We’ll Drink to That — BBQ Jamboree @ Fredericksburg, VA (May 9-10, 2014)
The BBQ Jamboree holds a special place in our hearts. One year ago, Old Virginia Smoke packed up our tents, smokers, and dreams into the back of a pickup truck and came to Fredericksburg for our first official KCBS competition. We first met the people who have gone on to become our best friends. On our first score sheet, we tied for 13th for chicken — a score that would give us the energy and drive to persevere. So much has changed . . .
This year, we pulled our new BBQ trailer onto the fairgrounds, thanks in no small part to our Kickstarter friends. We’ve got wonderful sponsors in Dizzy Pig and BBQ Guru. MABA named us the Rookie Team of the Year for last season. Our off-season has been filled with strategy sessions and practice cooks. We were ready to kick things off on a high note.
To add a little more starch into everyone’s cook-aprons, the fellows over at Aporkalypse Now issued a challenge to all participating MABA teams. Ante up a bottle of high-end small-batch craft whiskey into the kitty, and the team with the highest brisket score walks away with all that oak-aged goodness. (Editor’s Note — High. End. American. Whiskey. The kind of stuff they lock up at the liquor store. Nothing you’d find at the local Ruby Tuesday. The good stuff!)
We had ourselves a fine cook. The smokers cooperated. The meat cooperated. Heaven help us, the weather even held off — simply drizzling and blowing, as opposed to the thunderstorms that were predicted. As a team, we had shaken off any accumulated ring rust through our practice cooks.
After the KCBS meats were turned in, we processed mountains of pulled pork for the People’s Choice competition. Our friends Keith, Cara, Laura, and Jenny helped us take our meat to the masses. When 4 p.m. finally wound down, we cracked some beers, took a load off our aching feet, and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon with friends and family.
Awards started late, but we were patiently waiting in our chairs. It was a difficult awards ceremony. People’s Choice, chicken, ribs, and pork winners were named. We were not. We cheered for all our friends, but it was hard not to hear our name. After all, we’d been getting consistent calls since Louisa’s Que & Cruz event last July. Doubt was beginning to cloud our minds. We were honestly feeling like it was going to be a skunked competition for us. They kept naming heavy hitters during the brisket awards — defending champs Beerbeque, Aporkalypse Now, 3 Eyz BBQ, and Rock’s Money Pit.
“First place in brisket, and winner of the MABA whiskey side bet — OLD VIRGINIA SMOKE.”
Yep — we ran whooping like school-children toward the stage.
Yep — we ran first to the big table of whiskey, not the trophy or the stage.
Yep — our smiles almost split our faces when we stood still enough to get our picture taken.
Yep — we drank right from the bottle.
This was our first category #1 call, literally just one year after we started as a competition team. All that whiskey tastes sweet, but this tastes so much sweeter. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got a long summer ahead of us. Still, it’s such a wonderful way to start the 2014 season.
Loving thanks to all our Kickstarter supporters, Dizzy Pig, and BBQ Guru.
We couldn’t have managed our People’s Choice without such good friends like Keith, Cara, & John Thompson, Laura Cortina, Jenny Mitchell, and Scott Oser for their incredible help.
We love our BBQ friends — JD’s Smokin Misfits, Hog-It-Up BBQ, Southern Maryland Smokers, Dizzy Pig, Brown Liquor, Makin’ Bacon, Pepper Monkey, Pavone Brothers, DC Fire Fighting BBQ Team, Grand Slam, and 3 Eyz.
It was good being neighbors with you Pig Pickers and Jersey Joe’s BBQ. We’ll see you around the circuit.
Congrats to Aporkalypse Now on the Grand Championship.
Next stop . . . Roc City Rib Fest in Rochester, New York (May 23-26).