The problem with cooking BBQ on a wood fired smoker in such cold weather is maintaining the heat level you need to get your entries done on time and keeping them warm until judging. It had been as low as 18 degrees during the night and when the cooks got up in the morning they discovered that their wash water had frozen. They have to maintain warm water and sterilized water in order to comply with Health Department standards for safe food. So they set out to get things heated up and get their bodies moving in the chilly morning air.
The judges meeting began at 10:30 am and we discussed the conditions of the day and how they would affect judging. Once the Judge’s Oath was administered we had about 30 minutes before the entries would arrive at the judging area. Most of us discovered that it was a little warmer in the Sunshine than it was inside the judge’s tent (if you could find a place out of the wind).
It was a little surprising that people began arriving around 11 am. They could walk along the street where the contestants were and see them getting ready for turn-in. They could also shop where the vendors had space to sell items. A few people even stuck their heads in the judge’s tent, although I suspect they were just looking for a place out of the wind and cold.
Every few minutes a train would pass and give us several blasts from the horn, just to wake us up and let us know they were there. You know that caused several comments. But, that was OK because judging was about to begin. We would judge each entry on Appearance, Taste and Tenderness.
Entries began arriving at 11:55 am and judges were encouraged that the meat was warm and tasty. The cold had little affect on the veteran BBQers. Chicken was judged at noon, Pork Ribs at 12:30, Pork at 1:00, and Brisket at 1:30. There were some fantastic entries in each category. Old Virginia Smoke won the Chicken category with a perfect score of 180, Pork Ribs was won by Beer Meets Grill with a score of 175.44, Pork went to Wolf’s Revenge BBQ with a perfect 180, and Brisket went to LO’-N- SLO’ BBQ with at 177.1544. These were fantastic scores given the conditions of the day. There were 50 BBQ teams competing for prize money, andwhen all of the scores were compiled, the top 5 finishers were:
- OLD VIRGINIA SMOKE (Grand Champion) 691.9888
- WOLF’S REVENGE BBQ (Reserve GC) 678.2168
- RHODE HOG BBQ 677.6684
- LIFE IS GOOD BUT BBQ IS BETTER 677.6572
- LO’-N- SLO’ BBQ 675.9316
We are very thankful for those who worked so hard on a cold weekend, with special thanks going to contest organizer Beth Johnson, who did an outstanding job for a first time event. The Kansas City Barbeque Society Reps were Bob and Angela McKee from Germantown, Maryland. We all had a great time and by the time we left Brunswick, it was almost 35 balmy degrees.