Sunday, May 25, 2014

2014 Smoke in the Valley

Pigheaded BBQ competed for the first time at Smoke in the Valley BBQ Fest in Green Lane, PA on May 8-9 this year. We had heard many good things about this event and they were all true. This event is run by Shawn Tucker and what seems like the whole Green Lane Fire Dept. along with many volunteers. What a first class event. Everyone went out of their way to ensure that your every need was fulfilled.

Norma and I decided to head up on Thursday because we had heard stories of what the field was like when it was wet and the forecast was predicting potential heavy rain and winds and we wanted to pick an easy in and out site. When we arrived we met Shawn and he let us pick a site that was convenient. We then started putting up the big canopy that we use for inclement weather with some help from the good folks @ Pequea Pullers. After the canopies were up and the site situated, we settled in for the evening. It was an eventful night, sleeping on two stacked air mattresses and Norma with a bad hip. Let's just say that we would have easily won America's Funniest Home Videos if someone had a tape of it. If you want further details, you have to ask in person because it probably doesn't translate well in writing. Anyway, the weather held out Thursday, Friday and Saturday 'till after we left, so we had a lot to be thankful for. Pigheaded BBQ was going to be a much smaller team as Ron v2.0, Trina and kids as well as Brian couldn't make it, so we decided to skip the ancillary categories and relax Friday, taking in the bonfire and visiting with new friends. I have to say, I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. After the prep was done for the KCBS meats, we had some dinner, a sample of what was to be the winning dessert entry and a few adult beverages. The pit was fired up, the big meats put on and then we retired for the evening.

Early Saturday morning is my favorite time at a competition. After ribs are put on and we have breakfast, the quiet and calm with a cup of coffee is so relaxing. The pace will pick up shortly thereafter and the turn ins go pretty smoothly. We have high hopes for the outcome, as we feel we had a good cook. After the last turn in, we have another beverage and discuss how we think we did, then start cleaning up while waiting for the awards time.

We carry our chairs to the pavilion, find a spot and hope that the judges agree with us. People's Choice is called, then Chef's Chooce and Dessert. Our friends from Feeding Friendz who gave us some of their dessert won that category. Even though we weren't at the judges table,we did have to agree with them because we did get to taste it and it was delicious, congrats Wendy!!
Chicken is the first of the KCBS categories and 1st place with a perfect score of 180 was.....Pigheaded BBQ. This was quite an honor and I must say I don't remember everything that went on then because I was in a daze. Thank you judges and all who cheered us on. I wish I could say that ribs, pork and brisket was a hit with the judges also, but that was not the case. Far from it, it seems that not much was thought of these categories because we finished 38th, 34th and 20th in that order and 20th overall out of 56 teams. Oh well, back to the drawing board. I must say that we're consistently inconsistent.
Thanks to all who showed up to support us, and as usual it was good to see our BBQ family and add some new friends to the group. Next up for us is Que for the Troops in Levittown, PA on June 6-7, hope to see you there.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Triple Threat

Pigheaded BBQ started our 2014 BBQ season this past weekend in Harrington, DE at the "Triple Threat BBQ Festival". We would like to thank Sandy Fulton and the staff at the Fairgrounds in Harrington for hosting all of us and congratulations for setting a new record for the largest inaugural event in KCBS history (109 Teams). We would like to congratulate two of our friends Aporkalypse Now for their GC and automatic entry to "The Jack" and Finn's Finest BBQ a fellow Middletown, DE team for their RGC, Best of Delaware and MABA DE TOY for their great finishes. Great job guys!!!
I would also like to thank the powers that be for the beautiful weather that we enjoyed. Historically, April hasn't been too kind to the BBQ in these parts in the past, so even though the forecast wasn't promising, we had great weather. Who else has a job where you can be wrong 50% of the time and enjoy success?

With the large number of teams registered and no pre assigned sites, Norma and I decided to head down a day early to stake a claim to some prime real estate. Upon arrival, Sandy showed us to a very nice grassy site. Needless to say we were happy we arrived early. Mike met us on arrival also and help with the site set up. It sure is nice to have some extra hands helping with the heavy work, thanks Mike. We were set up between two very nice neighbors, Dizzy Pig and M&E BBQ. You couldn't ask for better neighbors. Due to Norma's recent hip replacement, we decided to spend Thursday night in a hotel across the street where we had a nice suite and view of the venue from our window. Bright and early Friday morning, the full compliment of teams were streaming in and they and us wasted no time putting the final touches on the sites and Norma prepping the Dessert entry due that night. New neighbors including close friends Slower Lower BBQ were greeting each other after the long winter hiatus and sharing drinks and pleasantries with each other and settling in to begin our new season.

The rest of the team arrived and we were visited by new friends and old ones who stopped by to support us. Thank you Levi from Stoltzfus BBQ for taking time away from your busy work schedule to show your support and encouragement. After prep work was done and ancillary categories were turned in, it was time to enjoy the numerous quantity and flavors of Jello shots provided by Slower Lower BBQ as well as other beverages of choice. The camaraderie between friends and competitors in the BBQ world is in my opinion unmatched in most other competitive venues.

At midnight Friday night, the big meats (Pork & Brisket) hit the pit and we were in full swing! With a wary eye on the sky, we settled into our routine and our cook was underway. Saturday morning waned with clear skies and attitudes and we all had high hopes. Ribs and chicken went on early and final prep work done. We made all of our turn in on time, started our clean up and waited for the awards ceremony. This is my least favorite time at a competition, we're all exhausted and anxious and the time drags. The mind is a terrible thing at times, did we do everything right, did the judges like our entries etc. Nothing to do but wait.

Well, the time is here and all questions will be answered, but will they be the answers we want. The field is so large with 109 teams, anything can and usually does happen. First KCBS category is chicken and we get a 7th place call. We're very excited and happy, this is usually our strongest category and we'll take a top 10 call anytime. Ribs and pork categories come and go with no calls. Is this how it will end? The Brisket category is next and is not one of our strong suits, but we cooked one if not our best briskets ever and were rewarded with another 7th place finish. We're extremely happy for our calls and all of our friends call and can't wait to get our hands on the final score sheets.
We were very happy with our overall finish of 19th out of 109 teams which included 3 former World Champions and included teams from as far away as California, Louisiana, New England and all along the East Coast. This is one of the strongest starts to a season we've had and feel there's no stopping us now. Watch out world, Pigheaded BBQ is on it's way!!