Monday, May 11, 2009

Blount BBQ Bash 2009

The 2009 Blount BBQ Bash has come and gone. I had a great time volunteering at this event again. Sure it was long hours of checking in the teams, putting up signs, setting up trash cans, resolving small issues, emptying trash, sloshing in mud, spreading hay, setting up tents, you name it. But I got to work with great organizers, competition teams, and other volunteers. I loved every minute of it.

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:

  1. It's all about fundamentals and basics, like fire/smoke control. Master those and the rest will come naturally.
  2. 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.
  3. 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" ;)