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Monday, February 23, 2009

What a Trip & Class!...

The "Old School vs High Tech" class with Rod Gray & Johnny Trigg was a great one and well worth the time/money IMHO. There were 24 folks in attendance, the class took 13 hours (from 7 AM until 8 PM on Sat), and I came home 26 legal pages full of notes - so it will take me a few days to get my things compiled!

It was like "BBQ Disneyland" at this meeting! Besides meeting and working with Rod Gray and Johnny Trigg, I met Paul Kirk, Mike Mills, and sat next to Lea Ann Whitten at the NBBQA banquet on Friday night. Well, Ed actually sat next to her... I got to "tag along"... And yes, she is every bit as pretty as she is in print or on TV!!. I also saw "Fast Eddy" Mauren, and I had the opportunity to visit with "old friends" Bill & Barbara Milroy (Texas Rib Rangers). I also saw some "sweet" pits - including a brand new candy apple red Jamie Geer pit that "Checkered Pig" (who won last year's RNR in SLC) had come down to Texas to pick up. I truly felt like a "greenhorn" in that crowd - but they were all very nice and "welcoming", even to a novice like me.

The class definitely was not a disappointment. It was wonderful to see different approaches to cooking championship BBQ - and not just from 1 but 2 of the top teams in the US! Much to my surprise, they "showed all/discussed all" - meat selection, prep, the "secret" rubs and sauces, cooking techniques, turn-in boxes, etc. Very few stones were left unturned - and no questions were left unanswered. The class had some pretty decent "heavy hitters" in attendance, too.

We had an actual classroom with a big mirror right over the "work table" so we could see everything (and/or we could walk up and watch from right next to them), and the pits were just right outside the door. So, we were constantly moving back & forth between a classroom setting and the pits themselves. It was "non-stop bop" beginning promptly at 7 AM, we "worked" right through lunch, and wrapped up Q&A at a little after 8 PM. It was a "solid" 13 hours of learning/watching. Ed Roith & I had planned to venture down to the famous/infamous "6th Street" in Austin Saturday night after the class - but I was "brain mush" by that evening and decided not to go (maybe I am just getting old!)

The Que? Well - trust me, there is a reason these 2 teams do as well as they do! Beautiful food, solid presentations - and dang it, it tasted darn great, too!! Overall, I slightly preferred Johnny's BBQ to Rod's - but not by much! Trust me, Rod showed me a "pellet pooper" can certainly compete with the best of stick burners (although it "came out" that Rod also has a Jamie Geer pit, too!)

I will be posting more from the class in a few days.

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