The Tulare Antique Farm Equipment Show
news - BBQ News 2006
The Tulare Antique Farm Equipment Show
April 24th, 2006
Tulare, CA

"Rib Cook Off"

If you have read any of my previous stories you know that I take a lot of "pride and joy" (hey what a good song title) in cooking beef ribs. This was one of those rare opportunities to cook beef ribs -straight up- with no conditions and compete against others cooking the same thing.

This is a local contest that has been going on for a couple of years and everyone seemed to know one another. We were kind of the new guys on the block. People were really nice and friendly and we were told who the heavy hitters had been. I don't think they knew what to make of us.

The judging for this contest was different than any I have seen before. But we knew going in we were not at a Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) sanctioned contest. The rules and judging were laxed compared to KCBS. I am not saying it was bad, just different.

This contest was held on a Sunday morning. Set up at 7:00, cooks meeting at 9:00 and start cooking at 9:30. The turn in was at 2:30. The categories were beef back ribs and pork ribs (spare or baby back). You were able to cook in both of the categories or either one. 21 bones had to be on the platter.

After spending Saturday cleaning and shining the smoker don't you know it started pouring down rain Sunday morning. We had to drive thru dirt parking lots and muddy roads to get to our spot. Boy, the smoker was a mess!!! It rained all day long. I think it is becoming a good omen for us.

There were 26 teams competing. They had us packed in very tight along a large building with an overhang that kept the rain away.

For the last couple of years as I come into the local butcher shops and stores, the butchers and employees seem to disappear. I can almost hear them," Hey that crazy guy is here, I'm on break"!!! "Back in a minute", whatever. They just did not want to deal with me. "Because I was picky". I asked too many questions and asked for things that they "could not do" or things they "did not have". Any way I am happy to report that they are coming around and have been very cooperative. In fact for this contest they really came through with some outstanding product and that really helps when you are competing at the top level.

Sometimes you just know that you have a hit, a grand slam. I can say that this was one of those times. Mid way through the cook I could tell these beef ribs were really something special. I don't mean to be such a bragger but you had to see and taste these ribs, they were the best ever. They were gorgeous to look at and unbelievable to eat. I really felt that they would stand up to any judging or any other beef ribs. They did- we took first place in beef ribs!!!!

I know that I focused on the beef ribs, but the pork ribs were pretty outstanding also. We tried a whole new way of doing our pork ribs at this contest and thought they turned out really good. We did not finish in the top three but know we were in on the finals because Kim watched the judging process as it is done in the open with rounds of elimination. I couldn't stand to watch this process.

All in all it was a fun contest. Really different than what we are used to (KCBS) It was a good place to try out a new pork rib process and recipe as we had planned to do. And of course I got to cook my personal favorite, "BEEF RIBS" with our Original "Q" BBQ & Dipping Sauce. Once again it has proven to be a championship combination!!!!