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Reserve Grand Champion

Posted by on June 12, 2012

The title sounds as if the Black Angus pulled a blue ribbon at the county fair. But ahh, contraire. It actually means second place. Here’s the scoop. Mike, the Porkmeister, asked me a few weeks ago to be a part of his barbecue competition team. Mike’s the manager of the Gnome Cafe, here at Lake in Wood Camping Resort. He also has been entering barbecue competitions for years and has raked in many a trophy and cash prizes. What did I have to lose. He stated that he would be culling the pork and chicken as those two choices were the mainstay of the program.  I was to bring up the rear with the Chef’s Choice entry. This could be anything of my choice. It just had to be done over charcoal coals -on site. These three items would be presented to a score of judges for presentation, preparation and taste. Saturday at dawn we headed east to Valley Forge and then up the northeast extension as the competition was taking in all of the Greater Philadelphia area. Upon our arrival I was amazed at the thousands of dollars grown men would spend on equipment to smoke and barbecue meat. When I spied the tent housing Famous Dave’s, well known throughout the tri-state area for their catering and specialties, I figured we had no chance and these competitors would send us shamelessly home with a good ass-whoopin’. We unloaded the trailer, setting up our canopy, kitchen, smokers and grills all in a 20’x20′ area and began the day-long journey. We prepped, we smoked, we grilled and we tasted. Much of our time  was spent just waiting and watching as the meat processed.

We solved most of the world’s ills as the essence emanating from the smokestacks piqued not only the olfactory senses but made our tastebuds salivate with anticipation. Mike is the master with the meat, so I played the role of kitchen bitch. And to my way of thinking the judges were getting meat and more meat. So for my Chef’s Choice I decided the best thing to go with meat/meat was sweet. I prepared my famous sweet and sour strawberry crepes. Making crepes from scratch over charcoal coals was a feat that was new to me. Twenty minutes prior to turn-in I found myself sweating, not from the heat of the surroundings but from anticipation and exhiliaration. My god, I was nervous. Competition does that. I love it. Everything turned out better than our expectations. We relished the ride back to Lake In Wood Resort, who incidentally sponsored our sojourn into the land of smoking cuisine. We had placed second overall and were deemed Reserve Grand Champions. My first foray into the world of Pit Masters and we came out winners. A great end to a good Saturday.

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