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.

Labor Day 2015

Every now and then a couple of linked questions come up on the various barbecue forums:
Do you trim your own meat?
What do you do with the trimmings?
Yes we do, and the answer to the second question varies depending on my mood. With a 3 day weekend I decided it was time to empty some of the trimmings from the freezer.

Nearly 50 pounds of rib, pork butt, and brisket trimmings from this summer

Nearly 50 pounds of rib, pork butt, and brisket trimmings from this summer

This was most, but not all, of what we had in the freezer from just this years competitions. It was mostly pork but there was about 15 pounds of brisket trimmings, so I developed a plan of attack. First on the agenda was breakfast sausage. The first step was to get it ground and ready for seasoning. I had struggled for a few years with Kristi’s Kitchen Aid mixer with a grinder attachment before getting serious. After just one use of this Cabela’s grinder I was wishing I had bought one long ago.

Cabela's 1/2 horse commercial grade grinder

Cabela’s 1/2 horse commercial grade grinder

We tried this before the Burlington contest using the Hi-Mountain Prairie Sage blend and took 6th place in the sausage category. Kristi made some for breakfast a few days later and added some Bash Brothers Ribs & Pork Rub which gave it a really nice, yet mild, heat. After grinding the seasonings were added;

Pork ground and seasoned for breakfast sausage

Pork ground and seasoned for breakfast sausage

Before packaging, one should always do a taste test. So I fried a patty to make sure the flavor was where I wanted it, which it was.

The test patty had a nice flavor with a mild heat.

The test patty had a nice flavor with a mild heat.

Savory with a nice heat at the end. Just that one patty made me longing for some biscuits and sausage gravy. One day, one day soon.

Filled and sealed in one pound bags and put them in the freezer.

Prairie Sage breakfast sausage in the freezer

Prairie Sage breakfast sausage in the freezer

Kristi was at work and had volunteered me to help with a pot luck cookout for the hospital staff that were working. I took the Weber Ranch Kettle in and grilled some hamburgers and hot dogs.

Hamburgers and hot dogs on the Weber Ranch Kettle

Hamburgers and hot dogs on the Weber Ranch Kettle

I didn’t get a picture of the rest of the food, but we really had a nice variety and some really good food. We repeated the performance around midnight that night for the night shift crew. It was a late night but worthwhile showing the staff how much they are appreciated.

When I got back home after lunch it was time to move on to phase II: Brisket. Once again the brisket was ground and seasoned, but the beef was made into Cracked Pepper & Garlic snack sticks, again using the Hi-Mountain seasonings. Like the grinder, I had struggled with trying to make do with the grinder for stuffing but picked this up on sale at Gander Mountain. A dedicated stuffer is well worth the investment, even if you don’t use it often.

Making snack sticks

Making snack sticks

And into the Cookshack FEC100 for smoke:

Beef snack sticks in the FEC100

Beef snack sticks in the FEC100

The good folks at Cookshack had recently replaced our IQ4 controller with the new IQ5 controller;

Cookshack's IQ5 controller

Cookshack’s IQ5 controller

The IQ5 has a 3 stage cooking capability which was perfect for the snack sticks, starting at 130° for an hour, then the temp went up to 170° for an hour, then to 200° until internal temp reached 165. All three steps were done at first startup and I didn’t have to touch anything until it was time to shut it down. This coming weekend I’m going to program in a competition preset so all we have to do is turn it on, select the preset, and let it do it’s thing all night and into the next day. There are a total of 8 presets that can be customized to the user’s preference.  The old IQ4 had a low end temperature of 140° but the IQ5 goes down to 130° which is the lowest I’ve seen. That could come in very handy for cold smoking cheeses, fish, jerky and lots of other stuff. Another change is that the IQ4 changed in 5 degree and 5 minute increments but the IQ5 can be adjusted down to 1 degree and 1 minute for more accuracy. The IQ5 still has a port for a food probe although it’s not the same as my old IQ4 probe. Another addition is a USB port in the lower left hand corner of the panel. When you’re finished with your cook you can plug in a flash drive and download the cook data. You then plug the flash drive into your computer and it reads out as an Excel spreadsheet. This is a graph I made from the information collected while smoking the snack sticks

Graph of the FEC100 temperature while smoking the snack sticks.

Graph of the FEC100 temperature while smoking the snack sticks.

The sudden drops were from me opening the door to check the food temperature. It will be interesting to see what it does on a long cook, which will be coming up this weekend. You can watch a video from Cookshack’s CEO Stuart Powell on the IQ5 controller here.

While the snack sticks were smoking we moved on to the last phase, brats. Again the meat was ground and seasoned, then stuffed;

11 pounds of brats

11 pounds of brats

and vacuum sealed.

Vacuum sealing the brats

Vacuum sealing the brats

By the time we finished the brats, the snack sticks were ready to come out. They went straight into the Tru commercial refrigerator so we could get them cooled quickly.

After being smoked, the snack sticks went back into the fridge to cool and hopefully absorb a little humidity.

After being smoked, the snack sticks went back into the fridge to cool and hopefully absorb a little humidity.

I took some to work and they were certainly a hit! The had a good flavor although I would have liked a little more heat, and the FEC100 put on a perfect amount of smoke. We haven’t tried the brats yet but the breakfast sausage and snack sticks will be enjoyed for sure.

You might have noticed that I have a lot of Cabela’s equipment, that’s just because we have one fairly close to us. The lesson to be learned in that is to buy the best equipment you can afford. I tried to “get by” for years and always ended up frustrated and disappointed. Having the right equipment for the job makes it go much smoother and more enjoyable, from the grinder, to the stuffer, all the way up to the Cookshack FEC100 smoker. Cookshack also has several electric smokers as well as pellet grills so they will have a model to fit your needs. Check out the link to see them all.

We have a competition coming up this weekend so I’ll be back real soon.

 

 

KC Chiefs vs Tennessee Titans; thanks AR!

As most barbecue people know, The American Royal World Series of BBQ is moving the event to Arrowhead Stadium this year. One of the first differences to come up is the way the team passes are handled. In the past the AR would mail out parking passes and wristbands a couple weeks in advance but with the move to Arrowhead they will be using the KC Chiefs/Ticketmaster system of electronic ticketing. To acclimate us to the new system the Royal and the Chiefs offered the teams a parking pass and 2 tickets to the Chiefs vs Titans preseason game.

Before the game Kim Palmer did an informational presentation about the upcoming Royal. We were just a little late finding the place

Welcome to the American Royal presentation

Welcome to the American Royal presentation

and missed the welcome speech from the Chiefs organization but did get the information we came for. Load in will start at 8 AM on Wednesday and all teams must be in place by noon Friday when the gates close. All teams must vacate the parking lot by 10 PM Sunday, I’m guessing they are planning on the Royals having a playoff game Monday. Services such as ice, water, and charcoal will stay pretty much the same as they were before. They are still working out the grey water situation, on which we shared our thoughts, but they promised to have something in place. This is a slide showing turn in locations

Screenshot showing the turn in locations.

Screenshot showing the turn in locations.

as well as the on site grocery store presented by Hy-Vee. Lots C & D will turn in at the SE corner and lots F & G will turn in at the SW corner. Judges will be in between in a nice, climate controlled area. The Budweiser Pavilion and the outdoor stage will also be located next to the stadium.

I have not been to a Chiefs game in 40 years and Kristi has never gotten to see one so we jumped at the chance. This was the view from our assigned seats:

This was our view before the game started, really good seats!

This was our view before the game started, really good seats!

Some friends of ours were telling us just how good the seats were so I checked ticket prices for the Denver game coming up in a couple weeks and they under estimated just how good they were. For the Denver game the seats sell for $364.50 each! Plus the $30 parking pass meant the evening was a very nice gesture from the Royal and the Chiefs. I think this shows how serious they are in their effort to make the move mean a bigger and better American Royal.

Since it was a preseason game it was not a packed house, which turned out to be a good thing for us. By kickoff this was our view:

And this was our view at kickoff :(

And this was our view at kickoff :(

Fortunately we were able to move up and over several seats so we could see, otherwise she might have fallen. Or something. Not that she wasn’t entertaining but we did want to see at least part of the game.

Several times they advertised the upcoming Royal on the video banner

They put this on the video banner several times during the game.

They put this on the video banner several times during the game.

along with the headline act for Saturday night:

We are looking forward to this!!

We are looking forward to this!!

We have been told there will be local and regional bands Friday evening and Saturday afternoon as well as other activities and there will be fireworks following the Big & Rich concert.

The starters played most of the first half and Kansas City was looking pretty good. As we enjoyed the game we did keep one eye on the weather and at one point we could see some thunderheads over the video board.

These storm clouds were to the north and would miss the stadium

These storm clouds were to the north and would miss the stadium

These were up by St Joe and would miss us but our luck didn’t hold out quite long enough

And the rains came down

And the rains came down

We were mostly protected by the upper level overhang but you could tell the wind was really blowing down on the field. A few minutes after the rain started the game was suspended due to lightning in the area and they ended up cancelling the last few minutes. We made it to the car during a lull in the rain but just barely and ended up driving out of the parking lot and to our motel in the rain.

We spend Saturday just hanging out with my sister, helping her run errands and get her new house ready. It was good to get to spend some time with her before we headed home late Saturday night. All in all we had a great time but now it’s time to turn our attention towards our next competition.

If you are going to be in the Kansas City area the first weekend of October be sure to come by and check out the American Royal. Tickets are available on their website using the link above. We’ll be in spot G335 so stop by and say howdy!!

Smokin’ on the Smokey

This past weekend we were in Salina Kansas for the Smokin’ on the Smokey BBQ competition. They was their 3rd year for the contest, but their first year as a KCBS sanctioned competition. On top of the usual first year challenges, the organizer took a different job just a couple months ago. If you’ve been involved in organizing a BBQ competition you know it is a long process but Darren had it dumped in his lap with a short time to learn and he did an admirable job!

The event was presented by by Rocking M Media benefiting MDA and was held in Kenwood Park in Salina. Kenwood Park is a beautiful park with playgrounds, flower gardens, statuary, lots of shade and located next to the aquatic center and fairgrounds.

We were glad we took some time to walk around and enjoy the scenery.

A Statue of Liberty replica welcomes visitors to Kenwood Park.

A Statue of Liberty replica welcomes visitors to Kenwood Park.

Some of the other sculptures and flower gardens

Another sculpture in one of the beautiful flower gardens in Kenwood Park.

Another sculpture in one of the beautiful flower gardens in Kenwood Park.

Some beautiful flowers in Kenwood Park

Some beautiful flowers in Kenwood Park

One of the flower gardens in Kenwood Park, Salina Kansas

One of the flower gardens in Kenwood Park, Salina Kansas

One of the sculptures in Kenwood Park

One of the sculptures in Kenwood Park

As I mentioned earlier, there were also several playgrounds in the park one of which was right next to our site.

Cher was set up on the street running through the park as were many of the teams. There was more playground equipment of lots of shade.

Cher was set up on the street running through the park as were many of the teams. There was more playground equipment of lots of shade.

One of the many playgrounds in Kenwood Park, Salina Kansas

One of the many playgrounds in Kenwood Park, Salina Kansas

Also in the park is Union Pacific Engine #477. This locomotive was built in the 1920’s if I remember correctly and moved to it’s present location in 1955.

Union Pacific Engine 477

Union Pacific Engine 477

Just across the road from Engine 477 is the aquatic center which is only a couple years old and if you’re into water slides you definitely need to check this out!

The water slides at the aquatic park that was just a short walk from the cook sites. Hint hint Nicole!

The water slides at the aquatic park that was just a short walk from the cook sites.
Hint hint Nicole!

Friday was a special day in the BBQ world as it was the day that bungs would be drawn for the Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ Contest. Teams that have won a qualifying contest get their name written on a barrel bung and placed in for a chance to be “drawn” for the invitation only contest. If you click on the link above and scroll down through some of the posts you’ll see it’s a BIG DEAL in barbecue! So what else could we do at the moment the draw began but to have a good luck shot of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey with some of our friends.

A shot for luck at the beginning of the drawing of the bungs for the Jack Daniels Invitational

A shot for luck at the beginning of the drawing of the bungs for the Jack Daniels Invitational

Friday evening we enjoyed supper with our friends Doug and Ron from Lucky D’s BBQ

Here’s what they had to say about the evening:

Thanks to all of our friends and family that shared Lucky D’s BBQ camp and dinner on Friday evening. We hope that a good time was had by all. Special thanks to Mark Ritter at Crown Distributors and Steve Sperling at Bogey’s whose generous contributions helped make this gathering possible. A shout out to Greg and Kristi from the Naughty Nurses BBQ team for their wonderful homemade ice cream that made our dessert complete. Doug, Kim and I are truly blessed to have such good friends. We hope to see you all again next year

Friday evening entertainment was by The Buckner Creek Band who we enjoyed very much. They played mostly modern country and were quite good!

Friday evening entertainment by The Buckner Creek Band. The performed mostly modern country music and we enjoyed listening to them

Friday evening entertainment by The Buckner Creek Band. The performed mostly modern country music and we enjoyed listening to them

After stuffing ourselves at supper and enjoying some good music we decided to take a walk across the road to the Tri-Rivers Fair We got there just as they started cleaning up from one heat at the Demolition Derby to get ready for the next round.

Cleaning up the arena after one of the Demolition Derby heats

Cleaning up the arena after one of the Demolition Derby heats

There was also rides and from the looks of the crowd they were not lacking for riders

The Tri-County Fair was in progress, lots of people waiting to ride one of the many rides.

The Tri-County Fair was in progress, lots of people waiting to ride one of the many rides.

Then it was time to light the fire and get the big meats on, then to bed we went. Saturday was cooking as usual for us but there were more activities in the park. There was a Mustang car show sponsored by Long McArthur, more live music, a beer garden, some crafts and several bounce houses for the kids.  Unfortunately we didn’t have time to check them out as we were busy with our competition meats.

Once again we thought we had a good product but the judges didn’t think it was good enough. We placed 16th in chicken, 17th in ribs, 7th in pork and 12th in brisket for 11th overall out of 33 teams. And we didn’t get drawn for the Jack either. So we headed home with a 15 mph headwind adding insult to injury. But we did stop at Dairy Queen on the way home so Greg could have a Rolo Blizzard which made everything all better.

We’re taking some time off but will be back when something interesting happens.

The tip this week is EXPERIMENT! Anything that can be cooked in your oven can be cooked in a grill or smoker if you know how to manage your fire. We’ve even made cheesecakes several times as well as other types of desserts. And there are some who think our cinnamon rolls from the grill are out of this world!

SMOKIN’ ON ROUTE 66

This past weekend we competed in the Smokin’ on Route 66 BBQ contest in Miami Oklahoma. The event was held on their fairgrounds on the southwest side of Miami along the banks of the Neosho River.

Across the river is the City of Miami Water Park which holds the distinction of being the largest municipal swimming pool in Oklahoma. Knowing that, next year we’ll take a swimming suit! Miami takes great pride in the fact that the infamous Route 66 runs through town;

Sign reminding drivers that they are on historic Route 66

Sign reminding drivers that they are on historic Route 66

The downtown is really well preserved compared to many towns with several unique shops and reminders of days gone by. One of these is a motorcycle museum. Although we didn’t have time to stop in, it sure looks like something that would be worth the time to visit.

Motorcycle Museum

Motorcycle Museum

Motorcycle museam

Motorcycle museum

Motorcycle museem

Motorcycle museum

For supper Friday evening we ate at the Mother Road Grill: It really had nothing to do with the “Mother Road” other than the name, however it was home cooked food at a reasonable price. It was decorated in Southwestern Style and they played music from the 70’s and service was good.

The Mother Road Grill

The Mother Road Grill

After supper we made some home made ice cream, but instead of making the mix from scratch as Kristi normally does she tried some Highland Dairy soft serve chocolate ice cream mix. A gallon of mix made 6 quarts of ice cream. Even the tried and true White Mountain freezer could not get it hard enough to stop the motor, but when we did stop it the check the ice cream was a perfect soft serve consistency. I’m sure we’ll use it again.

Back to the contest, we were set up next to an old horse race track that didn’t look like it gets much use anymore although there was a few horses around and some signs indicating some local horse owners did use it some. Quarters were a little tight but we each had a power pedestal with 20 amp and 50 amp power and a shared water hydrant.

RV hookups with power and water

RV hookups with power and water

The last few times out we had been unable to pick up any stations with the over-the-air antennae even though we weren’t all that far from stations. I had read on a RV forum that one could use an old satellite dish and the receiver out of your house to watch TV on the road.  A co-worker had the old dish, I had a receiver and some old coax. Unfortunately the coax would not carry the signal so a quick trip to Wal Mart for some RG6 coax was in order. With the new cable and some adjustments to the receiver we were able to get lots of channels. This will come in handy later in the year when football season starts!

Friday night was a Blue Moon but there was just enough cloud cover to prevent good pictures.

Blue Moon over Miami

Blue Moon over Miami

After the results of the last few contests we thought we’d do some experimenting this time, some worked and some didn’t. One of the new things we tried was meat from Costco. We really liked their ribs, but the butts were boneless and we knew the dogs would be disappointed when we got home. Fortunately our neighbors, Dirt Road BBQ, were dog lovers and donated their pork bones to us. The cook went without any issues and by awards time we were pretty much packed and ready to hit the road. Awards were held in an old stone building with no air conditioning so we made sure we sat where we could get some benefit from one of the fans they had going. Then we had a team set between the fan and us and the unmistakable odor hit us; whoever they were they need to change their team name to 4:20 Que. Sure am glad I had plenty of leftovers to munch on.

There were only 17 teams, but there was some very good teams there. We finished 7th in chicken, 10th in ribs, 11th in pork and 3rd in brisket for 6th overall. They paid cash for the top 10 and the top 5 all got plagues;

Greg accepts the award for 3rd place brisket.

Greg accepts the award for 3rd place brisket.

Plague for 3rd place brisket

Plague for 3rd place brisket

We got enough money to pay for gas and a little more so all in all it was a good contest for us. Congratulations to Fire Dancer BBQ for Grand Champion and to Dirt Road BBQ for Reserve GC!

We have one more contest coming up soon then we will have some down time.

With the heat indexes over 100° lately, today’s tip is stay hydrated! Water is good, drinks containing electrolytes such as Gatorade or Powerade are better. Though alcohol may taste good on a hot day, it can actually speed up the dehydration process and make things worse, so save that for the cooler hours.

 

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.

www.facebook.com/smokinhotcarsandbbq

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.