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Porked in the Park

A new season, a new team member, new shirts, some new tweeks and some interesting results at Pork in the Park in Salisbury MD this past weekend.

First let me welcome Dale Lucas formerly of Pigs in Blankets as the newest member of the Aporkalypse Now crew. Dale has cooked with us on several occasions in the past and I look forward to his presence on the team this year.

2012 got off to an interesting start with the Friday festivities. We were planning on entering the Anything But category but I discovered that the butcher has miss-cut our short ribs on the bias so instead of 12 nice big ribs we had 12 little medallions. We decided to cook them anyway and if we got 6 good looking ones we’d turn them in, if not we’d have dinner: We had a really nice dinner.

The 4 meat event brought few changes from last year since we didn’t want to disturb the hot hand we ended 2011 on. One change I did make was to try and even out the rib sauce as it had exhibited some extreme heat on occasions – more about that later.

Saturday came and we had a good cook. We hit all the marks and were generally happy with everything. Not ecstatic with anything but not unhappy with anything either.

The meats

Chicken was very good to us in 2011 finishing in the top three 7 out of 10 events and it didn’t disappoint us here. We scored 169.1428 points out of 180 possible which was good enough for 3rd place.

After a strong start in 2011 with a winning rib entry at this event our ribs were a little on the inconsistent side, in fact our 6th place finish in ribs cost us the Grand Championship at Raystown. This year I decided to tone the intense flavor down just a bit by using a more middle of the road sauce. I made it, I field tested it and went with it. The Pork in the Park Judges HATED it, well, hate is a strong word but in an efforts to make our ribs more middle of the road I may have taken the exceptional right out of them as we received average marks in taste and ended up with a score of 145.7138 for 81st place. It’s back to what was a consistent top 10 flavor profile in ribs for us – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Our pork entry followed our 2011 methodology despite a couple of hiccups and we were rewarded with a 168.5714, good enough for another 3rd place trophy.

Brisket is going to be a challenge this year as it’s apparent that good competition briskets are going to be hard to come by.  Despite that we earned a 161.1428 score and 13th place. I know we left points on the table  and we’ll correct that post haste.

First a small rant. I hate the new trend of organizers announcing all the results of a category except 1st place then holding the first place awards until the end. They think its suspenseful but in my opinion it’s just mean to the cooks.

Anyway after all was said and done we finished with a combined score of 644.5708 with was good enough for 4th place out of  113 teams.

This week it’s off to Edenton North Carolina for 2 full contests in one weekend (Friday / Saturday and Saturday/Sunday) we haven’t done that since the Royal and there will only be two of us so it’s going to be a marathon of will. After that, 3 weeks off (We’re skipping Naptown) and then off to Middletown Deleware.

Stop by and see us if you’re going to be in the area.





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The Aporkalypse Now 2012 Competition Schedule is Here

After spending the weekend looking at events in the region I’ve finally narrowed it down to a (semi) workable competition schedule.  A few may come and go, but for now this looks to be our route to 7 wins this year. As competitions and other events are confirmed they will be loaded to the calendar page.  Hope to see a few of our readers on the BBQ trail in 2012.

Competitions for 2012


20-21 Pork in the Park Salisbury, MD

27-29 Hog Fest in Historic Edenton I & II Edenton, NC


04-05 Naptown barBAYq Annapolis, MD

18-19 Middletown BBQ Cook-Off Middletown, DE


01-02 Beltway BBQ Showdown Upper Marlboro, MD (tentative)

15-16 Central MD Swinetastic BBQ Festival Frederick, MD

29-30 Covington Cork and Pork Festival Covington, VA (tentative)


27-28 Bluemont BBQ Bash & Blackberry Bonanza Bluemont, VA


10-11 MD State BBQ Bash Bel Air , MD (tentative)

17-19 Mountain Maryland Barbeque Cumberland, MD


07-08 Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour Laurel, MD

14-15 Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour (Regional) Chesapeake, VA (hopefully!)


05-06 Keystone Classic Barbeque Harrisburg, PA

12-13 Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour National Championship Bentonville, AR (with luck!)

26-27 Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue Lynchburg, TN (hopefully!)

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The year in review

Where to begin? 2011 started slow but somehow I ended up cooking the last 14 weekends either as Aporkalypse Now or with friends. Some of the highlights:

  • Winning the Bel-Air competition as part of Jack’s Old South
  • Following up  with a 3rd place finish as the lead cook for Back Porch BBQ at The New Holland Summerfest
  • Winning Smokin on the Bay in Deale MD, again as part of Jack’s Old South
  • Teaming up with sometimes Aporkalypse Now teammate Dale to take the Grand at Shrewsburry, PA
  • Getting 4 calls at Raystown PA to take Reserve Grand Champion
  • Going to the Royal as part of Jack’s Old South
  • Winning the Grand Championship at Harrisburg, PA
  • Going to the Jack Daniels Invitational as part of Jack’s Old South

It’s been an interesting 1st full year as a BBQ team, many lessons have been learned as well as mental plans made for 2012.

Wusthof has the brisket slicer in full production (watch this space to order) and first customer ship is estimated around the 10th of December. Two other knives have been developed and we’ll be bringing up the online store shortly to facilitate acquiring these plus some other items I’ve found useful on the BBQ trail (not to mention Aporkalypse Now wearables !)



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It’s Slicing time!

After 5 months of back and forth development, the prototype of the long slicer I envisioned and designed is here thanks to my friends at Wusthof Cutlery

The new slicer prototype

The knife is a 34cm (14inch) long thin bladed slider 54mm deep at the heel with a radiused cutting edge hollow ground to reduce drag.  The advantage to the radius is that the whole blade edge isn’t engaging the object to be sliced at the same time allowing for even less drag, yet still making a continuous cut with no “saw marking”.

The other plus to the radius design on the blade is that when you make a draw cut (pull the blade toward you) the physiology of  your arm causes your elbow to lift up, causing you to change the angle of attack of the blade. On a straight traditional slicer you either end up cutting with the very tip of the blade or break your wrist to allow the blade to remain flat, reducing your leverage. The radius blade allows you to maintain maximum leverage by not having to break your wrist while the cutting edge still tracks parallel to the food.

Enough with the techno babble — how does it cut?
Like a dream. I had a chance to try it on a few competition briskets and pork butts the other weekend at Que and Cruz and it exceeded all my expectations. It cut hot brisket slices cleanly on one draw without tearing the slice. I was able to separate and slice pork “money muscle” with no stringing.  We even went so far as to cut some already sliced brisket slices in half on the bias cleanly.

The slicer in action

All in all I think it’s a winner. It’s hard enough to hold an aggressive edge yet retains some flexibility in the blade. It’s considerably lighter and thinner than my 14 inch scimitar so it’s less fatiguing if you’re cutting a lot of briskets to boot.

I’ll be talking to the factory about a few final minor tweeks  soon but as of this point I don’t have a price point or release date. I’ll post them as soon as I have them.

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Me and Myron in DC

This past weekend I was invited to cook with Myron Mixon’s team Jack’s Old South (including sometimes Aporkalypse Now team member Dale)  at the DC BBQ battle. It’s an interesting sight to see BBQ teams lined up on Pennsylvania Avenue with the Capital Dome in the background.

Pennsylvania Ave BBQ

With the scrapping of the  Memphis in May portion of the event this year (it’s to return next year) they opted to stretch the KCBS portion out over two days with chicken and brisket turned in on Saturday evening and Ribs and pork turned in on Sunday. An odd schedule to be sure.

Anyway we came, we saw, we cooked on one of the best June weekends in DC in several years, finishing 3rd in Chicken, 9th in Ribs, 5th in pork and 9th in brisket for 4th overall. Not a bad cook.  No discussion on scoring would be complete without a huge shout out and congratulations to our friends at  Pork Barrel BBQ who won their first Grand Championship in their home town. Way to go Heath, Brett & crew!

A note on Myron
Myron Mixon has more or less become the face of BBQ with the success of the BBQ Pitmasters show last year on TLC coupled with his long track record of wins in both KCBS and MIM competitions.  Myron also has a reputation as a bit of a jerk based on the villain edit that he got on season one of BBQ Pitmasters. Let me tell you first hand, it was just that – an edit. Myron not only cooked this event at the last minute, but he also met and interacted with fans, posed for pictures  and graciously signed books for people all weekend. I never once saw him refuse anyone.

Myron - "The Boss"

Anyway, I picked up a ton of tips from Myron (that people will be seeing at Bluemont) and had a blast as one of Myron’s merry minions; although as good as the event was I suspect that next year we’ll be facing off instead of cooking together.

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Aporkalypse Now takes 1st in Ribs at Sailsbury

FIrst place in Ribs - Pork in the Park 2011

It was quite a weekend between work slowing down my arrival, traffic, and of course the winds blowing through the fairgrounds at 40mph plus. After all that, we managed to come back from a disappointing 92nd place finish in Chicken to win 1st in Ribs against a very strong field of 116 teams.  We then returned to mediocrity by finishing 52nd in Pork and 39th in Brisket for a 40th place finish overall.