Home from the Jack Daniels 2013 World Championship Invitational Barbecue.
The Diva Q BBQ team was lucky to be drawn for the I know Jack…About Grilling contest. This is a separate contest held on the Friday morning of the Jack Daniels competition weekend. Entrants are selected by random draw – 4 teams from the US and 1 team from the International Teams. Diva Q was drawn for the International Teams.
Each team is allowed to bring two members maximum. You are also allowed to bring 1 spice, 1 bbq sauce and 1 optional ingredient. It is a black box contest where you do not know what you will be grilling at all. There is a very strict time limit of 1 hour to complete an entree, a side and an appetizer.
I took my teammate Jessie with me to compete. It was a cold morning for sure and we were all bundled up.
Photo Credit: John Thompson – Eatapedia
The teams that were drawn for the competition:
Can you smell my pits
The Boys from Tornado alley
Southern Krunk BBQ Society
Blazin’ Buttz BBQ
The teams are sequestered away to the side of the Jack Daniels pavilion. Then each team has a staggered start 10 minutes between each entrance. This provides the judges enough time to give the meal its full attention and no one gets cold food.
The Black box items for this year were:
- Mahi Mahi
- Green Beans
- Soy Sauce
- arborio rice
- white rice
- chicken stock
& my favorite ingredient …. Jack Daniels Honey
We brought a middle of the road BBQ rub, my Diva Q competition sauce , plus pineapple. I like pineapple with savory & sweet dishes so I thought it would be an interesting choice. I also thought that a fruit would make our entry stand apart.
The equipment we were provided was 1 gas grill with side burner and a primo charcoal grill. Both were lit prior to us starting.
I have no pictures of our entry. Time flew by……
Our appetizer was relegated to bacon wrapped shrimp. Each team had to make the same appetizer following a recipe provided. We were required to use JD Honey & my competition sauce. Our bacon was in small pieces (no full slices) when we opened the package so we made the best of it wrapping away. WE then used grill grates to cook the shrimp.
While this was ongoing I toasted off the arborio rice in a pan on the gas grill to bring out the nuttiness. Jessie heated up the chicken stock and in went the green beans to soften them up quickly. The green beans were then grilled on the Grill Grates to finish and give them grill marks.
The chicken stock was added to the arborio rice and we stirred that rice (each of us took turns) until all of the liquid was absorbed we repeated this multiples of times then borrowed water from the teams next to us to continue cooking the rice. That rice was stirred for almost 50 minutes. It was creamy deliciousness. Additionally anytime we cooked bacon slices we saved the fat and added it to the risotto. We finished the risotto off with butter and a bit of bbq rub. At the last minute I chopped up green beans & grilled bacon finely and added to the mix.
Photo Credit: Randy Dunn - Thats The Way BBQ Go!
The competition is really intense. Everything is happening all at once and at one point I forgot to burp the Primo grill and singed off some eyelashes & eyebrows with the flashback. Burning hair is never an attractive smell. … yikes!!
Moving on to our pineapple – Jessie had beautifully cut up the pineapple and I grilled it off on the grill grates. It looked amazing. For a topping for the Mahi Mahi I made a sort of pineapple salsa with a little JD Honey, slices of green beans and a bit of rub. We also left some of the grilled slices of pineapple whole for a presentation under the bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp.
Our Mahi Mahi was grilled at the last few minutes. I really did not want to dry it out. It was seasoned simple with BBQ rub, honey & a tiny bit of soy sauce (at least I think that is what Jessie seasoned it with LOL) . I placed the fish meat side down on the grill grates for 3-4 minutes at about the 10- o’clock mark then turned it to the 1- o’clock mark for an additional 3-4 minutes. Once we had great grill marks I turned it over and finished cooking it skin side down. Seconds before I pulled it from the grill I doused it all with Jack Daniels Honey and set it ablaze to give it a final finish.
Plating came fast and before you know it Jessie & I had all the plates lined up. Jessie plated the bacon wrapped Shrimp with additional JD BBQ Shrimp on the appetizer plates. Then the entree- Big spoons of our creamy risotto and then very carefully sliced pieces of our grilled Mahi Mahi. I then stood there at the table looking at the plates thinking that I was missing something …. and as the clock got down to 5 seconds I remembered the pineapple salsa….
It made it on to every plate rather haphazardly but it made it… My teammate Patrick watching from the gallery said that it looked like I was throwing dice when I was putting the salsa on the plate.
It was all done then and wow was our adrenalin running high. 1 hour passed by like it was seconds.
We then had to talk about our dish to the Expert Judges:
I can’t remember what I said other than I called it Jacked Up Mahi Mahi. The rest is a blur.
Check out this video from our friends at BBQTV! They captured lots of great moments from the Jack 2013 & some portions of the grilling contest at the beginning.
We had to wait till Saturday for the results. We WON!!
To help celebrate our grilling win our friends at Grill Grate are giving away a set of their grates. We are big fans of these and have used them in many grilling contests.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN
All you have to do is leave a comment on the Diva Q Facebook Fan page under this contest announcement about why you love BBQ. The contest is open to both Continental US & Canada residents. 1 winner will be randomly selected from all the entries. LIMIT ONE (1) ENTRY PER Household. Subsequent entries will be disqualified. Contest is void where prohibited by law. Contest begins October 30 and closes November 6 at 7pm est. Diva Q accepts no responsibility for comments lost or unpublished. Winner will be notified via Facebook message.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Mark Burgmeier from OHIO who won the Grill grate contest!!