Competition: Smokin’ in Mesquite
Labor Day weekend was only our second competition of our new BBQ journey. We entered the Smoking in Mesquite competition in Mesquite, NV knowing we had to step up our game against the many great teams there. We picked up our meat from T&H Prime Meats in San Marcos on Tuesday and loaded up our 100 pounds of meat. Normally we wouldn’t order that much, but we wanted to be prepared since there was 40,000 in cash and prizes. Loaded up on Wednesday and on our way, minus a quick stop at The Hat in Ontario for some great pastrami sandwiches. A few hours later we checked into our hotel, the Casablanca, and set up our site. Arlie Bragg sets up a great event, power and water for each site, very well organized. So now we had a whole day on Thursday to relax and hang by the pool, thats the way to do a BBQ competition. Thursday night they set up a large screen to watch BBQ Pitmasters on TLC. Pretty cool experience watching the show with two of that episode’s starring teams sitting behind us, Smokin’ Triggers and Big Poppa Smokers.
Now the day of the cook. After meat inspection we started our prep, injecting our pork and brisket and rubbing them down. Put our meat on with a mix of pecan and cherry wood around 7 pm, knowing we wanted to hold them for a couple hours after cooking. After walking around we got a little nervous seeing some of the well known teams not even starting their fires until after midnight, but to each his own. Time for bed… the best thing about Smokin’ in Mesquite is having a hotel room within 100 yards. ZZZZ.
6 am: Ribs are on and Chicken is getting prepped. A little info on our chicken, we smoke a deboned thigh with the skin scraped and rewrapped around it. We still are not sure what to do with it; we’ll see how it does in our next comp. 10:30: Pork and Brisket are resting and Ribs and Chicken have been cooking for a little bit. 11:30 to 1:30: I really don’t remember, running around sleep deprived will put you in zombie mode. Turn in done.
Now for the reason I love BBQ competitions—the people. I had some left over Q and really wanted to get some feedback from the veterans. We had been talking to Jerry King from Midland, TX and I took him a piece of what we turned in, asking for his honest opinion, what he liked and didn’t like. This man knows his BBQ and gave us some great insights. We did the same with Johnny Trigg and the Rib Tickler crew and both were very helpful. Thanks guys.
The awards are now starting. Chicken no call, Ribs no call. After that we had just figured that we were the rookies and this trip would be a great learning experience regardless. Then we were called: Pork, 4th place. We couldn’t believe it and out of 48 teams. After getting our award I really didn’t even care what was going on after that. Brisket no call. Then it happened. We won Peoples’ Choice and $1,500 bucks. Wow. To tell the truth I had written off the Peoples’ Choice. Earlier we had been running low on our pork sauce and didn’t want to waste what we had on Peoples’ Choice. So on the spot we made a quick sauce, and added it to our Peoples Choice Pulled Pork. So you can guess the shock when our name was called. We had a great time that night celebrating and hanging out with the team.
After breaking down on the road home in the heat of the desert, we finally made it home late Monday night and got a great night’s sleep.