Holiday Cookoff for Kids, Mesa, Arizona

Grand Champion Day #2

In December, I pulled off something I’ve not done before which was to teach two classes the first weekend and then compete in a double header contest the following weekend, with both the class and contest 6 hours from home.  A week before the double KCBS BBQ cookoff and Ranchers Reserve cup race in Mesa, Arizona, I was invited to teach not one, but two back-to-back BBQ classes at BBQ Island in nearby Tempe, Arizona.

BBQ Island class students

So I needed to pack enough for the classes and for the two-day competition for two teams into one vehicle. Thankfully, we could purchase most of the meat locally at the nearby food warehouses. And my friend and BBQ assistant, Peter Graves and his wife hosted our stay while we were in Arizona over two weekends. They made what was a logistical nightmare, not only possible, but successful and enjoyable. Many thanks also go out to Shelton, Mike, Sterling and Kurt from BBQ Island for promoting my Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ 101 class at BBQ Island and for providing a large variety of top-notch smokers, equipment and assistance during both classes. My students really liked my class.

BBQ Island – Largest BBQ store in Phoenix

After the classes, I flew home and returned only four days later to cook in Tommy Duncan’s contest which was sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and benefited the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley. Since it was the last KCBS contest of the calendar year, some of the most competitive teams this year traveled to Arizona like TrueBud BBQ from Kansas, The Smoking Hills from Kansas City, and Chow Texas from Keller, Texas. Though Tommy’s team, Whiskey Ranch, didn’t compete, his wife, Jennifer Duncan of Smoked to the Bone did and her team were our gracious neighbors.

In the end, we finished 7th overall on the first day with a 5th in chicken and brisket. TrueBud and the Smoking Hills finished first and second. But my first-place finish in the Safeway/Vons yearlong national Ranchers Reserve cup secured my second consecutive first place finish in the cup which I also won in 2010.  I made a Beef Martini Shaken Not Stirred inspired by James Bond’s infamous vodka martinis.  I put a splash of vodka in my beef marinade.

Ranchers Reserve were at the contest

Beef Martini Shaken Not Stirred

Ranchers Reserve first place at Mesa which secured our 1st place in the nation

On day two, my GC finish was an awesome surprise after a grueling 2-day cook. Congratulations to TrueBud BBQ for their first-place finish on day one and RGC on day two. And to Otis and the Bird for their RGC on day two and for their recent marriage!

New SYD banner and graphics

Many thanks go to Tommy and Jennifer for a great event that went to a good cause. We loved the complimentary breakfast each morning from Cracker Barrel and for the personal thank you from the representatives at the local Boys and Girls clubs.

Trophies added to my already large collection!