Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Cleaning, Snowshoe, Trophies

Sunday was spent on yard work, planting some flowers, re-organizing the Jambo condo (the garage), and cleaned up the Big Green Egg.  The Egg, as you can see from the photos below, really needed it!   At the end of the beautiful spring day, in typical New England fashion, it snowed.

Saturday was productive as well.  We cooked one of our favorite events, the Snowshoe.  There was a bunch of new teams competing in addition to some traveling teams from the NYC area.   We did well breaking our grilling drought with a Reserve Grand Champion call, missed GC by .5 points!   I'm not sure we did anything differently, maybe we just had a lucky day.

Gary and Michelle Taft have done an excellent job growing this event and featuring some nice fundraisers for the local community.  This year they kicked it up another notch by adding custom snowshoe trophies.  This adds so much to an event.  Any contest organizers that happen to read this blog - customize your trophies!  Those bowling trophies don't cut it.   I'd bet that the snowshoe trophies didn't cost THAT much more than the standard bowling trophy, it just took a contest organizer to invest a bit more time and creativity into the event.  It adds so much to the event in my opinion, it goes a long way for the competition teams and I'm sure adds some interest for the visiting public when they see a nice set of custom trophies on display.  Harpoon, GuitarBeQue are other examples of great custom trophies at Northeast contests.  In lieu of more prize money a custom trophy is a great way to get teams to want to cook your event.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Competition Grilling Contests

In 2002 my team won the NEBS Team of the Year largely due to putting up big scores in grilling contests. Our 'bread and butter' was fresh made hollandaise sauce preferably with lobster meat, served over perfectly grilled beef tenderloin, swordfish, shrimp or even more lobster. We scored well with the dish even at big events like Jack Daniels and Memphis in May. At some point this recipe stoppped hitting in the money. The judges tastes changed or we just weren't cooking as well. In any case, its been a couple of years since we've won grilling contest on the NEBS circuit. We have some good cooks on our team and have a few big Chefs Choice wins recently but can't seem to figure out the full NEBS grilling program any more.

I think the major difference between a grilling contest and a KCBS contest is the grilling is wide open. KCBS pork ribs are judged strictly as barbecue. Lamb though, at a NEBS grilling contest, could be chops, ribs, shank, asian, caribbean or bbq style. There is no real standard. What are the judges looking for? Apparantly the I-Que team does not know. For instance, at the well organized BBQ Bailout event a few weekends ago our new Jambo Pit operated flawlessly, we put out some good entries leaning heavily towards KCBS type style and did pretty poorly. We'll try again this weekend at the Snowshoe.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Yes, I've read that the golden rule of Blogging is consistent updates.  And I was on a roll for a while there.   Last couple of weeks I just haven't been cooking.    My mind has actually been on music lately, I flew down to Hampton VA last week to see my favorite band, Phish, play a reunion concert.   The contest season will hit full swing over the next couple of months and I hope to keep the blog more regularly updated, starting with the Snowshoe Grilling Contest next weekend.