“What the wha. . . ?” Recovery Fest, Richmond VA: September 5-6, 2014

We love the folks at the McShin Foundation!!! They have such a wonderful approach to the treatment of addiction — “smoke meat not drugs.” How can you argue with that? As such, we were pleased to return to the mean streets of Richmond for their annual Recovery Fest and BBQ competition.

Pitmaster Luke D rolled into town and did a solo site-up and prep session. After that, it was time to sit down and visit with our friends at JD’s Smokin Misfits, Grand Slam, Pavone Brothers, Rock’s Money Pit, and Fred Vegas. Luke and Grand Slam pitmaster Neil Pappalardo had just wrapped up dinner when Kim and Leigh Anne showed up after work and struggles with traffic. Despite the turning of the calendar pages into September, it still felt like the dog days of summer. We had all the h-words — hot, hazy, and humid.

We were pleased to be joined by our good friend Nate Duke and his fiance Brittani Robinson for this cook. Nate has been up and down the BBQ circuit this summer, visiting festivals and learning everything he can about competition BBQ. It was great to have some extra hands and another strong back on the team. Nate was a working machine!

We were also pleased to introduce our newest team member, the flame-throwing weedburner that we use to light our trusty Backwoods smokers. Our friends in Serial Grillers turned us on to these bad boys down in Galax. After a few weeks of practice, we felt ready to put ’em in the trailer and bring ’em to the big dance. Boy howdy — lighting a firebox ain’t ever been easier!

Of course, when you hit 100% humidity at 4 a.m., sometimes a smoker reacts. So we found ourselves running a little hot through the night. Still, that probably worked out for the best because we had two monster pork butts from our newest sponsor, the Wine’ing Butcher in Ashburn, VA. These little piggies . . . okay, technically not-so-little piggies . . .came out looking and tasting amazing.

It was a weird awards ceremony. Despite our pleas and protestations, the McShin folks only read out the top fives for each category. And, for the first time in a long while, we didn’t hear our name in chicken, ribs, pork, or brisket. It was hot, uncomfortable, and disappointing sitting under that tent. We clapped for our friends and shared high-fives and hugs when they walked, but we sat there wondering just what went wrong. When they started announcing the top five competitors, imagine the surprise when “third place, Old Virginia Smoke” rang out over the loudspeakers. There was a collective “Huh?” When we finally got the score sheets, it turned out to be a three-call competition — 6th in chicken, 7th in ribs, and 9th in brisket.

So that hot afternoon in Richmond turned out to be our second best finish EVER. The world works in mysterious ways!!!!

A hearty congratulations to Rock’s Money Pit on the GC and Fred Vegas Smoker’s on the RGC.

And here’s a big chicken.

photo (6)

As always, we appreciate all the help we get from our sponsors — Dizzy Pig BBQ, the BBQ Guru, Bob’s Have’na BBQ Sauce,the Wine’ing Butcher, and all our Kickstarter supporters.

Up next . . .ROAD TRIP TO THE ROYAL. Your faithful barbecue team is headed to Kansas City for the American Royal World Series of BBQ. Heaven help us all!!!!