Last weekend was our 5th BBQ competition of the year, and our 3rd CSBBQA sanctioned amateur competition – the BBQlympiques in Brossard, Quebec. This was a first year event put on by the awesome people at BBQ Quebec and the CSBBQA, and it was a really well organized event that we will hopefully be able to make it out to again next year!
The event was announced only a few weeks before, but it still managed to sell out for the year, with 14 pro and 8 amateur teams. I really wanted to make it out this way, as there have been a lot of competitions around the Ottawa area and lots of teams that I had never met or competed against. I talked to my wife, and we decided that we would head out to Montreal for the long weekend to do the competition, and also have it be our early 1st year anniversary trip as we were married last year at the end of September (is my wife awesome or what?).
We headed our early on Saturday morning, and made it to Montreal by noon. We got checked into our hotel, and then did some exploring, walking all around the city, and then ending up at Liverpool House for dinner. Dinner there was great and I would recommend it, with my favourites being the veal kidneys and the foie gras parfait.
We got up early the next morning to make it to the BBQ competition for the 7am cooks meeting, with the event starting earlier than usual so the amateur turn ins could be the same as the pro turn ins. We got unloaded and setup, then wandered around talking to everyone that we knew before and met a bunch of new teams as well.
I’ve been thinking that our ribs have been undercooked the last couple of events, so I had a new timeline worked out to give them a little more cooking time. That all went out the window when we got our two racks of back ribs, as they were probably the smallest / thinnest ones I’ve seen yet. So rather than using my original timeline, I put them on half an hour earlier than I had originally planned to make sure they didn’t overcook.
Note: I have since discovered that the thermometer on my drum reads about 13 degrees higher than it actually is. Lesson learned: calibrate and test your thermometers!
Once I got ribs prepped I moved on to chicken. I switched to using an injection/brine combination for chicken as I thought I could get more flavour into it with the short amount of time between prep and starting to cook it. Prepping chicken is messy, but I feel like I can do it pretty well now.
We got the ribs and chicken both on the cooker, then settled in to wait. I had recently made some adjustments to the lid of my drum smoker so that it was more airtight, so I had to spend more time watching it as now instead of the temperature creeping up, it was actually getting too cold. Can’t really complain about that, as it’s much more responsive and easier to bring the temperature down when it gets too hot now.
Chicken was the first turn in, and we tried a piece when it came out and I was really happy with it. The skin was bite through, the colour was even, and it had a good flavour. Ribs came off next, and one rack had a way better texture than the other, so we tried to get most of the ribs we put in the box from that rack. After giving out some samples, one of the other teams mentioned that they tasted more smokey, and didn’t have a burn off taste that was there before – something I’ve noticed as well since switching to Maple Leaf charcoal.
After the turn ins, we had about 4 hours to kill, so I threw some pig shots that I had prepped earlier onto the smoker and let it run up to 300f so they’d be done in about an hour.
We killed some time hanging out with the other teams, and Craig from Rope a Dope had a fatty that he cooked, and Marc and Marie from Sibling Rivalry had some moinks. The guys from Rubs Smokehouse had cooked up a bunch of extra food for their pro competition as well and were giving out a lot of samples – so between all that we ate really well!
We also wandered around inside Doyon Cuisine, the store that was hosting the event. It was really nice and was a cross between a restaurant supply store and a consumer cooking store. I definitely could have dropped a ton of cash in there, but I managed to escape with only a bottle of degreaser to give all of my cookers a good cleaning when we got home.
Eventually it was time for awards, with the pros going first. It was good to see our friends from Team Eatapedia and Blackstrap BBQ get a lot of calls, and our new friend Jean-Michelle from Nouvelle Q’Zine get a call as well as everyone else. The top 3 pros ended up being:
- Blackstrap BBQ
- Texas Central BBQ
- Team Eatapedia
Then, it was time to announce the amateurs – we ended up getting second which we were really excited about as we were up against some of the top teams in the CSBBQA. Huge congratulations go out to Scotty’s Bronco BBQ who took first for the amateurs – I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so excited to win! The top 3 were:
- Scotty’s Bronco BBQ
- Rope a Dope
This was also our third CSBBQA BBQ competition, which meant that we finally got our third score in for the amateur virtual circuit. This event shuffled around the rankings a bit, and after this event, we moved into second place overall behind Rope a Dope, by only a single point: 2730 to 2729, with Blue Collar in third with 2725. There’s one more competition at Belle River in a couple of weeks, and it looks like that one is going to be the deciding event to decide the champion of the amateur virtual circuit.
I’m really happy with the way that we’ve done so far. At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted us to be able to get to at least 3 CSBBQA amateur events to take a run at the amateur virtual circuit, and now with one event to go, we’ve got a shot at winning it, and had a blast and met some great new friends along the way.