Whenver I hear the name Lamar I cant help but think of the black nerd from one of my all time favorite movies Revenge of the Nerds. Anyone 10 years older or 10 years younger than me probably have never heard of the movie, but it ranks right up there in my top 5. Neverthless, I was in Lamar this past weekend to compete against a small field of 26 but the field was talented and deep. It also welcomed back one of the esteemed members of the RMBBQA community. Denny Mildenberger from over the fence BBQ has been battling cancer and this was his first contest from winning his fight. I had the pleasure of cooking right next to Denny and meeting his daughters and brother in law. There was a very sentimental moment at the cooks meeting acknowledging Denny’s return, the tears were running! It was touching to say the least.
I also got to cook next to Mark and Beth Lenz of Ribit (my wife likes their name and logo of a frog). Beth pretty much single handly saved my weekend. I cook on an FEC-100 which requires power to operate. Sometime after I went to sleep the power was zapped to their site and mine. She came over and woke me up to let me know I was not getting any power, had that not happened I would not have a cooked brisket or pork when I would have awoken in the morning. Its somewhat funny as I was sleeping in my uhual with the back door closed as I could hear a tapping and a voice saying your power is out…..I actually thought I was dreaming….It took me a couple of minutes to realize what was really going on. I remember thinking to myself if I just hope power goes back on maybe it will as if I was controlling the outcome of the dream. So many thanks once again for waking me upf rom that nightmare I was having about losing power at a BBQ contest.
As many of you regular readers know – I think I am up to 5 now – one of the things I look forward to most at a comp is the potluck. The potluck at Lamar was hands down the best one of the year for me. Items that made it memorable for me include. Burnin’ Bobs catfish, steak left over from the backyard grillers contest (more on that later), Denver Cajun’s jambalaya, Florida skin & bones chile, cream cheese cornbread, chicken wings with hot sauce from team unknown.
The good news came early and often in Lamar at the cooks meeting an announcement was made that they needed judges for their backyard grillers steak contest to be held Friday night. I jumped at that opportunity and was glad I did – I got to sample 8 different steaks and 2 of them were memorable and very TASTY! I also got some good news when Steve Mars of Denver Cajun crew came by on Saturday morning and said Cheesy Grits are ready…….Hmmmm….Unfamilar with tradtions at RMBBQA contests as a newby, I did not know Steve makes Chesey grits at each contest. I happily accepted the invitation as I had no other options but even if I did I still would have went down and had a plate and boy was I glad I did. I had a similar invite last year to have a breakfast torte prepared by Chibi – Q and that torte quickly became something I look forward to at each contest. The Cheesy Grits and that name is somewhat misleading as their is much more to eat than just cheese and grits were OUTSTANDING. I used to eat a lot of cream of wheat as a kid for breakfast and this is an action packed taste sensation and a great way to get my Saturday going! I added some of the rub to give it even more flavor and heat. I am REALLY looking forward to breakfasts at these comps when Steve makes his Cheesy Grits or Chibi Q makes their torte.
If you lived in Lamar you were at the park that hosted the contest this weekend – It was the place to be, there was a car show, carnival and chamber of commerce event all going on at the same time. Florida Skin and Bones had their parrots out and I have never seen them before or new how much they enjoyed ribs.
As far as the cook goes I liked every single turnin except ribs. I had thought they were a little underdone…..OOPS! goes to show you what I know. The judges loved my ribs at Lamar and the scores reflected it I earned 175.4 points out of a possible 180 for FIRST Place! I was shocked when they called my name for first. I was actually looking forward to them getting to pork as I thought pork was my best entry of the four. Boy was I off as I finsished 3rd to last in pork.
The pork entry kept me from having what could have been a memorable day as I finished 8th in chicken which I liked and 4th in Brisket which I also liked. I am really starting to feel like Brisket is my most consistent category and one I really enjoy cooking. I have done 7 contests and finished in the top 10 in the past 5 with brisket. I really hope I did not jinx my self as I am heading off to Vegas for this weekends USA BBQ championships. The contest features the largest purse of any one contest this year. $125,000 will be up for grabs as the nations top teams head to Sin City for their peice of the 125k pie. I am really excited to compete in my first national contest and see where I stack up. I hope I dont embarass myself and can have consistent turnins across the board. I am especially happy for my friend Steve Renfroe who won Grand Champion in Lamar and to Sweet Peppers who won Reserve Grand Champions. Congrats to all those who won a prize and see you in Canon City. I hope to take more pics and some video to post after Canon City.