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Thursday, February 19, 2009
Off to Austin!!
Well, I am off to Austin, TX., tomorrow (Fri, 2/20) to attend in part the National BBQ Association meeting - and take a competition BBQ class taught by Rod Gray ("Pellet Envy") and Johnny Trigg ("Smokin' Triggers")... Talk about being "stoked!!" I am also looking forward to spending some time with my good friend / Master Judge / KCBS representative Ed Roith (Ed, among other things, has helped oversee the judging at Rock N Ribs for the past 3 years...)
Although I have been aware of the NBBQA for many years, I have to admit I really don't know much about them... And I am only going to get to be there for about 1 1/2 days of the meeting this time around... But after looking over the speakers and events for their annual meeting this year, I definitely want to come back next year to attend a whole lot more of the meeting...
Paul Kirk, Mike Mills, Mike Davis, Lee Ann Whippen, Woody Wood, Eddy Maurin are just a few of the speakers who were at the meeting this year - along with Rod and Johnny, of course! Talk about an "all-star" cast!! And classes on everything from creating a distinctive rub to leveraging your competition success to opening a BBQ restaurant to bottling/marketing your rub or sauce to selecting a competition pit to judging classes - and more!! And if that isn't enough to wet your appetite, they also conduct an all day "tour" early in the week of many of the historic Texas Hill Country BBQ "Shrines" in the Austin area, where you get to tour the kitchens, talk with the owners, and taste samples.
This sounds like the "Super Bowl" of BBQ - or "BBQ Heaven" - to me!!!
Entitled "Old School vs High Tech", the class I am taking features 2 of competition BBQ's best... Johnny Trigg of Smokin' Triggers has cooked almost 600 events and has over 60 Grand Championships and countless category wins. With Alvarado, Texas as his home base, Johnny has logged hundreds of thousands of miles competing, visiting most of the U.S. states, and even competing in Europe. Johnny was awarded the Kansas City Barbeque Society Team of the Year in 2003, has been runner-up twice and has been a KCBS category Team of the Year many times. With victories in 2000 and 2003, Johnny is the only competitor to win the Jack Daniel's World Invitational twice.
Rod Gray has competed in over 200 events all across the country in the last eight years. In that time, Pellet Envy has won forty-five championships and has ended seven straight seasons as a top nationally ranked team. Rod has been invited to the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational five times in his short career. With only nine perfect scores awarded in the last two year, Pellet Envy received three of them and ended the 2007 season as the best rib cooks in the country. Pellet Envy gathered eight Grand Champions and fifteen category wins in 2008 alone, ending the season with more wins than any other team in America.
I have to be quite honest, I truly feel a little in "awe" of being in the presence of these guys. At the same time, though, having met Johnny last year at "Grill on the Hill" up at Snowbird, I also know he is a very cordial, friendly, and "down to earth" guy - and I expect Rod will most likely be the same.
I look forward to "reporting back" next week about my trip, along with photos of my adventure! As I said - talk about being "stoked"!