This will be my last year volunteering though. Robert B. (my martial arts instructor) and I are going to compete next year and possibly at the State Championship in Lenoir City in October in the Backyard Division. I had two offers to assist with existing teams but Robert and I want to make our own team.
The two most memorable things about this year? Obviously, the mud. Mud, mud, mud.
But the huge thing was that on Friday, I got to work with Chris Lilly for about 8 hours. He is a champion pitmaster, having won events like Memphis In May many times over. I got to help him and local BBQ ace, George Ewart of the Dead End Society BBQ team, prepare for a BBQ cooking class that was part of the event. I had fun, learned a ton, and appreciated how lucky I was to be there. What I learned wasn't secret ingredients or hidden techniques. The three main things I learned were:
- It's all about fundamentals and basics, like fire/smoke control. Master those and the rest will come naturally.
- Give yourself a break and stay calm. Wow....Chris and George run into some of the same problems I do occassionally. Ribs getting done too soon, forgetting to baste the bone side, whatever. I guess if they can slip up, I shouldn't get so upset when I mess up.
- I'll be damned....Chris has great taste in music. His Ipod and mine have very similar content. I never heard any Linkin Park, but I'll let that slide;)
Saturday, Alexis, Trevor and I got to help Chris promote his new book that came out today. He was on the Today Show this morning promoting it too. It's called Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book-Recipes & Secrets From A Legendary Barbecue Joint. You can get it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, you know, the usual outlets. You can also just click on the link and order it directly.
Chris was gracious enough to give us a signed copy. It's not just a cookbook. In my opinion, it is a perfect blend of BBQ recipies, technique, and history/stories. I helped him make and tasted five of the recipes in the book, so I can say the recipes work. It's an entertaining read and I think anyone from the casual backyard griller to the hard core BBQ enthusiast would enjoy. I highly recommend it.
I was thinking about doing a "cook the book" deal with it but Chris laughed and pointed out that it does have 5 different whole hog recipes. Ok, maybe I'll do a "cook MOST of the book" ;)