The romance of the open road is both the allure and bane of West Coast BBQ teams like us who made a 1,700-mile drive paralleling nostalgic Route 66 to compete in Little Rock, Arkansas. For 2010, we switched our Big-Fish-in-Little-Pond approach of competing primarily in California to a Small-Fish-in-Big-Pond approach to duke it out with the best in the BBQ Belt states. To grow as a third-year BBQ team, we’ve got to go head-to-head with the best.
As anticipated, the $100,000 largest-purse-in-BBQ-history Smoke on the Water Championship in Little Rock attracted 230 of the best teams in the US and the world including teams from Canada and a team and TV crew from Tokyo. The Tokyo team called AARRGH-B-Que was on a TV show with a 25 million audience following so American BBQ is sure to get exposure in Japan.
We got to hang out with old and new friends both Friday and Saturday including Brian and Matthew from Clark Kent Smokers, Dianelle from DivaQ, Steph and Kyle from TheSlabs.com, and many others. We ate dinner with several teams and cooked some Seared Ahi and Paella. A special mention goes to Brice Clark, a swell young lad from Clark Kent Smokers who handled our tee sales and managed the throngs of fans to allow us the ability to cook!
There were hordes of fans of the TLC BBQ Pitmasters at the event and we did our fair share of photos and autographs.
After the smoke cleared, we came in 35th overall out of 230 teams and got a call for 13th place brisket. Pretty decent finish considering the best of the best were there. Our good friends Rod and Sheri from Pellet Envy won GC and took home a large chunk of the $100,000 total prize. My fellow TLC Pitmaster Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke took Reserve honors; Myron came in 50th; Johnny Triggs came in 74th. Our very good friends and sponsors Steph and Kyle from TheSlabs.com came in third. Weather was perfect until very cold rain hit the site during the awards ceremony. The 35-hour drive home was long and a bit treacherous as we had to traverse a snowstorm through Arkansas and Oklahoma. We arrived home safe. Tired but happy!
We’d like to thank our sponsors Rocks BBQ Systems, T&H Meats, TheSlabs.com, CajunBandit.com, Butcher BBQ, and Smokin Guns BBQ Products for their continued support.