Wednesday, July 1, 2015

BBQ Competition - Blooming BBQ & Bluegrass - Sevierville

I am so far behind on posting wrap ups to some of our events.  May and June were killers with something going on almost every weekend, we barely had time to come up for air.  Here is the wrap up of our third KCBS competition - the Blooming BBQ and Bluegrass Festival in Sevierville, TN back in May.

We made two big changes this year.  First, we switched from cooking on the "Warthog" BBQ pit to cooking on kamado grills.  It just made sense to cook on what we know and we were thrilled to be sponsored by Grill Dome.  Second, after enduring heat and getting drenched at our first two contests, we got a concession trailer!  

It's a 7 x 16 tandem axle concession trailer by Freedom.  Why yes, that is an air conditioning unit on top!

Rather spartan inside but it is food safe ready with rubberized floors and metal walls/ceiling.  It is much bigger than it looks here.

Our home away from home.  You can't tell it from this shot but the service window has a stainless shelf.

We switched to cooking competitions on kamado grills because they are efficient (no reloading of coal), hold steady temps well in all kinds of weather, and produce excellent tasting food.  The one downside is that they are heavy to move and the ceramics inside can break.  So John and I spend a Saturday making shock absorbing crates for transportation. 

kamado crate, Grill Dome crate, Kamado Joe crate, Vision carrier, move kamado grill
Loaded up for the trip in their new "kamado karriers".

Big Green Egg carrier, kamado carrier, Grill Dome carrier, Kamado Joe carrier
In addition to the rubber floor of the trailer, we put a piece of 3/4" foam rubber below the kamado, a piece under the fire bowl, a piece under the fire ring, and pieces wedged around the kamado side to side.

KCBS contest, BBQ contest, Tennessee BBQ contest
It takes about 2 hours to set up our space but we're still figuring that out, we've changed for the better with each contest.

KCBS, BBQ contest, Tennessee,
That afternoon we had a little down time to walk around and check out our neighbors.

This is the Killer BBQ teams cooker.....yeah, it's a coffin.

KCBS Sevierville, KCBS Tennessee

One of our team banners

Our set up in the trailer was still primitive for this contest.  It's mostly 15 feet of tables with coolers, Cambros, and storage bins underneath. 

seasoning pork butt
John seasoning our pork butts after we injected.
 I must have had a thing for the clock tower as it kept showing up in pictures as day faded into night.

Once the crowds are gone, the contest settles down into quiet time.

building turn in boxes
Alexis building our blind boxes that will be used for turn ins.  The cans hold the lettuce in place as she builds.

John reseasoning the butts and briskets before they go onto the kamados in the wee hours of the morning.  The fans are there because we couldn't run the AC because we didn't order a 50 amp connection when we signed up (didn't have the trailer yet).

The sun comes up and finds the Grill Domes smoking along nicely.  I had the briskets in John's silver Grill Dome and the ribs in my blue one.

John prepping the chicken. 

My ribs smoking along.

John talking with folks about our kamados.

A part of being sponsored is talking to people about your smokers.  We get a LOT of conversations with folks.  I think we are more approachable than most other teams who are using big box rigs or trailer mounted smokers.  The Grill Domes that we compete with are the same grills that they can use in their backyard.  Their first question is "Is that a Big Green Egg?" and we go from there explaining about kamados.  We also cook on two other brands at the contest so they know they are getting our informed and honest opinions. 

chicken thighs, chicken turn in box, chicken blind box
Our chicken turn in box.
 I didn't get a picture of our rib box because I was too busy but I really wasn't too happy with our ribs.

Pork turn in box, a little too heavy on the sauce but scored well for appearance.

Brisket turn in.  We had two flats and one point.  One flat looked perfect but was dry.  The other was tender and good tasting but looked like ass.  Since appearance is weighted less, we went with the better tasting one.

So we went to the awards ceremony feeling that we weren't going to get any calls because we weren't too happy with our ribs or brisket.

We were AMAZED and excited to get 6th in ribs and 3rd in brisket - our first ever KCBS calls. All of a sudden all of the sleep deprivation and needing a shower didn't seem so bad.  Once again, the things we thought we did horribly on, scored the best.  Good times!

Fourth of July discount codes
If you need any grilling accessories or portable grills, I can get you 20% off for those purchases on Char-Broil's website between now and July 6, 2015.  Just use the coupon code B15NT4 when ordering.  

Happy and Safe 4th of July to everyone!  Fire up your grills and make someone happy.