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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hangtown Part 2

Well, I am no longer sickened by the thought of BBQ or the smell of smoke, a curious side effect of spending two days in a haze of meat and smoke, tasting BBQ until it is just right, whence you stop eating it.  This was my first time at a BBQ competition as anything other than one of the public wandering through watching strangers cooking meat.  I got to reconnect with some friends and meet new folks, a great community of people with a connection in the smoke. Which is not to say that there wasn't some friendly wagering going on.

Once again, the guys from Humboldt Smoke, this time trying to select the perfect 6 ribs for judging.  It turns out, despite cooking 2 full racks, St. Loius trim, of course, getting 6 perfect specimens is a bit tricky. Here are the candidates.
There were four turn ins, chicken, pork ribs, pork and brisket.  In each case, a discussion and review of the various aspects of each meat is considered and then 6 servings are selected, placed in a box and the judges get one or two bites to judge the quality of the meat.  An interesting result of this process is that you are submitting chunks of meat with no sense of the actual chunk of meat being turned in (oh, that bite, I decided to test the turn in ribs for you first, ignore the bite marks,,,haha).  In that picture above, the one closest to the lower right corner was tested by me, it was perfect.  One bite, full of flavor and just enough pull to leave a feather of meat on the bone.  I thought it was nailed.  They ended up getting 5th as the judged pieced were slightly under-done, bummer.  The 4 or 5 I ate while they were not paying attention were excellent.  Here are the guys, making that all important choice for judging.
 I hope you can see the care going on here, each piece hand selected. trimmed and sprayed with shiny stuff.  No fingerprints on these ribs, no way.  Al (holding the sprayer) was the brisket man, he ran the brisket cook and turned in the #4 place brisket in his first competition ever, Matt was the presentation man, and he nailed perfect 9's throughout the 2 days and here is Devin, the team founder and head drum manager.  He kept a $70 ugly drum smoker rocking a 225F temperature for 24 hours straight, managing to put out a steady stream of excellent BBQ the whole time.
Dontcha' love that sign, if you knew where Crannell, CA (pop. 8) is, you would understand how perfect that sign is. Oh, 22nd in chicken, 5th in pork ribs and brisket, 11th in pork butt and 5th overall in their maiden competition.  Between them and their Humboldt compatriots Finger Pickin Good BBQ, these guys were the talk of the competition, all of the folks enjoyed their presence and admired their efforts.


  1. Next year we will try to make the whole weekend. We had a blast Sunday!

  2. AWesome Bob! Thanks again for posting, and for being there!

  3. I really enjoyed reading your "Tales From The Comp" these last two posts. Sounds like you had a great time and learned a lot.

  4. Thanks Marvin.

    Chris, it was a good time, and there is always more to learn.