Sunday, March 1, 2009

OS vs. HT in Austin with the National Barbecue Association

When Amy Mills, the heir apparent to the 17th Street Bar & Grill and Memphis Championship Barbecue empire, called last November to ask if we would consider hosting our Old School versus High Tech cooking class in conjunction with the NBBQA annual conference, I felt honored. When she asked me to be a presenter for one of the many awesome seminars scheduled during the five day event, I was flattered. I had heard great things about the conference but had never been able to participate. Getting to be part of this annual event held around the country every February, was truly a great experience.

I was lucky enough to get to speak on a topic near and dear to my heart. Presenting with Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke and Randy Twyford of Ulcer Acres BBQ, our topic was "Compete and Win a Barbeque Contest." I won't bore you with the details, but we each presented a different perspective and collectively had a great time speaking to the group.

Our competition cooking class was on Saturday, the last day of the event. With the participant level now over 450 , and having now hosted ten of these classes, I will say that we had a sharp, engaging group in Texas. Lots of good, thought provoking questions were asked and answered and overall, I think it was one of our better classes despite teaching our normal two day format in one long, tiring day.

A special thanks to Craig Sharry of Texas Pepper Jelly. Craig participated in the class, bringing samples of his awesome products for everyone and donating Messermeister cutlery and apparel for us to give away via impromptu trivia questions asked during the day. If you haven't tried Craig's jellies, I assure you that you don't know what you're missing. He makes some truly awesome products and reps a great line of cutlery.

A very cool thing that happened at this class. George Mullins was the first person to register for the Austin event. Very casually, he asked for our hat sizes early on. What we didn't anticipate, was that George was kind enough to bring a couple awesome Resitol cowboy hats to the class that just happened to be our sizes. He even brought a couple Sharpies, for which he had a special purpose in mind. At the end of the class on Saturday, George presented Johnny and me with the hats signed by everyone in the class. That's us pictured above wearing our new hats with George after one long day professing our barbecue secrets. It was a fabulous idea as we now have a memento of our first and last ever one day class. Your generosity is greatly appreciated George. Thank you very much. Sheri even thanks you because now she believes I will retire that over sized palm leaf hat I got in Reno in '07.

Time to get a couple contests under our belt before the Shannon class scheduled for April 3 & 4. That class has really gotten some attention this past week. Shannon was the home of our biggest and most successful class last year and it's shaping up not to disappoint again this year. See you all on the bbq trail.

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