Thursday, June 25, 2009

Franklin Simpson Fair BBQ

June 19-20, 2009
This would be my second time competing at the Franklin Simpson Fair BBQ but DoRagQ's first. Last year good friend Dan Watson (Long Dawgs Blue Smoke) & I decided to throw in together & have some fun. This year Dan & I decided to divide & conquer. The contest location is in a park which is equipped with water & electrical connections for each site. The sites are all on level ground in a nicely maintained grassy area surrounded by tall shade trees. A great location. Defiantly one of our favs. Richard was on his annual fishing trip with one of his friends & would not be making the trip. Gary"Nickelback" was planning on making the trip until his knee gave out on him & his Mom had surgery earlier in the week! Looks like ole DoRag may have to go solo on this one! To top it off I had to work on Friday to boot! No step for a stepper!
On Thursday after work Gary & I took Casa DoRag to the contest site & set up. We figured to do as much as we could to make things easier on me on Friday. After setting a few things up Thursday night, we joined Voncil & Joe of Smokey Mountain Smokers, Mike & Barry of Swiggin Pig, & Jim & Johnny of Son Seeker's & headed to the Franklin Square to have some Wangs & Burgers @ "Burgers on the Square". What a great place. They even had a band! OK it was a Dude with a guitar but he was really good. I highly recommend checking it our. The Wangs were great & the beer was cold, what more could you want? After some food & fun, Gary & I headed back to Nashville for the night.

Friday was a wild & crazy day. I went in extra early & with all the extra time I had put in during the week I was hoping to slip out early afternoon. Once on site, I finished unloading & started prepping. Gary called to say his knee was a little better & his Mom was recovering so he was hoping to catch up with me later Friday evening. I finally got finished prepping & got our cook site organized. Finally some time for socializing! Long Dawgs & Big & Twig were our neighbors to each side while Team Allegro was across the driveway. Smokey Mountain Smokers, Lotta Bull, & Swiggin Pig were just down the way a bit & Old Dave of Ribs & Bibs was hangin out amongst us all! It was good to see Old Dave again. His sidekick Ziggy did not make the trip. Too bad we had some "Blue Yummies" iced down for him. Maybe next time!

Gary limped in & DoRagQ was officially "In Da House"! After a beer or two "G" settled in to make boxes. I threw on some pork chops & sausage for supper. Swiggin Pig fixed some taters & Long Dawgs threw together a salad & just like that dinner was ready! Good friend & sometime sponsor Mark Walker showed up with Chip & Chuck just in time to grab some grub. Work buddies, Kari & Denise paid us a visit along with Chris, Denise's hubby. They live in the area & had been wanting to check out all the fun we have. Hey the more the merrier right! Scott & Suzanne of South Pork also joined us. Dan made Margaritas & Voncil of Smokey Mountain Smokers made 'Nanna Puddin' for desert.... and Life Was Good! Friday nights at a contest with friends, good food, music, & some adult beverages is hard to top! After some socializing & a sip or two of "Apple Pie" it was time for them to leave! After all I gotta cook & Gary is on crutches!

Saturday morning was quite & peaceful. A nice change from the rain & wind of recent contests. Gary's knee (& other things) were hurtin so I had no choice but to step up & gut it out solo. Most everything went according to plan. I wish I had a $1 for every step I took. I have a new respect for Byron ( & Pete (Bean Bandits) who cook solo. You really have to be organized & keep focused. Somehow I was able to do that and got everything boxed & turned in on time! Gary did lend a hand as he got to feelin better. I was happy with chicken & brisket but our ribs were tough & I never know about our pork! So it was time to pack it up & see if were were hero's or zero's!

Thanks to Gary & Roxy of Governor's BBQ we had 25 teams. Category winners were South Pork in chicken, Swiggin Pig in ribs, The Pit Crew in pork, & Smokey Mountain Smokers in brisket. The DoRagQ Gang (less the Gang) managed a 3rd in chicken, 17th in ribs, 13th in pork, & 5th in brisket, finishing 8th overall! South Pork took the GC & The Pit Crew took RGC! Congrats! Other notables were Smokey Mountain Smokers 4th, Swiggin Pig 7th, Long Dawgs 9th, & Lotta Bull 10th.

Overall I am very happy with the outcome. I made a few tweaks to chicken resulting in our best score to date. Brisket is still solid. The ribs were below our standards that was no surprise. Pork was better, but not where it needs to be. I have gotta make a decision. This year's pork just isn't scoring well. Gotta come up with something new or go back to last years or even 2007's recipe! Looks like I am gonna be cookin lots of pork in the next few weeks!

Thanks to Mark Sexton & his staff. They did a great job & took good care of us. Franklin is one of my favorite cooks & I look forward to returning next year. It was also good seeing our BBQ family. Some we see often & other's like ZZ-Que, Hoosier Crawdaddy, Monty Pigthon & The Holy Grill, Ribs & Bibs, Son Seekers, Rockin Rooster's BBQ, Shadetree Cooks, & Castaway Cookers we don't see as much but it's always a blast catching up with them & hope we see them again soon. As for the DoRagQ Gang, it's off to Lawrencburg, TN for the Tennessee State Championship BBQ Cook-Off June 26-27. Richard will be back but "G" is gone on vacation. I guess Richard & I will have to make our own boxes again! Stop by if you are in the area, we love company & if you can make a box, your hired!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Haleyville 911 BBQ Results

Add Image On February 16, 1968 the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system in the nation went into service in Haleyville. First Haleyville Alabama is a long way from Nashville! I guess I shouldn't complain. There were teams from further away like Lotta Bull from Oklahoma and Pop's Blazen Smokers from Louisiana to mention a few. But I am here to tell you, it's a long frickin way from DoRag's house! OK you get the point, so I will stop wining. To start with Gary "Nickelback" was not making the trip. His knee & his mom's recent surgery would keep him home this time. So I headed down to Lewisburg solo to pick up Richard. We got an early start on Friday & Richard was looking to score some breakfast on the way. Mental note: when heading off the beaten path, eat at Cracker Barrel. Once we exited off I-65 onto the state roads there was not much to be had. We ended up stopping at the McDonald's right beside the contest site! I almost lost ole Richard!

After a hearty helpin of simulated egg-like substance we finally got set up right next to Barry & Mike of Swiggin Pig! They arrive Thursday & were kind enough to save us a spot. So we squeezed Casa DoRag in among the big rigs of Lotta Bill, Jiggy Piggy, Wild Bunch Butt Burners & Big River BBQ & commenced to prepping the meat. Prepping went relatively well and we were finished before noon. Once again, Richard was on the hunt for food! We had our choice of KFC, A&W, Captin D's, & McDonald's. After careful thinking we decided on KFC. Mike & Barry joined us & chauffeured us over on the UT Golf cart. Yes we were living dangerous driving the Big Orange cart around in Crimson Tide country, but when we told them we drove it all the way down from Nashville they grinned & shook their heads in dis-belief. I just had to grin with them and ordered up some hot wangs! After lunch the Alabama Power Company informed us they were taking the electrical grid down to install & transformer & heaver wire cuz we were pullin to much juice! So after a couple of hours of on for a while, off for a while they got 'er done right before the sky's turned dark & the winds began howllin! That's right, we were fixin to be right smack dab in the middle of a bonified Alabama thunderstorm! We quickly tied everything down & started saying our prayers. The wind gusts were fierce & the rain was heavy but Casa DoRag managed to make it through with only a few scratches. We did manage to find time to make our turn in boxes since our "Box-Boy" was laying out on us. BTW...Cell phone coverage is spotty at best in Haleyville so you have to use a pay phone to call 911 in case of an emergency. Anyway, we managed to make it to the 6 PM cook's meeting hosted by two of our favorite KCBS Reps, Ron "Cooks, Cooks" Harwell & his trusty side-kick Richard Preston. After laying down the law, we headed back to the cook site & once again we were in search of food! Luck was on our side & we weaseled our way into a spread put on by Jiiggy Piggy, Swiggin Pig, & Wild Bunch Butt Burners! They had salads, potatoes, steaks, & these little pigeon lookin things. Holy Crap, we done hit the Mother Lode! Later we found out those were Quail, not Pigeons. Either way they were outstanding! Thanks to all involved for letting us hang out. A good time was had by all in-spite of the continued rain. There wasn't much partying going on due to the weather so we headed back to Casa DoRag for a nite-cap & turned in.

Morning brought the loudest clap of thunder I think I have ever experienced along with more rain. In between showers we got pork & brisket finished & chicken & ribs cooking. About mid morning, the rains stopped & we managed to get everything cooked & turned in on time. We just weren't hittin on all cylinders without "G" plus the turn in area was a good 2 city blocks away! DoRag was huffin & puffin. After turn in Richard & I agreed that our food while not bad was not our best. We figured middle of the pack for our overall finish. If we had a chance at a "call" it would be in ribs. So we packed up & got ready to hear the results.

The awards were in a church so I was already a little on edge. If they had bells ringing, I figured I was a gonner. (That's a long story for another time). After the announcements & speeches from the dignitaries, it was time to "Fear the Reaper". The DoRagQ Gang (minus G) managed to pull off a 9th in chicken, 8th in ribs, 20th in pork, & 3rd in brisket! Finishing 9th overall out of 34! A very pleasant surprise! Category winners were South Pork in chicken, Pop's Blazin Smokers in ribs, The EGGseQuetive Council in pork, & South Pork in brisket. The overall Grand Champion was Mike & Debbie Davis of Lotta Bull BBQ with South Pork Reserve Grand Champion. Other notables were in 4th Joebeaz Blazin Butts, 5th Jiggy Piggy, 6th The EGGseQuetive Council, 7th Wild Bunch Butt Burners, 8th Late Night Whiskey Smokers, & in 10th Swiggin Pig. Congrats to all!

It was good to see & visit with out BBQ family again. After a 4 week hiatus we were a little rusty but still managed to pull off a decent finish. Better than we expected! Next week we head to Franklin Kentucky for the Franklin Simpson County Fair BBQ Contest. Again we will be with out one of the Do's in DoRagQ as Richard has a prior fishing commitment with an old friend. We will miss him but friends & traditions are important so catch a big one Richard! Gary & I will do our best to carry on without you! One thing is for sure, we are going to have a great time with our BBQ fam ily! Drop by if your in the area! Until next week, may your coals be read, & your smoke be blue, grab your meat and let's BBQ!