news - BBQ News 2005
American Royal Complex
Kansas City, MO
Sept. 30 - Oct. 1, 2005

American Royal PosterI now know how it feels to be a celebrity chef, maybe not the whole rock star treatment but at least no long distance driving, set up and the long drive home.

Kim and I had planned to go to the American Royal this year as judges for the "Invitational" and not cook. We wanted to just hang out with everyone on Saturday. We knew with us promoting the ClovisFest the week before it would just not work out time wise to drive back to Kansas City and compete.

I am not sure who came up with the idea of doing an "All-star team" from California. It was either Todd Eves or Dan Cannon, I think. Anyway, I was honored to be asked to be a part of that team. Since we were going to be there I told them I would help out on Saturday. Then I got a call from Todd a few days later saying "Who's going to represent California in the invitational? You are the only one that is qualified that is going to be there" I explained about doing ClovisFest the week before and that we already had our flights back and could not haul all of the things needed, etc, etc. Todd then offered to haul all of our things and use his pit which is a rotisserie similar to mine. He would do the Open and we would do the Invitational.

He even arranges to have the meat there through Bristol Farms (one of his sponsors) and good meat is was. Well how could I say no? So we decided to cook the Invitational Friday and be part of the All-star Simple Green Team Saturday.

I was looking forward to Kim and I flying into Kansas City and having time to take in some of the legendary BBQ restaurants located there, like Arthur Bryant's, the Mecca of all BBQ joints. It was cool to get to the Royal and everything was all set up and in place and ready to cook. Todd had everything we sent with him. It had all survived his trek across 6 stats to get there. I really appreciate him doing that for us and talking me into bbq'ing for the Invitational.

Invitational AwardEverything we cooked for the Invitational was good and we felt good about it all. We got a call to the stage for 10th place in ribs at the Royal. That was as exciting as a Grand Championship. We were jazzed. We ended up 17th overall out of about 90 teams. Every team that is in this Invitational had to have won a Grand Championship so we were proud of finishing where we did – for now!

Friday, after the awards we ventured over to the "Dark Side" to enjoy all of the parties & fireworks. We had a great time. You just have to experience this, it is nuts! Everyone should make the trip to Kansas City, no matter what.

American Royal OpenSaturday we cooked as part of Team Simple Green which included Todd eves, Dan Cannon, Kelly Graf, Nole, me and Kim. I think there were close to 500 teams there for the Open. I think with this many teams luck along with the judge's plays a big part. This is a tough contest. We all pitched in to help, so this was a team. Kim pretty much handled all of the side dish entries and we helped there as needed.

I really felt we submitted some outstanding BBQ in every category. Everyone felt the same. There was nothing I would have changed or done different. Like I said I thought we would score high in every category. We could have won this event and that would not have surprised me, now that's confidence. That is what I felt but it was not to be. We did get a call to the stage for 11th place in ribs and again that was as exciting as could be. Going to the stage at the Royal is a big deal and I was lucky enough to go two times in two days!

We ended up 137th out of 476 teams and 50th out of 250 in the sides. All in all it was a pretty good showing. Working as an "All-star Team" from California worked out good and we had a blast.

Arthur Bryant'sOn Sunday we all went to Arthur Bryant's for lunch and that was fantastic! Can't say that Arthur Bryant has he best BBQ I ever ate but I thought it was really good with mammoth portions. After all it is the holy grail of BBQ joints and Arthur Bryant made bbq sauce famous. There is no denying that. It is quite a legacy that that Mr. Bryant left and a testament to one mans life to have such a profound impact at something you love so much. To me this is what everyone should aspire to do with the short time we have in this life. Say what you will but Arthur Bryant is an inspiration to me.

It was ******** to get on an airplane and be home in a couple of hours. This time at the Royal seemed to go too fast.