Hector's Smoke House Championship BBQ Team

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Meatstock BBQ Wars 2016

Finally we are back home from Meatstock BBQ Wars 2016 😃 This trip has made me appreciate what teams that travel interstate go through…… I take my hat off to you. It is very very hard, even more so if youre a single cook team. I have to say thanks to Paul for coming to help me at very short notice when my family couldnt travel due to my sons appendix operation.
The Meatstock BBQ Wars 2106 was fantastic. Well turned out, plenty of vendors and I could hear the rocking music. The only negative was the horrifically high heat on Sunday morning, I had a waterfall pouring from my forehead, but we can’t blame anyone for that 😃
Jay the Event Manager did a great job of finding space for the RV, marquee, Bbqs and the trailer, the RV’s air con was such a relief at times.
I must admit I do not like cooking seafood on my q’s they can stink them out, which would not be appreciated. Also I am not remotely keen to have seafood as a category that contributes to GC. I think that Seafood is too generic which makes it really difficult to judge when some cook salmon, cod, scallops, prawns, lobster, oyster etc If this remains it needs to be more specific. This category may be a reason I don’t cook in some comps in the future.
After saying all of that, with very little imagination I cooked a dish that was pretty nice and ended up coming 12/48, this was a fantastic result cooking in a category that I didn’t practice and couldn’t get excited about
The next hand in was chicken. Arrrgghhhhhhh!!!!! How stupid am I ? I placed OK in chook last week and thought it needed more tenderness and more taste. So I decided to change the timings and the taste without any practice. I took a half hour off of the total time and put together a new sauce. Fifteen minutes before hand in I realised I was struggling to get past the safe internal temp of 165f, so I cranked up the Yoder to 300f but it was too little too late. As the back end of the hand in window approached I knew I couldn’t get above 152f internal. We cut one up and it looked fine but I really couldn’t take the risk of making a judge ill, so I decided not to hand in 😱 We carried on cooking til 165f, 20 mins later and tasted. The new sauce etc was fantastic, it had great colour, had an amazing gloss and tasted unreal, this is hard to take but at least I could look at myself in the mirror.
So i learned a lot of lessons, don’t change important things without testing, have a back up plan I’ve have the Go Anywhere hot ND ready to go….. So it won’t happen again, I am sure in cost me a good Top 10 finish in the overall comp,
Next was lamb, another category I do not like. I don’t cook lamb low and slow, too fatty for me but anyway I gave it a go. I had a plan with one cut but at the last minute added another that I’ve only cooked once and hated, Anyway I cooked both cuts and preferred the back up, in fact it was pretty good, so it went in. It was a long way from perfect but I really think I can turn it into a high ranking turn in. So for a category I dislike, I was over the moon to come 13/48
Next was Pork Ribs……….. The last 2 Comps I came 1st so thought I had a bit of a chance. Again, last week I had issues with outer bones falling out, out of the foil, so thought I’d back off on the time. After glazing, I knew tenderness wasn’t right, so cranked up to 300f. When I took them off I thought they were tight but when I cut them, they had great bite though. The taste was there again, thought they were better than the 1st place ribs last week. So was shocked to come 23/48 totally shocked. Not quite sure where to go with this one, I need to see the category scores to make sense of it. Maybe not fall off of the bone, maybe a table of death, making lots of even better ribs, really not sure. Will change the timing a little but that’s all.
Next was Pork and was hoping to do well after last weeks first. I was pretty happy with the turn in, not as good as last week but not bad. The pork was slightly smaller and the MM was not a big and shaped. One of them was mush and the other was ok, not great but ok. So very happy to place 4/48 just disappointed not to get a third, I’d have loved one of the Meatstock trophies 😃
Finally was Brisket. I thought I had a pretty good cook. The burnt end we’re not the prettiest but tasted fantastic. One of the flats was over the other was ok. Again I’ll need to see the individual results, I thought it was better than 11/48 understanding the scores will help me improve,

Overall I was pretty happy with the cook, pretty consistent. I only needed 265 from Chook to go Top 10, a higher score would have lifted us well up the list. So this leaves me feeling good and I can see lots of opportunities to improve, I’ll write down the changes tonight and tomorrow. I normally never practice anything but I am pretty fired up and will make changes and practice seafood, lamb, chicken and brisket.

So even with the disaster in chicken, I’m not dejected at all, it was only my 4th Comp. I’m keen to learn from my screw ups and also keen to change things around to lift other dishes. The weekend was great but incredibly tiring. We have a wonderful BBQ Community, it’s great to be involved with everyone, Saying that we did have one massive success, we sold out of HSH stubby holders by Sat lunch, I could have sold another 3-4 boxes 😀 I normally don’t write a blog but just felt I needed to get it out there 😃 Thanks for reading.