Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
2009 would mark our fourth appearance at Smokin' on the Square in Gallatin, TN. Gallatin is located 25 minutes North of Nashville & very close to home. A nice change from the two+hour drives we have been making recently. Gary & I loaded Casa DoRag after work on Thursday & headed to Gallatin to get set up. Being so close I planned on working Friday so Gary & Richard would get things started & I would catch up with them later in the day. Work went rather smoothly & I found my way to Gallatin by late afternoon. As usual Richard & Gary had everything prepped & waiting. Good friends Brenda & Terry of High on the Hawg we parked next to us & the combination team of Pig Smokers in Paradise & Light My Fire (Pigs on Fire) were on the other side of Casa DoRag. It was great to see April & Alan of Pig Smokers as we hadn't seen much of them this year. Several regulars were noticeable absent from Gallatin this year as several were competing at the American Royal in Kansas City & a few were cooking at a new contest in Springfield, KY. We wish them luck & hope they come back next year. We spent the rest of the afternoon socializing with our BBQ Family until it was time for the Cook's Meeting which is held at Grecian's Italian Restaurant across the street from the contest site. The organizer "Greater Gallatin" always has a "Cocktail Hour" with horse-overies (can't spell hors d'oeuvres!) Very nice spread!
After the Cook's Meeting it was time to get bizzy prepping dinner. Our good friends from Wireless Plus/Motorola always come visit on Friday night for pork chops, sausage, smoked potatoes, & salad. It's our way of saying "Thanks" for their support during the year. Also in attendance were our new friends from Kattawa KY, Robin & Shawn Tabor. Robin was judging on Saturday & Shawn was in search of truck parts! It was great hangin out with them & "brainstorming" how to make Kattawa's contest even better in 2010. Gary brought the "Fire Pit" & we all enjoyed a chug of Apple Pie while sitting around the fire & socializin'. Once the "Pie" was gone our company wasn't far behind. Makes you wonder if they just come to "chug"???? Gary headed home (20 minute drive) & Richard & I turned in for the night. Great night, no casualties & we somehow managed to get the pork & brisket in the FE100 in spite of all the socializin'.
After a great night & some shut-eye 4 AM rolled around & it was time to take temps & get the chicken & ribs ready. There is something special about a contest early in the morning. The smell of hickory, the occasional sound of a fire box door closing, the screeching sound of FIRE TRUCKS! Did I mention that we are right next to the Gallatin Fired Department? But hey, I am sure they would rather not be trotting off @ 4AM either. So after Richard had his coffee & I had my mornin' Coors Light we commenced to gettin serious! Gary arrived a short time later & we went over our game plan. After 15 plus contests this year, things are finally falling into place. It's almost like we know what we are doing! Scary! The rest of the morning went smoothly as we managed not to burn anything. We dunked, sliced, pulled, & managed to get everything turned in on time. The consensus was our chicken, ribs, & brisket were in the ballpark. Not great but decent, maybe top 10. Pork again was a big ? We knew it was not "award winning" but were hoping it wouldn't finish DAL (Dead Ass Last). So after a quick rest we began packing up Casa DoRag. I still like the idea of "BBQ Roadies". Let me know if you are interested, great benefits, all the BBQ & Beer you want. All you have to do is unpack, wash dishes, & load up when finished & you too can be part of the DoRagQ Gang! Send your resume, immediate openings!
After loading up it was time to "read 'em & weep". We all headed over to the awards to close the chapter on another "Smokin' on the Square". The Dessert category was announced first. The top two teams both finished with perfect scores! Bobbie & Lee McWright of Music City Pig Pals & David Wilson of Gettin' Piggy With It both finished with a "180" with Gettin Piggy With It taking the tiebreaker! Congrats! In the chicken category, Gary Roberts of Governors BBQ took the win with High on the Hawg in 2nd. Rounding out the top five were Pork of the North, Adams Rib, & Critter Cookers. DoRagQ managed a 6th! Cool! The winner in the rib category was Charcoal Cowboys, with MC Pig Pals, Bigbrig.com, High on the Hawg, & The Algood BBQ Pit Team in 2nd through 5th. DoRagQ snuck in again in 6th. So far we were right on track with our predictions, now for pork. The Algood BBQ Pit Team took the win with High on the Hawg, Smokin Butt Crew, Bigbrig.com, & Pork of the North 2nd through 5th. DoRagQ was 16th! AGHHHHHHHH! In brisket, Team Allegro continued their "Hott-Streak" by taking the win with Smokin Butt Crew in 2nd. The Ash Holes followed in 3rd, with Governors BBQ in 4th. The DoRagQ Gang came in 5th! Wow the calls were all over the board, who was gonna take the win? Past Smokin' on the Square Champions Pork of the North managed to pull off the RGC with Paul Hood of Bigbrig.com taking the overall GC! Way to go! Brenda & Terry of High on the Hawg finished in 3rd with Adams Rib in 4th, & Governors BBQ in 5th. The DoRagQ Gang managed to place just inside the top 10 taking 9th place overall!
Time for reflection.....Did we finish DAL?....No..... Did we get our name called?....Yes.... Did we spend time with our BBQ Family?....Yes.... Did we have a good time?....Yes... Do we play for the Titans?....Hell No..... OK then, call it a successful cook! Gallatin is always one of our favorite contests. Arlie & Greater Gallatin do a fantastic job taking care of us & making sure the event is a success. There is aways a great crowd & lots of vendors & performers. If you are a Team, Judge, or just want to have a nice day with the family at a Fall Festival be sure to make plans to attend next year's Smokin' on the Square. DoRagQ will be there. Come by & visit a spell, take you shoes off, sip some "Pie" we would love to see you there! Until then we gotta get ready for the Goats, Music, & More BBQ Contest next week in Lewisburg, TN. That's always a wild one. I better make another batch of Apple Pie! See ya there!
September 25-26, 2009
Let me begin by saying "THANKS" to all the DoRagQ Fans & Friends for the kind words we received for winning our first contest last week in Guntersville Alabama. It is an experience that I will not forget. I hope every team has the opportunity to experience the emotions felt in winning a contest. But that was last week. this week is another town, another contest, another victory or disappointment. Either way it goes you can't dwell on it for very long. Just do what you do & hope you don't make anyone sick! Ok enough about that.......
Late September found the DoRagQ Gang heading to Florence Alabama for the third leg of the American Bass Anglers Early Times BBQ Contest. For the 7th weekend in a row we have been cooking or judging. We have experienced both the highs & lows of competitive cooking (scoring wise). Through it all we strived to maintain our consistency. The one thing that was really consistant was the RAIN! Once again we faced another weekend with rain in the forecast. We barely get things dried out & they are wet again! We are thankful for Casa DoRag! At least we can get in out of the weather for a few minutes & stay dry. The rain does not seem to effect our cookers either. The FE100s keep on burnin & smokin like Champs!
As the contest unfolded we began our normal ritual of prepping meat. No surprises everything just as it has been for weeks. Chicken looked good, ribs were meaty, nice butts, & the brisket looked awesome. Time to relax & do some socializin! Making the rounds we ran into many members of our BBQ Family. JoBeaz Blazin Butts & Wings, High on the Hawg, Delta Smoke,Gettin Piggy With It, Team Top Chick, Lotta Bull, House of Q, Smokey Mountain Smokers, & Butts, Bellies, & Buddies just to name a few. It was great seeing everyone & a few we hadn't seen in a while. We also caught up with many of our ABA Friends such as Kevin Rake, Debra Talley, David & Chris Hagood, & Morris Sheehan. It was great catching up with them. Soon it was time for the Cook's Meeting. KCBS Reps Tana Shupe & Ron Harwell lived up to their reputation conducting the meeting & making sure everyone was on the same page. With the "Biz" out of the way it was time for some chow! A Mexican dinner was provided by one of the teams, & I am sorry but I don't remember who they were! It was fantastic & the Margaritas ROCKED! THANKS SO MUCH! I hope to find out who it was so I can thank them properly....maybe a little Apple Pie! After dinner we hung out with John & Rodney of House of Q, Jim of Butts Bellies & Buddies, & David & Pam of Gettin Piggy With It & drank Apple Pie! We even managed to get Kevin Rake & "Mo" himself to take a chug! I knew it was time for bed when the "Disco" music started playing. So it was off to Casa DoRag to get some shut-eye.
We awoke Saturday to the pitter patter of raindrops falling on our roof. Yes Mother Nature decided to mess with us and she wasn't foolin around. I thought we might need a boat to get to turn ins. Somehow we managed to get everything done, boxed, & turned in on time. Then the rain stopped! At least we could pack up without gettin wet! As usual Gary, Richard, & I had a few minutes to reflect on our product and we all thought it was consistent with what we had been turning in the past few contest. I have to admit, the thought a winning brisket for the third week in a row did pass through my mind, not to mention the prospect of winning back-to-back contests! Oh but hold on just a dang minute.........BBQ can be such a cruel mistress! We went from singing Queen's "We Are The Champions" to The Little River Band's "Lonesome Looser"! It was not to be as we did not hear DoRagQ's name called during the entire awards except we asked to "Move our truck"! As I said in the beginning, you can't dwell on the good or the bad too long! I just hope we didn't make anyone sick!
Congrats to Butts, Bellies, & Buddies for taking 1st in chicken, Team Top Chick for top honors in ribs, Jiggy Piggy 1st in pork, & E.M. Azing BBQ taking the win in brisket. The overall win went to E.M. Azing BBQ with Team Top Chick taking RGC! Great finish! Other notables were House of Q in 3rd, Jiggy Piggy in 4th, & Butts, Bellies, & Buddies rounding out the top five. The DoRagQ gang managed a 14th overall with a 14th in chicken, 19th in ribs, 10th in pork, & 12th in brisket. Not our best effort but hey, at least we had a great time! But it did make for a rather long drive home. So as I close this post, I look forward to next week at Smokin' on the Square in Gallatin TN. We will go home, dry out, re-stock, & look forward to seeing our BBQ Family once again.
Best wishes to Jiggy Piggy, Lotta Bull, Swiggin Pig, Team Top Chick, & Wild Bunch Butt Burners as they make their way to Kansas City to compete in the American Royal. Good luck & safe travels.