Wild Weekend in Moses Lake

The Moses Lake event – The Basin BBQ Bash – was a great time, and fortunately Mother Nature decided to take it easy on us and not get much above 70 all weekend. Far better than the predicted 90°.

The weekend started off a bit off-balance since I somehow managed to miss packing the beautiful little free range chickens that Christene bought for the weekend. So first thing I had to run off to Safeway to get a couple of rather large Foster Farms chickens. Considering how long they took to cook, I definitely wish those little organic guys had been in the ice chest. But more on that in a minute.

By the time I got back from the store, it was time to head to the Cooks’ Meeting. Normally I’d send Christene so I can focus on whatever prep / cooking needs to be done, but she was working on her People’s Choice chili, so off I went. At this point things are barely organized in the tent, so we’re a bit behind all over.

After the meeting, I start working on my focaccia for the Dutch Oven competition – had to get it kneaded and rising. I think this is the first time since I was a kid that I had to knead dough by hand – this is why I have a Kitchen Aid! Somehow, starting on the dough first, I completely spaced that dessert was the first category. Fortunately I remembered just over an hour before, and had enough time to get the appropriate oven up to temp and cook the dessert.

The dessert I made was a Caribbean Upside-Down Cake with Coconut, Macadamia Nut, Dark Spiced Rum, and Pineapple. This was the first time cooking an actual cake in the Dutch Oven, so getting that sucker out had me a bit stressed. But I got the oven flipped, and we got the cake onto the presentation lid in one piece. That sucker looked awesome, but I had to cross my fingers as there was no way to taste it AND turn it in.

After Dutch Ovening, then I went ahead and baked another focaccia to have with dinner, since I still had half the dough remaining. Finally, after cooking all day and eating dinner, I got around to prepping the actual barbecue meats 10 hours after first setting up. And with a whole day, I so had hopes of brining my briskets…oh well.

Sunday, chicken continued to be a pain in our butts. I just couldn’t get the suckers cooked. After over an hour and a half of cooking two whole chickens I managed to get two breasts and four wings that were done, so we turned in a box of four breast pieces and four wings. A pretty box, and better than a DQ, but we knew it wasn’t going to do all that well. We don’t usually hit the bourbon until we’re all done, but a drink was definitely necessary after that round.

At the end of the day, Saturday definitely turned out better for us than Sunday. We took Fourth Place in Pork and Brisket. I thought my pork was a bit better than Fourth, but brisket I’m happy with considering there were some awesome brisket cooks there. Chicken did predictably poorly (12th); our Ribs also placed 12th, which was a surprise to us. Though after reading the comments, the judges nearly unanimously felt they were a bit underdone. Sometimes things just don’t go your way. Saturday though, the dessert took First Place (197.2 points out of a possible 200), and bread took Second. Unfortunately my short ribs were a bit chewy, so they didn’t do as well.

The good news though is that Saffron (Bush Kitchen) and I had already agreed that if one of us won the Dutch Oven competition, that we’d go cook the IDOS World Championship together. Saffron won (her entree was awesome), so we’re going to Utah in March!

I think that’s about it for now…plenty of other barbecue stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks. Christene and I are catering a 250 person lunch/dinner at the UW next week, and then the next day is the breast cancer charity rib cook-off. That’s going to be one exhausting weekend…


Knocked out BBQ on the Bypass, and on to Moses Lake!

We had – as always – an absolutely awesome time at the BBQ on the Bypass in Langley, BC.  Once again Angie and David put on a first-class event.

JD Farms sponsored the “Black Box” event, where we were given three secret ingredients to cook with.  Those were two turkey legs, powdered molasses, and sundried tomatoes.  Came in 8th place, which was OK.  I, at least, was happy with the dish.

Christene entered the annual pie contest – the Great BC Bake Off – with a caramel apple pie.  That netted her third place, and a kick-ass gift basket from Well Seasoned.

In the big meats, we had our best showing of the year (hoping to follow it up this weekend in Moses Lake).  We placed 6th in Pork (I thought it was much better than 6th, but what can you do?), 6th in Brisket, 5th in Chicken, and 4th in Ribs.  All of these were good enough for 4th Place Overall.  While we’ve placed higher overall, I believe this is the first time in 10+ years that we placed in the top 6 in each category for an event.

We’re also getting the last tidbits ready for this weekend’s Basin Bash in Moses Lake, WA.  Along with the regular competition categories, Saturday has People’s Choice Chili that Christene is cooking, and a full Dutch Oven cook that I’ll be riding herd on.

While I have a good complement of Dutch Ovens, and have cooked a full range of dishes in them, this will be my first time cooking dessert, bread, and a main dish at the same time, and doing it for competition.  And doing it in a shortened time frame, what with setting up at 10 am and having the first turn-in at 3:00.  Here’s what I’m thinking…

Dessert will be a pineapple upside-down cake, kicked up with coconut, macadamia nuts, and spiced rum.  Wow.  That macadamia nut idea literally just occurred to me as I typed that sentence.  Awesome.  Yes, a pineapple upside-down cake is considered a “beginner” Dutch Oven dessert, but better to execute something easy well than something difficult poorly.

Bread.  I’ve been pondering which route to go with my bread turn-in.  For this one I think I need to go with a herb, garlic and cheese focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes and maybe dried black olives.

Then there’s the Main dish.  I thought over this one most of all, but have decided to do braised short ribs over polenta.  I figure I can make a nice thick, cheesy polenta topped with the ribs braised with red wine, tomato, and some other vegetables.

Hopefully I’ll remember to get some pictures this time ’round, and get those up here!

New Pork Rub

Sitting in the Shuttle Express van, so time for a quick post…

Premiering a couple of new secret ingredients in the pork and rib rib rub this weekend. More to come after we see how it goes!

Sorry for the absence…

Been a busy bit with lots of non-BBQ stuff going on. BUT!

We’re gearing up for the last two full competitions of the season. We’ll be cooking BBQ on the Bypass in Langley, BC, and the the BBQ Basin Bash in Moses Lake, WA.

Both should be fun events. Angie Quaale always puts on a great event with interesting extra categories, and the Basin Bash also has a full Dutch Oven cook the first day.

Wish us luck!