Connersville,Decatur, and Ethnic Expo…

Posted in Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2012 by Big JT

I know I havent kept up to date with this, but it is hard to find time to sit down and recap competitions. This has been our busiest year yet in Competition BBQ.  We just competed in our 11th competition so far this year at the Decatur, Al 2012 Riverfest. A few weeks before that we were in Connersville,In for the Thunder in the Park and from the weather forecast that is exactly what we thought it was going to be with the remnants of the hurricane blowing through it was tough to find 25 teams willing to cook the event. We ended up making the 25 team limit. We had a pretty good showing with a 3rd overall and 4 category calls. Congrats to Kevin from Juicy Butts BBQ for his 1st KCBS GC. Connersville was supposed to be the last competition of the season, but we decided to try our hand at a few more before the end of the year.

We set our sights on Decatur,Al for its 2012 Riverfest competition (made famous by BBQ Pitmasters) it was a short 6 hour drive down I-65S then we hung a right at the rocket and found ourselves at the home of Big Bob Gibson… Check in was a breeze as we were greeted by Ken Hess and directed to site 34 which would be home for the weekend. Pretty uneventful night as we ate at Big Bob Gibson’s restaurant and then returned to get started on prepping the meat for the fire. Apparently they had a famous music star there by the name of Lee Brice and there was one hell of a concert Friday night. After a short nap we put the meat on the Jambo Pit and took a walk around and met up with George from Pitmaker at the Kingsford tent. We got an upclose view of the Kingsford Pitmaker Vault trailer… All i can say is I now want a Pit Maker Pit, their quality is great and i think it would fit in to our vending needs.  We were pleased with out turn in boxes and even tried a new pork recipe… On to Rewards… We were just hoping for a to 15 finish in that group of competitors. In the end we received a 4th place chicken, 1st place Pork, and 4th overall (tieing for 3rd but losing the tie breaker) needless to say we were ecstatic with our results. We even recieved a big check from Kingsford for the Kingsford Challenge.

On the way home from Decatur we decided that we can cook one more event for 2012 and that is in White County, Ga at the end of October. We will also be vending at the 2012 Ethnic Expo in Columbus, In for the 2nd year in a row on October 12&13, 2012

To finish off here are some pictures from the last few competitions…

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Busy few months… quick update and then were off again…

Posted in Around the house, Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2012 by Big JT

It has been a busy few months since the last post, we have competed several times, vended at a few places and actually had a weekend off… here are some pictures from the past few months, like they say a picture is worth a thousand words…

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Trip to Texas, Memphis BBQ Co., and the Milk Cow Music Festival…

Posted in Competition BBQ, Important News with tags , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2012 by Big JT

Trip to Texas, Memphis BBQ Co., and the Milk Cow Music Festival…

         I know this was promised to be posted earlier in the week, but I have been lazy and trying to recuperate from the last week and get busy planning the next couple weekends.

       First off, I need to thank the sponsors of Big JT’s Smokin’ BBQ which are, Simply Marvelous BBQ, Mojobricks, and Drapers BBQ. Without the support of these companies we would not be able to do what we do.

       It was a long week; we left for Burleson, Texas at 4:00am on Memorial Day to start the first leg of the trip to pick up the Jambo Pit. We arrived at about 7:30 pm Monday night. During the trip we stopped off at the Memphis BBQ Company to eat lunch and catch up with Pete and Melissa from Yazoos Delta Q. I went to their first class in 2010 and learned all about competition bbq both KCBS and MBN styles. If you get a chance to stop in do yourself a favor and stop by. The food is great and they also have non-bbq items on their menu. Once in Dallas we ate a place called Texas Land and Cattle Company, not really knowing what to expect from the place but it was highly rated and recommended by the hotel staff.  The place was not busy at all and we were seated as soon as we walked in the door. The food was very good and it really wasn’t all that expensive of a place to eat at.

       The next morning we were up early and heading to meet up with Jamie Geer( www.jambopits.com ). We pulled into his driveway and there it was… Once we all made the introductions and small talk Jamie walked us through the inner workings of the pit and also his shop. We saw a J-3 Model in the paint booth being painted New Orleans Saints Gold. After about an hour we were back on our way home with the new pit in tow. It pulled like a dream and we had comments about it at every gas station and rest stop.

     We finally got home after another stop at Memphis BBQ Co. and loaded the Jambo into the garage. After a few hours of sleep I woke up and lit a fire in it. I played with controlling the fire and felt that I had a good handle on it…more on that later…

     So fast forward to Friday, i picked up the completed sign from a local airbrush guy, and he did a pretty good job, mounted it on the Jambo and headed north to Fair Oaks,In Milk Cow BBQ competition. there were several tough teams in the field of 50 and we were just hoping to get everything cooked and turned in since cooking on the new pit.  We woke up around 3am and lit the fire and the pit came up to temp in about 35 minutes, i’m pretty sure i built too big of a fire as we were having issues with the pit wanting to run cool when both intake and exhaust was fully open after realizing this we were able to make some adjustments and get everything on track. I felt pretty good about the entries except for chicken… When it came time for awards I wasn’t expecting much, but was hoping for something. We finally heard our name called for a 2nd place brisket only to be beat out by Able Acres and 1 appearance point. the real suprise came from the overall rankings, we didnt expect an overall call due to only being called up one time. We ended up 10th overall out of 50 teams which i thought was very respectable considering the caliber of teams at the competition. We scored out highest score ever and it would have GC or RGC a few competitions last year but it was only good enough for a 10th place.

Next we are gearing up for one of my favorite competitions at Jeffersonville Smokin’ on the River. We are competing in a rib throwdown against 8-10 other teams on friday and then the normal competition turn ins on saturday.

The next weekend we will be competing and vending at the Franklin Smokin’ on the Square event so it will be a very busy couple of weeks, but hopefully the payoff is a good one.

Liberty,In BBQ results and other things

Posted in Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2012 by Big JT

Well, about 2 weeks ago we competed at the Liberty, In Smokin’ on the Water competition. This was our third year there and they had definitely added some improved electric and water utilities for all the teams. 31 teams showed up to battle it out. Since we didn’t have our new offset cooker yet, we decided to run the Ole Hickory CTO even though I had retired it to vending and catering only.  We arrived mid afternoon after a few stops and started to set everything up and socialize with the neighbors.  We had Jeff and Shelly from Yellow River BBQ, Rich from Bonehead BBQ and a new team WeQ4U on the other side. We couldn’t have asked for any better neighbors.

The overall results of Liberty weren’t that great, on the bright side we got a 6th place call in ribs and the DBQ Smokin Sauce took 4th / 20 teams. Chicken gave us fits as it wasn’t up to the temp we like for turn in but it wasn’t undercooked, well the legs were. We ended up with a 18th place finish. We had an issue with the CTO, some of the internal wiring that controls the draft fans had actually broke and we had to do emergency smoker surgery by Droid Flashlight app at about 0345 in the morning, which put us behind our schedule. We all thought pork was good, and even brisket was good but not good enough as we finished 17th and 20th respectively in those categories’.  Lady’s Grilled Banana Pudding finished 3rd in the anything but category, the winner turned in Brisket something or other… Not sure what it was.

I want to take this time and congratulate Marc and Matt from Velvet Smoke on the Grand Champion at Liberty, I hope there are many more for those guys. They say the first one is the hardest one to get. We also want to say good luck to the few teams we know are down at Memphis in May. DBQ is down there cooking the Whole Hog category, that’s a tough one, not a lot of Party teams cook whole hog… As one of my BBQ Mentors says “Better have your big girl panties on”

Memorial Day weekend we are taking a trip down south to Burleson, Tx to pick up the new Jambo Pit. I think we are going to make a pit stop and eat at one of the newest BBQ restaurants in the Memphis area… Memphis BBQ Company. It’s going to be a long trip down there but it will be worth it to pick up the new pit. Once we pick up the pit we have one week, well actually less than one week to try and figure it out before we head up to Fair Oaks, In for the Milk Cow Music Festival and compete for $15,000 in prize money.

Drapers BBQ – MOO’d Enhancer Beef Rub…

Posted in backyard, Important News, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2012 by Big JT

2 weeks ago at the Benton,Ky BBQ Competition I received a complimentary 1lb bag of the new MOO’d Enhancer beef rub from Drapers BBQ.I was really looking forward to trying it out on a brisket, but that will have to wait as the selection at the local Sams Club was pretty bad this morning. So instead I bought two rather large T-Bone steaks so I could see how it would hold up to some grilling. The Steaks looked pretty good so I brought them home and went to bed (3rd shifter) About noon I woke up and pulled the steaks out of the fridge and unwrapped them. I then went to my competition bin and got the foil bag of DBQ Moo’d Enhancer. Upon opening the bag for the first time you get hit right in the face with the freshness of the rub and all the different elements to it. I put a light-medium coating of Moo’d Enhancer on both sides of the steaks as I was going to let them come up to room temp while the Weber was warming up.

Once the Weber was up to temp (about a 1 and a holy crap that’s hot count holding your hand over it) I put the steaks on the cool side i had set up to use the Reverse Sear or Finney Method (http://www.ironpigbbq.com/Reverse-Sear.html) I really like this method as it allows you to more precisely determine your finish temp (130-135*) After about 30 Minutes i flipped the steaks over to the sear side of the Weber, and it didn’t take long to get the outside nice and seared.

I bring the steaks back into the house and find out that Lisa had made some tater tots and a Caesar salad to finish off the mega lunch we had going on. I allowed the steaks to rest loosely covered with foil for about 10 minutes, and yes my counter top is lime green… It goes with the velvet wallpaper we have in the house. After about 10 minutes I couldn’t stand the wait anymore as the smell was driving me nuts with anticipation (my mouth is actually watering again as i type this) So i loaded up the plate, I look over to Lisa who is standing at the counter like a shark on blood devouring her first two bites of steak. The next sentence out of her mouth made me realize that we had a winner on her hands and I quote ” You know, i went to the store and bought this (Heinz 57 sauce that she puts on everything) and I don’t think I’m going to use it”  That statement shocked me.  So i dive into the steak and wow… what a flavor explosion the flavor of the rub held up to the grilling and it didn’t overpower the flavor of the steak, it really let the meat be the star, I would really love to try this on some Prime or Wagyu. I actually could have put it on a little heavier and it still would have done great. Now back to Lisa, the final statement she made which really told me that this was one of the best steaks she had was, “Oh my gosh, I am so glad i’m not a vegetarian right now…) Now onto the best part of this meal was the tater tots at the bottom of the pile which had time to marinate in the au jus that came from the steak… absolutely delicious, had all the flavor of the beef and the Moo’d Enhancer. I would definitely give this rub a shot it is great for steaks, or any beef for that matter. I can’t wait to give it a shot on some brisket and try to work it into my competition line up. I have a feeling this rub will take off and it is going to go huge on the competition circuit. Bottom line is that this rub stands up and accentuates the beef flavor that sometimes gets lost when cooking beef over fire. It puts a great crust on your meat when cooking over direct fire, it is a really bold flavored rub that mellows a bit with cooking, and it is a more savory rub as opposed to salt/pepper rub. The flavor is more intense due to all the different spices and flavors hitting you at different times during the tasting.

I also have a great new beef rub from Simply Marvelous that i believe will compliment this rub if used in a layering process. I will be doing a side by side comparison with these two in the near future.

I was also let in on a little secret from Shane @ DBQ about a new product that will be hitting the scene soon I hope. I know it will take a lot of work out of my prep for a competition.

Be sure to check out our BBQ 101 class that we have scheduled for July at the Eastside Community Center.

BBQ Bucket List…

Posted in Competition BBQ, Important News with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2012 by Big JT

There was a post on www.bbqbrethren.com that got me thinking, what BBQ Competitions and events do I want to do before I “retire” from Competition BBQ, or even better yet, what are my GOALS for competition bbq.

When I started my journey in Competition BBQ obviously I wanted to win as I am a very competitive person and really hate to lose or do bad at anything. My ultimate goal my first KCBS sanctioned event was to turn everything in on time and to not finish last in any category.  I ultimately accomplished that goal in Benton, Kentucky in 2010 and actually exceeded it with a 5th place finish in the Chicken category. My next goal my rookie year was to finish in the top half of the field and I accomplished that at the very next competition in Liberty,In with a 7th overall out of 36 teams and that included two HUGE walks with a 1st place ribs and a 2nd place pork. The rest of my Rookie season didn’t  go as well as I had planned, and even the beginning of 2011 started out kind of rocky, but it picked up in Westmont,Il with a 1st place chicken call in a very tough field of cooks and my first ever encounter with a 2 hour rain delay at a competition. The calls kept coming for the remainder of the year and we ended up with several Top 5 overall finishes and the last 6 competitions of the year our brisket and pork were rarely out of the top 10.

This year starts the quest for our first Grand Championship and I am putting it out there for everyone to see, we have come to close too many times and this year we are going to earn our way into accomplishing some of the other goals or “Bucket list of Competition BBQ”

1. Taking Grand Champion at a competition – Easy enough said right? Well this has to happen for us to continue to our next several items.

2. Cooking the American Royal open and Invitational – I have always said I want to cook the Royal, but the only way I am going is if i can cook the back to back open / invitational.

3. Cooking at the Jack Daniels World BBQ Championship – Most people would say win the Jack Daniels, but you have to be selected to cook it first , so let me be selected and then we can talk about winning the thing…lol.

4. Cooking at Memphis in May – Worlds largest Pork BBQ competition. I want to cook whole hog and do the on site presentation. Whole hog is where the big boys play at MIM may score horribly but I have learned from the best and think i could hold my own against any team down there.

5. Sams Club BBQ Series – I kind of have mixed feelings about this, on one hand its the closest thing that we have to a play off series in BBQ, on the other hand is it really the BEST teams in the Nation you are cooking against, now I know what you are saying… “JT who are you to say your one of the best in the nation!” and I say just watch and see… We are still a young team experience wise and I believe this is the year everything starts to snowball in our favor.

6. KCBS TOY – I am leaving this as the last item on my list. At some point in my BBQ career I want to be able to drop everything and set my sights on the KCBS  Team of the Year, I realize that I will have to grind it out for 30-40 competitions, but I want to be able to say that I did it.

7. Friendships – I have to say the BBQ community is one of the best ones I have ever been involved with. Most everyone is like family even if you only see them once or twice a year you can pick up right where you left off. There are weekends that I’m not cooking that I am always checking for results to see how this person or that person did at their competition. Just last week when I saw that Rob from 2 Worthless Nuts got the 180 chicken and overall GC I was just as thrilled as if it had been me up there getting those awards. Same goes for any of our BBQ friends If i dont do well at a competition I sure as hell hope one of my Friends cleans up at awards.

Well the blog kind of swayed from it original intent, but who cares, its mine anyways… Be sure to check out products from my sponsors www.mojobricks.com , www.simplymarvelousbbq.com , & www.drapersbbq.com I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without their support. Also, we will be in Liberty,IN at the Smoke on the Water Festival by the Lake the first weekend of May so stop by, IM not sure if Shane from Draper’s BBQ will be up sampling his products or not. After that it looks like we may be heading to Westmont,Il and Fair Oaks, In back to back weekends plus Jeffersonville,IN and Franklin,IN back to back weekends with us vending at Franklin. So stop by and see us, and at Franklin, stop by and eat some bbq!

PS. DONT forget about our BBQ 101 class at Eastside Community center coming up in July, make contact with Eastside to register and get your name on the list.

2012 Benton Kookoff

Posted in Competition BBQ with tags , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by Big JT

First competition of the season has come and gone, and while we expected a little better placing, we had a great time.  First off, Thank you to Shane and his crew from Drapers BBQ(www.drapersbbq.com). He went out of his way to help us out so we could travel to the comp light and cook. Between the use of his Toy hauler, cooking on the Tucker Cooker (www.tuckercooker.com) I do have to say the Tucker Cooker is an impressive piece of work and if i hadnt already spent the money on a Jambo, i would say that i would probably pick up a Tucker, hell I think I will just get both… Also, we were told we were having burgers for dinner, and I expected run of the mill burgers… NOT Shane and Co. made up some monster 1lb Bacon and Cheese stuffed burgers cooked on the Grilla pellet cooker that were amazing, I had one and had to go into a food coma for a bit.  We also got a sneak preview of the new Brisket / Beef rub called Moo’d Enhancer which is pretty amazing, and is going through some testing here at home so I can incorporate the rub into our Competition arsenal, it helps bring out  the beef flavor that can get lost in all the other flavors of BBQ. It is a very bold rub, but not overpowering.

As for the cook itself, it couldn’t have gone any better, well that is until turn in time. With our chicken turn in we went outside the box a bit and i’m not sure how the judges really cared for it, scores weren’t too bad but it didn’t place well (29/42). Our ribs were very good, but then again we fell short of the top ten with an (18/42) placing. Pork was our bright spot of the day with a 9th place showing thanks to DBQ Smokin Sauce. Now to brisket… my strongest category from last year where were weren’t out of the top 10 … this brisket that was cooked was the best we have ever done, flavor was outstanding, tenderness was spot on… not sure what was going on in the judges tent but I was for sure the brisket was a top 5 product, but it finished  22nd. So i was a little disappointed in the showing, but we have to stay the course our next competition is in Liberty, Indiana in May. Hopefully we will have the Jambo by then so we can get the smoke rolling with it.

We did get to walk around and meet a bunch of great guys on the BBQ Circuit,  we chatted it up with Chris Chadwick from Grillin and Chillin and Bill Arnold from Blues Hog BBQ plus many more that we see more often on the trail such as Bourbon Barrel BBQ, Pappy Q, and the eventual GC Eat More Butt. A big Congrats goes out to those guys. Also want to thank Mojobricks (www.mojobricks.com) and Simply Marvelous BBQ (www.simplymarvelousbbq.com) for their great products we couldn’t do it without your support!

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