Our first BBQ competition of 2015 was the Rocky Top BBQ Fest in downtown Knoxville at the World’s Fair site. We were in competition with 40 teams from all over the South.
Just as the cooks meeting started on Friday evening the rain started to just pour. Now we needed the rain for sure, but the timing was not the best. We got a few things soggy, but nothing to slow us down.
The Rocky Top BBQ Fest is a fund raiser for the Rotary Club of Bearden, and it was held for the first time at the World’s Fair site in downtown Knoxville. The location is just great and the facilities were just as ordered!
This was our first competition of 2015, and the first on our new smokers. We had practiced a few times, but never really brought it all together till the competition. We were a little hesitant in controlling our temperature, but in the end we made it through ok.
We have got to know several great people through competition BBQ. Most of em are just like us – every day working people trying to be the best at cooking BBQ meat. I appreciate the hard work, time and money that goes into a competition. We have a good relationship with some pretty good folks, and really enjoy the social part of the competitions.
Chicken is the first meat to turn in. Dad thought that is just was not quite done when we turned it in. I thought it looked ok, but we were just not settled with it.
Ribs was second, and we thought we had some good slabs of ribs. The cooked well and had a good color about them. Taste wise I thought they were pretty good.
Pork is third, and we have been experimenting with a new way to slice and turn in meat. At least it is new to us. It was hard to cut what we needed to because it was just too tender (actually over done a bit I think). But the taste was good so we moved on.
Brisket is the last turn in. We tried brisket from a new vendor, and were just not happy with it. It tasted good, but was a little dry I thought.
When it came awards time we had absolutely no idea if anything would be good according to the judges. We bought our new smokers from Jackie Price, and he said we would see a 20% in our scores by using the new smokers compared to the wood burner we have been using. Well – Jackie was right!
We took 1st place in Chicken! Honestly we both said it would be our worse turn in because we didn’t think it was done, but we were wrong! What a great feeling to get that trophy. We had never won a category at a KCBS event, so this was a surprise and treat! We were just blown away.
In Ribs we took 7th place. First time placing with ribs, so we were really happy with the results.
The other two meats placed just outside the top 10.
Then came the overall for the competition – we placed 4th!!! We could not believe it! Never been in the top 10 before, so we were just beside ourselves. And to top it off, we were one of 4 teams that scored a 700 for the competition! Scoring 700 is an accomplishment within itself, and a rare thing in KCBS competitions. In some competitions the winner might score 700, but to have 4 teams with 700+ score was just something else!