Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2010 Southern York County BBQ (Shrewsbury)

Pigheaded BBQ finished their 2010 season at the Markets of Shrewsbury, for the 2nd annual Southern York County BBQ Cook off. This was our second visit to this competition and the organizers, Ben Kauffman, Alicia Herbst and staff did another great job. The field of competitors just about doubled over last year to 29 teams. The best news was NO RAIN this year. Last year's competition was held in a steady downpour and this year, the weather was great. The trip down was fairly smooth despite the fact that the adaptor on our trailer harness was faulty and we didn't have brake lights or turn signals on the way down.

Though the sites were a little tight, but we didn't have any trouble getting in and set up. This was due to our early arrival and my wife Norma and son Ron v 2.0 who made the chore pretty easy. We were a bit lucky in the fact that the team on one side of us wasn't there yet and we could pull the trailer in pretty straight through their site. Once the major chores were done, Norma and I went to find an automotive store to get a new adaptor and a grocery store for some garnish while v 2.0 stayed back and all but completed setup of the site.

Mike and Trina along with grandchildren Michael & Maddie joined us later and the usual chores of meat prep was completed and finishing touches of the site was done. Dinner was a combination of fare from the farmers market and angus burgers cooked onsite by v2.0. Norma, Trina and the kids went to the hotel for the night and we set up the cookers readying them for the big meats which were to go on late night/early morning. Brian arrived later and started on his chef's choice entry so that it would be ready for tomorrow. A chill was in the air as we put the big meats on and I tried to get some rest. Mike, Ron and Brian stayed up as usual keeping an eye on the pits and grabbing some sleep as well.

It was a very cool morning and ribs and chicken and sausage were the next meats to go on. Sausage was due at 11:30, chicken noon, ribs 12:30, pork at 1, brisket at 1:30 and chef's choice at 2. No rest for the weary now, as crunch time was here as well as Norma, Trina and the kids. Everyone pitched in and the final preparations were done smoothly and efficiently. Everything was turned in on time with very little rushing and we settled back and started cleaning up, breaking down the site and waiting for the awards ceremony at 4:00PM. Our fate was in the judges and all we could do was speculate on how we might have done. Hopes were high and we felt that we had done pretty good, but would the judges agree.

We shleped our chairs to the awards site and waited for the results. First up was sausage. At the cook's meeting last night, some new interpretations on what would be accepted almost caused us to not enter this category. We decided to change our original thinking and changed our entry. v2.0 and Brian were glad we entered, because we placed 7th in sausage and a new ribbon added. Next up was chef's choice and again we heard Pigheaded BBQ's name called, this time for 2nd place. A trophy and check were the reward for this entry. Chicken and ribs were next and our name was not called for these categories. Pork did bring us another ribbon and a 10th place finish. Brisket, which we had high hopes for was a letdown as we didn't hear our name for this category either. Altogether we finished:
7th in sausage, 2nd in chef's choice, 14th in chicken, 27th in ribs, 10th in pork and 11th in brisket and 18th overall. Not a great finish, but not dismal either.

Pigheaded BBQ had a good 2010 season and we improved in pork and chicken over previous years. We have some work to do on ribs and brisket, but we have all winter to practice and we have high hopes for next year. Thanks to all of the crew for their hard work this year and thank you to all the friends and family who have showed up to support us over the season. We look forward to seeing you and all our bbq friends on the BBQ circuit next year.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

The meat is on!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Holland Summerfest & BBQ

Pigheaded BBQ competed at the 2010 New Holland Summerfest on 8/27-28. This venue and the organizers continue to make New Holland, one of our favorite competitions. Unlike last year, this years weather was just about perfect. Not too hot, no rain and just a hint of a chill in the air at night. Some of the categories changed for this year one of which got us a little excited. The organizers switched from sausage to a chili category and we were happy to try that out. More on that later.
I think we set a record in attendance by friends and family at one of our comps. We were supported by many of each and they made us feel special. Thank you for your support. Of course we did feed them, so I wonder which they were really here for?

Norma and I were met early Friday morning by Brian who helped us set up our site. We actually brought an extra canopy in anticipation of the expected throng of visitors. This gave us some extra room and enabled us to do our work and still have room for most if not all who showed up. Mike, Trina, Michael and Maddie arrived around noon and Stephanie and Bertie and Pat arrived around the same time. Some fine tuning to the site was done and prep work begun for the 6 categories we were entering. The only category we didn't enter was whole hog. We just don't have the equipment to do that yet.

After set up and initial prep work was done, I like to walk around and visit some of the other teams that are there. Most of them we know and I try to meet as many new teams as possible, but that doesn't always work out. I did manage to visit a couple of the food vendors though, as it's most important to keep up my energy levels for the chores ahead. At least, that's what I tell everyone.

Norma started working on the chili, assisted by Trina and Brian started on his Chef's Choice category. This was a prelude to the final prep work being done on the four meats that make up the core of all of our competitions. Chicken, Ribs, Pork and Brisket would be turned in in 1/2 hour increments starting at noon on Saturday. By late evening, Norma, the grandchildren and Bertie and Pat were safely ensconced at the hotel for the night while we set about putting the big meats on the smokers starting at 11:00PM. After the Brisket was put on at 1:00AM, I retired for the night while Mike & Brian stayed up watching the fires and whatever else they does in the middle of the night.

I got up at 4:45AM and gave Mike a break, then started final prep for the ribs. By 6:00AM we were ready for the coffee and breakfast supplied by the organizers. Big Mike was really eying up those "Long Johns" that were from Achenbach's Pastries I believe, but much to his credit, only one was consumed. Well by him at least, I won't say how many I ate. After breakfast, it was back to work and the pace picks up a bit. The cook went reasonably well and by 11:30, Chef's Choice was turned in. After the Chili was turned in at 2:00PM, the left over food was put out for our guests and family and I don't think anyone went home hungry. After that was awards time at 4:30PM

We all gathered by the stage and found some empty ground and set our chairs up waiting to hear our name called. The first name called was Pigheaded BBQ for 10th place in Chef's Choice. Brian did us proud and he,Michael and Maddie went up on stage to receive our ribbon for 10th place. The next category was Chili and Pigheaded BBQ was again called. This time for 9th place and Norma, our new "Chili Queen" went up with her entourage and accepted the 9th place ribbon. The next category we were entered in was Chicken. We again heard Pigheaded BBQ, this time for 7th place. Ribs brought us another ribbon, this time for 12th place and an honorable mention. We didn't hear our name called for pork or brisket, but overall were were thrilled to have won 4 ribbon's and a check for our efforts. I think we did ourselves proud. While there's definitely room for improvement, we were happy with the food we turned in, the good time we had with friends and family and after all, that's what this endeavor is all about.

Next up is the 2nd Annual Southern York County BBQ in Shrewsbury, PA on Sept 10-11. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

2010 Diamond State BBQ Championship

Pigheaded BBQ just finished doing the 2010 Diamond State BBQ Championship at Dover Downs, in Delaware. It felt a little strange being here in the heat of August, as this competition has always been held in October. The organizers changed the dates, due to the historically bad weather conditions in the past years. I do feel that the late change in dates hurt the number of competing teams this year. The competition started out with 62 teams the first year and had grown to 83 teams I believe last year. This year there were 52 teams. Many teams had already set their schedule and had committed to other competitions being held in the weeks immediately preceding and following this one. It's very hard to do back to back competitions, let alone three weeks in a row and many teams decided to forgo this one for just that reason. Maybe with the change now in place, teams will have time to decide which competitions to do next year. Dover is just too close by for us to not do this one and the venue is very good.

This was a good competition for us. There were many family members in attendance and isn't that what this pastime is all about. The team worked well together as usual and everyone pitched in and performed their duties in the efficient manner that comes over time working together. My wife Norma and son Ron v2.0, came with me to the site early and helped set up our site and then stayed on for the duration. Mike, Trina, and Stephanie arrived later and preparations were begun. Meats were prepped, drinks iced, dinner cooked and the team settled in for the work ahead of us. Due to prior commitments, Brian and family arrive on Saturday and Brian jumped right in and pitched in with turn in boxes.

There were some very well known teams there and some we met for the first time. BBQ friends are some of the best people you will find anywhere. There is a true feeling of family there and we always enjoy seeing our friends at these competitions. I enjoy seeing the many different cooking rigs and BBQ pits and always learn something in the way of fine tuning our setup from seeing the thought out and sometimes ingenious layouts of the other teams. Little tricks can make competition life so much easier and efficient.

As night falls, teams wander around, socializing, sharing liquid refreshments, food and stories before getting down to the reason we're there. Then the business of putting the big meats on starts. Brisket and pork butts are put on first and this week brought some new twists for us. I had bought 2 large packer cut briskets from a new source and this would mean some adjustments. I usually cook brisket flats and these new ones were much bigger and would take more time to cook, so they would go on earlier than our usual ones. Mike had gotten some really big Boston Butts also, so these too had to go on earlier and we both set about putting these meats on, hoping we guessed right with regard to the timing of the cook. Then we sat around for awhile talking and catching up on each other's lives. I'm usually the first one to retire for the night after making sure that Raquel, our Stumps cooker is dialed in and humming along at the desired temperature. I will lay back in a reclining chair, in the trailer, but will generally only get about 1-2 hours of sleep. Mike, Ron v2.0, Brian, Steph and anyone else that's there will usually stay up longer and tend the fires. I think it's due to their younger age, but they will tell you it's because they're more dedicated and diligent than I. I think that's the drink talking myself, since our smoker is rock steady and needs very little effort to maintain temperature and we have an alarm that will alert us to any fluctuation.

As dawn approaches, I get up and Mike will get some sleep. I check on the brisket and butts, then start making preparation of the ribs and chicken that will be the next meats to go on the smoker. I rubbed the ribs and put them on the pit next. After that, since Dover had the facilities, I grabbed a quick shower, which is a real luxury at a competition. Most competition's are held in fields or parking lots and showers are a very rare treat.

We have a little time after that, so we eat breakfast, start making our turn in boxes and wait for the time to put the chicken on. If you haven't changed any of your meat preparations, or changed to larger pieces of meat, you usually have a pretty set timeline for when to prep and put the meats on the smoker and will have a set routine. We're getting there finally and this will make it a lot easier for future competitions.

Crunch time come quickly though and chicken is due in at noon, ribs at 12:30, pork at 1:00 and brisket at 1:30. This is a pretty hectic time for us and we, or at least I go into a zone and pretty much tune out the rest of civilization as we get our turn in boxes just the way we want them and do our best to get the boxes to the turn in table on time. Nothing is worse that being disqualified for trying to turn in an entry too late and that has happened occasionally, but fortunately not to us. Now there's nothing to do but have a toast to our efforts, start to do some cleanup up and site breakdown and wait for the awards ceremony where our fate awaits. Thanks to the friends and family how pitched in to help with the always tiring cleanup chores and thanks to the friends who came out to support us again.

Pigheaded BBQ assembled at the judges tent, where the awards ceremony is being held and wait with baited breath to hear our names being called. Chicken is first and we hear PIGHEADED BBQ for 5th in chicken. We erupt and myself and my grandson Michael walk up and receive out ribbon and check for our finish. We don't hear our names being called for ribs and later find out we placed 13th in this category. Pork brings us another 5th place finish and big Mike and myself walk up for that ribbon and check. Well at least I walked up, I think Mike floated up as he's had a great run lately as our pork cook, placing 10th, 10th and 5th in our last three comps. Brisket which we had high hopes for is a let down for us. We finish 21st in that category and we thought our brisket was spot on. As the top 10 overall finishes are being announced, we heard PIGHEADED BBQ announced as the 7th place overall. We are very happy with this finish, because as I said, there were some very good and well known teams here and we feel that we're steadily improving and really feel like we're in the mix of things right along with them. Well done team, now let's keep this momentum for next week in New Holland, PA. If any of you reading this is in the New Holland area on 8/27-28 stop on by and say HI. We enjoy visitors and would like to see you.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pigheaded BBQ's Curried #Jambalaya

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Here's a picture of the fantastic jambalaya Ron v 2.0 cooked Friday night at Dover.

PigheadedBBQ's Big Mike on the MonsterMile

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Big Mike on the track at the Monster Mile in Dover Downs.

Pigheaded Brings the Heavy Artillery...

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Pigheaded BBQ Tearing Up the Monster Mile

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Pigheaded BBQ's trailer tearing it up on the Monster Mile at Dover Downs. It doesn't show it, but it was pretty steep there and was a little unnerving driving at that angle towing a trailer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2010 NJBBQ Championship (Wildwood)

Pigheaded BBQ competed at the NJBBQ Championship in Wildwood on July 9-11, 2010. We were the last team accepted for this years event. Since we did so poorly last year, we didn't have an automatic entry and had to resubmit our application along with first time teams. We honestly didn't think we were going to get in after the first selection process put us at the bottom of the standby list. The organizers did some minor site reorganizing and 3 more spots were found and we got in by the skin of our teeth.

The organizers sent out 3 newsletters keeping all teams informed of event's rules and regulations as well as schedules. We arrived at 9:30AM on Friday, July 9th and true to their word, no one was there to show the teams where to set up 'till 10:00AM. There were about 10-15 teams there when we arrived in various stages of setting up or waiting. We found the first empty space along the street and began to set up ourselves. At 10:00AM, one of the organizers showed up and said: This isn't a free for all, some of you will probably have to move. Lucky for us, we weren't one of them

My wife, Norma and I finished our set up and relaxed awhile 'till the rest of the team showed up. It was a hot, sunny day at the beach and some cold beverages were definitely in order. The final touches were put on the site and everyone settled in. Friday was pretty much free after setup, except for the cook's meeting at 7:00PM where the Iron Chef ingredient would be announced and distributed. I have to admit that mild Italian sausage didn't exactly excite us when it was announced. After getting back to the site and discussing it, we decided on mini sausage, peppers and onion Stromboli's.

Friday night, I did something new for me. Since the whole family was there, most of them stayed at various hotels and I stayed at the hotel for the night. When I received a phone call at 3:00AM, I immediately thought the worst but it turned out to be a "pocket dial". No emergency, and much to my surprise, I wasn't needed at all!! LOL. Saturday started out pretty smoothly and prep was begun after meat inspection and everyone did their part. Pecan pies were baked, the Stromboli's cooked, sauce put in cup and work on the bbq meats began in earnest. Saturday became a pretty wet miserable day. Most of the day was spent in cramped conditions as we had to bring in all equipment and rearrange tables to keep it as dry as possible. Saturday night was much dryer and not at all a problem. The big meats were put on in the late night hours and we settled in again to mind the pits. Since we were directly across from one of the many bars in the area, there wasn't any "Quiet Time" 'till 3:30AM when the bars closed.

Sunday dawned as a beautiful morning and everything was right on track. Ribs were put on and Mike cooked a great breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs and pancakes. Yes he really cooked pancakes after 2 years of promising. They were delicious and gave us the energy for the final stages of the competition. Chicken was put on last and turned in first. Did I ever mention that I hate chicken?? We knew it wasn't our best effort and didn't have high hopes for it. Ribs on the other hand, we thought was one of our best, if not our best ribs to date and expectations were high for them. Our pork man, Mike did his usual masterful job and we thought we could do well with both it and the brisket.

At the awards ceremony, they announced from 5th to 1st in the ancillary and core categories and we didn't get a call. We certainly weren't feeling very happy about our performance and thought "Here we go again". When they began calling out the overall finishes, they called from 10th to 1st and we heard Pigheaded BBQ 10th place. We were elated and couldn't wait to see the score sheets. We had a 7th place ribs, 10th place pork and 9th place brisket. Notice what we didn't get a top ten finish in? "FRICKIN CHICKEN". I need some help badly with chicken, any volunteers? We were happy with our finish and that of our Middletown, DE and Wildwood neighbors Finn's Finest for their 9th place finish. Middletown, we both did you proud. Congrats to Tom & Michele of Lo'-N-Slo' BBQ for their Grand Championship and T'N'T BBQ for their Reserve Championship. We will be back next year.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

1st Middletown BBQ Cook-Off

This weekend was the 1st Annual BBQ Cook-Off was held on May 21-22 at the Dutch Country Farmers Market in Middletown, DE. It was organized by Mose Zook and Ben Riehl, proprietors of the Farmers Market. I have to say that they did a great job and it was noticed and appreciated by all in attendance. Their hard work made this a very cook friendly competition and it will no doubt grow by leaps and bounds.

This was our home town competition and the pressure was on for Pigheaded BBQ to have a good showing, since so many friends and family were going to be there. We didn't do too bad and even had a walk and a ribbon for pork.

My wife Norma and I arrived around 6:30AM to begin setting up, as most of the other members of the team weren't due to arrive 'till later in the day. This also allowed a leisurly pace which was good because the competition site was situated in the parking lot and the weather forecast called for a sunny day in the mid to upper 80's and asphalt can be a tad warm in hot weather. I must say that I get tired just watching my wife work as she works circles around most people. I was ready for a beer by 7:00AM.

Mike and Trina, my daughter and son in law along with Michael and Maddie (grandchildren)arrived around noon and pitched in with site prep. Meats were injected, trimmed and put away for later preparation. Stephanie arrived next bringing more welcomed tidbits as usual. I walked around and chatted with most of my BBQ friends and fellow competitors that had shown up by then and then started some prep work on tidbits to munch on. I prepped the buffalo chicken stuffed jalapenos, the roasted red pepper/blue cheese fatties and the "Redneck Cannolis".

My son Ron v2.0 along with my daughter in law Jeanette and Wade & Reid grandsons) arrived aroung 7:30PM and my nephew Brian arrived later in the evening. All through the day and well into the night, friends and family members of the team stopped by for a chat and some liquid refreshments and to nibble on whatever was around. About 10:30 things got serious and we put the finishing touches on the butts and brisket so they could hit the smoker by midnight. This went very smoothly and everything went according to plan. Now it was time to relax for most and after ensuring that the pit and temp was stable, I decided to lay back in my chair with the intention of getting a little shuteye. I should know better, because sleep does not come easily for me at a competition. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve and try as I might, I just can't shut the old brain off so sleep comes in little spurts totalling about 1 1/2 hours. I will add that the 3:00AM whistling train didn't help, nor did the 3:30AM street sweeper who must have been trying to get a raise because he made numerous passes in our vicinity. You could have eaten off the asphalt in that parking lot.

5:30AM arrived and I realized sleep was futile, and I got up and started the final ribs prep work and worked with the chicken before putting it back into the cooler for later. You would be amazed at how time flies when crunch time is approaching. We always worry about finishing everything in time, but it seems to work out as planned in the long run. Maybe it's the fact that the team has become a pretty well oiled machine with everyone knowing just what needs to be done next and picking up for someone else that may happen to need help. This was my daughter, Trina's first time with the team from start to finish. She did a great job and it looked like she had always been there.

Our finish, while not great, was certainly better than our last one and we did get a walk up to the stage for a ribbon for pork. We finished 18th overall out of 42 teams and placed as follows in the 4 categories:
Chicken - 16th, Ribs- 28th, Pork- 10th and Brisket-30th. We had a ball here and again want to express our thanks and appreciation to the organizers, volunteers and all involved with the successful competition that's sure to grow by leaps and bounds.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pretty Frickin Chicken

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Drew's Alex's Lemonade Stand

Amazing Family!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Middletown Meats are on like Donkey Kong!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, April 23, 2010

1st Competition on New Smoker (Raquel)

Well, after a long 12 week wait, Raquel has arrived,was seasoned and cooked on twice before her first competition. She was a little nervous standing there, ready to be fired up and loaded up with a full complement of meat for the "Pork in the Park" competition at Salisbury, MD. This is always the first competition of the year for this region and legions of BBQ teams were chomping at the bit after a long, cold winter to get back in the swing of things.

We arrived Thursday night to pick out a prime spot, as the majority of teams wouldn't be showing up 'till sometime on Friday. Salisbury is a first come first served competition, meaning there aren't assigned sites. You pick out what you consider to be the best site for you. There are as many different criteria as teams when it comes to picking out the ideal site. Some teams vie for closest to the judges tent, so you don't have to walk far to turn in your entries, some look for ease of entry and exit and I'm sure that some look for as much privacy as possible in a crowded field that was to hold 132 teams from around the country. We picked a site close to the electric and water hook-ups and in the middle of the pack so we could socialize. Or at least that's what we intended to do. It seems we never get around to doing as much as we would like.

Friday morning, we finished setting up our site and after having our meat inspected, we began to trim and prep the meats. Since we wouldn't be putting on the big cuts (brisket and butts) 'till midnight or later, we had a pretty leisurely pace going and enjoyed not being rushed. Our families came down Friday afternoon and we took the kids to the festival for the rides and enjoyed the comraderie of it all. The family went to a nearby hotel for the night and our activities began to pick up the pace getting ready to do our first cook of the season and the first serious cook on Raquel. Just about midnight, I lit the charcoal in the chute, set the guru and waited for Raquel to come up to temperature. Around 12:30AM the briskets and butts were placed inside and we were excited. It got down into the high 50's to low 60's and we settled in for the long night. Raquel hummed along throughout the night, holding at a steady 250 degrees. We couldn't have been happier about her performance.

Early Saturday morning, about 6:30AM, the ribs were loaded in and only chicken waited it's turn to be cooked to perfection. We were in a zone and things were progressing as we hoped and had high hopes for the results. The chicken turned out tasty, but alas the skin wasn't where we wanted it to be. The ribs were a tad overdone, having cooked a little faster than we were used to. The pork was good and the brisket was pretty much where we wanted it to be. Now it was in the judges hands.

So by now, I'm sure you're wondering how we did. Well, lets just say that Raquel, the newest member of the team is sueing the rest of us for non-support. She did her job, but somehow we didn't. The judges didn't like our chicken, ribs or pork and just tolerated our brisket. Not exactly the finished we envisioned. In fact, we were downright depressed. I guess we need a few more cooks on Raquel to learn her enough to correct our mistakes, but then isn't that the way with most new relationships? We will grow together, learn together and progress together. This is just the beginning of the season and we're not giving up. Look out for Pigheaded BBQ, we're fired up!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Red Hot Steady Raquel...

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Raquel's 1st Comp Practice Cook

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Raquel is Home!!

Welcome home Raquel. The newest member of Pigheaded BBQ is Raquel, our Stumps Stretch Smoker. In the midst of a cold rain, a large 18 wheeler pulled up in front of the house. I rushed out to greet the driver and oversee the delivery. There, tucked in the farthest corner, sat the 800lb crate that was Raquel's temporary home. The driver muscled the crate with a pallet jack to the back door and out onto the lift gate. I almost had a heart attack when the front wheels of the pallet jack rode off the end of the lift gate and I instinctivley reached up to prevent it from falling off the back of the truck. Oh yea, I can just see the headlines: BBQ'er crushed by smoker. Maybe Norma, my wife could just curl my cold, lifeless body into a fetal position and stuff me into the smoker for burial. Can't you see the irony in that?

Enough with the negative thoughts, it's time to get to work. With the help of the driver, we got the crate into my garage and he helped me uncrate her. Raquel was free!! After a careful inspection, I signed the adoption papers,OK OK, the delivery paperwork and she was officially mine. Ron v2.0 and Mike showed up shortly afterward and helped me install the wheels on her. We had 2 extra racks, a slam latch and a Guru adaptor added to her to customize her to our specs. She weighs in at a svelt 575lbs without the crate and is as solid as a tank. She is truely built to last.

Tomorrow, I will season her. I will liberally spray her with Pam, add the charcoal and get her up to at least 350 degrees for 3-4 hours. It would be a shame to waste the charcoal and time, so I might as well throw on some meat while I'm at it. I haven't decided on just what kind of meat, but over the next 2 weeks, she will get a lot of use. You see, I only have 'till April 16th to learn her charastics before our first competition of the year. Salisbury, MD has over 125 teams signed up and we must be ready. Stay tuned for more updates and pics sure to follow in the very near future.