Well, yesterday was a big day. For the 7th year in a row we were selected to cook in the Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ. "The Jack" is the one of the most prestigious and certainly the most difficult contest to get into out on the competition bbq trail.
The Jack invites only the teams that have won a Grand Championship in each state. Problem is some states have a bunch of state championships. I think Missouri has about 40 state championship contests. So what Jack Daniels does is have a draw for each state by putting a numbered whiskey bung into a big whiskey barrel and pulling out the numbers of the lucky teams.
Full rules here.
Full results here.
In past years we have won contests like Merrimack, NH or Windsor, VT where these were the only contests in that state so we had an "automatic". This year though I Smell Smoke!!! swept the automatic New England contests (MA, VT, NH) and as a result 'draw day' was a bit more dramatic for the IQUE team.
We won two qualifying contests in NY: New Paltz and Troy. There were three other NY contests though: Buffalo (won by Lunchmeat), Sayville (won by BBQ-Brethren) and Lake Placid (won by Jacks Down Home). So we had a 2 in 5 chance of getting drawn. The Jack also randomizes the order of the state draws so we were hoping that PA went first because Lunchmeat won a PA contest. If Lunchmeat was drawn in PA they would not be part of the NY draw. Turns out NY was up before PA so we were really lucky and got drawn for what we hope is Lucky #7.
The team had pretty much thought we were not going to the Jack so all of our travel arrangements and time off has been focused on the American Royal. Looks like it might be only myself and my brother Jamie cooking this time. If so, we'll skip the extra categories like Chefs Choice. Here is a pic of a lobster pot pie preparation we turned in for Chefs Choice a few years ago and earned a 3rd place jug. As always our goal for the 2008 Jack is to get a call to the stage.
Congrats and good luck to all the teams going to the Jack.