Thursday, September 2, 2010

Burning Down The Fox

Last weekend, we traveled 250 miles to Princeton, Wisconsin.                

We stayed at the privately owned Green Lake Campground. It was a very nice spot with several swimming pools, full hookups, wifi and daily garbage pickup at the campsite. Our site overlooked the nine hole golf course.

We weren't there to spend time at the campground, however. We were there to be part of Burning Down the Fox Bar-B-Q Championship. Our nephews, Chad and Kevin were competing and we were able to join them on their team. Chad named the team for the event, Team DGQ, incorporating our last names. He was already setting up when we arrived at Princeton High School, where the event was held.  He was the second person to check in and had chosen the only spot in the entire competition area that had shade from trees, which helped immensely over the course of the next two days.

The contest sponsors provided water, electricity and ice so teams could set up proper kitchens.

Once we had things unpacked and the brisket and pork shoulder had been properly inspected, we got started with the food preparation.

Kevin arrived as we were putting the rub on the brisket.  He brought the ribs and chicken and the inspectors gave them thumbs up on all products. Team DGQ was now complete.

Our nephews are very innovative men. Chad brought a heat sensor that could send temperature information to a digital interface. They fit that sensor near the grate surface in one of their cookers.

That information went through a router to a laptop so that during the cooking process, whenever the thermometer indicated the fire had dipped below the desired temperature,  a fan would activate and force air into the firebox to increase the temperature. If the school's server hadn't blocked Twitter, they would have received scheduled tweets indicating the temperatures, which would have made it helpful for them as the night progressed. Their plan is to tweak and expand this technology for future barbeque events.

Paul and I left to go back to the campground once the setup was completed. There, we prepared the parsley for the presentation boxes. While we slept, Chad and Kevin tended the fires and started the briskets, pork shoulders and as the sun came up, the ribs.

The competition grounds were buzzing with activity when we arrived the next morning. At the team site, the brisket and shoulder smelled wonderful. They monitored the meat temperature to determine when it should go in foil.

Chad's adapted rib rack rotisserie worked beautifully. Time to also put them in foil to finish.

Meanwhile, Kevin prepared the chicken thighs.

They went on a rotisserie as well.

And, a whole chicken was prepared. We were busy.

Noon marked the beginning of the judging process. We were ready to go.

Chicken was first to be judged. Gorgeous.

Ribs were next. Glazearrific.

That was followed by the pork shoulder. Smokealicious.

And last to be judged was the brisket. Check out that beautiful smoke ring.

Team assessment? Everything was excellent. Comparison to last year? Better. Could there be improvements? Always. But, let me tell you, these entries were fantastic. I know these things.

We packed up and waited for the decisions.  This competition was the Wisconsin State Bar-B-Q championship, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. DGQ was being compared to many professional entries and the work of other great teams in that judges' tent. We joined the crowd gathered to learn the results.

DGQ chicken: 4th place!!!! Awesome.

That was it for us for the prizes. The team standings were very solid. My nephews are winners in my book.  Great work.

We are so pleased they have brought us into this part of their world. We bonded while we worked together. The best part of retirement is having the time to share these experiences with our family. We are making plans to compete together next year. My brother, Al, is interested in being there for that event. How great is that? And, I have joined the Kansas City Barbeque Society and we plan to take a judging class in the next year. Look out barbeque world!


Marlys said...

Awesome recap! Just awesome! The food looked beyond fantastic! Chad assures us we will get to taste some this weekend! He also suggested that I enter the competition and do a dessert! Sounds like fun! Might have to change the name to McDGQ! See you Sunday!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Very cool!! Thanks for the recap post. These guys are so talented (and I am sure they really appreciated your guys' help and support!). The whole computer monitoring thing is very cool. :)

Abby said...

WOW - everything looked INCREDIBLE. My mouth is currently watering as we speak!! Well done!

That is so great that you guys have gotten to join them the past 2 years with this!!

I am excited for you guys to take the "judging class". What a "job"!!

Jamie and Missy said...

Very impressive...but I'm super hungry now. :)

mary beth said...

Thanks for sharing, almost felt like I was there, could almost smell those entries, impressive. Loved the technology, leave it to those two. Who gets to eat all it?

Freely Living Life said...

I love this part of Wisconsin!! =)

Absolutely delicious looking food those guys worked so hard on! Yum!

Looked like a good time! Thanks for sharing with us! =)

Enjoy Wisconsin!