Thursday, December 31, 2009
After much consideration and begging of the wife, I pulled the trigger and ordered a new smoker. I had been mentioning to my wife that a new smoker would be nice over and over and finally she said, why don't we get one.
We took a trip to Georgia, just after Christmas and visited Stumps Smokers Inc. There, I looked at two models that I had been considering: A Classic and a Stretch. I was like a kid in a candy store and couldn't make up my mind, so I had to see them up close and personal. I poked, prodded, kicked the tires and decided on the Stretch. Stumps himself was there and after numerous questions and information gathering, I decided on the Stretch. My wife just shook her head and smiled. Stumps and his wife Tab were a pleasure to deal with and patiently put up with all my questions and they provided me with the information with which to make an informed decision.
Now the hard part comes. I was told that it would take at least six weeks for it to be built and shipped to me. How am I ever going to wait that long. Those that know me, know that I will probably be a basket case by the time it arrives. I will go over every detail in my mind and cook who know how many imaginary butts, briskets, ribs and yes even chicken in it before it finally shows up crated in my driveway. My poor wife is already steeling herself for the hell I'm about to put her through, 'till it gets here. Did I mention that she was a saint?
For those of you wondering, yes my new baby has a name. Her name is Raquel and she weighs 575 pounds and is 44.5 inches long. She will have a shiny "Eagles Green" color.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Why take a class, don't I already know how to BBQ? Well yes I do thank you, but there are always new techniques, methods and recipes to learn. Doesn't it make sense to take a class from someone who consistently wins on the circuit. Why not pick the brains of people who've been doing this a lot longer than I and speed up the learning curve so to speak. There are only two drawbacks that I can see.
One is cost. You see it's typically costs about $500 for these classes, not counting the travel expenses and possible time off work. I know that sounds like a lot of money, but I think that a lot of the costs can be made up with prize money that the new knowledge will help you win. Wishful thinking?, maybe but it doesn't hurt to dream.
Another drawback is deciding which course to take. There are about 4 - 5 highly skilled cooks out there who are currently giving classes. I suppose you could choose the one who's giving the closest class, or you could take the cheapest one, or the one whose accomplishments you respect the most. You could always pick the one that cooks on whatever is closest to your own cookers, or go in a totally new direction and take someones class that cooks on something drastically different than you.
This leads me to the other thoughts I've had so far this off-season. If I got a new cooker, which one would I like to get. Do I make that decision on cost or what I see as the best suited cooker for my needs. It's no wonder I have sleepless nights. It's not only the competitions, but all aspects of BBQ that have taken over my life. My wife just shakes her head and mutters when she sees that far away look in my eyes. As of now, I think I'm leaning to a Stumps "Classic" cooker. It's a gravity fed smoker with 5 shelves that would give me plenty of cook space for both competitions and catering. Here's a link to their website: http://www.stumpssmokers.com/about.html
Now can"t you just see me cooking on that beauty? I know I can. Oh well, let me get back to daydreaming. I'll let you know what if anything I decide to do.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Despite the weather, the cook went very smoothly. The smokers hummed along all night through the wind and rain, without so much as a hiccup. Our meats turned out like we planned with the possible exception for chicken. We thought they were a little too spicy. We had high hopes for at least the ribs and brisket. We went to the awards ceremony hoping for a top 5 call in at least one category. Alas that was not to be. We weren’t even close in any of the categories, in fact we were in the bottom half of the 81 teams for all four categories. The dismal results are as follows:
Overall: 61 out of 81, Chicken: 54th, Ribs: 48th, Pork: 72nd, Brisket: 43rd
We can’t blame the weather, we can’t blame the judges, we can’t blame anything because we don’t know why we finished so low. We can only chalk it up to the old saying: “On any given day…”. On April 16-17, 2010 in Salisbury, MD we will try to redeem ourselves. Yes it’s going to be a long cold winter for Pigheaded BBQ.
Thanks guys for a very good season. We had our ups and downs, but all in all, this was our best season yet and despite Dover, we are improving. Keep your heads up and keep on smokin’!!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Checking in from the Diamond State BBQ in Dover, DE where the temperature is a balmy 46 degrees and the forecast calls for overcast skies with a 60%chance of showers. Bullshitake!
It's cold, wet and we're loving every pouring rain drenched minute of it. Our butts (pictured above) are looking phat, ribs are sticky icky, the brisket is smoking and the chicken is prepped and clucking beautiful. Barring a complete disaster (and Mother Nature is sure as hell trying) we're aiming to take down the big dawgs.
Keep you posted on all our progress right here and on Twitter @pigheadedbbq
aka The Butt Doctor
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The local boys got some nice pub in today's Middletown Transcript. After all of this stardom, now it's time to bring home the BACON!!!!
Be sure to stay connected by following us on Twitter http://twitter.com/pigheadedbbq
(aka The Butt Doctor)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
At this point we've learned to expect the unexpected. The elements have actually become a rallying cry of sorts and help us focus on what we do... Que! The last two events have both been "moist" to say the least. And at both we fared pretty well, the last of which was a 3rd place finish @ the Southern York County BBQ Cookoff. But you're only as good as your last turn-in.
Pop's got some new kicks that should help to keep those old dogs nice and dry. And with some tricks up our collective sleeves, we aim to dress warm, act cool, cheer on the Phightins' and bring home the bacon!
So, dust off the Gordon's Fisherman Halloween costume from 1987 and get your pork butts to Dover. It'll be well worth the trip!
The Butt Doctor
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I've got a few ideas for pork and a couple of weeks before Dover to try them. That's what is so challenging about this pursuit. We're constantly trying to improve our products and sometimes it even works. This year, we started over with chicken and ribs and our scores have improved dramatically. Our brisket has been pretty consistent and has been our best category.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
We arrived at Shrewsbury in a driving rainstorm around 10:30AM, not knowing if we would sink or swim. We met with Ben , one of the organizers and found our spot. After parking the trailer we decided to duck into the Farmers Market to stratagize and stay dry for a spell. We had a look around, a bite to eat and decided to go brave the weather and set up. We had positioned the trailer to use as a wind block and set up our canopies, tables and other necessary paraphernalia. We saw that a small lake was developing in our site, so we borrowed a shovel from our local neighborhood Pirates, (Tom & Chrissy of the Va BBQ Pirates) and filled a few buckets of gravel to fill in the low spots. Ron Jr. then became our resident irrigation specialist and dug some channels to divert the water away from the site. Thank goodness we were situated on crush and run instead of grass, or this would have been a quagmire.
The rest of the day was spent doing our normal competition chores. The meat was inspected by Melvin of New Holland fame, the meat prep was started and the site fine tuned. We did some visiting of neighboring teams. We were between Smokeopolis and Susquehanna Blue Smoke. Both were great neighbors. We chatted with Sal of Smokin' Gnome, Jim & Mark of Pequea Pullers, Tom & Michele of Lo'N'Slo and met the Pulling Pork team who were the only other team from Delaware. Since it was still raining, we decided to walk across the parking lot back to the Farmers Market for dinner. What a friendly bunch of people. They greeted all the BBQ teams enthusiastically and had lots of questions about the whole competition scene. The food was great and we had fun looking around at all the shops. We headed back for the cooks meeting and more chores.
Did I mention that it rained there? It rained 'till around 1:00AM, then more or less settled into a light mist. We put our butts and brisket on and semi -retired for the evening. Up for good at 5:00AM to get ready to put the ribs on and start the long day ahead. The cook went well during the night and once the ribs were on, we prepped the sausage and got ready to put the chicken on. Our Amish friends from the Middletown Farmers Market came up to support us. They were there to see how a first time competition looked because we are trying to convince them to host one in Middletown. My wife and Dorothy, a family friend drove up also to cheer us on. We were pleased with the chicken taste, though not necessarily the appearance, thought the ribs and pork were good and the brisket tasty, but a little tough and the sausage good. After turning in our entries, we started cleaning up and waiting for the award ceremony.
We all walked over to the awards tent and heard some good music from a local band as the final scores were tallied by the Kansas City Barbecue Society reps. During a steady rain, the ceremony started and we were surprised by being called up for 2nd place chicken finish. We were called up again in the next category for a 3rd place ribs finish. We didn't hear our name for the pork category, but were called up again for an 8th place finish in brisket. Tom & Michele from Lo'N'Slo were Grand Champs with 2 firsts and 2 second and Paul & Barbara of PA Midnight Smokers were Reserve Champs. Guess who was 3rd overall? PIGHEADED BBQ. We were stunned and very pleasantly surprised.
Melvin from Meadow Creek, Joe from NBBQA, and Ben and Alicia from The Markets at Shrewsbury did a very good job with this first year event and despite the weather the a good time was had by all. We will definitely plan on being back next year.
Pics from the Southern York County BBQ Cookoff
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
It's almost time to get our Q on...
More in store!
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld.
The "Arc of Bark" has 2 cows, 2 pigs and 2 chickens loaded aboard and is aiming to take home some hardware and dead presidents.
We'll be sure to keep you posted on Twitter and Facebook!!!
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Even the rain couldn't spoil the 2009 New Holland Summerfest. This is my favorite BBQ competition. Melvin Stoltzfus and crew do a great job organizing this event. There were 76 teams competing. We had the same site as last year and were happy for that. Ron, Mike, and Stephanie got there around 10:30 Friday morning with Brian arriving shortly after and all began setting up our site. The early arrival proved a good decision, what with the tight ingress into some parts of the grounds and the weather deciding to let its presence be known. The weather turned out to be a big factor for the 2 days we were there, raining all of Friday afternoon and most of Friday night, quickly turning our site into a muddy mess. We thought of reenacting the famous Woodstock mudslide, but nobody wanted to shed their clothes. (Thank God for that).
Saturday was a full day with 6 categories to be turned in, starting at 11:30AM. First up was sausage which we mixed and stuffed Friday afternoon, followed by chicken, ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chef's choice, which in our case was pecan pie. This made for a fairly hectic morning, but everything was turned in on time. We were pretty happy with most of our entries and awaited the judge's decisions.
Our smoked mozzarella cheese and roasted red pepper sausage placed 33rd. Our Chicken placed 40th, our ribs placed 19th, our pork a dismal 63rd, our brisket got us a walk with a 7th place finish and our pecan pie placed 19th. Overall we finished 29th. Not a great performance, but not terrible considering the level of competition here. As always, we saw some old friends from the circuit, and made some new ones. Friends and family also showed up to show their support and root us on. I think the hardest part of the competition was cleaning the muddy mess that our trailer turned out to be. Thankfully, my wife Norma and son Ron helped me with that chore. The trailer is cleaned, packed and ready for the Southern York County BBQ Competition in Shrewsbury on Sept 11-12. Stop by and have some good food and camaraderie.