2011 2nd Annual No Bull BBQ Cookoff, Morgan Hill, CA

GC in largest contest in California BBQ history

On May 7 the day before Mother’s Day, we won a Grand Championship (GC) at the 2011 No Bull BBQ Cookoff in Morgan Hill, Calif. It was a sweet win with 1st Pork, 2nd Chicken, 2nd Ribs, and 3rd Brisket as this was a two-peat for us as we were the GCs last year.  This contest has blossomed into the largest contest in California history with a record setting 65 teams. It was good to win on the first of the 7 contests we would be cooking on the road the next six weeks crisscrossing Utah, Nevada, Northern and Southern California in our challenging pursuit of 7 GCs to qualify for the Jack Daniels Invitational 2011 in October in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We’ve bagged 4 GCs to date and have three more to reel in during the qualifying period from Sep 2010 through Aug 2011.

Lots of teams and a Gorgeous Day

It was great to meet and greet the dozen plus new teams and share tips with them including our SYD Lazyman Boxes. Congrats to John Anderson of Woodhouse BBQ for RC. It’s amazing that it was only their second outing for John, who is a chocolatier in Napa Valley by day. Also congrats to Adam Holman of Hummie’s Hogalicious BBQ, another rookie team, for third place. The ROY candidates are certainly starting strong and challenging the veteran teams to work harder.  Congrats to all who walked!

First time paying over $70 for a tankful!

With a 700-mile roundtrip, I was shocked by our gas bill as unleaded regular in California crept past the $4.50 a gallon mark with no relief in sight. With the five SoCal teams who came with some as far, like our buddies the Brazen brothers, from San Diego, it’s definitely takes a bite on the wallet!

Stoker Systems – Kevin, John (owner), Kenny

It was good to be able to be in friendly competition against John Jackson, our long-time sponsor of the Stoker System which we use to automatically control the temps of our WSM smokers. We never leave home without it and it was great to see John and his crew of Kenny and Kevin out cooking instead of being holed up in the warehouse building these systems which have been selling well ever since many people have seen Slap Yo Daddy using them.

Ranchers Reserve Beef Top Sirloin Martini Shaken Not Stirred

In addition to the regular KCBS contest, we also won the Kingsford Point Chase which provided additional prize money to any team that uses at least 20 pounds of Kingsford Charcoal during the competition. We also entered and won 2nd place in the Ranchers Reserve Top Sirloin challenge. I made a Ranchers Reserve Beef Martini Shaken Not Stirred dish inspired by James Bond movies and by French Vietnamese cuisine.  It was super yummy, but Benny and I only got to taste a small piece as it was all plated for the judges.

Lexy and her brother assisting in the shoot

On Friday evening, I was approached by Lexy Nuno, a senior at the local college who asked if it was OK to profile our team for her senior class project. Lexy spent the next day interviewing and shooting footage about the world of BBQ for her journalism major senior project. Hopefully, I’ll get to view her work after she posts her assignment on iReport on CNN.com

Lots of video to edit!

A big thank you goes to the class act Ric Gilbert and Ben Lobenstein for organizing this contest. Thanks also go the Morgan Hill officials, Kathleen and Kelly McIntosh for officiating the event, judges, volunteers, and helpers. A big thank you also goes to our sponsors.

Benny decided to scrub down and clean our WSMs!

We can’t wait to come back next year to see if we can pull off a three-peat!