Springfield, MO - Our fourth event this season took place on September 16 & 17th at the Sertoma Summer Sizzle. We cooked this event last year when it was in the blazing days of August. This year it was moved to mid-September and the weather was the opposite. Of course it rained, it would not be a contest for us this season with out rain. We have been four for four this year with the rain! But rain be damned! It was time to cook.
We really enjoyed cooking this event last year. It was well run and the organizers were constantly coming around to check on the teams. You could not ask for better organizers. It was a no brainer for us to do it again. The event date did change this year and made this contest coincide with 5 other regional events. We were not really sure what the final team list would be like here but knew going into this, like all events, we would have to be on our game.
We arrived and set up in the same spot we had last year. We were able to beat the rain and get everything set-up our standard way. We were able to get our prep work and boxes done before it got dark and had down time to enjoy the bands until it was time to cook.
The cookers were fired up at 1230am but the rain forced us to move the cookers under the tents to keep the temps where needed them. Our brisket was a little bit undersized. Probably about 11lbs or so. It went on at 130am with the pork butts. The cookers stayed at 250 degrees so we took a nap. Everything cooked well without any problems which was nice considering the conditions. The rib cooker did spike to 350 degrees for about 10 minutes while we went to grab some coffee and donuts but fortunately no damage was done.
Our chicken came out well and we were able to get 8 pieces into the box. We had plenty of good ribs and filled that box too. We repeated our pork process from our last contest. We made a few tweeks to the injection and followed our normal timelines with it. What really helped is that we were able to get some great money muscle slices to put in the box with our pulled pork. The brisket turned out like it has the last 3 contests and did not wow us but had good flavor. After the turn-ins were over, I felt we had a strong chicken entry, good ribs, good pork and decent brisket. Now it was time to sit and wait for the awards.
The awards started with the chicken category. I thought we should get a call and as the winners names were called 10,9,8,7,6,5,4 still no call 3,2, and then we called for first! It felt great! We won first place in chicken here last year and it was great to repeat. Then the rib category started and we heard our names called at 9th. Not a bad finish and I was happy for the call. Pork was next and I really didn't know what to expect. Maybe 8th or 6th at best. As the names were read 10th through 2nd place, I was disappointed. I didn't think we had a 1st place entry but then I heard our names called for 1st place! I was shocked. After getting our award and sitting down, then I became nervous. We sat in this similar position last year waiting for a call in brisket to have a shot at winning but we never heard that call. We looked at each other and said we just need to hear our names. When we heard it at 5th in brisket I knew we had a shot at a top 3 finish. As the top overall was read and we were not the 3rd place finisher, we were now on the verge of doing something we had never down before -finish 2nd or 1st! Well when we weren't called for reserve grand I knew we had done it! Finally a Grand Championship! What a great feeling to finally experience. It had been a long time coming for us!
Thanks to our families for hanging in their with us. Thanks to Brant for dragging me into the competition world. This is not a cheap hobby and I was not sure how much longer this train was going to roll but I could never say no. There were times that I thought we were on the verge of breaking through to a win only to sit in an award ceremony and end up out of the running. It has been long haul to get here and I am glad our team did not give up! Now we need to work on our 2nd Grand Championship!