Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We cooked barbecue on Pennsylvania Ave!

Well, we're home from the National Barbecue Battle. I must say, it was a crazy long trip. Four days is just not enough time to travel that far and cook two contests. I'd start back tomorrow though. After all, how many times do you get to cook barbecue three blocks from the White House and in the shadow of important buildings in our nation's capital? We had a blast. Those east coast boys were a little rough on us in the KCBS competition and we didn't make the finals in the MIM event, but we had a blast just the same. It was great to see some of our good friends. The Dizzy Pig boys were there sans WooDoggies, Myron and Dobby were donned in all black as usual, we saw Dan from Three Eyz BBQ, and Mike and Chris Peters were working hard for KCBS.

With the outragous price of fuel, we probably would not have participated in this event unless our sponsor Greased Lightning had asked. Now that we've been, we're already making plans to return. Meeting Dan and Mark from Greased Lightning was awesome. There aren't two nicer guys on the face of the planet. I think they're happy with our efforts and to me, that's really whats important. They were both very supportive and we learned a few things about better promoting the product while we were there. We're excited about things to come in the marketing partnership we have built with Greased Lightning.

The crowds were crazy. They had to have exceeded last years attendance of 140,000. The good weather helped. We met a lot of great people. Sean, the Margarita Man, was a life saver in the heat on Sunday. He delivered frozen lemonades and Sangria to us all day. Those probably sound like sissy drinks, but I would have to say that they were what got us through Sunday, and besides, they were way awesome! We also met a family that was visiting the area from California. Gary from Bare Bones BBQ told them to look us up if they made it to the event. That was way cool. They were the beneficiaries of us not making the MIM finals, as were some other folks including a young man working the NBA site just across the isle from out spot. In return, we got a bunch of cool NBA stuff from him including some VIP passes.

Speaking of MIM, for you KCBS folks, that is a very interesting format. Cooking a new style of event for the first time really took us out of our comfort zone. We know now why MIM teams usually have at least four and often times many, many more members. We also learned that our KCBS rib process does not work well with MIM timing. We tried to cook ribs in three stages, the first group for our blind box and first judge, the second group for our second and third judges and the last group for the finals. Yeah . . . . that doesn't work out so well. With only five minutes to get ready between on site judges, you need to pretty much have everything ready to go heading into your blind box time, except maybe finals ribs. We had a great time and it was a learning experience. One judge whipped out his cell phone and thought hard about taking a call right in the middle of our presentation. I guess he wasn't digging it. Another judge came back to say we received all tens on her score card. That was cool and it gave us some much needed feedback that we had at least put our best foot forward.

The National BBQ Battle was like no other event we've cooked, and we've cooked a ton of them. It was in an awesome, challenging location, action packed, and had big, big crowds the entire time. We're home now and ready to get back to a more regular routine. I've probably bitten off more than I can chew again this week, as we entered the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle and have a catering for 200 that evening. Luckily, Mark Darrah, the one that isn't' blue in the picture above, has offered to help us out. Mark's been a great help to us on several occasions now already, including this trip. All he's gotten in return thus far is those cool duds he's wearing in that picture. I told you all in the previous post he was a snappy dressing. I don't lie!

Congrats to the winners in D.C., especially Jack's Old South on the sweep, and to all the winners this past weekend. The trip really got me off my game and I didn't keep up with the past weekend's events. Mr. Old School, Johnny Trigg, won in Utah. I hear students of the classes won their first GC this past weekend. Congrats to them. Both, very, very cool contest results. See you all in Lenexa this weekend. The heat of summer is here to stay. Try to stay cool.

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