Back in 2009, when Bren NuDelman said we ought to enter the BBQ Bash, I thought why not – it’ll be fun. After all, we both love BBQ and it’s close to home (Wildwood) so we can invite our friends. Bren will cook some ribs, I’ll make some pulled pork and chili and it will be just like a backyard BBQ. The thought of getting into Competition BBQ never crossed our minds. We had no idea at the time that this would be the beginning of a journey.
|Bren cooking on the Original Two Barrel Smoker|
We had really no idea what to expect at the Bash. I think we started out the competition looking like deer in headlights and ended up running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Despite all the madness, we got the opportunity to meet some Professional Competitive teams who were gracious enough to answer our questions and give us advice. They made us feel like members of the Competition BBQ fraternity. We listened and learned and when the dust finally settled, we were absolutely shocked! We had only entered half of the food categories and ended up with two top 10 finishes (pork and chili). So now were hooked and we immediately start making plans for the 2010 Bash.
The simple fact is that this was only our second competition and we still had no idea what we were doing. But at least we had the right attitude! Despite the outcome, we competed in all 8 categories, finished 34th out of 91 teams and got a call to the stage. We looked at that as something we could definitely build upon. We just had to figure out what we should have done differently, so we embarked upon a quest for knowledge. All aboard!
First stop, SLBS certified judges training. Richard and Susan Schmidt are extremely knowledgeable and experienced judges. They shared valuable information on what judges are expecting and how they score for appearance, taste and tenderness. Armed with that knowledge, our next stop was the Internet. We joined forums and discussion groups focused on competitive BBQ in order to learn cooking and presentation techniques; everything from how to build a turn-in box to how to achieve bite through skin on chicken. And finally, the last stop, and perhaps the most fun, was in the application of what we learned. We made the decision in 2011 to enter some smaller contests to gain more experience heading into the Bash. Our end goal and what we had our sites on was to better our 2010 performance at the Bash. What we didn’t realize at the time is that is when truly started to become a Competitive BBQ team.
|2011 Wildwood BBQ Bash|
|2011 Great Pacific BBQ|