Derby BBQ Festival

This past weekend we competed at the Derby BBQ Festival at High Park in Derby Ks. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a panoramic view of the cookers in the park

That mysterious brown cloud is........ my finger

That mysterious brown cloud is…….. my finger

They are a fairly new contest and having some growing pains, but the organizers really listen to the cook teams and take their suggestions to heart. The park has a gentle slope to a lake on the east side and that setting made for a gorgeous sunrise Saturday morning

The sun rising over High Park in Derby.

The sun rising over High Park in Derby.

and we could not have asked for better weather.

The organizers supplied Creekstone Farms pork butts for the teams to cook for the People’s Choice event. They ended up being a little short of teams for that so we cooked a few extras

Braking in the new FEC100 with 15 pork butts

Breaking in the new FEC100 with 15 pork butts

which, coupled with the cookie contest, got us a little behind schedule on Saturday morning but everything turned out okay.

One of the things that was an issue last year was the People’s Choice occurring during turn in times so this year the teams had help from the Derby High School cheerleaders. Our helper was Reece and she did a terrific job handing out samples. With the extra butts we were one of, if not the last, to run out of pulled pork but she kept right on handing out samples well after the voting ended

Our helper for People's Choice

Our helper for People’s Choice

Also happening Saturday morning was the Chick-fil-a kids chocolate chip cookie contest. Our grandson Ethan made a couple different cookies but didn’t get a call. Kristi kept trying to take his picture at awards but he was acting like his grandpa did at that age. He did get to go up with us for our calls, in fact beat us to the stage every time.

But Grandma, this IS my serious face!

But Grandma, this IS my serious face!

There was an area on the other side of the lake for kids activities and there was a car show but we didn’t make it to either of those events. Check out the link to their Facebook page above for all that was going on and make plans to be there next year.

As for the KCBS part of the competition, we decided to try one of the Costco prime briskets this weekend. They do have some nice looking briskets

Costco prime brisket

Costco prime brisket

I was still getting used to the new IQ5 controller on the FEC100 from Cookshack and programmed a 3 stage cook that we normally use for competitions. At the next competition I’ll be able to just press a couple buttons and have the entire cook programmed to go. In looking at the graph of the cook later it was easy to see how well it held the temperatures I had selected.

Graph of our cook with the Cookshack IQ5 controller

Graph of our cook with the Cookshack IQ5 controller

It’s readily apparent where the smoker door was open as evidenced by the dips in the graph.

I mentioned earlier that Ethan was running up when we got a call, and we had 3 of those. 2nd in chicken, 3rd in ribs and 10th in brisket which was good for 5th place overall

Ribbons from Derby

Ribbons from Derby

It’s definitely a contest we will attend next year!

As a little side note, we have been having trouble with keeping ice all summer and had talked to a few teams who said the high dollar coolers were worth the money. I did some research and decided the best value for the money was a Pelican cooler. They have been around since the mid 1990s and are made in the USA. Oh, and they have a lifetime warranty as well. Thursday night we put three 16 pound bags of ice in it. During the weekend our conventional coolers had to have more ice twice even though it wasn’t all that hot outside, while the Pelican retained the ice that we put in it. We still had one of the bags when we got home Saturday evening and threw it in the freezer. I had the thought Monday to weigh it to see how much of the ice it retained and it weighed 19 pounds! Next time I’ll try to weigh the ice when it goes in and comes out to get a better idea of retention ability, but I think it was a good buy for us.

To paraphrase an old saying; “keep your fuel dry”. Wood, charcoal and pellets will all absorb moisture and moisture will be your enemy. If your fuel gets damp it won’t burn cleanly or at the temperatures your desire. Being unable to obtain the correct temps will really mess with your cook and as competition cookers know, consistency is key.

We’ll be cooking lakeside again next weekend, this time at Lake Ponca.