Day 18-25 days of Christmas Blogging……

Last night we had our annual Christmas dinner party. Each year we have our local friends and their children over. I look forward to it every year. For the dinner I served up 10 racks of ribs (done on the Traegers with Cherry pellets) with Ole Rays Apple Cinnamon BBQ sauce on the side, potato salad, Greek pasta salad, mini corn muffins with jalapeños and aged cheddar, buns, spinach dip, marinated water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, devilled eggs with smoked paprika, Macedonian rice with grilled veggies, pate with pecans, veggies, brie with blackberry sauce, and a whole bunch of puff pastry appetizers. Dessert was a Pumpkin Caramel pecan cheesecake, homemade chocolates, and loads of cookies, tarts and squares I have been working on for a month. I really love to make this dinner. However I got so busy I did not take pictures. Ugh. Anytime you can cook for family and friends you love to be around is a good thing in my opinion.

It was a blast and conveniently everyone was gone by 9:50 pm. Just enough time for a BBQ phone call with a good friend of mine from the US and then to watch the latest episode of TLC BBQ Pitmasters. It was a relief the timing was good. I still have no clue how to record anything on the tv and I don’t have one of those PVR thingy’s. (Yes that is the technical term- thingy’s).

IT was a really fun episode to watch. However once again I ended up talking to the TV (and don’t think for a second I am the only one) saying to a cast member are you kidding me what are you doing – etc etc. There were 59 teams at this competition. Out of the TLC Cast here were the overall results:

6 -Jack’s Old South
7- Cool Smoke
8-Jambo Pitts
9-Smokin’ Triggers
10-Wood Chicks
15- Slap Yo Daddy BBQ
59-Pablo Diablo BBQ

I was looking for Harry and Jamie-but I only saw Jamie singing a song going into Big Bob Gibsons. Chris Lilly took it well in stride when Myron told him he used his books to start his pits. The menu at the round table dinner looked really nice. I liked the brisket wrapped scallops. I’ll be trying that for sure.

I watched Pauls teammate lolly gag along not really caring about what time it was. Turning in Chicken and getting a DQ for lateness. Seriously buddy you should have moved your *ass a little faster. Sixteen seconds. Thats what he was late by. Not good. I really did think the chicken box looked decent.

Then it cracked me up to no end to see Myron go off on Paul for shigging his muffin pan idea. Hmm so I guess Myron may be frustrated with a vast majority of the cooks going in to this year. If the posts about muffin pans on the various forums are any indication a lot of cooks at home are trying this technique out in preparation for the 2010 season. I have some concerns that this technique could be considered sculpting. I won’t do it myself. I won’t risk getting a DQ because of sculpting. I think meat (whether it be chicken, beef, or pork) should still look like meat at the end of the day.

I would also like to say it was nice to see a variety of chicken. I saw legs and thighs and breast meat. I really liked the commentary from the judge. Judging is not easy. I did some judging before I started and I am a KCBS certified judge. It was a good decision to take the certification. I think any time you can get a glimpse of what goes on inside the minds of judges it can only help. I know there are some days when I think I have turned in my very best products and (I get scored poorly) I continually question what the judges want. (for the record I am usually not that polite about judges decisions about it but Ill leave the swearing up to Myron.)

I am still surprised that Myron offered up this muffin pan technique to the viewing audience.

As for shigging I think every single team out there pays attention to whats going on at other cook sites. Don’t kid yourselves- everyone looks. You would be foolish not to. I don’t think for a second that there is anything wrong with paying attention. I think if you see a team that has a little blue bottle on their cooker or a bottle of rub and they come in first in that category you might be wise to jot down a few notes. Even with this show watching a few episodes over a few times if you are paying attention there are some nice little tidbits of information. Now I am not going to point them out – go look your self. Research is never ending in the field of Competitive BBQ.

*please note for anyone looking to get me a Christmas present I want one of these cups or please donate here

I do however think its wrong to go into a cook site of a team you do not know without permission. This is one of the reasons I now do my prep and my cutting inside my trailer. Personally I don’t want you to see what I am doing. As much as possible I try to hide my own techniques. Its also another reason we create a wall of Traegers and WSM’s around my cook site. I don’t want you walking in unless you are invited. I rarely invite anyone into my trailer unless you are a good friend. I am still so new (only going into my 4th year) to this competition style but I would like to think I have a couple of things figured out. We have an additional 10×10 tent set up for socializing. Thats where we do it.

I can certainly relate to Tuffy’s schedule of events. Inconveniently (after I watched the clip on youtube about 10 times trying to decipher what was on his spreadsheet I realized it wasn’t because I was needing my glasses) they have certain lines blurred out. Damn. . I have mine planned for every 15 minutes. My spreadsheet keeps me on track and it was another cook that helped me develop mine when I first started out. I also note the temperature and humidity levels and anything else I think may be affecting my cook.

It was great to see him get a first in his new found brisket technique. I enjoyed watching some of the background of him working in the kitchen of A Sharper Palate He knows so much about food in general. He works hard at it too. I loved the countdown he did on camera, 5 ,4 3, 2, and then he pulls out the first in brisket. Nice moment captured.

I have been at competitions where the power has gone out. However I always travel with a back up generator that can run everything. I don’t leave home without it. This is why I was surprised to see Lee Ann get backed up on time due to power shortages. I wonder if that was for TV. …

Overall I am enjoying this series immensely. Next weeks episode is a repeat makes sense to do that during the holidays. I will be looking forward to the next episodes in the new year!