air. Your stomach rumbles and you’re ready to eat. The first thing you’ll want to do is buy some of the designated money/currency for the event. Since most are fundraisers, most make you pay for everything you buy in “_______ – Bucks”. The blank could be PIG, BBQ, CROWN JEWEL, or anything else. For now we’ll call them BBQ Bucks. Find the area where they are being sold and buy some. It is $1 for 1 BBQ Buck. Vendors are not allowed to take your cash money, they must take BBQ Bucks. The vendors turn in their BBQ Bucks at the end of the event and get paid $0.80 on the dollar. This is one way the charities make money from the event. BBQ Bucks are non-refundable so keep that in mind.

With your bucks in hand, it’s time to start sampling the foods now. Sometimes there are literally dozens and dozens of choices, like at Lakeland Pig Fest last week or Winter Haven’s Smoke on the Water this weekend. Sometimes there are only 5 or 6 choices. Know that some vendors will be much, much better than others. Pitmasters love to show off their accomplishments with trophies and/or banners on display. Unfortunately not all vendors are 100% honest with their advertising. Just because the signs are 75′ up in the air, doesn’t mean their food is great. So who do you go to? Ask around. Ask the other teams who aren’t selling their food where they would go eat, and who they would avoid. They know, and they will be honest with you. Life’s too short for bad BBQ. Educate yourself on where to spend your BBQ Bucks.

Besides great food, there may also be live music, craft vendors, car shows, cornhole tournaments, cooking demos, water ski shows, seaplane rides, auctions, 50/50 raffles, and who knows what else. BBQ contests usually offer All-American fun stuff to do and see. Make sure you get around to see everything. BBQ contests give the host towns a chance to shine and celebrate their community. 

If you have the time, stick around until 5pm Saturday and watch the BBQ awards show, usually at the main stage. For most teams, this is the reason they are at the contest. Teams can spend anywhere from $900 – $1500 and up to enter a single contest. Most are onsight for a minimum of 24 hours and up to 60 hours. A contest can be a major investment of time and money. The teams turn in chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket at predetermined times. Tables of certified judges score the entries in a double blind format, so they don’t know whose food they are judging. The highest scores for each category win money and trophies. The team with the highest total score of all categories among the teams wins Grand Champion (GC). The second highest score wins Reserve Grand Champion (RGC). Doing well in one category is nice, but being consistent in every category and winning GC is the ultimate. This usually qualifies you for the big national invitational contests and is quite an accomplishment. It’s a long standing tradition in the FBA that the winner buys pizza for everyone Saturday evening. The Saturday night get together is the best part of the weekend for a lot of the teams.

I hope this will help you enjoy the next BBQ contest you visit. The teams and certainly the organizers and charities are happy and thankful you’ve come out to help support the community. And the fact that we get to enjoy BBQ, America’s original cuisine, makes it awesome.

 Posted by at 8:29 pm
Aug 042018
 

Swamp Boys in Publix Florida Local program

It has been a long process but I am proud to announce that you can now buy Swamp Boys Original BBQ Sauce at selected (205) Publix stores. Publix invited us to take part in their “Florida Local” program which showcases smaller Florida based food companies. Look for us on the Florida Local end cap. And if your Publix doesn’t currently have it, just ask the manager to order it in for you. They will be happy to. Even if you don’t live in Florida, and Publix now has the ability to order it in.

08/10 EDIT: The map is offline. Usage was exceeded and they disabled it. I will be working to create a new map that will not have this problem. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Here is a link to a map showing the Publix stores carrying it (green markers), current independent retailers (red markers), and online only retailers (yellow markers). Zoom in and click on the marker nearest you for more information, or find your city on the list. And thanks for being a key part of the Swamp Boys Nation!
CLICK HERE FOR MAP

 Posted by at 10:58 am
Mar 062018
 

I am giving up a seat for any of my Q Schools in the future. The next class is being held March 18-19 in Winter Haven, FL behind the Boy’s Club. Click the PayPal link to make a donation of $25 for the Winter Haven Citrus Center Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs. Each $25 donation will earn you a chance in a drawing for a free seat in my class which is valued at $500. This will stay open until it hits $750 for the kids. I will have a live Facebook drawing (Rub Bagby) and notify the winner. I will give a check for 100% of money donated and Swamp Boys will cover the PayPal fees. Thanks for helping the kids and good luck!

SOLD OUT THANK YOU!!

DRAWING WILL HAPPEN 3/7/18 time TBD

 Posted by at 9:21 am
Jan 102018
 

The first Swamp Boys Q School for 2018 is scheduled!

March 17-18, 2018 is the date for my Q School to be held in Winter Haven, lakefront on Lake Cannon. Come enjoy the perfect weather and learn what I have learned over the past 14 years of competition barbecue. The only 3-time Florida BBQ Association Team of the Year, and 2017 TOTY.

This techniques class will cover both ‘hot and fast’ and ‘low and slow’ methods. FBA and KCBS covered. You want to be the best bbq’r in your neighborhood? Come see me, I’ll make it happen. You want to improve your competition cooking? Let’s do it.

Print the application below (March_18 QSchool), fill it out and mail it in with your check. Need to pay with a credit card? Use the PayPal link. A PayPal account is not required. The PP fee will be added to your total. Still must mail in the application.

March_18 QSchool


Swamp Boys Q School



 Posted by at 3:02 pm
Nov 022017
 

Swamp Boys BBQ Team was blessed for the 2017 season. Because we won 6 State Championships for the season we had 6 “bungs” in The Draw for the 29th annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue, held in Lynchburg TN.

Ms. Mary Bobo’s Boarding House

Lynchburg is where the famous whiskey has always been made and bottled. To most all professional barbecuers, “The Jack” is considered one of – if not the – premier contests in the world. So we were stoked when we found out we would be the team representing Florida.

We left straight from teaching on Tuesday and made it up to Marietta GA where we stayed the night. The next morning we got to Lynchburg and dropped the trailer at the house we rented and made our way to Miss Mary Bobo’s for a family style lunch. We shared our table with people from South Africa and Canada who were in town to buy an entire barrel of JD! The food and the company were both excellent, and we all agreed it was the best experience we have had there in our three times going.

After that we set the trailer up in our site, which has been the same each time. We love it there right up front and center so we can interact with the public and giveaway samples of our bbq after turn-ins are over. Great spot.

Thursday we walked over to the Jack Daniel Distillery for the tour. We had Jed as our guide and he did a great job. Just like lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s, we each thought this was the best tour we’ve had to date. Way to go Lynchburg! Then we made our way to the Lynchburg Winery and partook in a flight of five of the local wines.

Friday we took part in the Parade of Teams, following the Lynchburg High School marching band through the downtown to the Distillery. From there we loaded up on school busses which took us to the top of BBQ Hill. We were treated to a great Southern supper, live music, and free JD drinks. It was a lot of fun mingling with friends from the other teams. When that was over we went back down the hill to the cook site. The weather was rainy and in the 30’s overnight so most teams stayed warm and dry in their trailers without much socializing.

Saturday was of course turn-in day and overall things went very well. Chicken looked and tasted excellent. Ribs were darker than I prefer but the taste and tenderness were right where I wanted them. Pork was near perfect I thought. Brisket slices were money but the burnt ends had slightly too much fat in them. I liked them and was torn on whether to use them or not. I decided to NOT play it safe and added them to the box. In hindsight that was a mistake on my part. The killer brisket from The Butcher Shoppe was amazing straight from the package. I should have gone with only slices, it would have scored much higher. Lesson learned. I highly recommend The Butcher Shoppe for your high quality meat needs, and they ship! Email Kevin Green with your order and fantastic customer service.

As far as the scoring went, I came in 2nd on my tables in Chicken, Ribs, and Brisket. I came in 1st on my Pork table which was good enough for 2nd out of the 95 teams! We actually tied for 1st, but lost the tiebreaker. Regardless it was a very exciting call for us, and it pairs well with the 1st place call in Pork we received there in 2009. You may have heard me mention in the past that I am a devout Smithfield pork user. To make my point, I was unable to find the Smithfield butts I wanted locally, so I had my friends Pat and Mary bring some with them to Lynchburg from Wisconsin. And it paid off. Thanks so much Pat and Mary, and also thanks for the Wisconsin care package! #Smokinwithsmithfield #Showmeyoursmithfield

My other sponsors that I rely on and want to thank are West Coast Offense, Nature’s Own Hardwood Charcoal, Butcher BBQ, BBQ Guru, Grizzly CoolersMac’s Meats, and the one-two punch of my Gateway Drum Smokers and my Deep South Smoker. Stop by sometime and I’ll tell you what I like about them.

So once again we had a fantastic time in Lynchburg and are thankful we had the opportunity to go. Lots of friends, laughs, fun, and memories. That’s what it’s all about.

Ready for the Distillery Tour

Thank you Phillip and Kathy!

A few of my Webers and Ed

 Posted by at 3:19 pm