KCBS Annual Banquet, Kansas City, Missouri, January 19, 2013
It was a tremendous honor to receive the nation’s top chicken award for the 2012 season amid 500 attendees at the annual barbecue Academy Awards in Kansas City, Missouri. Approximately 3 months after traveling to Kansas City to compete in the 33rd Annual American Royal, I returned for the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) Annual Banquet. It was 36°F last time and now it was a frigid 24°F and getting colder by the hour. Luckily, it was a short taxi ride from the airport to the Sheraton where the event was held.
The banquet is the KCBS’s largest celebratory event of the year. The organization welcomes competitors, judges, sponsors, staff members and BBQ enthusiasts from around the world. Most people were there to accept the 2012 Team of the Year (TOY) awards based on their team’s performance for the calendar year. However, there is also a general membership meeting, a meeting for lifetime members, a treasure hunt and a raffle for free entries into 2013 KCBS events.
This was my third time at the banquet. For the 2010 season, I accepted an award for being placed 3rd overall TOY in the country, 4th in chicken, 8th in ribs, 16th in pork and 12th in brisket <see Blog>. For the 2011 season, Slap Yo Daddy finished 11th overall, 3rd pork, and 11th brisket <see Blog>. This year, I came to accept a first place TOY in the chicken category and 20th overall in the country.
The first place TOY winner in each category receives a huge 10 X 4 vinyl banner with their team name and logo prominently shown in the front. The top 25 teams in each of the four categories (chicken, ribs pork, and brisket) as well the top 25 overall received beautiful acrylic trophies with a flame design. For those of us who flew, we were thankful for the compact nature of the TOY banner and the compact acrylic blocks. In 2010 when SYD took 1st in the Ranchers Reserve Brisket challenge at the KCBS Awards Banquet in Kansas City, it took 5 months before the 6 X 2 cardboard check could be delivered to me in California by KCBS officials who were on a road trip.
There are 5,000 to 6,000 competition teams in the country and many teams cook terrific chicken so a first-place standing is huge. I got to first place in 2012 by winning 4 first places and 2 second places in this best-of-ten KCBS points contest for this category. My chicken recipe has been a work-in-process for five years and in 2010, I finished 3rd overall in the chicken category before finishing first in 2012.
My goal was to cook the most amazingly tender and flavorful BBQ chicken you have ever tasted. This particular recipe carried me to a first-place chicken at the Lake Havasu contest in early 2012 against 74 teams. I missed a perfect 180 scored by less than one point (179.4286 of 180). After that, I also won first place chicken at the Country Music Awards contest at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with almost a perfect score against 111 teams (179.4286 of 180). It was no coincidence that I was also crowned Grand Champion at both large events, in part thanks to my tasty bird recipe.
By the end of the year, I continued to walk up to podium often this meat category. On cold contest days, I would wear my signature chicken hat for good luck.
Slap Yo’ Daddy was not the only California winner at the KCBS Banquet as four teams from California did well this year. Matt Dalton of Left Coast Q, this year’s California Best Team of the Year, from Banning, CA, came in 21st overall in the country. California Legend Dave Malone of All Sauced Up from Ventura, CA accepted a 4th place in chicken and a 20th place in ribs. Sterling Ball, of Big Poppa Smokers from Coachella, CA, who had a terrific year by winning the American Royal Invitational, accepted a 23rd overall.
It was really nice to see our California KCBS representatives Kelly and Kathleen McIntosh at the awards ceremony. In 2008, Kelly and Kathleen were officiating a March Madness backyard practice contest in Orange County in Southern California. I had heard about this practice contest when I first joined the California Barbecue Association and wanted to see what a barbecue contest was all about. When I arrived and introduced myself as a newbie who was interested in barbecue competition, Kelly and Kathleen promptly stuck a pencil in my hand and said, “sit down and eat these samples cooked by the teams practicing and write down some numbers to reflect what you think.” I subsequently cooked my first contest in 2008 and the rest, as they say, is history. It was indeed a special moment and honor to have Kelly and Kathleen witness their 2008 fledgling wannabe pitmaster, who in a few short years, was able to receive the Chicken TOY Championship in the barbecue capital of the world!
A big congrats go out to the KCBS 1st place overall TOY Champion 3 Eyz BBQ and 2nd place overall TOY Reserve Champion Munchin @ The Hilton. Congrats to all the other winners in their respective categories including Pig Skin BBQ for 1st TOY ribs, Serial Griller for 1st TOY pork, and Big T’Z Q CRU for 1st TOY brisket.
I’ve been asked by many of my students and competitors alike about sharing the secret of my success which is the special rub I custom formulated to win in this category. I’ve held off adding my competition chicken rub to my line of Slap Yo’ Daddy rubs because I was trying to win first place in America. Since I’ve accomplished my Bucket List goal, I’ve decided to share my rub with the world. For the past several months, I’ve been working with my rub business partner, David Sievers, of Soupbase.com who manufacturers and distributes my products to replicate my winning formula into one composite competition chicken rub. After numerous tests and field trials, we perfected the formula. I wanted to release my rub on the top Internet site for BBQ products so I contacted my friend and fellow BBQ competitor Sterling Ball of Big Poppa Smokers who so happens to own one of the most popular BBQ product websites called BigPoppaSmokers.com.
I plan to release my new Competition Chicken Rub on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. My rub will be sold exclusively through BigPoppaSmokers.com for the first 60 days. This is my actual competition chicken rub that will enhance the flavor, texture and appearance of the poultry that you cook for a championship result. Try my rub and apply it liberally on all sides of your poultry (chicken, turkey, Cornish hen, duck).
It is best to let your meat rest in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours or overnight. In competition, I put my rub on at 10 pm Friday night, refrigerate it, and cook it on Saturday for a noon KCBS chicken turn-in time. Once the rub penetrates your chicken, it will look wet and tacky. Be sure to touch up any spots where the rub fell off mid-way through your cook. Apply your favorite barbecue sauce before serving. Be sure to thin your sauce so it does not go on goopy. You can also heat your sauce slightly so it goes on smoothly. Watch the brush marks as you want to turn in pristine chicken in a contest. When you utilize my rub correctly, the meat should be juicy and the flavor will be sweet with some kick. I have really enjoyed smoking chicken this year and I hope to share this wonderful experience with you by releasing my award-winning Slap Yo’ Daddy Competition Chicken Rub.