Well, it just went terribly wrong. Terribly wrong. Friday afternoon, the sky was blue, the breezes warm and we were happy. Here’s Linda, Rox, and Debby Gage, our newest Chick (Rox called her a CIT – Chick in Training, and ordered her about unmercifully but in the nicest possible way as only Rox can). We hadn’t even started drinking yet, but we knew we had big things in store for us!
Friday night went without a hitch. Mostly because we hadn’t put the meat on yet. I was chicken and brisket. Rox was ribs. Linda was butt. We told her she had a nice butt and laughed hilariously. We’re so funny. Debby made this terrific Asian coleslaw and salmon marinated in bourbon for supper. Recipes will be coming as soon as she e-mails them to me (actually it’s her husband, Bill’s, salmon recipe but she cooked it so she gets the credit).
Poor Linda pulled the “stay up all night in a lawn chair” shift. So the rest of us went off to the hotel for some shuteye and came back early the next morning. We thought we all had it under control. But control is an illusion, now isn’t it? First off, the chicken. Well, I’ll get to the chicken in a minute because it’s the saddest story of all. Rox’s ribs. She’d made a practice bunch the night before and they were perfect. But she worried over her competition ribs. You know when you worry over something and you chew it so hard the taste just goes out of it? Well, the taste just went out of her ribs.
Here’s Rox testing them. You can just see that she is not happy. All of the Chicks have cried at one time or another and we’re not ashamed to admit it. Rox got close to crying but she held it in.
Then Linda pulled out the pork butts. They had been “resting” – a term used by barbecue people for putting your meat in a cooler and wrapping it up with towels for hours on end – since four in the morning. She was really worried about whether they’d turned mushy, which most people would like but barbecue judges do not. Well, she apparently worried all the taste out of those butts as well. At least that’s what the judges thought. She doesn’t look too awfully happy here either, does she?
My ugly brisket? It actually turned out better than I thought it would and it was our highest scoring entry of the day. But don’t get too excited. I am using “highest score” as a relative term.
My chicken. My chicken. It’s been our best-scoring category and I mean we do well at it. It’s usually in the top ten and often in the top five. I was supremely confident. What an idiot.
So it’s time for the awards. We’re always hopeful. Here’s a photo of Debby and me at awards. Don’t we look happy? Richard Preston, one of the contest reps, snapped this, probably as a cruel joke since he already knew we were minutes away from cardiac arrest. So here are the results from a contest with 21 teams: Brisket came in 15th, ribs came in 17th, pork came in 18th and chicken came in DAL – dead-ass last. Last! Had I laced it with cyanide? What? I will say that one of the judges scored it perfect – 9-9-9. But some jerk, uh, I mean discerning judge, scored it 6-6-6. You probably know the biblical implications of that. Pride does goeth before a fall.
We may be down, but we’re not out. One of the things I love about barbecue contests is that all the teams treat us like we know what we’re doing. And Debby said she learned a lot by becoming a CIT over the weekend. She was also unfailingly enthusiastic, which counts for a lot with our group. We’ll be back next year and we’ll get it right somehow. Oh, and we gave all the leftover meat to Debby to take home. Hee-hee.