The last contest for 2011 in Northern California was hosted by the city of Antioch which rests on edge of the Delta that feeds into San Francisco Bay. It was held in conjunction with Antioch’s Fall Faire that showcased arts and crafts for some early Christmas shopping. The weather is usually more brisk in the north and as winter approaches, the risk of a wet contest increases. So we were not surprised by a rainy welcome on Friday afternoon as we loaded into our grassy home for the next 26 hours.
In an hour and half, two tents were sheltering us from the drizzle, and we were quickly preparing our meats to enter the fire. After a two-month break from the last circuit contest, competitors were particularly happy to see other and greetings seemed heighten. We were all ready to cook.
And cook we did. Though there were only 31 teams at Antioch, an average team count for California, there were five teams from the south (Slap Yo’ Daddy, All Sauced Up, The Pit Crew, Big Poppa Smokers, and Who’s Smokin Now) trying to move up in the TOY/KCBS rankings or earn some Christmas money. Dave Malone initiated a wager between the NorCal vs. SoCal teams. But the rookies offered to compete against the veterans and next thing I know, I’ve wagered a dollar in each sub-contest.
Saturday morning started early with progress check on the brisket and pork shoulder which smoked overnight. Before we knew it, Tracy Anderson from Woodhouse BBQ had brought over a Thanksgiving inspired breakfast, waffles made from stuffing and topped with turkey and gravy, with a side of cranberries. It was simply amazing and could only be outdone by her afternoon super chocolaty, super rich homemade cocoa.
With a full kitchen only a few hundred yards away from our tent, the cleaning process was easier than usual, especially when the rain stopped by morning. We were introduced to some new rookie teams that were competing in Sunday’s non-sanctioned rib winner take all cookoff. It is exciting to know that BBQ continues to expand and capture the attention of a diverse population.
By 4:30pm, we were enjoying the sounds of a local band and relaxing before the awards ceremony. Dave Lopp, our KCBS representative, announced that SoCal had beaten NorCal and that the veterans had beaten the rookies. I had already doubled my money! SYD took 1st in chicken, 14th in pork ribs, 3rd in pork and 17th in brisket. Overall, we were Reserve Grand Champions and second to first time winners, Scott and Pam Hares of Too Ashamed to Name. Congratulations to Scott and Pam for their success and ending off the year with a huge bang. Our good finish at Antioch will set the pace as we look forward to the double header Holiday Cookoff for Kids contest in Mesa, AZ next month.