OK, results are in. I will give everyone the scoop here in this post, then follow it up with the pics.
There was a last minute entry, so there were 5 of us total. Two of us were using smokers, both ECB types. Mine is charcoal and the other guy's is electric. Two people did straight charcoal grilling, both with some form of indirect heating. The last guy used his propane grill, but also with indirect heating.
Many varieties of cooking. This was suppose to be an "open" friendly competition and we all tackled it differently. I will describe the cooking techniques one at time.
The ending time for this was 3:30pm. I give this info because I will tell you the times everyone started cooking.
I started my coals going about 8:30am and put the meat on around 9:00. I was about 1/2 ahead of schedule, but I figured I could adjust. I did the typical 3-2-1 method on my charcoal smoker, using hickory wood mixed in. I used Jeff's rub the night before, and then lathered it with his BBQ sauce during the last hour. I spritzed with a combo of apple juice and captain morgans during the first 3 hours, and then applied a generous amount during the foiling stage.
The guy with the electric smoker had chunks of apples, apple juice and a white wine mixed in with water in his water pan during the smoke. Not sure what rub he used, but I know he had a rub. He used apple wood for his smoke. He started his cooking around 12:30, so he only smoked it for about 3 hours total, then threw them on a charcoal grill for about 15 minutes when he applied his BBQ sauce.
The first charcoal cooker had his ribs rubbed the night before and he told me he squeezed a lime on his ribs, waited about 10 minutes, then sprinkled salt on his ribs, waited about 10 more minutes, then applied a Rendevouz rub (bought down in Memphis some where). He then wrapped it in Saran Wrap over night. For his cooking, with my input (stupid, I know), he decided to cut up a tin pan and use it like a baffle to keep his charcoal pushed to the side of his Weber grill. He dripped some home made marinade on the baffle pan and the charcoal itself to generate his smoke. He started cooking his about He did not use any BBQ sauce, in fact he is the only one that didn't. He started cooking around 11:00am.
The 2nd charcoal smoker started his cooking around 12 or 12:30. He created a ring of coals around his Weber and cooked in a foil pouch the entire time in the center. He had beer poured in the foil, along with some mashed up grapes and cut up apples. He opened up the foil pouch around 2:30 and sprinkled a mixture of woods chips on the coals. It was a mixture of sasafras (sp?), hickory, apple and something else. He pulled the meat out entirely around 3:00 and brushed on a very sweet BBQ sauce that was pretty good, imo.
The propane guy was going with some sort of southwestern style. He had a variety of spices on it, but I don't know if it was a store bought mixture or something he came up with. He put his ribs on the top rack of his gas grill, removes his lower cooking grates, and then placed a tin pan on top of the burner filled with wood chips (not sure what kind). He began his cooking at about 1:00 and kept the temp on his grill around "medium" the entire time. He had a home made BBQ sauce that he applied during the last 15 minutes or so. It had a nice kick to it.
We grabbed 5 tin pans and labeled them A-E and had each of us put our ribs in a tin pan with a letter on it. The "judges" were 4 people in the neighborhood that simply volunteered. The scored each letter with a 5 for first, 4 for 2nd, all the way down to a 1 for last. Scores were added up and here are the results.
1st place went to the guy charcoal grill guy that did not have any BBQ sauce on his.
2nd place went to the propane grill guy with the SW style.
3rd place went to the other charcoal grill guy with the sweet BBQ.
4th place was yours truly.
5th place was the guy with the electric smoker.
Seems the judges liked ribs with no BBQ sauce, which is why the guy in first won. He got 5s from 3 of the 4 judges, and a 4 from the other one. He as the clear winner. The SW style everyone seemed to like, which is why he got 2nd. The sweet style seemed to barely nudge mine out between 3rd and 4th. The guy in last had very tough ribs and it showed. He admitted that his were the worst after he tried everyone's.
I was told that mine were the most tender ribs, followed by the guy in 3rd place. So obviously the judges weren't shooting for tenderness as the primary factor. One judge told me that my BBQ sauce was too overwhelming, and he would have given me 1st if I didn't put the sauce on.
Each of the cookers also picked who's they liked the most, not counting their own. 2 of the 4 cookers liked mine the best, so I guess it really matters on who your judges are.
We are talking about being more specific next time in terms of whether everyone has to sauce or not, and things like that.
All in all, it was a fun time and the weather actually cooperated (was a chance of rain).