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.