Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pork in the Park - Salisbury, Md

  • OVERALL ... 22nd out of 116 Teams 
  • CHICKEN ... 36th
  • RIBS ... 39th
  • PORK ... 20th
  • BRISKET ... 38th
Well it was a weekend of firsts.  Not 1st place in any category or 1st overall, but some 1st's none the less.  This weekend was the first official competition for the newly merged team, the first competition of the year and maybe more importantly the first journey in the Hoopty.

For those of you who aren't aware of our traveling arrangements, allow me to explain.  At the end of last season I purchased a  1977 Coachman Leprechaun class C motorhome.  It is 24' long and really earns the title of a Hoopty.  This is not a motorhome you take the family on vacation in, it is a bbq competition machine and is perfect for that purpose and not much else.  After months of wrenching on the engine Spice Bob had her running like a champ, or at least we hoped so.

Bob and me would be making the trip to Salisbury, as Spice Bob had a prior commitment he had to attend to.  So we set out on our journey on Thursday at high noon, with crossed fingers and holding our breath.  The old girl ran like a champ and we were really stoked about getting there and setting up...until.  That's right, it couldn't be an adventure without a little drama. With about 40 miles left in the journey she began to cough, spit and lose power, after riding the shoulder on Rt. 13 for a short distance she regained her composure and got back up to speed.  After a second incident a few miles away we pulled over into a parking lot and looked under the hood and as if she knew we weren't happy she straightened up and we continued without further incident.

We pulled into the park looking like the Clampets, got into our site and setup camp.  After setting up we enjoyed some of my homemade chili and started to relax.  We spent the rest of the night socializing and having a few beers with Eric from the "Sun of a Beach" bbq team as well as Brian and Megan from "Finn's Finest BBQ", who are some of the great people you meet and hang out with at these competitions.

Friday was your normal competition Friday, finish setting up, meat inspections, and meat preparation.  Bob went to the cooks meeting while I built the turn-in boxes.  After a little socializing, it was off to bed as we had to get up and start cooking at 3am.  The cooking process went fairly well, with few problems and we built what we thought were nice looking entries.  All of the meat tasted good and we left it in the hands of the judges.  After the last turn-in we took our walk around the competitors area offering teams a sample of our "Good Luck Cherries" that have been soaking in grain alcohol since before Christmas.

The awards ceremony came and ended without us getting a call to the stage, but after going over the judges scores we were optimistic that we will be bringing home some hardware in the upcoming competitions.  With the massive thunder storm and winds that hit the area at the end of the awards ceremony we decided that we would stay put for another night and we were rocked hard by Mother Nature.

The wind made the ride home on Sunday exciting but the hoopty and team arrived home without incident, only to relax for a moment, because we have back to back weekends in May.....Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Meet the team


Belford originally started the Gypsy BBQ team in 2008 and competed in several competitions in the Mid-Atlantic area.  Belford is responsible for the ribs and pork entries for the team.  The Gypsy idea arose from several sources, such as the way bbq teams are gyspies just by the fact that they set up at competitions, compete, pack up and move on to the next competiton.  Any one that really knows Belford will say that his love of Stevie Nicks had some influance on the name, and they are probably right.  Belford is a member of the KCBS, a KCBS certified Judge and a member of the MABBQA.


Bob started Biker BBQ in 2010 and competed  in the Mid-Atlantic area.  Bob's experiance in competition bbq started in 2008 where he assisted the Gypsy BBQ team until the formation of Biker BBQ.  Bob is responsible for the chicken and brisket entries for the team.  Bob's love of motorcycling in general and Harley-Davidson's in particular is the inspiration for the Biker name.  Bob is a member of the KCBS.


Spice Bob has been an assistant for both the Gypsy BBQ and Biker BBQ teams since 2008.  His previous experience in competition bbq was as an event organizer, organizing the King Pig bbq competition in 2007-08. Spice Bob's primary responsibility is to get the team's entries to the judges safely and on time.  He is also usually seen wandering around competitions talking with everyone and taking pictures of the event.  His help to the team is invaluble and he can be recognized by his black sider hat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy New Year

With 2010 behind us we are anxiously waiting to begin the 2011 bbq season.  The Pork in the Park BBQ Festival in Salisbury, Md is the unofficial start of the season for many teams in our area, and April 15th couldn't come quick enough.

I feel that before we dive into the new year, we should briefly recap 2010, as there were major changes that have brought us to where we are today.  The Gypsy and the Biker BBQ team is a merger between my Gypsy BBQ and Bob Caulford's Biker BBQ.  We have been friends for years and only live about a mile away from each other. While it was fun talking smack and competing against each other, it wasn't very practical.  Early on in the season we started traveling together and that did save us gas as well as wear and tear on two vehicles.  We however still paid separate entry fees with and average cost of $250.00, double the meat and garnish costs, as well as packing, unpacking and finally re-packing double the equipment each competition.  Anyone who has competed in a bbq competition knows how physically and emotionally draining the experience can be.  Combine that with the fact that we both operated as 1 man shows, doing all the prep work, cooking and finally presenting all 4 entries it became obvious that a change was needed.

The last 3 competitions of the season we competed as one team and man did it make a difference.  Less stress, less work, and most of all less cost was a welcome change.  I took care of everything for the ribs and pork, while Bob handled the chicken and brisket.

The 2010 season ended in September at the Que by the Sea BBQ Championship in Seaside Heights, NJ.  Competing as Biker BBQ we finished 5th in chicken, 7th in pork and 5th in brisket (yes, the ribs let us down) for an overall finish of 3rd place out of 47 top quality teams.

Determined to keep the momentum going we have been practicing and preparing for 2011 all winter long.  It is now time get this party started.....Look out here we come.