Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday "Shotgun Shorty"!

Jack S. Rife, Jr. celebrated his 90th birthday on July 14th, 2008. Jack (AKA Shotgun Shorty) is my Grandfather and who taught me how to BBQ. Grampo gets his nickname from the old days when he carried several wepons including a shotgun hanging on the gun rack in his pickup truck. He is an avid hunter and expert marksman who is always ready to squeeze one off! While only 5'6" he was a giant to me. He reminds me of John Wayne or Audie Murphy. A honest hard working Texan who served in WWII. While serving in Germany Jack was awarded several medals & awards. A subject I will cover in a future post.

I have been asked "why I love to BBQ so much"? the answer is simple. Some of my fondest memories of Texas & growing up were on any given Friday or Saturday when Grampo would fire the pit up and cook something. Most times it was brisket or cabrito. Sometimes it was a Havelena or deer he shot while hunting. Everyone seemed to congrigate at "Uncle Jack's". Friends, family, hell even people we didn't know would stop by. Grampo always had a cold beer to share. Later her would bitch about the moochers but I know he enjoyed them stopping by. My job was to keep to wood burning, place coals in the pit, check the meat, and get him a cold Budweiser! So my answer to "why I love to BBQ so much" is everytime I fire up the pit I get to re-live those memories. If you don't understand that you never will understand BBQ. You see it's not the rub, injection, or cut of meat. Its not what kind of pit you have or wood you use. Its the concept of family, friends, & tradition that makes good BBQ. I have been fortunate to learn from one of the best. No, Shotgun has never won a BBQ competition but he has won my love & repect and many many others.

So when you see me at competitions having a few beers and listening to old country music, don't think that I dont take the competition seriously. I'm just carring on the family tradition. I can't wait to hand over our first GC trophy to Shotgun Shorty. I love you Grampo.

A Great BBQ Story
Check out this story about Snow's BBQ in lexington, Texas. This is what BBQ is all about. Food, Family, Friends, Traditions, and the characters who live and breathe BBQ. I am planning a BBQ Trip someday and I will make sure that Snow's BBQ is on the itenairy.

Here is the link the Texas Monthly which published the "Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dickson Fiddler's Contest

June 27-28, 2008
Gary & Richard thought I was crazy when I told them we had entered the Dickson Fiddler's Contest. Hell, I don't even have a Fiddle much less know how to play one! Its a good thing they had a BBQ contest at the same time. Richard & I headed West of Nashville about 45 miles on Thursday to get set up. We arrived & got set up before dark. After a few adult beverages we turned in for the night.

Friday morning after heading down to Cracker Barrel for some chow we started prepping. Voncil & Joe of Smokey Mountain Smokers invited us along with Buck & Lou of High on the Hawg to lunch at one of the local Mexican eateries during which Voncil was treated to a birthday treat in the form of a shot of Tequila! Happy Birthday Voncil! Shortly after returning to the contest Gary arrived and DoRagQ was IN DA HOUSE! After bringing Gary up to date on all the happenings we were asked by contest organizer Tim Owings to judge the sausage category. Gary & I accepted and off we went. I tell you, judging is not as easy as you may think. We were treated to some very original culinary delights featuring Tennessee Pride Sausage. Some rocked & some rocked our stomachs! Upon completion of judging the sausage category, Buck & Lou of High on the Hawg treated us to a spaghetti supper complete with garlic bread. I didn't know that 6 lbs of spaghetti could feed half of Dickson! The evening was topped off by yours truly making several of my famous DoRag Margaritas. Luckily the Tequila ran out before the "Grills Gone Wild Crew" arrived. We wouldn't want to be seen on one of those cheesy late-night advertisements selling DVDs. No one was lost or hurt and the evening ended quietly.

Saturday brought the chance of rain, gusting winds, and the hope of a good finish. The rains held off, the winds died down, and we finished in the middle of the pack. A 18th place finish in chicken, 8th in ribs, 22nd in pork, & 9th in brisket combined for a 14th place finish overall. Congratulations to Pig-Pak & Team Allegro for finishing Grand Champion & Reserve Grand Champion respectively. DoRagQ friends High on the Hawg finished 6th, came in 9th, and newcomers Gettin'Piggy With It in 12th. Thanks to Gary & Richard for their continuing efforts. We continue to pay our dues & keep learning. Until next time....Keep on Smokin!

P.S.I forgot to mention our 2nd place finish in the desert competition! But then that's another story.......Thanks Lou!

Long Dogs on the Rag or Doggie Do BBQ?

June 20-21, 2008
Dan Watson of Long Dawgs Blue Smoke & I waited to the week of the Franklin Simpson County BBQ Cookoff to decide to enter. We both had planned to take a few weeks off but after talking about it all week we decided to hook up together and cook. On Thursday Dan headed to Franklin Kentucky which is North of Nashville about 40 miles. The cookoff was held in the City park next to a river. Each site had power & water hookups and grass was green and cut like a high dollar golf course. A great setting for a contest. Mark Sexton the contest organizer did a fantastic job taking care of the cooks. We had entertainment on Friday night and a steak dinner to boot!

Our combined efforts resulted in 10th in chicken, 1st in ribs, 5th in pork, & 7th in brisket with a 5th overall. Not bad for a last minute contest. Congratulations to Debbie & Mike Davis of Lotta Bull for taking the Grand Champion. Smokey Mountain Smokers took Reserve Grand Champion. DoRagQ Compadres finished 3rd, Team Allegro 8th, & Pig Smokers in Paradise rounded out the top 10. DoRagQ plans to add this cook to our schedule in 2009. It was a beautiful setting, well organized, and just plain fun! Thanks Dan & Jen for putting up with me. Can't wait to do it again!

The BBQ Song

Sunday, July 13, 2008

CMA Musicfest BBQ Cookoff, Nashville, TN

June 7-8, 2008
For the first year the CMA (Country Music Association) added a BBQ cookoff to the Musicfest activities. The CMA Musicfest (formally FanFair) is a week long festival attended by thousands of country music fans from around the world. The atmosphere was electric and the heat was high. The cookoff was located in a parking lot right behind the Somet Center near the Country Music Hall of Fame. We fired up the AC in Casa DoRag and kept the temperature bearable inside. Richard & I set up camp on Friday night along with several others who had to wait until after 8 PM arrive due to other activities. Later we sat outside and listened to the sounds of downtown Nashville. An occasional train, siren, & drunk could be heard most all night. Paul Hood of came over for a visit and a beverage or two. Paul owns and distributes an all natural charcoal that does not contain coal, coke, lime, nitrate, or any of the other nasty things that major charcoal brands contain. Check out his website @ for more information. Paul also is a veteran of the Memphis in May circuit. Richard & I enjoyed listening to his experiences and stories. He will do well in the KCBS.

After a good nights sleep, Richard & I got busy preparing chicken, ribs, pork, & brisket. There is quite a bit of work left to do once "on-site" to get ready to cook. I hope to document a contest week in a future post. I think you will be surprised at the effort we put in even before we lite the pits. due to the extreme heat we spent much of the day in Casa DoRag enjoying the cool AC. Gary arrived later afternoon and we began constructing our turn in boxes. All day country music fans stopped by and asked questions and shared BBQ tales. We even saw a celebrity or two. Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, and Bucky Covington were seen wondering about the grounds. Lee McWright hosted a celebrity Iron Chef with music stars Mark Willis & Jamie O'Neal. Mark Walker of Wireless Plus stopped by with wife LouAnn friends Chip & Penny Hooper before heading over to LP Field for the big concert featuring Alan Jackson. Wireless Plus is a big supporter of DoRagQ and we always enjoy the chance to "PARTY" with them.

Saturday evening arrived and it was time to get down to business as we fired up the pits and put the briskets and pork butts on to cook. After some socializing with Buck & Lou of High on the Hawg it was bed time for Billy Bob. Until Mark & Chip came banging on the door after the concert. They defiantly had a good time! Sunday brought more heat and excitement as we approached turn in time. Heading into the awards we thought we had cooked our best of the year but as the top ten in chicken, ribs, and pork was announced, DoRagQ was not called. I will admit some frustration building as the brisket category was announced. I thought we had done our best and would not even get a single top 10 finish. As the brisket top five was being announced I was surprised to hear DoRagQ called for 3rd place! It was great to know the all the hard work the Richard, Gary, & I had put in had payed off at least in one category. We actually received 2 perfect scores in brisket. Our best to date! DoRagQ placed 15the overall out of 45 teams with a 28th in chicken, a 27th in ribs, a 17th in pork, and our 3rd place brisket. Congratulations to Lotta Bull (Grand Champion) & Jiggy Piggy (Reserve Grand Champion). Other notables were Wild Bunch Butt Burners in 3rd, Moonswiners in 4th, Team Allegro in 7th, Team Top chick in 9th, & in 10th. Buck & Lou of High on the Hawg placed 3rd in chicken, and Rick & Amber of Porkenstein BBQ Team finished 6th in ribs.

We keep pluggin along, paying our dues and having tons of fun. At least we didn't have a Pulaski!

Sundrop Country Cookoff, Pulaski, TN

May 9-10, 2008
Not much to tell. We stunk! Just when you think you have it all figured out; you have a Pulaski! We finished 13th in chicken, 23rd in ribs, 23rd in pork, and 27th in brisket. The only positive things were we were consistent and didn't finish DAL (dead ass last)! Congratulations to Jiggy Piggy (Grand Champion) & our friend Barry of Swiggin Pig (Reserve Grand Champion). The rest of the overall top ten were 3rd Wild Bunch butt Burners, 4th Team Top chick, 5th Tennessee Butt Burners, 6th Bill & the Dixie Chicks, 7th Big Daddy Q, 8th Smokey Mountain Smokers, 9th Late Night Whiskey Smokers, & 10th High on the Hawg. Way to go Buck & Lou. Our only consolation is knowing we had some company down at the bottom. Several teams who are usually in the running joined us with low scores. All we can do is move on to the next one and keep practicing and hope we don't have another Pulaski!