WARNING: This is going to be a long read! A lot has happend since last week in Cookeville so grab a beverage, relax, & let me tell you about my week!
The DoRagQ Gang was still flying high after last week's 1st place brisket & 7th place chicken resulting in a 7th overall. But hey you can't dewell on the good or the bad for too long. You gotta start getting ready for the next cook, & that's what we were focusing on early last week. First off I had a lot going on at the JOB! I am involved in a big project & would have software peeps in Tuesday thru Friday. This presented a problem as I was going to have to work on Friday & would not be able to head to Guntersville until they left. My first plan was to take Casa DoRag to Guntersville after work on Thursday. Richard & Gary could then arrive on Friday & start prepping then I would get there when I could. Then I realized that Guntersville is a 2 1/2 hour drive one way! Not good! After some head scratching, Gary volunteered to take Casa DoRag down Thursday afternoon & return that night. He would pick up Richard on the way down & Richard would stay the night & get things started Friday morning. Great idea! Except for the fact that we did not have a truck to pull Casa DoRag with since I needed my truck for work (company vehicle). Bummer! More head scratching......who do I know that has a truck big enough that would loan it to me & let Gary drive it? That's a tall order to fill but after a quick call to close friend Darryl Sage @ Total Preformance Racing Products we had a truck! So Gary headed out Thursday afternoon & picked Richard up on the way to Guntersville. He then helped Richard unload the cookers & headed back to Nashville. Meanwhile, Richard set up the cook site & settled in for the night. I worked & worried all day! When I got home I received an email notifying me that the KCBS has banned parsley as a garnish due to a recall in many states! So i called Gary & gave him the news that we had to find some Greenleaf lettuce in a hurry. Gary calmed me down & said he would take care of that Friday morning. All I had to do was pack my bag, go to work, & pick him up when I got off! Wow what a deal!
I did not sleep much Thursday night due to worring about work, lettuce, & Richard having to prep everything by himself. Don't get me wrong here, Richard is very capable I just felt bad that he was having to take up my slack! Richard assured me he did not mind but I still felt bad. My project at work was going great & it looked like my peeps would be heading out around 2:30 PM! So after their departure, Gary & I headed for Guntersville. It's alot farther than I thought! I wondered if we would ever get there! We finally arrived around 5:30 PM & I began to survey the site. Richard had done a great job getting everything setup. Due to the heavy rains the ABA improvised & made use of some asphalt instead of having us in the grass which would have turned into a mud-bogg! Good call ABA! I checked out the meat that Richard had prepped, finished the chicken, & had a few cold ones while Gary started making the lettuce boxes. We hadn't made a lettuce box in almost two years so he was a bit rusty but quickly got on a roll & had them finished! We then had a chance to visit with a few friends. Voncille & Joe of Smokey Mountian Smokers, Ron of Team Top Chick, Barry & Mike of Swiggin' Pig, Jen & Dan of Long Dawgs, Bobbie & Lee of Music City Pig Pals were just a few of the 19 pro teams competing. Several regulars were in nearby Decatur AL cooking @ Riverfest. Our friends Jan & Bill of Gooby's BBQ invited us for some dinner which consisted of babyback ribs, chicken, beans, & some Peach/Cherry Cobbler that Jan was practicing for the desert category. Sweet! It was delicious! After dinner we just chilled out & enjoyed the cool breeze off of Lake Guntersville. Nice! It had been a long day so we decided to turn in early after a few chugs of Apple Pie! Time to dream of winning a BBQ contest!
Richard & I woke up @ 4 AM to the sound of rain! Bummer! Judging from the forecast, we might as well get use to it. While never heavy it stayed with us all the way through turn-ins. We are very lucky that no winds accompanied it. We somehow managed to keep everything together & get everything cooked, boxed, & turned in without any major incident. As we normally do after turn in we sat down & discussed our product. We all thought chicken was about the normal, maybe a little bit spicy, ribs were ok but we thought we had cooked better ones. We tried a different but proven recepie this week on our pork as we had been in a slump. We all thought it was good but not sure if it would be good enough. Brisket was dead-on. But as you know it's all a crap shoot so we will see what happens when the "The Fat Lady Sings"!
My friend Lenny Morris from Birmingham drove up with his family to check out the DoRagQ Gang. We fed them some "Q" & enjoyed their company. What a nice surprise! Thanks for coming! After some socializing we packed up Casa DoRag & headed over to watch some of the ABA weigh in. If you have never seen this please check it out! The fish are amazing. Very cool to watch. I can see why tournament bass fishing is so popular!
It was finally time to hear the results. David Hagood of the ABA does a great job of doing the awards. They only call out the top five so sometimes its hard to guess where you are unless you get all top five calls. Team Top Chick was the first name to be called taking a 5th in chicken followed by Smokey Moutain Smokers, Warren County Pork Choppers, & Hd's BBQ taking 4th thru 2nd. I could not believe my ears when David said "and first place chicken, DoRagQ"! YEEEEEEHAAAAWWWWW we won chicken! Our first ever win in chicken! As we were getting our plaque & taking pictures David began to call out the top five in ribs starting with fifth place "DoRagQ"! Nice! Two calls! We were followed by Music City Pig Pals, Becky Sue's BBQ, & Team Top Chick taking 4th thru 2nd with Southern Stiles BBQ taking the win! Congrats! We were already grinning from ear to ear when David started the top five in pork. All we were hoping for here was a decent finish. Smelly Butts BBQ took 5th with Becky Sue's BBQ in 4th. Then David called "DoRagQ in 3rd"! Unbelievable! I was floored! Taking 2nd was Smokey Mountian Smokers & Warren County Pork Choppers taking the win! Congrats! Well to say my heart was a thumpin would be an understatment! I could hardly catch my breath when David started the brisket. In 5th would be our good friends Team Allegro followed by Jen & Dan of Long Dawgs/Harvest Moon in 4th. In 3rd was again Warren County Pork Choppers & in 2nd Team Top Chick. At this point I am thinking, ok maybe we are 6th thru 10th, that would be ok. Still a great finish right? Right untill I hear David say "DoRagQ first in brisket"! OMG...... Un-freeking-believable! For the 2nd week in a row we took top honors in brisket! After a quick interview on stage, some picture, & lots of pats on the back as we made our way back to our seats. My heart was really thumping now. I don't remember who it was that came over & said "you got this one" did it really dawn on me that we have a chance to win our first GC. Holy Crap now I am really nervous. David announced the Reserve Grand Champion was Warren County Pork Choppers! What a great finish for them. They are from Bowling Green, KY & I think they are new to the circut. They must cook some good BBQ. We need to get to know them better! Congrats on RGC. Ok, now it really hit me, I remember Lee McWright, Joe Amore, Ron Montgomery, & my good friend Dan Watson all coming over & offering their congradulations! Was this really gonna happen? All I could do was lower my head, close my eyes, & wait for David to say "The Grand Champion of the Guntersville Alabama American Bass Anglers Association BBQ Cookoff is ........DoRagQ!" Those were the longest 15 words in the entire english language. OMG!!!!!!! I had my sunglasses on (on a cloudy day) but behind them were tears. Hell yes I cried, so did Gary & Richard! I was trying to take it slow & enjoy every second cuz your first GC only happens once & I wanted to savor the moment but it all happens so fast! I know David asked me some questions, I don't really know what I said or if those there understood what I said but I hope I thanked all those who have helped the DoRagQ Gang find their way in the world of competitive BBQ. Bobbie & Lee McWright of Music City Pig Pals, Voncille & Joe Amore of Smokey Moutain Smokers, Linda & JC Gibson of JC's Pit Crew, Barry & Mike Johnson of Swiggin Pig, Debbie & Mike Davis of Lotta Bull, Kevin Bevington of HomeBBQ.com, Brenda & Terry Buchannan of High on the Hawg, & Jen & Dan Watson of Long Dawgs/Harvest Moon. You all have given us advice & taught us. Thank you so much! You all have a part of this GC! Thanks to Mark Walker. Your support made it possible for us to compete in the ABA contests. Thanks so much!
There are two people who I would not & could not do this without. My friends Gary Lacky & Richard Finley. I have said it before but you are the "Do" in DoRagQ. Thank you so much for being a huge part of this. I hope you will cook BBQ with me for a long long time! Thanks to Jack "Shotgun Shorty" Rife who taught me how to cook brisket, drink beer, & cuss! I'll be making that trip soon to visit & have a cold one with you in Texas. I love you Gramps!
As I finish this entry, I think back to the first contest we did in 2006. Jeff Edwards & I drank way to much, partied way to long, & did'nt even bring pork or chicken to cook but we didn't finish last & we had a hell of a time. I remember Gary & I sittin under a EZ-Up in Benton KY in 2007 with wet, cold feet. I remember the 100+ heat in the field at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon. Man what a great time we have had & we have made some great friends along the way! I am not going to apologize for all the thanks I have given here. All those mentioned have not only helped DoRagQ but many others. I hope someday I can help some new (or old) team win their first Grand Champion. I just hope it ain't one that we are cookin! So enough of this mushy crap, we gotta get ready to head to Florence next weekend for the 4th ABA BBQ Cookoff! I hope we don't make anybody sick with our BBQ! See you there! I'll have a DoRag on my head & a beer in my hand!