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.
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 !)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.