Time to make a decision. Either post more and keep this blog going or shut it down. Posting only a few times a year isn’t going to hold anybody’s interest. It may be therapeutic if this was a private diary, but as a public blog it stinks.
Let’s give this another shot. I’m not going to promise to write X number of time per week, month, or year, but I’ll promise to post more often. And if I break my promise, I’ll shut it down.
We are in the midst of preparing for the grilling and barbecue competitions in Fryeburg, ME. It was a late decision to travel the 3+ hours up that way to compete. For the record, we have nothing bad to say about Harpoon. I wish everyone competing there the best of luck. I know everyone will have fun, as always! For us, the decision was between either judging at Harpoon or competing in Fryeburg. I convinced Suzanne that we should give Fryeburg a shot and see what happens. I know she would rather be judging at Harpoon, and I’ll definitely miss it too. But I’m excited to try something new, and I’m having fun practicing for the grilling categories.
The grilling categories are chicken wings, sausage, beef ribs, and dessert. Suzanne is handling the dessert category solo, as she did when we won first place in Harvard last year. She is coming up with some super ideas this time as well, and I’m having fun being more of a “consultant” than a cook. Suzanne is also helping with the sausage category, and I’ll tell you we are both entirely sick of eating sausage and chicken wings.
The chicken wing practicing is done. I’m trying something completely new with them, and I have no idea how the judges will score them. Time will tell. One thing I learned about chicken wings is to be very patient when grilling them.
Beef ribs are something I’ve cooked a grand total of one time in my life. Well, two times as of last week. Last week’s run was barely edible, so I’m trying something different with them tomorrow after work. We hope to be able to actually chew them this time. They felt like butter with the Thermapen. Dagnabit.
The barbecue portion is all set. I practiced the ever elusive chicken one more time, and I’m confident with the formula. Chicken has definitely improved for us, but it’s still the only barbecue category for which we haven’t gotten a call. In fact, we’ve gotten 1st place calls in every other barbecue category. Hopefully that will change up north. I’m also hoping to get our brisket mojo back. I’m switching to a different product, and I’m confident we will do better. We can’t do much worse!
Besides the competitions, I had the pleasure of helping Jed Labonte and many others with the NEBS cooking class in May. It was a lot of fun, and I taught my group of students as if we were doing an actual competition. I didn’t hide anything…I did everything as I would normally do. It was very rewarding to see two of my students competing in their first KCBS competition at Peter’s Pond. Not only did they NOT finish DAL (Dead Ass Last, for you non-competitors), but they got a couple of calls and finished 15th out of 35 overall on their first time out. Great job Deb and Gary. I’m proud of you guys!
For those who are interested in how the competitions have been going for us so far this year, here is a quick summary…
7th out of 24 overall
Strip Steak – 3rd
Pork Tenderloin – 18th
Sausage Fatty – 11th
Chef’s Choice – 6th
Rose City (Grilling)
3rd out of 18 overall
Chef’s Choice – 2nd
Chicken – 3rd
Sausage – 3rd
Pork – 10th
Cape Cod (BBQ)
7th out of 35 overall
Chicken – 12th
Ribs – 1st (first 1st in ribs for us!)
Pork – 3rd
Brisket – 29th (ouch, but expected…it was awful)
More after Fryeburg!