One of my favorite competitions of the year, and by far the closest to home, The Hudson Valley Ribfest this past weekend was a blast. As usual, we met some old friends and made some new ones too. We shared a pot luck dinner with some neighbors and plenty of great food and cold beer was consumed. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
We also had the good fortune to take a walk at the awards ceremony! This time it was second place for chicken. Go Hogs!
BBQ competitions have become very popular in the last few years, and with good reason. If you haven’t visited one, you owe it to yourself to experience the sights and smells, the excitement and most importantly the great food and drink. The teams are prohibited from serving their food to the general public, but you’ll find previous winners vending their BBQ in a carnival like atmosphere that usually includes live bands, rides for the kids and much, much more.
If you happen to make friends with one of the teams and are invited into their cook site (as happens often), you might even get to sample some competition level BBQ. But one word of caution: From Early, early morning on turn-in day until 1:30pm, most teams are all business, and do not appreciate being disturbed in any way. Come on Saturday, or after 1:30 on Sunday when the last entry has been turned in, and you’ll find most teams open and inviting.
If you’re considering entering a competition yourself, visiting one is a great place to start. Talk to the teams, watch them work, check out their cook sites and equipment and take notes. Next, get certified and judge a competition or two so you can see what the turn-in boxes look like, and what appeals to you and the other judges. Finally, gather your equipment, find a good source of quality meats and start practicing so you can develop your plan of attack. The plan should be the culmination of all those steps above. It should be in writing and very detailed. It’s easy to forget something in the heat of competition.
I’ve attached Bob’s Hogs Timetable for our upcoming competition in Rochester, NY to show you the level of detail I’m talking about. I’m also giving you a peek into the ‘secret’ methods we’re using these days in competition. Exact recipes are not included, but you’ll get the idea. Click on the clock to have a look, and good luck!
Our friends at www.ManTestedRecipes.com are on a mission to have pulled pork become the unofficial food of March Madness, and I think that’s a great idea! Read on and find out why!
Here’s what we have so far, maybe more to come…
May 26-27 – Roc City Ribfest – Rochester, NY
June 16-17 – Rock n Ribfest – Merrimack, NH
July 21-22 – South County Balloon Festival – Kingston, RI
August 4-5 – Western Main BBQ Festival – Fryeburg, ME
August 18-19 – Hudson Valley Ribfest – New Paltz, NY
(change) September 15-16 – Harvard Fall Festival – Harvard, MA
I added a new weapon to my BBQ arsenal this week. Finally, someone made and extension ring for my 26-3/4″ Weber Kettle. They offer one for the more popular 22.5″ size as well. This is a link to the manufacturer: http://smoke-ez.com/index.php
Here’s what she looks like. Click on the photo for more pictures and info.