Monday, June 29, 2009

Iowa State BBQ Championships, Marshalltown, IA

For the weekend of June 26 & 27 we traveled to central Iowa for the Iowa State BBQ Championships in Marshalltown, IA. Not only was this the furthest that we have traveled for a competition (280 miles) it was the largest competition that we have cook at with 65 teams. Prior to this the largest was the Illinois State BBQ Championships at Shannon, IL last year with 62 teams.

The competition was help at a campground just outside of Marshalltown. The facilities were nice with power available for every team, convenient access to water and real bathrooms with showers! Because of rain during the two weeks leading up to the competition the organizers almost had to change the location, but the town of Marshalltown came through and helped drain the water off of the campground and get things dried out enough for us to use the original location.

We arrived on site at about noon on Friday and began setting up our site. There were quite a few teams at this competition who are members of the BBQ Brethren so as we were setting up folks would stop by to introduce themselves and say hello. Setup took a little longer than normal :)
Once we were set up and had our meat prep done we took some time to relax. It was a hot afternoon so just sitting for a while felt good. After the cook's meeting i fired up the WSM and made a couple of nice thick pork chops and baked potatoes for our dinner. After dinner we fired up the margarita machine and visited some of our neighbors. We met the folks from Spanky and the Meat Mafia, Shiggin' and Grinnin', Smokin' Caboose and others. The margaritas were a big hit! After that we cleaned up around the site and went to sleep.

Breakfast the next morning was provided by the competition and we had bisquits and gravy and sweet rolls. At 9:22 a bunch of teams gathered at Twyford BBQ and Catering for our traditional good luck shot of Gentleman Jack. The Reverend Twyford was present and presided over the gathering and offered an inspirational blessing.

After that it was time to get to work. At this competition there wre 6 categories. In addition to the standard KCBS categories we entered the sausage and dessert categories. We normally don't bother with these categories since they add extra work and take the focus off of the main categories, but the entry was free so we went for it.

Amy made lemon tartlets for the dessert category.

Once crunch time was over all all of our entries were turned in we started packing up. We were about half way done when it started to rain. It didn't rain for long but it was anough to get everything wet so we left a few things out of their normal traveling cases to avoid mold and we dried them throroughly the next day. The awards were at 3:30 so we grabbed our chairs and headed towards the band stage. We didn't get called for sausage or dessert. Amy was disappointed in the dessert results. Her lemon tartlets were very good! Then we sat through the calls for chicken and ribs without hearing anything. We thought that our turn ins for both were good so were were also disappointed in this. Then it was time for pork and we listed as 10 - 3rd place were called without hearing our name. Then finally when 2nd place pork was announced we heard our name! That made us feel better. Then it was on to brisket and we listened again as 10-2 were called without hearing our name. At this point we were all set to go home with the one call for pork but then they announced the brisket champion for 2009 and it was captain Ron's Brew-n-Que! We were thrilled! Later on we found out that placing first in brisket at Marshalltown gives us an invitation into the 2010 Chest-to-Chest Brisket Championship in Great Bend, Kansas! Back to the results... it was time for the overall awards. One of our goals for any competitin is to finish in the top 10. Of course we would like to be Grand Champion, but we're happy with placing somewhere in the top 10. thanks to our strong finish in pork and brisket we ended up 5th over all out of 65 teams! Not bad considering the strong field of teams competing.

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