Friday morning began with neighbors Jan & Bill (mostly Jan) cookin up some breakfast as Richard & I finished setting up our equipment & getting organized. Shortly after breakfast Sonny arrived for meat inspection & we commenced to injecting, marinating, & rubbin. Richard & I have finally got this part down to a science & by noon we were all done & ready for some socializing. Jan had once again fired up the grill & provided delish hamburgers for lunch! That woman is amazing! All she does at a cooking competition is cook! Jan we really appreciate you takin care of our nutritional needs! After lunch the temperature reminded us that it was summer in Alabama as the thermometer rose well into the 90’s. With the heat & a full stomach, a nap seemed in order in the air conditioned “Casa DoRag”!
I awoke in time to head over to the “Cook’s Meeting” to get the low down from KCBS Reps Ron Harwell & Tana Shupe. Pretty much standard operating procedure for an ABA contest. So we headed back over to the cook-site to prep for Friday night’s dinner. If you follow my blog you know that we love to cook up some chow on Friday night & this would be no different. Gooby’s, JoBeaz, Team Top Chick, & Getting Piggy With It all pitched in as we strapped on the feed bags. We fed most of all of the ABA Peeps, cookers, fisherman, & several people that were just passin by! A good time was had by all & no-one left hungry. Of course as usual the after dinner “Apple Pie” was a-plenty as we congregated over at “Getting Piggy With It’s” camp. David & Pam had the music jammin & the disco ball turning as we all enjoyed some socializin until quiet time!
As our alarm went off at 4:00 AM our big meats (pork butts & brisket) had been on since Friday evening & it was time to get chicken & ribs ready. Again, it was biz-as-usual. And again, Jan was cookin up some breakfast! She should get a award for the most cookin at a contest! As the morning progressed, our big meats seemed to stall throwing our timing off. We usually have the big meats holding in the Carlisle & use one cooker for chicken & the other for ribs. After some re-arranging we were back on track & we went back to our normal routine. One of our routines is the 10 O’clock Early Times Shot! Ron Montgomery of “Team Top Chick”, David Wilson, Victor Fisher, Allison Smith of “Getting Piggy With It” joined ABA VP David Haygood & Richard & I for a shot of “Early Times 150” which is a limited edition release celebrating ET’s 150th birthday. ET is normally bottled at 80 proof but ET 150 is 100 proof! Very smooth & cool retro packaging. Be sure & get you a couple of bottles of this limited edition Kentucky Whisky, one for drinkin & one for putting up for special occasions!
We arrived at the stage in time to see the last part of the fishing tournament weigh in. Remember, BBQ is the supporting act at ABA events & fishing is the star! I am always impressed at the passion each of the Anglers have for their sport & the care the ABA gives to the fish. They strive to return each fish to the lake in the same condition as they were before ending up in the live well of a fisherman’s boat & I commend them for their commitment. Ok it was finally time to hear the good, bad, & ugly! Desert was the first category. While we don’t participate in desert we are always excited to cheer on our BBQ friends that do. Taking top honors for the 2nd ABA contest in a row was Nancy Montgomery of “Team Top Chick” with her 2nd 180 score! Nancy had scored a 180 in desert at Anderson, SC last month & struck again in Pell City! I had the privilege of tasting her “Hawaiian Orange Cake” & it is awesome! Congrats Team Top Chick! Now on to chicken. Taking top honors was Bub-Ba-Q, followed by Wicked Que, Smoke of the Shoals, TNT Southern BBQ, & Team Top Chick. No call for DoRagQ! BTW, in ABA contest they only call out the top 5. This makes it hard to gauge where you stand in the overall but it does keep you guessing! On to ribs it was Boat-n-BBQ taking the win with House of Q in second. Wicked Que took 4th & Justice Smokers took 5th. DoRagQ managed to place 3rd! Nice! Next in pork it was Swamp Sauce Cookers taking 5th, Smoke of the Shoals in 4th, 2 Men & A Pig in 3rd, & E.M. Azing BBQ in 2nd. Drum roll please…….in 1st was (Hell Yeah) DoRagQ! This was our 1st win in pork completing a win in each category! Sweet! Now on to brisket, it was Smoke of the Shoals taking 1st with Smokin’ Butt Crew, Jiggy Piggy, House of Q, & Bad Boyz of BBQ taking 2nd-5th. Again no call for DoRagQ. Smoke of the Shoals was lookin good on my scorecard for the overall. I was still holding out for a top 10 as they announced the overall results. In 10th 2 Men & A Pig, 9th Cajun Mojo, 8th, Jiggy Piggy, 7th Boat-n-BBQ, 6th Smokin’ Butt Crew, 5th Bub-Ba-Q, 4th Smoke of the Shoals, & 3rd Wicked Que. At this point I did not hear Smoke of the Shoals was 4th & thought they were still going to get the GC with House of Q taking the RGC, well I was correct on one count as House of Q took RGC! Then Bub-Ba-Q came over & offered his congrats! I said “WTF? Smoke of the Shoals has this”. David Wilson said “no they got 4th”! Boy was I corn-fused! Then David Haygood said “and the Grand Champion from Nashville Tennessee, DORAGQ”! No way! Wow……How cool it this! It turns out we tied for 10th in chicken but lost the tiebreaker so we were scored in 11th, & took 7th in brisket. Add those scores to our 3rd in ribs & 1st in pork for a 681.1428 score taking the win! Holy Crap-Ola Batman! David reminded us that we are the first two-time Grand Champions of the ABA as we had won last year in Guntersville. Sweet!