Well, the competition was educational, and I got fairly well thrashed by some exceptional teams. No trophy or cash prize this time! 66 teams showed up, from 7 states. The backyard BBQ division I was in (cooking chicken and ribs only) had 23 entries, the rest were masters teams cooking the full slate of chicken, ribs, pork butt, and brisket, on both Saturday and Sunday. There were a number of nationally-ranked teams in both divisions, and some really impressive set-ups, custom trailers, often with separate smokers for each meat. I got a kick out of the team that travels with the life-sized statue of Jack Daniels. I was at the opposite end of the scale, camping in a tent and running two Weber Smokey Mountain cookers.
Things got underway each day with the traditional 9:22 am shot of bourbon (no one seems to remember how that tradition got started), though by then most of the teams have been cooking for hours. I was happy to have the meats done to my liking in time for the turn-in windows (2:30 pm for chicken, 3 pm for ribs, missing the window by 10 minutes either way results in disqualification). I was very happy with the ribs; I still haven't settled on the right combination of brine, injection, rub, and sauces for the chicken, but they weren't bad, and the turn-in boxes sure looked good.