Thursday, April 20, 2006 

And so it begins

I got a tag from WhiteTrashBBQ down in the big city reminding me that spring is here and it's time to start cooking over fire again. And boy is he right!

I've been thinking about barbecue quite a bit lately, in part because of the improved weather, but more because I just registered team Howling Hog BBQ for my one and only competition event. We'll be making our second visit to the Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue on the 22nd and 23rd of July.

This event is the largest event in New England. Last year 39 teams competed. This year, they've had so many additional interested teams, that they had to make things first come, first served, with regard to registration. A special thanks to fellow teammates "The Brewer" and "The Old Bull" for putting some extra cash in the pool to help me cover the sudden and immediate need to register!

Last year was our first year competing and our scores showed it. Overall we came in 38th out of 39 teams. This year, we aim to make a noted improvement in those scores, and I suspect we will. Last year, I didn't have any help on the night before competition. Most of my crew couldn't make it until saturday, and the Old Bull was out with shoulder surgery. This year, I should have a full group of teamates in the pit. I suspect that "The Chef", the Old Bull and Farmer Girl will all be there for the overnight on Friday. This makes me feel great for a couple of reasons:

    First, it means that last year got everyone on the team excited and they're ready to really have another go at it.

    Second, it means I don't have to cook alone!

Being the only one in the pit on the night before our competition was pretty lousy. Aside from being a bit lonely (my neigbors, Feeding Friendz, were just great though), being the only one who tends the pit left me pretty exhausted the next day. As the crew chief, I probably won't turn the pitmastering over to anyone for long, but three or four uninterrupted hours of sleep would be pretty nice.

The team is definately ready to improve on last years results. The Chef called me in mid-January with a new recipe for a barbecue sauce. The Old Bull and The Brewer made their donations to the cause, and Farmer Girl and I have been talking about what we're selling and what new equipment we have to buy between now and July.

So, while work has been keeping me just crazy, I expect I'll be posting some practice results on the blog in the future. Next weeks paycheck should give me the extra cash to buy a shipment of charcoal from Lee Ann and Larry at Wicked Good Charcoal. Plus, a coworker just hooked me up with a couple of buckets of red oak scraps. It all points to the beginning of barbecue season!

So, spark up the grill folks, it starts now!