Victory Lap: Smokin’ on the Track BBQ Festival

Nestled in the foothills of the mighty Shenandoah Mountains is a 3/8 mile oval track, home to Late Model, Bandolero, Mini Cups, and Sportsman racing.  And for one weekend each year, it’s home to a KCBS BBQ competition, cornhole tournament, and classic car show.

We’ve never set up a cooksite in the middle of a racetrack before, but 2013 has been an all-around year for firsts.  Pitmaster Luke did the heavy lifting on Friday, as non-BBQ realities infringed upon Kim and Leigh Anne’s time.  (Editors note:  Lucas set up the entire cooksite. Prepped all the meat. And drank beer and gin buckets with Mike Palmer.  And hung out with the fine young man that runs Deguello BBQ, Senor Kit Rudd.)  Upon our arrival on Friday night, we set to work, making up for lost time until the wee hours o’ the morn.  Of course, with two sets of massive stadium lights glowing, it remained daylight-bright throughout the night.

Speaking of firsts, this event marked our initial entry into a People’s Choice category.  OVS Auxilliary Members Drew Grossman and Arielle Deligdish came by to help serve two different kinds of pulled pork — one with Luke’s super-secret Carolina mustard sauce and one with our sweet red sauce.  Drew and Arielle were busy as bees, and by our count handed out more than 800 samples over the course of a few hours.  We didn’t get the nod for People’s Choice, but we saw a lot of smiling faces and repeat visitors rolling back for second, thirds, and fourths.

Despite the late arrival of 2/3 of the team, it was a pretty solid cook.  The Backwoods and the Smoky Mountain Webers were in top form, and we often found ourselves ahead of schedule during that critical 2 and 1/2 window surrounding and encompassing turn-in time.  With eight (count ’em E-I-G-H-T!) pork butts on the fire to accommodate our People’s Choice efforts, we were using up the majority of our available real estate.  There was a little wheeling and dealing across the smokers to accommodate other meats at different times, but no major hurdles.

It is with great pride and happiness that we report the rib hurdle has been cleared.  With some tinkering on process, we got ourselves a 3rd place call!!!  And right after that, another 3rd place call for pork!!!  It was good weekend for us and piggy products, no doubt about it.  Our chicken did not do so good . . . and we have our theories about that.  We’re still cooking the same chicken that got us top 10 calls, but table selection can be brutal (we have the numbers to support that position).  Brisket got 12th, and we finished 6th overall.  That’s our second top ten finish in a row, and a great way to begin winding down the season.

As you’ve noticed, we attract rain. Tear down of the site was absolutely punishing, and could not have been accomplished without the help of Casey and the rest of the Smokin’ at the Track team. We had a quick refresher of drink at the Hog It Up Hotel, and then hit the road. But not without taking the Tundra, strapped with a UHaul, around the track. It was comical when Leigh Anne passed me on the inside with a Prius on turn three. A good time witnessed by no one. Sometimes those are the best.

We want to give much love to our friends at Hog-It-Up BBQ, Southern Maryland Smokers (watch the video of Mike Palmer testing the track on our Facebook page), JD’s Smokin Misfits, Mr. Pappalardo of Grand Slam BBQ, the fine people at Late Empire BBQ, and new friends at Pop Pop’s Chicken and Pig for an awesome weekend.  Congrats to to Kit @ Deguello on their GC.  And again, a huge thanks to Drew and Arielle for helping out this weekend.

Up next . . . avoiding the brown acid at Woodstock.