As far as the cookoff, it was in Sour Lake, Texas, benefitting the American Cancer Society. There were 27 teams total in the event, ranging from some of the best in Texas to newbies like me. If your in the Houston area or surrounding areas, the TGCBCA puts on a well run comp. Most of the cooks were more than happy to shake your hand and talk a little Q. In Texas we do fully jointed half chickens, so I turned in my 2 half chickens (I started with 2 hens 4 pounds each) at 12:30, feeling confident cause they were juicy, had a great flavor, but were a bit spicy due to the amount of cayenne in both my brine and my rub. I was worried about drawing some older judges not liking spicy foods. But when it came time for awards, the spice must have sit well as I placed 7th in chicken. Ribs (two 3 pound racks, St Louis cut spares) were turned in at 2:00. I was not overly happy with my ribs, but they did have a great smoke ring and a good, spicy flavor, but due to the ribs being light on meat, they were not as juicy as I would have liked. In the end, I placed 9th in ribs, I was very happy with this showing since I was not too happy with the end product. I told my wife and kids that the judges must have been looking for a dry, meatless rib!! LOL. Brisket turned in at 3:30, unfortunately, I was experimenting with the pit and cooked at 275 all day and the brisket (11# packer) went on at 5:15 that morning and was done by 11:30, so it was in the cooler for awhile, too long I think. I cut my slices an hour before turn in and soaked them in the juices off the brisket for that hour to "bring it back to life". I did make final table (Top 16), but finished 16th out of the 16 finalists. The extremely long time in the cooler hurt my bark and the higher temp may have hurt the moistness. Gonna' work on dialing it back to 250 on my next cook. As far as my new smoker itself, it did everything I asked it to do.
Looking a bit groggy after 2 hours sleep and 12 hours of BBQ'ing, but had a great time and my family spent the afternoon helping me with turn ins.
Edited by bruno994 - 4/30/12 at 9:29pm