Wow. What a trip. What a challenge. I am still sleep deprived and catching up on blog posts……


I flew into Kansas to compete in the American Royal Invitational and the Open. It was a blast. Absolutely exhausting and completely absorbing.

My illustrious site. One 10×10 tent 1 table and a really cool Q Kitchen equipped with an FE and a mack daddy char-broiler.

I am lucky to have some great friends all over. Truly once again let me repeat BBQ people are awesome. They do anything and everything to help. So with friends like Andy & Kim Groneman and the Early family, I had everything I needed to compete. Bare bones but all of the essentials. A complete kitchen with an FE and a charbroiler, a Tent a cot, some coolers and friends to help. I had stocked up the previous day with Kim at BBQFans, Liberty Fruit and the hen house and I was all set.



However I will say my site had to be one of the worst possible locations ever. Horrible would be an understatement. I was right along the end of the entrance (AKA  HALLWAY OF HELL! – see below)  for the folks heading into the dark side and when they wanted to drag their drunk obnoxious loud asses home they had to go right by my site again.

Then there was the lovely* cleaning crew located right around the corner that seemed to take great joy every morning at 3am waking all of us up with their noise. They didn’t stop till well past 7 or 8 am.

Total sleep for 2 days less than 6 hours. Total times I wanted to throttle someone — ———– I can’t count that high.

My super comfy cot with Big Poppas Smokers Sweater pillow.

Just an example of two of the drunks that stumbled by.  Freak clowns. I should have just set up a video camera.

Sleep deprivation aside it was a challenge. I have only cooked on an FE 3 times prior to this. Thank fully I had taken Butcher BBQ and Plowboys class and they covered how they run their meats in their FE’s In addition Andy was uber helpful. Anytime you do 2 contests back to back it is a challenge :-)

I got to spend some time socializing with friends and thats a big part of getting to go to the Royal

I also had a couple of Texans – Chris Jones and David Henry plus Neil Strawder with me to run boxes and to help where they could. That was a really fun part of the weekend. Loved hanging with the guys.

I also got to spend time with a Legend and dear friend of mine Dave Raymond from Sweet baby Rays. I love this guy. He rocks.

The Royal is an interesting contest. On day one for the Invitational I came in 88th out of 141 and in the Open 81st out of 498 . Not stellar by any means. It was a challenge and I am really glad I did it no matter what the results.  It was an excellent personal challenge just to get through it all. I know I made some good BBQ.

Another huge highlight for the weekend had to be participating in a steak throw down as part of the KCBS tour !I got to compete against Heath Hall of Pork Barrel BBQ Fame. We had a blast with this and it was tons of fun!!

I had a huge surge of patriotic Canadian pride seeing 2 of my fellow countrymen Tim Brown and Daryl Maybanks from Can’t Stop Grilling take Reserve Grand Championship in the open!! They had a rough Invitational and came out on top HUGE congrats to them both and for also using Kingsford as it doubled their prize money!! WTG guys!!

Congratulations to all who got their name called and to everyone who just survived the Royal again!!

Results for both Days Invitational (Congratulations Tippycanoe BBQ Crew GC!) and Open (Congratulations Motley Que Crew GC!)








photo courtesy of Livefirephotography C. McAdams

I often get asked what knives and things I have in my knife kit so here they are:

Each are essential to the way I trim, cut and present my BBQ for competition, catering and home use.

Forschner Flexible Straight Boning Knife 6″

This knife was given to me by David Bouska from Butcher BBQ.  I give thanks to him every time I pull it out since it is the one knife for trimming I use the most.

Forschner Fibrox 12″ Granton Edge Slicer

This is the knife I use to slice my brisket. I used to use an electric knife but I am much more comfortable using this one.

Norpro KLEVE 7 Inch Cleaver

I don’t have a lot of wrist strength due to a couple of carpel tunnel surgeries I had on my wrists. It can be a challenge for me to cut bones and cartillage for so this cleaver really helps.

J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star 8-Inch High Carbon Stainless-Steel Chef’s Knife

This is my general all purpose go to knife. I have a couple of these. They are not expensive considering how much I use them. Very reasonable.

Skinning, Curved, Black Fibrox, 6 in.

Dave Witt from the Swine Syndicate got me hooked on this knife. It can dig out things you want out and skin like no other.  Make sure you click the link to their You Tube video on Canadian Bacon.

Victorinox 47508 3-1/4-Inch Paring Knife

I have a couple of these.  I like using them for scraping chicken skin.

Norpro Stainless Steel Seafood Forks, Set of 4

I really like these for adjusting things in a competition box. Sometimes those fine tweaks can make a big difference. Additionally I don’t want to be touching the food or prodding with tongs as it could smudge the sauce that I worked so carefully to set.

Waring Pro KS80 Professional Knife Sharpener

This has been mentioned on the blog before with good reason. Nothing beats having a sharp knife. One of the best parts of this sharpener is that it ensures the right angle and it gets it done fast. The sharpener and all of the knives and seafood forks are available on Amazon.

Ambrosi Brothers Cutlery Knife Bag

I saw my friend Andy’s from Smoke on Wheels knife bag and thought it was just perfect so I got one just this year. It has the perfect pockets for everything from your business cards, to individual knife slots. I also purchased all of my knife guards from Ambrosi Bros. Cutlery . It is a wonderful shop in Kansas City, Missouri. They will also sharpen your knives with a competition style of sharpening.

So thats it. Those are my knives. Everyone has their personal preferences. These just work for me.