Sunday, January 24, 2010

Looking Ahead

First, I wanted to thank Greg Rempe for having me on his BBQ Central Radio Show last Tuesday (1/19). We discussed our teams' experience with being on "BBQ Pitmasters," our teams' background and feelings about Myron Mixon . I enjoyed giving the amateur team perspective on things. Thanks again Greg!

All the snow has melted in the Kansas City area. It has taken a month to get rid of it but it's gone! Hopefully for good! Temperatures have rebounded from highs around 0 degrees to what feels like tropical highs in the 30's! The warm-up in the weather really gets the competition juices flowing.

Darrin, Brant and myself met at Darrin's house to have our preseason game plan discussion last weekend (Corey was busy cooking and couldn't attend. We'll forgive him as it was bbq related.) This is a good strategy session for us as we can lay out our competition schedule for 2010, address any cooking related issues or adjustments we want to make, discuss marketing/sponsorship items and hash out any issues from the previous year.

Contest selection is what drives the bus for us and it is important that we choose wisely. We decided to kick off the cook season with the Smoke on the Water contest in Little Rock, AR. The total prize package is a staggering $100k and they are paying out 1st through 40th place in each category. It is a great opportunity to compete with many of the top teams from across the country early on in the BBQ season and to capitalize on our success at the American Royal. This will be the first time that we step out of the Kansas City area to compete.

In addition to Little Rock, we are looking at the Springfield, MO contest in mid April, Great American in May and the American Royal in October. We will also look at adding an additional 2 to 4 contests dispersed across late April through September. I'm really looking forward to the 2010 season. Hurry up and get here March!

Darrin also is organizing a practice cook at his house in February. After I attended the JOS cook school this past November, we decided that we need to incorporate the brisket and pork butt techniques into our cook process. This will give everyone a chance to work through these techniques together after having practiced them separately. Also another area we will explore will be our rib process. We've been happy with our ribs but want to give the JOS process a try as well. It is nice to know that we have 2 solid rib techniques to utilize. For now, the chicken process will remain the same but I feel we can make 2 minor changes and still attain the same solid finished product.

I'm ready to cook!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pitmasters Episode 5 - Attack of Holla-N-Swalla

Well, where to begin? We had no idea what to expect other than we were to appear on the show. There was a lot of video shot Saturday night into Sunday. The show's producers did a great job getting what was shot condensed down into a nice concise program.
To be honest, when the episode started I was a little nervous where it might go. Would we be portrayed as "partiers," clueless cooks or something out of leftfield? As the show progressed, I was very relieved as they worked the amateurs getting help from the pro angle.
When we were initially approached on that Saturday of the Royal by John Markus, he said they were looking for an amateur team that one of the Pitmasters (Myron) could mentor. Myron had put in a good word for us and John asked if we would like to participate. We would have access to Myron to ask questions and see behind the wizard's curtain during the morning of the open. Who could say no to something like that?
As Sunday morning unfolded, Brant, Darrin, Corey and myself tried to take advantage of going over to Myron's tent to ask questions and to see some of his processes. Brant and I talked to Myron about chicken and we mentioned to him that we had some legs to cook with our thighs. We normally cook thighs and 6 to 10 legs at a contest. If we have room in our box, we try to get at least 2 legs in there as well. Myron said if we had legs to make sure we get them in the box as the judges like a "handle" to hold onto while they eat. Fortunately, we were able to get 6 thighs and 2 legs into our blind box at the Royal. We hit the right judging table and the rest is history.
The Myron Mixon you see in this episode is the real Myron I know. He is helpful, friendly and gracious. Is Myron cocky and self assured in what he does? Hell yes! He's a champion and has earned that right. I think some folks may be reading a little too much into the persona they see on the show. If you meet him and talk to him, you will come away feeling positive about him. I hope that we get the opportunity to cook next to Myron and his wife Faye again.
All four of us really enjoyed the episode. A big "Thank You" to the "Pitmasters" producers for letting us appear and to Myron for his kind words about our team. We had a great time and would love to do it again!
We can't wait to get the 2010 season going!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pitmasters Tonight

Tonight's the night to see if we made the cut. Not sure what to expect?