Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sundrop Country BBQ Cookoff

May 8-9, 2009

Friday morning I found myself driving to pick up Richard & Casa DoRag in one of the wildest electrical storms I have ever seen. Around 5 AM the Nashville sky's were full of lightening & the rumble of thunder. I have never seen such a display! I lost count of the bolts that lit up the skyline. The rain was heavy but luckily the winds were not very strong. I arrived at Richards & we were able to get hooked up before the rain caught up with us. We pulled into the picturesque cook site & began to setup. We tied down everything we could expecting to get hit sometime during the weekend. Like last week in Huntsville the forecast was rain, rain, & more rain!

This would be the 5th weekend out of six we were cookin' BBQ & 2009 would be our 3rd visit to the Sundrop Country BBQ Cookoff. There is a large "Back-Yard" division (cooks only chicken & ribs) as well as 30+ "Pros". It's always good too see our Back Yard friends like Rooster, T's, & Gooby's as well as the rest of our BBQ Family. After meat prep we settled in for some socializin! We were flanked by High on the Hawg & E.M. Azing BBQ. Our friends Jobeaz & Carl Counce of Coldwell Bankers BBQ we also in our neighborhood. We also got to visit with Smokers Wild & Chad Hayden of Moonswiners (2007 Jack Daniels World Champion). Chad was one of the first friends I made in the BBQ community. He was competing in 2006 at the Fiddlin', Brewin' & BarBQ'n @ Opryland Hotel. That was our first contest & Chad was setup across from us. He was kind enough to give us a few tips. Then in 2007 I ran into him again in Benton, KY. Later that year Richard & I decided to stay for the awards at "The Jack". Moonswiners got several calls and eventually took the GC! What a great night that was! A great BBQ memory.

After the "Cooks Meeting" we had some ABTs, pork chops, & baked potatoes. Lou & Buck turned in some incredible smoked salmon for Anything Butt. Gary "Nickelback" finally arrive after a 2 week hiatus and DoRagQ was officially "In Da House"! After dinner we just hung out and socialized. Then it dawned on us, it had not rained since we had arrived! Maybe "Mother Nature" was going to give us a gift for "Mother's Day". More on that later. The rest of the evening was spent listening to the music from the arena & sipping on some "Apple Pie". An occasional "Freebird" was yelled out to carry on the tradition but the band never granted our wish. I guess thats better than the year they did play it & forgot most of the words! What respectable redneck bar-band doesn't know the words to frickin FREEBIRD! The party broke up around 10:45 PM & we all headed off to get some shut eye.

We made it through the night without any rain or winds but daylight did bring cloudy skies. About 7 AM it began so sprinkle & by 10 AM the sprinkles turned into showers. We keep on cooking making the best of the wet conditions. With Gary back we were hittin on all 3 cylinders. He was making boxes while Richard & I did out cookin thang. By noon we were ready for chicken turn in. We had been tweaking our technique & recipie since the beginning of the year & we were happy with the outcome. Our rib box was awesome! One of our best looking boxes we have ever produced. We also thought our ribs were pretty good as well. Our pork had a great taste but our results have been inconsistent. We put together a nice box & thought it was pretty tasty as well. Brisket was a challenge. We thought it was dry & tough so we beat it with a hammer & set it outside in the rain but I thought it was a lost cause. Whats done is done. It's all up to the Judges now.

It did quit raining before turn ins and we even got a peak at the sun every now an again. After turn in we had a few minutes to enjoy a beverage & then it was time to pack it all up! Sure wish there were BBQ Roadies to do this. We managed to get it all packed up and have a few minutes to reflect before awards @ 4 PM. We all thought our chicken was good. Gary predicted "top 5"! We all like the looks & taste of our ribs, Gary predicted "top 10". Again we all thought we had a great looking pork box & we all liked the flavor but pork is hard to predict so Gary had no prediction. A dry tough brisket never scores well so we all felt we would "tank" again no prediction.

It was finally time to "read em & weep"! As we all congregated around the PA system, Jay thanked Linda, Tana, & Mark for being great contest reps. The Back Yard results were announced, Gooby's got some calls. Sorry I can't remember & no results are posted yet. Then it was on to the "Pros"! Wild Bunch Butt Burners took 1st in chicken, Team Top Chick was 1st in ribs, Colonel E's BBQ was 1st in pork, & Charcoal Cowboys took 1st in brisket. Smokers Wild took the overall win with Team Allegro taking 2nd! Congrats! DoRagQ was 5th in chicken (Gary called it), 13th in ribs (actually tied for 11th Gary almost called it), 20th in pork (WTF?) & 6th in brisket! Guess the hammer & rain helped! DoRagQ came in 8th overall! No complaint here! rounding out the overall top ten starting with 3rd was Swiggin Pig, 4th Lotta Bull, 5th Team Top Chick, 6th Big River BBQ, 7th Jobeaz Blazin Butts & Wings, 8th DoRagQ, 9th High on the Hawg, & 10th Smokey Mountain Smokers! Congrats to all. Thanks to Jay, the event staff, & contest reps that helped put on the contest. Special thanks to Sundrop & Wallmart for supporting BBQ. We appreciate your participation. We are looking forward to coming back in 2010. Maybe less the rain & mud!

As I look back on the last 6 weeks, I would have to say we are happy with our results. We have improved in some areas and still need some work in others. It's harder that you may think to produce 4 categories that 6 judges all think are good. Lots of factors enter into a finished product, the quality of meat, rubs, technique, equipment, organization, weather, cookers, & recipes all play important parts. When its all said & done, if you turned in the best you could on that day & had a good time, you have won the battle. You may not get the prize but hey, you got to cook some BBQ & be with friends & family, what more could you want?
We are taking a short break from competing. We need too clean up, get some rest, do some "Honey-Do's", & spend some time with family. We are looking forward to cooking in Haleyville, AL June 12-13, Franklin, KY June 19-20, & Lawrenceburg, TN June 26-27. Come by & visit! We love company! Until then, keep the heat low & cook it slow!
Click the link below for pictures of the Sundrop Country BBQ Cookoff

1 comment:

BP said...

Congrats on the great finish, Billy.

I hope to see you guys soon.