Well our 4 week BBQ marathon is over. The bad news is we didn't qualify for Bentonville, AR. The good news is we didn't qualify for Bentonville, AR. Yes we really wanted to qualify and go to the Sam's Club National in Bentonville, but we were not looking forward to the drive. We could sit and lick our wounds and wonder about what could have been, or we can get back in the saddle and do another competition. Well, I hope you guessed the latter, we have signed up for the Keystone Classic Barbecue at the Farm Show in Harrisburg, Pa being held on October 5-6. Hope to see some of you there.
Now, let's get back to the Sam's Cluc event in Chesapeake, VA. This was by far the farthest we've travelled to compete. Have I mentioned that I hate to drive? Driving puts me to sleep and I've gotten some of my best naps while driving. That's not a fact that I'm not proud of, it's simply a fact. It took us a little over 5 hours to get there and while it was a long trip for me, it wasn't as bad as I though it would be. We met Trina, Mike and Stephanie at the Hampton Inn when we got there and a nice soak in the hot tub did wonders for the tired old body. Sam's Club events don't let you onto the site until 8:00AM on Friday morning as the events are held in the parking lot of Sam's Club stores that are open to the public, and they rightfully so want as little disruption to their members as possible. This gave us a whole night to relax and unwind. A little room service sushi didn't hurt either. It was very good.
Friday morning saw us in line and the 2nd ones to be assigned their spots. Myself, Norma and Mike set up the site while Trina and Stephanie joined us later along with Ron v2.0 who drove down straight from Atlantic City, NJ. Whew, 5 states in one day, I'm glad I didn't have that drive. Meats were inspected, site set up and prep work done in a pretty efficient manner. This was afterall, our 4th competition in as many weeks and we had settled into a nice routine. Maybe there was something to this marathon business afterall. I honestly expected it to be much harder than it was. It really is true, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
There were some pretty big names at this competition. For the 2nd week in a row we had Hog It Up for next door neighbors, nice to see Michele & Mike again. Our other next door neighbor was Finn's Finest, who are our neighbors at Wildwood every year. Many other BBQ friends were there as well: LO-N-Slo, BBQ Guru, Wilburs Revenge, Pork Barrel and many others and some new friends. It was very nice meeting Fatback Joe's, Herding Smoke and Q' Haven and others.
Friday night we had a very nice dinner, as Sam's Club provided each team with some very nice Ribeye Steaks and Finn's Finest shared their extras with us. Ron v2.0 made a very nice dinner with the steaks with chimichurri sauce. After dinner and the final prep work, the big meats went on as usual without any surprises and I actually got more sleep that night than at any other competition. Saturday morning brought about the usual behive of activity as the ribs and chicken were added to the mix. We were happy with our cook and felt reasonably confident that we did a good job and hoped that the judges would agree. Alas, it was not to be. Our results were:
12th place Chicken, 6th place ribs, 20th place Pork, a dismal 27th place Brisket and 10th Wings. This resulted in a 21st place Overall finish. Far from the 10th or better that we needed to qualify for the Nationals. All we can do is hold our heads high and learn from the experience. We will be back next year.