Hi All -
I'm back and boy am I tired! Got home at 2:30am. Slept in the back of my Dakota in a makeshift styrofoam teepee for the past 3 nights (picture #1 below). Had a horible trip up to Clarance. It rained and stormed all the way from the NY line to the fair grounds. Traffic was down to 40 to 45 for almost 150 miles - took us 10 hours to get there with only 3 stops for gas.
Yep I brought the ECB. We did ribs on the ECB and someone loaned us two Smokey Mountain bullets so we had room for all the stuff we had to cook. I was two tired to get worried about ANYTHING, but the heat of the smokers felt good - it's was freezing up there at night. I just tended the fires.
I have to say the Smokey mountain bullets are really easy to use and to get the vents clogged with ash but I liked the way they held heat. Nice little smokers. We used something called Humphreys charcoal. I never heard of it but they had a stand there so I think they were one of the sponors or something.
Bill (Shelly's amazingly wonderful, sweet and highly energitic boyfriend - the man never stops!) spiced up the food and I cooked it per Shelly's normal directions.
Talk about chaos! Trying to do the contest stuff and keep up with vending, washing dishes, filling sauce bottles, climbing in and out the this huge truck for plates, buns, preping more chickens, butts, cornbread, beans more food, pulling more butts and keeping up with the endless lines of people comming for Shellys food - I was exasted! I don't know how they do this and not drop from complete exhastion! My hats off to both of them for some of the best food (and crumbs) I've ever eatten! AND people were begging to buy the crumbs in the cornbread pan and willing to pay for it! They didn't of course (I ate the crumbs) but that's how highly prized Shellys food was at this fair! I think I'll have dishpan hands for the rest of my life!
I saw tons of smokers! Some almost as big as my house! So kewl! Met lots of great folks. AND even learned a few things I found very interesting:
Shelly has this HUGE Friedrick 220 volt cooker/smoker thing with about 20 or so rotating racks that makes amazingly moist wonderful food with her rubs. If any of you ever plan on doing a BBQ business - get this cooker/smoker! It even washes itself!
The same rub and amount of rub barely has any flavor on a charcoal smoker. I've also never seen an electric smoker so I didn't know it would make a difference - it does.
We had no time to do a practice run with the rub or the smokers so we just did it. I was also warned
by several people that these people don't like much smoke so I gave it a very light smoke. I could barely perceive the smoke taste except on the ribs. To me it would be a sacriledge to smoke so lightly but if that's what they like ... who knows? Next year I do it MY way!
We got some prety good scores but they were close. I was pleased that we beat out this arogant rich putz next door to us in all meat categories being we never got to try this team, rub or smokers before the contest. He's the state champ in PA and a few other states and not very nice overall.
I also learned that if they give you a cover for your bean cup not to use it - we got hammerd for not being able to see the beans. Why did they give us a cover then? Oh well. That was our only bad score (a 2) and the only comment they gave us.
The smoke rings were beautiful - I was pleased, everything looked really juicey. I got squirted by the chicken when I poked the thermometer in it and the colors were great. I tried a few peoples turned in and they were alot smokier than ours and more spicey.
I thing we ended up overall 31 out of 50 and our 2 on beans (for putting the cover on) killed us. Shelly has the paper.
1) Electric smokers are different and require less rub for the same effect.
2) Don't change the way you do things according to other peoples beliefs.
3) Don't hesitate to jump in and help a fellow smoker - you might enjoy it!
4) When you sleep in a truck bed get an air mattress!
4) Charlie Daniels still ROCKS!
PS Donnies Ribs (he won ribs) are the best ribs I've every eatten and the sauce is to die for! He's trying to bottle it and sell it - when he does I want a case of it!