This was the first contest that Rex’s Red Hot BBQ has ever competed in. It was a great time. Sandy and the crew over at Pork in the Park throw a great contest. This was no little contest either. There were 113 different teams competing. I could have chosen an easier contest for the first one, but I wanted to go big or go home.
Here was our little camp. It does not require that much stuff to bbq. We had the smoker, a tent, a cooler, a couple tables, and some zero gravity chairs (to get some sleep).
We had a great time. We were surrounded by awesome teams. To our left was U Needa BBQ (DJ and Greg doing it up), behind us was Philly Underhogs (Alex, Top ten Chicken) and to the right was Huck’s Huck (Huck and Huck Jr.). It was a great contest.
We ended up 28th out of 113 teams in chicken. Not too bad for our first go around. We were really happy with the results. However, the score sheet was a little weird. We had 5 judges that gave us all 8′s and 9′s and we had one judge that gave us 5′s and 6′s. A little weird. To rub some salt in the wounds, the judge wrote a comment card saying the chicken was raw. I am calling BS on that one. It cooked for 2-3 hours. Plus, it is hard to believe that 5 out 6 judges thought the chicken was amazing even though it was raw. BS. I am going to go with that judge had no idea what was going on and prefers his/her chicken like leather.
This was our best category. We ended up 25th out of 113 teams. We had great presentation and flavor. A few of the judges did not like the texture, but we did get two 9′s for texture. This one was a wash. There were two judges that gave us 9′s, two gave us 8′s and two gave us 7′s. Not sure what to do to improve this one. We got some great scores and it is hard to see where we needed improvement.
By far this was our worst category. We ended up 77th out of 113 teams. Not at the bottom, but pretty close. Our major problem here was that we over-cooked the meat. I tried a new presentation that was a hit, but our flavor and texture scores were horrible. We did our best to try to mask the over-cooked meat, but it did not work. Next time we need to pull the pork from the smoker earlier.
We thought we did awesome in brisket. The pull was nice, the burnt ends were fabulous and the presentation was spot on. However, there were some amazing cooks out there. We ended up 45th out of 113 teams. Still in the top half. The scores were good all around. The problem was that we did not receive great scores. The major problem here is that I think we cooked the brisket a little past perfect and it started to toughen up. When we pulled it from the smoker it was perfect. However, after resting, cutting, and boxing, I think it got a tad bit tough. Sucks, but we still did awesome! Hell we beat some amazing teams.
Overall we ended up 39th out of 113 teams. That is awesome for our first cook ever. I want to thank my Dad (Don) and my Brother-in-law (Billy) for coming out and sacrificing their weekend for the team. We can’t wait to cook again. Our next contest is the barBAYq in Annapolis, MD (May 4-5). Should be a fun contest. Hopefully we can take some of what we learned during Pork in the Park and make our next contest a winner.