Friday, October 23, 2015

BBQ Competition: Jim Beam Classic Springfield, KY 2015

A few weeks ago, I was invited to cook with Crow Creek BBQ for the Jim Beam Classic BBQ competition in Springfield, Kentucky. 

Crow Creek is one of the 4 teams that make up our Memphis In May team and the head Pitmaster, Jim Loggins, is a great guy, so I jumped right on the offer.  The Jim Beam Classic is a KCBS event so it consists of smoking chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket and turning them all in in 30 minute intervals on Saturday.

I had a wedding shower luncheon to cater on Friday so I loaded up the truck, got the BBQ buffet set up, and then I took off for Kentucky as soon as that was done.

It was steady rain when I got there, shocker, right? It has rained at every single contest for me this year.

competition brisket, bbq competition
Jim let me have free rein with the brisket category and gave me this really nice Wagyu brisket to use.  I did my usual competition brisket program.  Separated, injected, used 4 rubs including my NMT Beef Rub, and then smoked in a kamado grill just under 300°f until it is probe tender.

Jim Beam BBQ rig, Jim Beam Smoker, Jim Beam BBQ contest
The Jim Beam folks have quite a nice smoker themselves.

No competition is complete without touring the other team sites checking out their equipment and artwork.

Smokin' Hookers
I had to ask about the origin of the Smokin' Hookers - it is there last name, that's all.

bbq truck, pig truck
I'd love to be there when this guy has to take the truck into the mechanic for "squealing brakes".

If KCBS ever banned the use of the word "butt" in team names or slogans, about half the teams would probably have to make a change ;)

Pretty big battle wagon!

An enclosed Jambo, starting at $6k but this was has some nice touches like the chrome stack ($200) and wheels.

An insulated box smoker (left), small reverse flow offset (middle), and a Jambo J3 (right).

"Bad" Byron's Butt Rubs was there cooking on two Weber WSM and a nice Primo.  There were not a lot of kamados at this contest, just mine and this one from what I saw.

Jim Beam's rig even has neon underlighting, very cool. I enjoy walking around the sites during quiet hours.

electric controller big green egg, kamado electric controller

This contest was a first for me - the first time we have ever used a controller/blower at a contest. We've always relied on manual vents at our comps but I have really been impressed with the Flame Boss 200.  The contest overnight was cold, windy, and rainy - so windy that it kept ripping the walls off of our EZ-ups.  But the Flame Boss 200 kept my kamado steady and stable all night long.

Looking at the front half of the site as dawn arrived.  This is when things start to get busy across the grounds.

Bruce made some skillet potatoes but used some kind of Jamaican chile that lit my mouth on FIRE! Not a back of the tongue heat either, this hit you right on the front of the tongue like a scorpion stung you.  Habanero chile is about as hot as I can go but this smelled so great.

brisket turn in, bbq brisket
Sorry for the crappy phone pic of the brisket turn in. The burnt ends were tender, smoky, and delicious.  The slices were almost too tender but hung over the finger nicely.  We got 8th out of 45 teams, I'm always happy to get a call.
Congrats to Tim's Full Belli Deli (currently 8th in national standings) for winning the Grand Championship! Full results available at KCBS.
See Ya Later
I was sad to hear that one of my favorite teams - Monty Pigthon and The Holy Grill - are retiring and coming off of the competition trail. This was their next to last contest.  But I totally get it, doing a lot of contests can definitely be a grind and I only do a half dozen a year.  At the same time, I'm glad for Sid and Connie getting to enjoy their time off in the Carolina mountains. We'll miss ya'll on the circuit!

Camelot - tis a silly place.  (It's only a model.)

Monty Pigthon's Jambo stick burner. 

The Bar-B-Cure
Our team's last contest for 2015 is just 4 weeks from now.  We are competing in The Bar-B-Cure here in Knoxville on the beautiful grounds of the Hunter Valley Farm Event Center on November 20-21.

This is a first year KCBS event and most importantly, it is a fund raiser for The Butterfly Fund - a Fund dedicated to fighting childhood cancers.  It may be a first year contest but Hunter Valley Farms are pros at throwing events so you can rest assured that this event will run smoothly.  

If you are on a competition team, I encourage you to sign up for this event.  There are also sponsorship opportunities.  If some local group wants to try a competition but lacks the equipment, I'd be willing to lend you our Warthog pit and/or two Pit Barrel Cookers.  We'll be there cooking on our Grill Domes.

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] Grill Dome, Pit Barrel Cookers, and Flame Boss are equipment sponsors of Nibble Me This.