As the smoke clears

Scott ready to judge

Waking up this morning to the smell of cooker smoke in my beard that had not come out in last night’s shower -even with the trinity of shampoo, dial soap, and Old Spice uberwash- reminded me of the event yesterday. A wonderful gathering of folks ranging from babies to retirement-approaching parents with lots of niches filled between. Best of class went to Doug with his long-cooking racks and finishing sauce, Kyle pulled in second with his “boiled in Pepsi” slow cooked creation, and Trevor rounded out the class with his technique for cooking that never required him to open the cooker to add wood over the four-plus hours of smoking. Everyone else did a fine job of producing tasty ribs but did not click as loudly with this year’s judges.  We have never seen such a uniformly great and varied collection of racks at the same event. As the two at the bottom congratulated each other a modification of a quote from Steve Jobs was heard “We cook what we enjoy.”

Joan samples the line

This year judges were asked to select one or two of the ribs as “Best in Show” but to give a written comment on each rib. Each cook drew a random secret number and filled paper trays labelled with that number with one rib each. Cooks worked hard to keep their number a secret from the crowd. Although there was some difficulty reading the scoresheets due to BBQ sauce covering many of the responses the winner was determined to be the rib with the most best in show votes. Of the judges Scott (shown above) often is the most detailed and earnest and in keeping with his level of engagement he provided trophies for the first two places and offered his own category of “most heat” which came with a plaque and this year went to Jeff’s entry. Joan is shown here working her way through the seven trays.

Beauty from Isaac

Sources of the pig meat varied greatly this year. Whole Foods Market, Sam’s Club, Costco, Clancey’s Meats and Fish, and the back of a truck unloading at a private country club were all represented. Most of the cooks had practiced on ribs purchased at the great Rainbow Foods rib sale during the summer. The comment was made that perhaps the group should do a group buy and have everyone begin the event with the same rib. The idea is being considered by the executive board and will be taken up at the next outing.

One last comment. Hardware at this year’s even included: Three vertical Brinkman charcoals, one vertical Brinkman electric, one Webber Kettle, one backyard charcoal grill, and one small barrel Brinkman. Adam was new to the vertical cooker world this year but adapted well. Techniques varied from ignoring the grill hoping others might flip the ribs to constant attenuation of the smoke to heat ratio.

The recipe page on the menubar at the top will grow as cooks submit their efforts. It’s time for us to get back to our reviews of local places, as we say- TWO DADS, FOUR SONS, SEVERAL FRIENDS & TOO DAMN LITTLE TIME TO EAT AT ANY PLACE WITHOUT A GREAT STORY.

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