What a weekend!! Crafted LIVE hosted 26 BBQ teams, with 5 categories and over $6000 up for grabs.
Orange is just under 3 hours drive for us so we went to our real jobs (also know as our BBQ funding jobs) in the morning and left the rainy Blue Mountains for the dry, hard grounds of the Orange showgrounds. The atmosphere was great - we really like country comps; they are so relaxed, more flexible and a lot less red tape. Bump in didn't take long and after the team briefing we started on the important things - drinking and socialising!!
I had done all the trimming the night before so only had to inject, brine and marinate so I got that done nice and early. At about 1am, after far too many vodkas, we decided to put the brisket, pork and lamb shoulder all on at the same time. Considering brisket turn in was not until 4pm, we were probably slightly preemptive. Not to worry - it gave us the chance to get a quick sleep while the Webers did their thing. I was up at 5am tending to the BBQ'S and feeling pretty good about things.
At 10am the thighs went on in preparation for the midday turn in. We hadn't done thighs this way before and I have to say, we were very happy with the end result.
Next was lamb turn in at 1pm - the lamb was taking ages to cook and in the end I think I took it off a little too early but sometimes shit happens.... The rack was taken to 165f and I think the cutlets were really good. In hindsight we could've left the pulled out of the box but I don't think it was a total failure. The average puntee would love the flavours, it just depended on what the judges wanted to see/taste.
The pork ribs were up next. We have dropped our rib cooking time by a couple of hours because we kept over cooking them. These turned out well but were probably under by about 10 minutes. The bite was good and had some resistance but I think the country judges would've appreciated them a little more done. Ah well, live and learn.
Next was pork. I'll be short and sweet here. We overcooked the money muscle and because of that, it wouldn't slice. So we chopped the money muscle and pulled the rest. Not happy with this turn in but it was the first time we have had to hand in pork so we can only improve from here.
The brisket had been resting since about 11am (due to our badly thought out early start) and the burnt ends went on at 2pm. When I took the brisket out of the eski, it was still very hot and very juicy! It had a great smoke ring and we were very happy with it. The burnt ends were amazing - sticky and chewy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside. So good!
At 6pm, just when they were about to start the announcements, it bucketed down with rain. It was torrential. The creek separating the rich kids from us was flooded, nearly cutting us off from them - it was like the universe wanted us to stay on our side of the creek! They moved us all inside and the announcements began. We scored second in chicken! We had defeated our old nemesis! I can't even count the number of times I've screamed "I HATE CHICKEN!!" But not anymore. Well not until the next comp anyway.
We managed 6th in brisket, 12th in ribs and 13th overall. Suffice to say the pork and lamb stuffed our overall position but you can't win them all I guess! Massive congratulations to the Grand Champions The Smoking Jokers and Reserve Grand Champs Grillas in the Mist. Also special mention to Highland Q - 6th overall!
So that's another comp done and dusted. We had an awesome weekend and coming away with a call up made it even better! Next comp is at Wollongong on the Easter weekend. Can't wait!!
Our set up