Saturday, June 23, 2012

2012 Swinetastic BBQ Festival Recap

Pigheaded BBQ competed in the 2012 Swinetastic BBQ Festival in Frederick, MD on June 15-16. This was our first year here and the second year for the event. Let me begin by saying that we haven’t set the world on fire or pleased the judges with anything we’ve cooked so far this year. Since we were coming off our best year ever, this had been a matter of concern, for us. We had high hopes of bucking that trend and having a good cook this weekend. Things didn’t start out too good for us. We left the house at 4:00AM on Friday, heading south for hopefully greener pastures. It was apparent from very early on that the truck and trailer wasn’t handling like it should and it was a long 2 ½ hour drive trying to keep the rig from swaying. I’ve seen the trailer sway before and have learned how to distribute the weight properly, but wasn’t used to the truck swaying also. That turned out to be an easy fix, the right rear tire was low on air pressure, something I should have seen before we started out. You can bet that I won’t do that again.

We arrived at the Frederick Fairground around 6:45AM and were shown to our site. We were the 5th team to arrive that morning it seemed and we set up next to the “5 Pigs” team. I have to say that between them and our neighbors on the other side, we couldn’t ask for better neighbors. I hope they feel the same. Norma and I arrived and set up the site. We had plenty of room and leisurely went about our chores in a pretty efficient manner. What did strike us as a little different was the fact that we were right in with the vendors. Florida Skin & Bones and a radio station were directly across from us. The rest of the team showed up  throughout the day and we settled into our routing of prepping the meats for the night cook. Ron v2.0 started on the “Anything Crab” entry, as this was a Friday 7:00PM turn in. After some miscommunication, we received our turn in box and Ron did his magic and turned out an incredible dish of “Crabacado Towers”. See pictures of this on our website. Alas, we’re still waiting for the results of this entry. 1st through 3rd were mentioned at the awards ceremony, but we didn’t receive the scores and placement of our entry with the other categories as is the norm. Not happy about that!!

Late Friday night, our pork butts and brisket were put in the smokers for the Saturday turn ins. Contrary to popular held beliefs, we did experiment a little during the cook. This is usually considered a No-No during competitions, but we had some mixed results with it. Early Saturday morning, ribs were rubbed and put in the pits, followed a short time later by chicken. We were now “All IN” and hoping for a smooth cook. The brisket was taking a little longer than expected and one of the butts, part of the experiment, was dryer than hoped and none of it was used. Well we did have two others that were pretty much what we were looking for. Ribs also took a little longer than usual and just made it into the box by turn in time. Now it was all in the judges hands and we relaxed with a cold beverage for a bit, then started cleaning up while waiting for the awards.

Awards were more than a few minutes late as we sat in the hot sun, but we did listened to a very good band while waiting. Finally the awards presentation was getting underway and we anxiously waited to hear our name called. “Anything Crab” was announced first and they announced 1st through 3rd. 3Eyz BBQ was the winner of that category and Eric did a very good job on that. Next up was Chicken and Pigheaded BBQ was called for a 3rd place finish. We were very happy with that because although this category was our best last year, we hadn’t had a call for chicken this year yet. Ribs and pork were next and no calls for us in those categories. Brisket which had been our nemesis as of late was next and we did hear Pigheaded BBQ called for 5th place. We actually tied for 4th place, but lost the tiebreaker. No matter, we were ecstatic with this call which we hope broke our brisket curse. Brisket cost us a possible RGC last year and much more, so that call was very well received. All in all, we had a very good cook, finishing up in 7th place overall out of 69 teams. The whole team was very happy and we hope that this is a sign of things to come. As usual, it was very nice seeing old friends and we made some new ones that we hope to cook next to again. As of now, Wildwood NJ is our next competition on July 13-15. Hope to see you there.