Ramble On

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's cookin' - at Smokin' on the Track

So the grill was lit, some preliminary socializing was out of the way, and we'd even had our health inspection.  The long and slow cooking parts were underway.  It was time to begin planning how our items were going to come off the grill and get lined up for submission.

The schedule for submitting the chicken. ribs, pulled pork, and brisket was pretty tight, all set at 30 minute intervals in the afternoon.  I set my watch, which has five alarm settings, to go off with thirty minute notice for each of these, which are shown in the first photo. Then we got to cooking - brisket and pork were the first in, as shown in the previous post.

These next three images are of the pulled pork - first when we checked on it midway through cooking, second when we pulled it out of the smoker and began breaking it down, and last, just before submission, as we presented it..
I have to admit, this was my favorite part of the contest.  We felt like we'd done a good job on this, and with second opinions from a few friends and family, we were getting good feedback.  We were proud to put this one up in front of the judges.

But we only finished 10th or so on this.  We learned later that the instructions for this meat specified that the sauce would be mixed in with the pork - we had a prized recipe that we had cooked up on the side, but we couldn't figure out how to submit it, and we had overlooked the instruction.  So we'll have to see how we do next year on this.

Next up are the brisket and ribs we submitted.  The brisket came out just right, as far as being done and cooked tender.  But it had begun to dry out a little, since we finish it early and took it off the heat, and then took it back up to temp before allowing it to rest so we could slice it.  We ended up fixing this with just a little brush of sauce - and these placed fifth overall out of 20.

The ribs had their own special considerations - Jared carefully sliced them off from bone to bone - with a bone in the center.  So the lucky judge would actually getting two ribs' worth of meat with these.  They were done with a dry rub - again no sauce, and we placed about the same as we had on the pulled pork.

Finally, here's our chicken.  We had prepared two batches, one with a traditional rub, which is what we submitted, and one with a Greek style lemon and oregano marinade.  That one came out great too - but we decided we should go with the traditional recipe for the contest.  That turned out to be a good decision - we placed third in chicken.

Finally, Dwayne, Jared and I waited to hear how we had done in the overall category.  With a third in chicken, and a fifth in brisket, we'd already done better than we expected in our first competition, but the two lower finishes in pork might set us back a little bit.  They only announced the podium finishers, but they passed around the final results (and later they posted those on the web):  

Two Fat Farmers and a City Slicker placed fourth overall!

We all had a great time and we're looking forward to next year - or the next contest.  We'll keep you posted!

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