Lessons from the first cookoff
1. Have a plan and stick to it
2. Know the rules of the cookoff
3. Try to get some rest - FAT CHANCE!! But havin the RV available did help.
4. Don't change your methodology on the day of the cookoff
5. Don't lose your mind when the judges don't score your entry the way you think it should go.
6. Be prepared to take crap from each and every team within ear-shot of your location. Don't listen to how they "do it" -- just nod and say "that's great!"
7. Always remember #1 - Have a plan and stick to it.
Now, the timeline for the Southern Brethren was:
After arriving, setup, cook's meeting/rules reading (we had a great fish fry provided by the American Legion!), and more set up we took a breather (not breath!) and looked at the "plan" and timeline. About 7, after supper, I prepped the pork, brisket, and ribs. The chicken wasn't going into the marinade until 6 a.m.
At this point we made adjustments:
9:30 start the fires - changed to I started the WSM looking to have one pork butt and one brisket in by 10:30. Tim waited a bit to fire off his highly modified Bandera. We had all the meat in by midnight.
I went to lay down for a while and was planning on being back around 5'ish to check the pork and brisket and relieve Tim for some rest. Well, the pork and brisket in the WSM were at 165 when Tim woke me up around 3:30 - So, we wrapped the butt and brisket, we talked a bit and Tim went to get some much needed rest with a plan to be back around 7 a.m.
Around 5 a.m. or so the butt and brisket in the WSM was ready to go into the cooler. And shortly thereafter the Bandera butt and brisket were ready to foil and move to the WSM.
I tended the Bandera and shot the bull with our next-door-neighbor who showed up around 6 a.m. He fired off his version of Frankenpit and went to work. I'd stoked up the WSM a bit since I was planning on using it for the chicken later in the morning and was using it for to finish off the 2nd butt and brisket when I foiled them. Right at 6 a.m. the ribs went into the Bandera to start the modified 3-2-1 process. The chicken went into the marinade as soon as I finished dealing with the ribs.
The second brisket and butt went into the cooler just before 7 a.m. and as Tim came into view I was putting the chicken into the WSM for the three hour tour!
It was time for breakfast and the fattie mcmuffins, fruit, cinnamon rolls, and coffee were definately appriciated.
About 9 we foiled the ribs and they were just starting to pull away at the tips.
At 10 I started focusing on the chicken. So a second seasoning and the decision of skin/no skin was decided (we went skin on this time). After reseasoning a light brushing of sauce was applied and allowed to set. About 10:40 the fun started -- pick eight pieces and start dealing with getting them into the turn-in box.
10:57 the chicken is headed to the turn-in table.
11:05 the ribs are checked. One rack had been coolered at about 10:15 and the other two allowed to continue in the Bandera. About 11:30 the ribs are unwrapped and put over the now vacant grill on the WSM for a warm-up/drying out - a bit of reseasoning and a light coat of sauce. 11:45 the started cutting ribs and choosing the eight for the box. Another light saucing and they were ready to go. The ribs were at the turn-in at the stroke of noon.
12:05 started pulling the pork - both butts - seperating the nice chunks of bark for arrangement and pulling and cleaning the inside meat. A bit a seasoning and cover with foil and put in the sun to keep warm until 11:45! After all we're in Florida and it's about 95 already - the meat was too hot to touch when I went back to work on it at 11:45. A quick taste test and a bit of finishing sauce and into the box the pork went -- turned in at 1:01.
1:05 - unwrap the brisket and take a look at the contenders. Both were nicely colored with the Bandera brisket taking honors for bark -- unfortunately it was a bit "overdone" and wouldn't slice. The other sliced better and had the nice stretch -- both briskets tasted great and were seasoned the same. Finally decided on eight pieces and gave them a run through thinned sauce and boxed it up. Turned in at 1:57.
Now we started to collapse but started cleaning up instead!! Hot water on the boil for the sanitation station and off we went - soaking grates and cleaning table.
After the awards presentations at 4 pm we finished cleaning and packing. Tim headed off with the trailer to his son's house for the night and we headed back to Clearwater - we got home just after sunset.
Sunday Tim met me at my house and we off-loaded my gear and got him reloaded for the drive back to north Florida.
Great weekend despite the scores! I couldn't have a better partner than Tim Cochran. My wife, Anne, was the perfect assistant and my son Joey (age 12) spent plenty of time riding the four-wheelers with the support staff -- they kept trying to talk him out of his Brethren hat!! :D
Southern Brethren BBQ Competition Team
"It's all about getting paid!" - Myron Mixon
"I love being hated in my hometown!" - David Hair
KingFisher Gator Rotisserie cooker, WSM, Stainless 5 burner with IR gas grill, Turkey Fryer, Weber JD Commemorative grill, slightly used Bandera chamber for future use as a cold smoker, Masterbuilt 40" insulated ELECTRIC smoker