Smokin’ Hot Cars and BBQ

Before I get into our most recent contest I have to make a public service announcement.
As we were traveling to and from Iola on highway 400 we got passed by 4 semi-tractor trailer rigs. We were doing the speed limit but that wasn’t enough, and one passed in a no passing lane. As I contemplated their seeming lack of regard for the law it dawned on me that they know there is a shortage of troopers. I’m guessing they even know which counties don’t have one. Now I’m not dogging on truck drivers; they have a job to do and are a necessary part of our economy and I appreciate what they do. I’ve driven one. I’m just saying to be careful as you travel our highways and pay attention to what you are doing. Don’t text and drive, keep your attention on the road, drive safely. And it’s not just trucks, our friend Bushman had a blow out on his trailer and said as he was on the side of the road trying to change the tire cars were whizzing past at 70 miles per hour. What if he would have lost his balance and taken a step backwards into traffic? Slow down, move over if you can. There’s nothing out there worth dying for.

On to the contest! This was the second Smokin’ Hot Cars and BBQ held during the Allen County Fair at Riverside Park in Iola Kansas.

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Riverside Park is a beautiful park with lots of shade, mostly level with lush grass. It had not been mowed in a few days so there was no tracking of fresh cut grass into the trailers. Probably over 20 of the 26 teams had a trailer or motor home of some type and with the heat index hitting 110° on Friday all the air conditioners were running full blast. Even with this load, the electricity never faltered. Tom and his crew listen to the cooks and said they would have some 50 amp hook-ups next year! From what I heard, they were just one 30 amp outlet short of supplying one for each team that needed one this year. One of the unique things about this contest is that they string garden hoses throughout the park so water is close by to everyone.
Another great plus was the swimming pool passes for the teams which we took advantage of to cool off after awards. Although it has been updated several times over the years I can remember swimming in that pool as a youngster. I might even know someone who got caught climbing over the fence some 40 years ago. And it wasn’t me! They also put a deep freeze on the grounds and had free ice that lasted until sometime Saturday morning which was a nice touch. Since the contest is held in conjunction with the county fair, there was other things going on as well. There was a rodeo and several animals to look at, and of course people watching.
We set up in about the same place we did last year, right in front of the playground.

We had a shaded spot right by the playground

We had a shaded spot right by the playground

Last year the playground was under construction but this year it was ready for some fun. Kristi and I were given the tour and instructions on how to use the equipment by Brett and Cole Backerman, they were good teachers and there was some pretty neat equipment. I’d never seen a slipper slide that had rollers instead of a sheet of steel. It was much cooler and FAST!

The new playground at Riverside Park, Iola KS

The new playground at Riverside Park, Iola KS

Friday evening we had supper with my Dad and Stepmom who still live near the old home place just 25 miles away. We stayed inside because of the heat but it was nice to visit with them.

Saturday we had more company when our friends Troy and LeAnna stopped by for a visit. We used to work with them in Winfield before they moved to the Chanute area. I just wish they would have been judges.

Earlier Saturday morning, I got up at 5:30 to a dead smoker. Judging by the temperature it had not been out too long and I was able to reset it and get everything cooked, but man was I panicked for a few minutes trying to think how I was going to get the meats finished on the FEPG 1000 grill. Fortunately it all worked out and everything was done in plenty of time. We were happy with our cook but the judges, once again, didn’t like us. We finished 21st in chicken, 12th in both ribs and pork, and 16th in brisket. We hit a bad table with ribs but I have no idea what happened to the other meats.

For the dessert contest, Kristi made a key lime cheesecake with raspberry glaze. We thought that would be a refreshing change on a hot day but it didn’t work out that way. Of course the bad thing about turning in a whole dessert is we didn’t get to taste it to see if it was good or not. But it did look good;

Key lime cheescake.

Key lime cheese cake.

As always it was good to visit with our BBQ friends, some who we’ve seen several times this summer and some, like Calvin from Burnt At Both Ends who we hadn’t seen for a year or more. We also made a new friend, Chad from KC Smoke Dawgs. Chad had put a new roof on my sister’s house and got to talking BBQ with her so when he saw us set up across the way he came over and introduced himself.

When we were coming back from our family reunion in Fort Scott last month we saw a locomotive that had derailed down an embankment of highway 39 southwest of Chanute. We didn’t have a chance to take a picture then but this time we knew it was there and had a camera ready. I have no idea when the derailment occurred but I wondered if they would have to leave the engine down there because it was too heavy to remove. Well, where there’s a will, there’s a way;

Disassembling a derailed locomotive

Disassembling a derailed locomotive

That’s the floor of the locomotive, they had a crane and other equipment there and were removing the engine a piece at a time! Man what I wouldn’t have given to have the GoPro set up on that site for a few days to get a time lapse video of that procedure!

Our tip this week: a clean grill is a happy grill. A dirty grill or smoker can transfer unpleasant odors and flavors to your food. Ever had french fries taste like fish because a restaurant didn’t change the oil? The same thing can happen in your grill or smoker.

Thanks for reading, we’ll be back next week.

Greg & Kristi

 

WildBlue BBQ Cookoff, Burlington KS

This last weekend we were in Burlington Kansas for the 11th Annual WildBlue BBQ Cookoff. The event is held in Kelley Park along the banks of the Neosho River.

Not only is there a barbecue competition, but there are several other things going on as well. They had some food vendors and I heard one of them had Red Velvet funnel cakes but Kristi is on a diet so I didn’t get one. They also had several activities for kids including a pedal tractor pulling contest as well as crafts and other displays.The main attraction rolled in early Saturday morning; the world’s largest Idaho potato! And just for the record, they spelled it without an e on the end.

The world's largest Idaho potato

The World’s Largest Idaho Potato

 

The potato is 28 feet long and 12 feet in diameter, weighs 12,130 pounds and took one year to build. A few fun facts: it would take more than 10,000 years to grow a potato this big, it would make 1.4 million french fries and would take 2 years and nine months to bake!

Friday evening the cooks have the opportunity to participate in the Hors D’oeuvres, dessert, and pit theme contests. For each a group of 6 judges come to your site to judge your entry. For the Hors D’oeuvres we did Moink balls and Bracon which the judges said they enjoyed. We even gave them a beer to wash it down with but still didn’t get a call. For dessert Kristi did a layered brownie that included a layer of Turtle cookie dough, Oreos, and brownie mix and baked in the grill. This was topped with home made ice cream, caramel sauce and pecans. Again the judges seemed to like it but we didn’t get a call. I think if the contest would have been decided based on the highest calorie count we would have been a shoo-in!

My sister Donna came down Saturday to visit and it was an added bonus to spend some time with her. We also got to see some of our BBQ friends that we had not seen for several months.

In addition to the regular KCBS categories, there was sausage and cook’s choice entries. For the sausage I ground the trimmings from our pork butts and ribs and added a sage blend seasoning mix. We grilled the patties and turned it in without any sauce and took 6th place.

6th place Sausage

6th place Sausage

As often happens, we had forgotten that we’d signed up for cook’s choice so it involved a mad dash to the local grocery store to see what we could come up with. We decided to do something cool since the heat index was over 100° and it was going to be the last category turned in. It was a total experiment, but Kristi turned in grilled watermelon with a lemon glaze and home made ice cream. It was really different and came in 7th.

grilled watermelon with lemon sauce and home made ice cream

grilled watermelon with lemon sauce and home made ice cream

6th place sausage and 7th place Cook's Choice

6th place sausage and 7th place Cook’s Choice

There were some really good teams cooking this contest and after our last 2 outings we were planning to consider it a success if we got our name called even once. as it turned out, we got 2 calls for the 4 KCBS categories taking 5th in ribs;

Kristi with the ribbon for 5th place in ribs!

Kristi with the ribbon for 5th place in ribs!

and followed that up with a call for 6th place pork;

Greg with the ribbon for 6th place in pork

Greg with the ribbon for 6th place in pork

5th place Ribs & 6th place Pork

5th place Ribs & 6th place Pork

We did not do well in chicken or brisket so those need more work but maybe we’re on the right track.

Today’s Tip: One of you first accessories to buy as a grill master is a good quality thermometer.

HutchFest 2015

Out last contest was the Hutchfest BBQ Cookoff held on the Kansas state fair grounds in Hutchinson, KS.  It was another first time contest but Ron and his crew did a good job making the cooks comfortable. The contest was in an area set up for RVs, it was on grass and pretty level. Each spot had 20, 30, and 50 amp power and there was lots of water hydrants scattered around. There was also a dump station on the grounds for those wanting to dump their tanks before hitting the road.

Each spot had electricity and water was close by.

Each spot had electricity and water was close by.

They had a very nice venue;  mostly level spots on grass and there was some shade.

They had a very nice venue; mostly level spots on grass and there was some shade.

Since the event was held over the 4th of July holiday I had suggested to Kristi that we had to make home made ice cream. She turned that into a Mexican themed pot luck dinner which drew some 25 to 30 people and represented at least 12 teams. We had tons of great food, these guys can cook more than just BBQ! And yes, I did get my home made ice cream.

Ready to enjoy a Mexican pot luck dinner!

Ready to enjoy a Mexican pot luck dinner!

We had a good group and lots of great food!

We had a good group and lots of great food!

Another shot of the dinner table.

Another shot of the dinner table.

We’re getting the new trailer dialed in and the cook went pretty smooth. We prepped and cooked everything like we normally do but for some reason the brisket came out really salty and the score showed it. We finished 12th in chicken, 13th ribs, 11th pork and 27th brisket for 27th overall.

There will be no room for mistakes next weekend when we travel to Burlington as the team list is reading like a Who’s Who of BBQ

Until next time, stay safe and remember; if the smoke coming out of your chimney smells bad, you food will taste that way too.