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…

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