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Best On The Mountain Rib Cook-off Contest. Memorial Day Weekend 2008

Gordon's Backyard BBQ takes 2nd place for Sauce at the Best on the Mountain Rib-cook-off at the Horizon Casino in South Lake Tahoe. While the weather was horrible, A good time was had talking BBQ with the other teams. I wish we had more photos but I'm sure you all have seen rain, snow, sleet and Ice balls before. It was a crazy weekend and we hope to be back in 2009!

I would also like to thank the promoters, Williams LTD and the Horizon Casino for the wonderful service provided to us. Its rare to be treated so well and have all our needs met in a timely fashion.

COMPETITION PHOTOThe 20th Annual American Royal Invitational & 19th Annual Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational

Below you will find some info & pix from these 2 very prestigious contests. Gordon's Backyard BBQ were invited to compete with the Best of the Best from all over the world. It was a true honor just to be invited!

First some info on the contests.

OCTOBER 5-7, 2007

AMERICAN ROYAL With more than 104 teams in the Invitational &  500 teams and $120,000 in prize money.

Kansas City, MO: The American Royal Barbecue Contest is awarding more prize money at the 2007 contest. This year’s winners will receive their share of over $120,000 in cash and prizes.

Over 500 teams will compete in this year’s barbecue contest for the title of Grand Champion of the American Royal Barbecue Contest.  Contestants in the sold out event have entered one or all of the following categories: brisket, pork ribs, pork, chicken, sausage, side dishes, dessert, and sauce.

“The American Royal Barbecue is considered one of the biggest barbecue contests in the country. Teams from all over the United States come to compete. Kansas City is known for its barbecue, and  the long-standing history of the American Royal Barbecue perpetuates that claim,” said Jolene DeMoss, barbecue contest coordinator at the American Royal.


*Comments from me*

This was basically 2 contests in one. First was the 20th Annual American Royal Invitational which was held on the 6th and is Also known as "The World Series Of Barbecue" . As a result of our recent KCBS Sanctioned Grand Championship win in San Jose, CA we were invited to participate in the 20th Annual American Royal Invitational in Kansas City, MO.

You can only get into the Invitational by winning a Grand Championship. Since I drove all that distance to do the Invitational, we also decided to enter the Biggest contest in the US which is also on the same weekend which is open to anyone, Oklahoma Joe's Open (Sun.7th) Over 500 teams competed!!!!!

This was a major challenge in itself as my team consisted of me & my brother. Most BBQ comp teams have many more members, some as many as 10 to 15 people. I had to cook 2 days straight with about 30 to 45 minutes of sleep in a 36 hour period.

A little insight on what goes on!

The action started on Friday (The Invitational) with the prepping of the meats as the first meat was to hit the smoker @ 10.00PM. This was the pork Boston Butt (actually from the shoulder) in which was to be pulled pork. Next was Beef Brisket @ 1:AM Sat. morning. Next were ribs @ 6AM then last was chicken @ 8 AM.

All the meats have to be timed to be ready for turn in to the judges at specific times as follows:

  • 12 noon-Chicken

  • 12:30-Ribs

  • 1:00-Pork

  • 1:30-Brisket

Teams have a 10 minute window in which to turn in their boxes. 5 minutes before & 5 minutes after turn in time. My bother Mike had the task to get the boxes to the judges in time and intact which is just about the most important and critical task in a contest. I know someone who was 12 seconds late and was not allowed to turn it in. They are very strict. Then its time to do some clean up before the Invitational Awards Show. I knew I had good product for the Chicken & Brisket. The Pork & Ribs were not to my liking and for some reason just didn't turn out right. All was confirmed at the Award ceremony.

While I was very disappointed on the ribs and pork, Chicken was a good placing and I was satisfied.  I had to keep reminding myself that I was up against professionals, the best of the best that do this for a living and therefore what I had acomplished was trully something special.

This was only my 4th contest ever ( in 2 years) and some teams never even make it after many many years and tons of contests under their belt. I was also in a region with very specific flavor profiles that I was going into somewhat blindly as I had not competed in that region before.

BLUE RIBBONContest cooking and flavors are & can be very different than normal BBQ we all know and love. I decided to change a few things when it came to the pork instead of sticking to what I do best and what got me there in the first place. But that's a whole other novel for another day *wink*

With the Brisket I had made it to the stage to take a ribbon 11th place out of 104 teams.

One of the greatest moment in my very short time on the contest circuit, to actually placed in a catagory.  After the awards it was time to do some cleanup and then start preparing for the next round to do it all over again.

I had not slept since Thursday night and I was really starting to feel the effects yet I had to do it all over again.

Lets get to the AR Open. This contest followed the Invitational.

Word was there was some major problems during the judging but that was to be expected. No way could they find 485+ Certified BBQ Judges so the scoring was very erradict, even more so than I imagined. Not sure what happenned with the chicken as it was the same as the day before hence my notes on the judging. On Ribs, I think I should have gone with Baby Backs as they are more popular in this part of the Country. The regional differences I think played a big part, but since I dont do any contests in this part of the US I did my best to cater to those tastes and didn't do as good as I thought I would. The Pork (a major improvement from the day before) and Brisket scores (43rd out of near 500 teams) I was very happy with!

And 152nd overall out of near 500 teams is very respectable.

On to the "Jack"


19th Annual Jack Daniel’s World NEVADA FLAGChampionship Invitational Barbecue on Friday and Saturday, October 26 - 27 in Lynchburg, Tennessee to be held October 26 - 27 where we represented the State Of Nevada.

To say this is an honor is putting it mildly. To make it to all 3 of the Major BBQ contests in one year is something I could have never even dreamed about.

Below is some info from The Jack website.

Where There’s Smoke?

The Jack Daniel Distillery and the folks in Lynchburg, Tennessee, are gearing up to host the 19th Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue on Friday and Saturday, October 26 - 27. More than 60 award-winning barbecue teams from the United States and around the world will be competing in the categories of Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder, Beef Brisket and Chicken, as well as Sauces and Desserts.

JACK DANIELSTo qualify for The 19th Annual Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue, U.S. teams must have already won a competition in which 50 or more teams participated, or they must have won a competition of at least 25 teams that has been designated a “state championship”. However, due to limited space and with more than 120 teams qualifying each year, we must limit the number of the teams. So in early September, the names of the qualifying teams go into state lotteries to select the final competitors.

Competing in the 19th Annual Jack Daniels' World Championship Invitational Barbecue along with 60 other teams from across the U.S., and 21 international teams from such countries as Australia, Austria, Belguim, Canada, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

JACK DANIEL'S PHOTO*Comments from me*

Our results from the "Jack" were not up to our standards, but thats how the contest circuit is. None of the West Coast teams did very well so I understand some of the reasons behind it.

The fact we made it to compete was an honor in of itself.

We made new friends along the way and learn some new things.

I went into the whole competing thing to see how my BBQ would fair in the overall scheme of the regional differences and  after the first 2 contests (which the results werent bad for newbies) I caught on to the tricks of the contest trade (along with some luck) and won my first Grand Championship.

To me what really counts is what my catering clients think about my "BBQ"!

Judging on my repeat clients, it seems I must be doing something right.

So I may compete again and maybe not. Guess we will see.

Special Thanks goes out to Eternal Image Of Fernley for donating a Team Banner for display at the contests (I'll have a photo up of it soon). Also to Debbie Penaluna  from The East Valley Elementary School in Fernley for donating a Nevada State Flag for the Jack Daniels Parade thru Lynchburg.

And all those who phoned and emailed me with congratulations & wishing us Good luck in these upcoming adventures.

We finally did it!!

We took Grand Champion at the Shake, Rattle & Smoke - California BBQ Championship. One of California’s oldest BBQ contests.  Shake, Rattle and Smoke, is a Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) Sanctioned BBQ Competition with a State Championship Proclamation from the Governor of California.
23 teams
Date: July 1, 2007 - 1pm Turn ins
Location: Discovery Meadow Park, San Jose, CA

Contest Website
Contest Photo Gallery

My thanks go out to Ben Lobenstein (Contest Organizer) & Nate
Gene Goycochea and John Hopkins (KCBS Reps) & the City Of San Jose Electrical guys who got me all the power I needed. And all the BBQ teams!

It was a great time talking with you all.

Among the trophies, we took one for
Grand Champion
2nd Place-Brisket
3rd Place-Pork
3rd Place- Tri-tip
5th place-Chicken
Just missed placing for ribs by a few points.

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