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.

Eureka BBQ Bash

The past weekend we were in Eureka Kansas for the Eureka BBQ Bash. It was a first year contest, but not the first contest for the organizer. Dale Fritz organized the contest in Fredonia before moving to Eureka last year so it was like going to an established event. He also had a great right-hand man this weekend in his son Brady who appears about ready to organize his own contest!
The location was just below the dam of Eureka Lake and was on grass with some shade. It was a primitive site so we used generator power all weekend but there is plans to upgrade the area.

Panoramic view of the sites looking west

Panoramic view of the sites looking west

A panoramic view of the cook sites from the dam.

A panoramic view of the cook sites from the dam.

On the other side of the dam was Eureka Lake, a pretty little Flint Hills body of water with nice houses around it and a swimming beach. Too bad we didn’t take advantage of that!

A panoramic view of the Eureka Lake. I was near the middle of the dam.

A panoramic view of the Eureka Lake. I was near the middle of the dam.

It was also our first contest with the new toy hauler. We realized we had forgotten a few things and that we would have to do a few things different, but for the most part it worked out well. It was much more comfortable and roomy than our old camper so I think it will be worth the investment.

Our "new" toyhauler; a 2007 Jayco Octane

Our “new” toyhauler; a 2007 Jayco Octane

We’ve been hearing about the 17 year cicadas for several weeks but had not seen any, until this weekend. They were friendly little fellows, always happy to land on you so you could check them out. They are brown and smaller than the normal cicadas we see in this area.

The cicadas were out, they were smaller and a different color than the ones we usually see

The cicadas were out, they were smaller and a different color than the ones we usually see

In Dale’s usual fashion, we had a sponsor dinner Friday night. Unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures, but we had 18 sponsors who enjoyed a supper of smoked pork and chicken, barbecue beans, coleslaw salad, apple cobble and home made ice cream. We had an enjoyable evening visiting with them.

Saturday morning started out with delicious Bloody Marys from  JPCustom Smoke, thanks John!

Saturday morning Bloody Mary, compliments of JPCustom Smoke

Saturday morning Bloody Mary, compliments of JPCustom Smoke

Our cook went pretty well and we were happy with our product, but the judges not so much. We got skunked all the way around finishing 24th in chicken, 12th in ribs, 11th pork, 14th brisket and 19th overall out of 27 teams.  Maybe the next time Kelly from 4 Legs Up https://www.facebook.com/pages/4-Legs-Up-BBQ/51311598018?fref=ts  puts on an impromptu judges class on Friday evening we should go. After we get done licking our wounds we’ll be back in action in Hutchinson.

There was a group from Haysville that put on skiing demonstrations Saturday afternoon. I’m sure the 20mph winds and choppy waves made things more difficult but the show went on. We watched them do some jumps, pyramids and other tricks before heading for home. The wind was not fun to drive in but we made it OK.

We had to make one stop, anytime we go home through Augusta we have to stop at Miller’s Five Drive In https://www.facebook.com/pages/Millers-Five-Drive-In/116718778366004?fref=ts for some ice cream. If you’re ever in the area stop in and have some!

Until next time, stay safe and remember; cooking outside will save on your air conditioning bill.

 

A very busy weekend

This past weekend we tried to get in over our head, again.

We had a wedding to cater in the Kansas City area so we thought it would be helpful to cook a contest in Abilene too. After all, it was on the way, kind of. We loaded up the trailer and away we went. We reserved the FEC 100 for the contest meats but had taken along all 3 sizes of WSMs and a UDS to cook the meats for the wedding. It was a learning experience when, after I had just dumped hot coals in the Webers, I decided I should move them a little farther from the trailer. Kneeling on a hot coal that had missed its mark left a large mark on my knee. :(

Abilene (5) Abilene (7)

 

It actually worked out well and we had all that meat pulled and cooled by midnight. In the meantime we had to get the competition meats seasoned and in the FEC 100. The little Davy Crockett was used for the dessert category.

The competition side of the trailer.

The competition side of the trailer.

We took first in dessert with a S’Mores cake, then were pleasantly surprised by getting a call for 5th place chicken. The surprises continued as we won the rib category with a perfect score! We had received some 180 scores in dessert before but this was our first in a meat category.

First place Ribs with a perfect score

First place Ribs with a perfect score

We followed that up with a 7th place pork;

7th place pork

7th place pork

I was really happy with our brisket but we didn’t get a call. As they started counting down the top ten overall we started wondering if our brisket was so bad it really pulled us down or just missed a call. Well, it was 11th and we ended up being Grand Champions!

Wheatstock Grill-Off Grand Champions

Wheatstock Grill-Off Grand Champions

The weather had held off until the middle of awards when it started pouring rain. Fortunately we had everything packed but still had to drive from Abilene to just east of Lawrence in the rain and wind. We got to Kansas City, parked the trailer, and made it to the rehearsal dinner in time for dessert. Luckily we were just guests for that.

On Sunday we reheated the meat and cooked the sides for some 160 wedding guests. I know several made more than one trip through the line which is always a good sign. We were too busy to get any pictures but everything went well. It was about 10pm by the time we were finished, so back to the Edwardsville PD where we left the trailer again.

The next morning we stopped and visited with my sister, picked up the Bobeque and headed for home. Luckily the Kansas wind was only gusting to 23mph going through the Flint Hills.

A busy, but very successful weekend. A special THANK YOU to the Edwardsvilled PD for letting us park our trailer there. (They were well compensated, comp leftovers ya know)

Congratulations to Ian and Amber Elder!!

 

Coming back soon!

We had to take a hiatus over the past year, however we will be updating our site soon!
We had a busy 2014 and will be bringing that up to speed as well as our plans for 2015. We’ll be starting with an event in just a couple weeks and soon will be into our competition season along with several events that are already planned.
Plus I have some new recipes to try and will be sharing those as well. So thanks for checking in and we look forward to a great year.

SCKSBBQS Christmas Party

Saturday evening we attended the South Central Kansas BBQ Society Christmas party at Pig In Pig Out in Wichita, Ks. Derek, the owner, cooked tri-tip and pork chops and we all brought a covered dish and/or dessert for supper. Throughout the evening we were entertained by Brian and Mary-Ann of Wichita Casino Parties
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wichita-Casino-Parties/275523048861

We had a good crowd at the party:

SCKSBBQS Christmas Party

SCKSBBQS Christmas Party

SCKSBBQS Christmas Party

SCKSBBQS Christmas Party

SCKSBBQS Christmas Party

SCKSBBQS Christmas Party

After everyone had eaten their fill of the great food, we had a gift exchange. Brian and Mary-Ann had some unique ways of determining who got to pick a gift. The first “pick” was determined after 3 “volunteers” were selected to participate in a challenge. They each strapped an apparatus around their waist that had a ball and 3 baskets. The object was to score points by swinging the ball up and into one of the baskets; without using your hands.

I don't know what this game is called, I'm just glad I wasn't playing.

I don’t know what this game is called, I’m just glad I wasn’t playing.

Another game they played was a scavenger hunt. The items were all very common and plentiful in the room, but the way it was worded made you think. Now I’m not going to give any of Brian’s secrets away because someone might be reading this blog that will hire them for an event one of these days and I want you to look as stupid as I did. No offense.

The scavenger hunt participants

The scavenger hunt participants

After a couple more games and drawing of tickets, all of the gifts were claimed and we were ready for the Team of the Year awards. Points were accumulated by the teams at contests in our region during the year. We started it off by winning the TOY in the chicken category:

Team of the Year in Chicken for the South Central Kansas BBQ Society

Team of the Year in Chicken for the South Central Kansas BBQ Society

The winner of the ribs category was Great Plains BBQ, and Roughnecks took home the top prize in both pork and brisket. Now it was time for the overall winner. We knew we would be in the running but there are some strong teams in the group, especially with Richard and Kathy taking the top prize in 2 of the 4 categories. It had to have been close, but we managed to be named the Overall Team of the Year!

Overall Winner! South Central Kansas BBQ Society Team of the Year

Overall Winner!
South Central Kansas BBQ Society Team of the Year

The last item of the evening was naming the winner of the dessert contest. Kristi had baked a red velvet cheescake

Red velvet cheescake

Red velvet cheescake

I liked it as much as I did any of the others I tried, but the judges didn’t agree. The win went to our friend Del of Doc K’s BBQ with a peanut butter cheesecake. I did eat a small piece and cannot argue with the judges on that decision.
It was a fun evening and, as always, it was good to see our barbecue friends again. Our season is over for this year, but could be starting again as soon as early February at Winter-Q in Great Bend.
Stay warm and remember, BBQ is a year round activity!

BBQ for the Troops

This past weekend we had the honor of participating in the 2nd Annual BBQ for the Troops at Ft. Riley Kansas in conjunction with the Ft. Riley Family Day activities. The BBQ portion was the brainchild and organized by Travis, and we thank him very much for including us:

Travis

Travis

Shortly after our arrival on post we got a tour that started at the Warrior Transition Battalion. The WTB is a temporary unit for wounded, injured and ill Warriors who have combat and noncombat injuries that are expected to require at least six months of rehabilitative treatment and have complex case management. We toured several of their offices as they explained their mission, and we went into the rec center for a group photo. The rec center is a nylon over steel structure of the same type our troops are using in Afghanistan and other places. While this one was used as a rec center, they come in various sizes that are used for everything from sleeping quarters to aircraft hangers. They are set up on a concrete slab and can be heated and air-conditioned:

Recreation center structure

Recreation center structure

From the WTB we went to the post museum. There are actually 2 museums, The U.S. Cavalry Museum and the 1st Infantry Division Museum. Immediately north of the museums is the parade ground and viewing stands along with several historical vehicles including a Sherman tank. In honor of it’s Cavalry history, there are also a couple statues on the grounds;

Statute honoring the U.S. Cavalry

Statute honoring the U.S. Cavalry

On the east side of the parade grounds stands the Custer House which is one of the original buildings constructed in the 1850s. The Custer House, building #24, was at one time believed to be where General George Armstrong Custer stayed while stationed at Ft. Riley in 1866, however it was later learned that he actually lived in building #21:

The Custer House Building #24

The Custer House
Building #24

The Calvary Museum is partly another one of the original buildings, as evidenced by the smooth stone like seen on the Custer House on portions of the building. It bears the date 1890 over the door when it was remodeled or added on to. The newer section shows the rough faces on the limestone indicating it was constructed in the 1890s.

The Ft. Riley Calvary Museum

The Ft. Riley Calvary Museum

It also had a 4 sided clock tower:

The clock tower on the U. S. Calvary Museum

The clock tower on the U. S. Calvary Museum

Inside the museum is of course a history of the U.S. Calvary especially as it relates to Ft. Riley. One of the interesting tidbits is Ft. Riley was the training site for equestrian events for the 1940 Olympics as well as other world competitions and there were several mementos of those events. While the static displays are interesting, we got to play “dress up”. As part of the museum’s effort to explain the life of the soldier, they have several period uniforms that people can try on. I was volunteered to be a Revolutionary War soldier:

Greg in a Revolutionary War uniform.

Greg in a Revolutionary War uniform.

Although I’m pretty sure the soldiers of that day had a much smaller belly than I do :)
The flintlock musket still had the flint in place and would spark when cocked and the trigger was pulled.
By the time we got to the Vietnam era Kristi was volunteered to stand in:

In uniform at the U.S. Calvary Museum

In uniform at the U.S. Calvary Museum

From right to left: Revolutionary War; Civil War; World War I; World War II; Vietnam.
We then went to the 1st Infantry Museum which traced the history of The Big Red One. It was another very interesting self guided tour and well worth the time. For more on the history of Fort Riley and the activities there, you can view their website at:

http://www.riley.army.mil

You can also like and view the Facebook pages for Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division here: https://www.facebook.com/1stInfantryDivision and here: https://www.facebook.com/FortRiley
After the tour we went back to the conference center to get started on the competition. After we were all set up we were introduced to our Wounded Warrior. Each team was assigned a soldier from the Warrior Transition Battalion to cook with them. Our soldier was Maria. Now I do not know how they paired up teams with soldiers, but it has been recommended that Maria have low back surgery. Kristi and I have both had surgery very similar to what Maria will have and I think we were able to give her some peace of mind by her being able to spend some time with us and see that back surgery will not be the end of the world.
It got quite chilly Friday evening, we had the Weber fire pit going:

Fire pit made from a Weber grill

Fire pit made from a Weber grill

There were at least 3 more fire pits in our area, but for some reason they couldn’t get the ambient temperature up enough for us.
I must give a special thanks to Loren and Lynette, who were our neighbors. Loren and Lynette are a part of the Band of Brothers BBQ, a non-competitive BBQ team whose mission is to support our troops. They provided a chili supper Friday evening and breakfast of biscuits and gravy Saturday morning. They also gave each team and their soldier a commemorative apron.

Our apron from Band of Brothers BBQ

Our apron from Band of Brothers BBQ

In addition to the apron, each soldier received a meat flipper. Kristi and I both took one look at the apron and decided it was a keepsake that would never be worn. Words cannot express what Loren and Lynette provided that weekend, we hope we get to work with them again.

Other activities were a glow run and DJ Friday evening, Saturday they had live music, wagon rides, inflatables and other things going on for the families. Here is a link to their photo album, be sure and like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151959472276306.1073741855.80248171305&type=1
We were already up when they played revelry at 0600hrs, as the sun started making its way up the horizon I snapped a picture of our flag;

Our flag at sunrise

Our flag at sunrise

As the morning progressed and we got our meats ready for turn in we had a great time visiting with Maria and some of the other soldiers that were there. Maria was an eager participant, here she is turning in our brisket entry:

Maria turning in brisket

Maria turning in brisket

As the crowd gathered for awards:

Ready for awards

Ready for awards

I couldn’t help but notice how strikingly beautiful the gold colored leaves of the cottonwood trees were against the deep blue sky;

pretty

pretty

Even though Kristi and Maria were ready to claim their prize, we only got calls for 8th in chicken and 5th in ribs so no hardware.

Maria and Kristi ready for awards

Maria and Kristi ready for awards

The judges didn’t like our pork or brisket at all, but then the judges were all military generals and such and I figure all those years of MREs and military food have tainted their taste buds.
The one piece of hardware we did collect was one that was given to all the teams and one we will proudly hang in our home:
Ft. Riley 2013 122
Operation BBQ Relief cooked the meats for the over 1200 people who enjoyed the family day meal. It was good as always to spend some time with them.
It was an incredible weekend and an event that we hope to be even more involved with next year. We also plan to stay in touch with Maria and support her through the times ahead.

Balloons, Bikes, Blues and BBQ

This past weekend we attended the Balloons, Bikes, Blues and BBQ in Parsons Kansas. To say it was an eventful weekend would be an understatement!
Everything was good at the beginning. Meats were trimmed, everything loaded and we left the house on time. We have gotten into the habit of stopping for breakfast as a treat to ourselves on our way to competitions. When we analyzed our route to Parsons, we came to the conclusion that our best bet would be stopping in Douglass for breakfast at the Triangle Cafe, even though it was only half an hour into the trip. As it turned out, it was a pivotal decision.
About half way through breakfast my phone rang. It was David, one of the organizers of the Parsons contest. Earlier in the week they were sitting with 27 teams but two had to drop out, leaving them at the KCBS minimum of 25. Then at 9:30 the day of the contest another called and had to cancel, putting the sanctioning in jeopardy. So David was calling us to see if we would split into two teams once again. We said we would consider it and let him know. As we finished breakfast we went through the equipment we had with us and the possibilities. In the end, we decided that since we were only a little ways from home we would go back home and gather what we would need for a second team. Had we been farther down the road that decision might have been made differently. So we ended up leaving the house for the second time already 2 hours behind.
Once we got there, we unhooked the trailer and Greg got both cook sites set up while Kristi ran for more meat and garnish. Even though we were running a few hours behind, all the meat got trimmed in time for the cook’s meeting and supper which was provided by the contest.
It had rained off and on during the trip over, and the rain continued until late evening. Thus bringing in to play the first black cloud of the weekend, our trailer roof was leaking. Fortunately, a bowl under the drip for a few hours was enough as it did stop raining. No rain, no leak!
The temperature dropped to 34° by early morning, so it was a damp and chilly start to Saturday:

A very hazy start to the morning

A very hazy start to the morning

As with the previous splits, Kristi got the Cookshack smokers and Greg took the Webers:

Weber Smokey Mountain smokers

Weber Smokey Mountain smokers

The organizers mantra was “We Love our Cooks!” and they backed that up with not only a taco bar for supper Friday night, but they also provided oatmeal pancakes and sausage for breakfast Saturday morning. Now if you’ve never had oatmeal pancakes, you need to give them a try. If you have trouble finding a recipe contact us and we’ll hook you up. They were delicious!!

Oatmeal pancakes and sausage for breakfast

Oatmeal pancakes and sausage for breakfast

Saturday turned into a warm and sunny day and both our cooks went off without any major obstacles. We made turn ins on time and started packing up, waiting on awards.
Greg’s only call was for 4th place in Chicken, which was an important one. Once all the Team Of the Year (TOY) points were tabulated, Naughty Nurses BBQ was sitting at #69 in the nation in chicken. Even though this is our last KCBS contest of the year, we feel we have enough points to keep us in the top 100 at the end of the year.
Kristi fared better at awards, starting with 3rd place in the Anything Butt category with a Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake:

Third place Anything Butt! The top 3 were all cheesecakes.

Third place Anything Butt!
The top 3 were all cheesecakes.

She followed this up with a second place in ribs:

Second place Ribs!

Second place Ribs!

And 9th place pork:

Ninth place Pork!

Ninth place Pork!

Giving Kristi a 9th place overall finish compared to Greg’s 14th. This puts Kristi up 2 – 1 in head to head competitions, although it was pointed out that Greg’s win was a Grand Championship and he’s still several hundred dollars ahead in winnings 😉
We made it home without any issues, but the black cloud reared it’s ugly head again on Sunday during the first load of laundry. Now our washing machine is at least 15 years old and has been having some issues lately, but this time it would not drain the water. So after siphoning the water, Greg takes the water pump off and a nickel falls out. How a nickel got into the pump I’ll never know, but I do know it wiped out all of the impeller blades, rendering the pump useless. Of course that pump is no longer manufactured so there would be no easy fix. Time for a new one……
The black cloud continued to hang around as I dug up the outdoor hydrant that had been leaking and learned that the line leading in was rusted through in addition to the hydrant being cracked. On the bright side, it now didn’t matter that the washing machine wasn’t working as I had to shut the water off to the house anyway.
So now it’s Tuesday and the water line has been repaired and a new hydrant installed, the trailer has a tarp over the roof for now with plans to reseal that later this week since no rain is in the forecast, and we get the new washer/dryer on Thursday. Luckily, I will only have to turn my socks and underwear inside out for one day before we can do laundry again.

Our next event will be the BBQ For the Troops at Ft. Riley, so stay tuned for that one.