On Wednesday, Nov. 9, after staying with my buddy Todd of Smokin’ Buttheads and his wife Jan, OVS pointed south toward the state of Alabama for the World Food Championships.
We had never cooked before in Alabama, but we were looking forward to it. Kim was flying down Thursday night and Leigh Anne would be there Friday night. It would be the last time we would all cook together for a while, as Leigh Anne will soon be moving permanently to Arizona.
We got the trailer into the spot and quickly moved to say hello to friends we had not seen in a long time, Mike and Barbara with Chix, Swine and Bovine and Mark and Nikki with Serial Griller. Then it was off for a lunch with Jared and Suzanne of Insane Swine. That was the great thing about this contest. So many of our friends were here from all around the country.
That night was a reception at the fabled Flora-Bama Yacht Club, where great fun was had. Got to catch up with more old friends from all over the place, and have some amazing food, including a wonderful alligator white chili. We did a little Facebook live video from the arena…
Thursday would be the primary set up day. We were located right next to the fabled team from South Africa, Team Braai-B-Que, and across from our new friend Bill, a great guy from Missouri. And behind us was Loren and Cheryl Hill from The Smoking Hills, last year’s World Food Champions.
Thursday was also awesome because of two other events–the first, meeting our new friends from Holland, Southern Dutch BBQ, who would be cooking on one of our Humphrey’s Smokers. Their spot was right down the aisle from ours, and we would certainly enjoy our time with Tom, Dorine, and Martijn.
Secondly, one of our best sponsors, Bob Trudnak of BBQ Guru, would be competing on Thursday in the World Steak Championships. We served as home base for Bob and our new friend Eric McHugh, Bob’s sous chef for the day, as we were close to the chef arena.
Also on this day was the Fire and Ice Challenge. This competition was for the top 10 female pitmasters from a year long challenge, and included friends of ours from our are including Theresa Bell, Shannon Turner and Jayna Coulon (the eventual Fire & Ice WINNER!). It was fun watching them cook wonderful plates in only two hours, with a grill and a smoker.
The day was spent watching Bob, catching up with people, and settingup/prepping for the next day. Luke would shoot out to Pensacola to pick up the Lil General that night after an event for Operation BBQ Relief.
Friday came, and it was game time. Often in big events, OVS would miss a step here or there, and would be wondering “what if” for a while. We vowed not to do that again.
The cook itself was pretty uneventful. We hit all of our marks throughout the day and turned in some really good food.
But, the field was STACKED. We went into the awards with the mindset that a call would be wonderful. We cleaned the cooksite, packed up, and headed to Villagio, where our friend Chuck Piercy had reserved a bunch of tables for BBQ people.
And the awards…took a while. The ceremony started at 6:45 pm, and included several other categories as well. BBQ would be last.
The drinks were flowing and we were having fun with new friends and old. Finally on to BBQ. We sat and cheered for all of our friends, but did so this time with no regrets about our cook. And then boom, almost out of time and hope, and OVS gets called for 2nd place brisket (tied for first). So awesome to hear our name called in this crowd.
At the World Food Championships, they announce the top 10, and those ten move on to cook the next day in the BBQ finals. There were a few teams with a couple of calls. But it would be interesting to see who made it.
Needless to say, we were blown away by being called 7th overall. Plans had been made earlier in the day with Whiskey Bent BBQ to head to New Orleans for breakfast on Sunday morning, and then to The Shed in Mississippi for lunch. There was no anticipation of cooking. Turns out the Whiskey Bent boys would be without beignets as well, as they would finish as RGC, and Cajun Blaze would win GC.
All ten teams would cook for two hours the next day, all on the same model of smoker, with the same charcoal. The combined scores from day 1 and say 2 would determine the World BBQ Champion.
To be continued…