Rookie competitor—don’t do this!
In March we decided to compete in The Santa Anita Winner’s Circle BBQ Competition at the racetrack in Arcadia California. It was a last minute decision so the week of we were running around getting a banner, a canopy and all the other little things you need.
Lesson learned—Make a list of everything you need to compete and check it off as you load. We were running around Arcadia looking for zip ties for the banner.
Next the meat.
Ok, we knew we needed brisket, chicken, pork and ribs. Chicken, pork, ribs—check. Do you know how hard it is to find good brisket on a Friday afternoon during rush hour in Los Angeles????
Lesson learned—find your meat supplier early and reserve exactly what you need.
The rules of the competition.
At the meeting before the competition they went over all the rules for competing. For example, the meat had to be presented on top of green leaf lettuce or parsley—no kale, no red leaf lettuce etc. We chose parsley which in hindsight was not the best choice. The veterans had leaf lettuce. So now we know.
Lesson learned—talk to the veterans.
Who needs to practice? I know how to smoke!
Yes, Jerry is a veteran smoker. There is very little he doesn’t know about cooking low and slow. But still, in the heat of the battle things can get crazy. Our friend Ira of Hog Heaven BBQ practice cooks under competition conditions. He has tons of trophies.
Lesson learned—practice, practice, practice
So we learned a lot and despite some missteps, we had a great time. It was really fun meeting and talking with other competitors. And guess what? Because we had the Jen-u-wine Jerry pellet fired stick burner, Jerry got some sleep while the stick burners were up all night.