We won our fifth 2010 Grand Championship, 1st Brisket, 4th Ribs, 8th Pork, and 11th Chicken amid 40 teams at the Way Out West California State Championship in Stockton, near San Francisco. This was especially sweet because we also won this event last year and made KCBS history in 2009 as the first team ever to win 1st place in all four meats: chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket since KCBS began over 25 years ago. The bonus check from the folks at Ranchers Reserve was welcome gas money since we drove 7 hours to reach Stockton.
Benny Adauto, my teammate, who joined Slap Yo Daddy in May 2010, and I have been driving and competing like madmen across America. We’ve been on the road almost every week and have traveled to Kansas City, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and up and down California in a bid to win 7 grand championships to make it to the Jack Daniels Invitational in October. We have until August 31 to get our 7 else we’ll have to take our chances in being drawn by lottery as only one Grand Champion team is drawn from each state. Last year, we scored 3 GCs but did not make the draw so this year, we’re shooting for 7 GCs which will result in an automatic Jack invitation.
Benny is the head cook for Fun Time BBQ team and we met in 2008 when I just started competing. We’ve cooked against each other and helped in KCBS certified judging classes in Orange County. When my regular teammate Mark had to take a hiatus in March 2010, Benny stepped up to the plate to help and he’s been a great teammate and assistant cook. We’ve won four GCs together and Benny is now very familiar with the myriad of steps and details we have to execute flawlessly in order to produce grand champion level BBQ. He does a good job keeping me in check should I get distracted with fans at events. Additionally, since he’s retired and has time on his hand, he helps me purchase meat and supplies during the week while I have to work. I couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated teammate than Benny. He has the same dedication, focus, and commitment to excel in BBQ as I do. We will keep bringing our A-game to contests until we succeed in our mission to make the Jack.
Since we were not doing People’s Choice at Stockton, I decided to make a couple of tasty treats for the Friday potluck. I prepared my classic Seared Ahi Tuna w Maui Onion Dressing and paired it with some Prawns cooked with Corn and Potatoes in a Spicy Cajun Broth which I dubbed She-Bang sauce. Both dishes went fast at the potluck!
It was great to spend time with our NorCal friends John Jackson, Kenny, Chris, Tim Mar, Howard Chi, and others. One of the greatest rewards of competition BBQ is not the awards nor prize money but the friendships and camaraderie you develop with your BBQ brothers and sisters. We’re all, by day, from different walks of life. On weekends, we come together as BBQ competitors and BBQ friends. We cheer as loudly for our fellow BBQer as they cheer for us when we win. This is a side of the BBQ world that outsiders seldom know about nor see unless they spend time in the smoke and fire of a contest. It’s these friendships that keep us coming back week after week, driving long distances, to experience the humanity and community as fellow pitmasters.
Benny and I get a week off as there is no contest next Saturday so I’m teaching my monthly BBQ 101 class. My class has been filling up three months ahead and proceeds from contests and class helps us fund our two favorite charities: Operation Homefront (troops, veterans, and their families) and Save The Children. I want to give a BBQ shout out to Major Brian Clark and his crew who are serving in a classified location in the Middle East. July 4th is a special day to give thanks for the many who have sacrificed to protect the freedom and liberty we enjoy, including the freedom to cook and enjoy BBQ.
Congrats go out to Larry Hill of BLQUE for Reserve Grand Champion (long time coming and well deserved) and to all who competed. A big thanks goes to Ben Lobenstein and Ric Gilbert as organizers; Kelly and Kathleen Macintosh as officials; and all the volunteers, judges, and helpers. We’d like to thank our terrific Sponsors: Rocks BBQ System for our Stoker temperature control system, T&H Meat and Sausages for our meat products, TheSlabs.com for our rub products, Cajun Grill for our Weber stainless replacement doors, Smokin Guns for our rubs, Butcher BBQ for our injections, and Snake River Farms for our Wagyu meat products.