Well folks: yesterday I told you about my experience at the Route 66 BBQ contest and how my cook went. So today I'll tell you about some of the other pit masters that were there. First I'll talk about John Craig with Triple F Farms. John and his team was next to me and I have to tell you about his smokers. John takes 4 drawer file cabinets and turns them into smokers. He uses the bottom drawer for air and to catch ash, the second drawer is where he puts his charcoal and smoking wood. The next 2 drawers is for the meat. Top drawer will be the cooler of the two. These take some fire watching but produced some very good BBQ.
Next on the other side was Bob and Kevin from G&H Smokers. These guys had only done backyard contest before and for some reason they thought I was some sort of a expert and looked to me for advice. I had no problem telling them what I knew but I kept telling them this is my first sanction contest also, so don't rely to much on what I say. Nice guys and gave me breakfast Saturday morning. I was glad when they got a call in chicken, so guess my advice didn't hurt them too much.
Next team I have to tell you about is Bill Grenko of Lock Stocked and 2 Smokin Barrels. Bill is the guy I have been talking to for advice. The reason I talk to Bill is because in his last two contest he has won 2 Grand Champions.
That's back to back Grand Championships. I kind of think if I want to get better I should be asking someone that has a proven winning record. Bill and his wife Anne are very nice and for whatever reason Bill is very free with giving me advice. Just Talking to him for a few minutes has made me a better pit master.
Next but certainly not last is Alan Bowman with Canadian Bakin BBQ. I met Al from my BBQ buddy Arthur of Major League Grilling. Alan and his wife Karen came to this contest with their 2 kids Chaser who is 3 and his sister Brie who is 5. Chaser is his nick name but it fits. He doesn't know a stranger and is on the go all the time. Unlike his sister who was just a quiet shy little girl. What makes this teams story so special is they came to the contest in a mini van stocked with stuff for the kids, cooler full of supplies leaving just enough room for ONE PIT!! That's right Al cooked all 4 meats and Karen cooked the dessert using one pit. It was a 18.5 inch Weber Smokey Mountain. Just by comparison I used 3 pits.
Now I have seen pictures of Al's food and there was no doubt in my mind that he could cook, but watching him this past weekend puts me in awe. Not only did he cook all this on one pit,but he's got the kids helping, they are helping season the meat and are very much part of the team. Not only is Al a outstanding Pit Master but Karen and Al may be better parents. Now the payoff for all this is not only did they have a great family weekend cooking together. Canadian Bakin won Grand Champion!!! They did all this on one 18.5 " pit with 2 small kids in tow and out cooked every other Pit Master there, some with thousand of dollars invested in pits. Just show's you it's not necessary to spend a ton of money on pits to cook great BBQ.
By the way Lock Stock and 2 Smokin Barrels finished in second as the Reserved Grand Champion. The man can cook also.
So that's the kind of people you will meet at a BBQ contest. So if you ever thought you couldn't enter a contest because you don't have a big enough pit or because you got kids. You ought to try it some time. You will meet some great folks and a lot of them will be glad to help you and offer advice if you ask.
But I do have to warn you. It is habit forming.