8 years ago HORNS BBQ (as it’s known today) entered it’s first BBQ Competition. It’s called the Project Host Barbecue Cook Off and Festival. Project Host is a local soup kitchen and we’ve helped in the past. The Cook Off and Festival helps to raise money for this amazing organization and it seemed like a great place to try our hand at competition BBQ.
My team mate Mike is from the Memphis area and I am from Texas both having a natural born love for BBQ. We thought a BBQ Competition was just the thing for the two of us to do and expected to go in and DOMINATE. I mean come on, we had about 60 years of cooking experience between the two of us. What we didn’t know was that all of that experience was only the tip of the iceberg and we were meant to learn a few lessons.
We got our sponsorship, the t-shirts were made and a very “professional” sign, courtesy of an extra wide tip Sharpie, was created.
The Grill of Dreams
“If we smoke it, they will come” was our motto. We rented a grill (not a smoker) bought our supplies and loaded up the vehicles for a nice weekend of cooking BBQ.
The day arrives and we check in and start getting set up. We luckily set up our cook site right next to a great guy who was more than helpful. We go to the cook’s meeting and get the last minute instructions on what to do. We asked a lot of questions and the 2 of us worked our tails off throughout the night. Oh I forgot to mention that there was also an Anything But competition on Friday night as well. So we had to cook and serve our wonderful dish. So we cook the best bbq in the land and literally filled up our turn in boxes with the most beautiful pulled pork that you have ever seen
Ribs were meaty and delicious.
We kick back and rest for a few minutes then back up giving out samples to the patron of the festival. Then it comes time for the Award’s Ceremony. Top 3 places in Pork and Ribs are called and Grill of Dreams is never mentioned. OK. It’s our first one we didn’t really expect to win.
BUT WE DIDN’T THINK WE WOULD BE DEAD LAST.
Oh the shame and embarrassment. Oh but it was so delicious according to the 100’s of people who tasted our wares. Needless to say I was not happy. It took me a year to get over it and we tried again. We had a little bit better results but not much better. At least we weren’t last we said. At that point I told my wife that I was either going to get serious about this new found love of mine or I was not ever going to enter another competition in my life. Well we did. We studied, bought some of our own equipment, studied some more, practiced and got better.
So you might be wondering why I am telling you this.
It was 2 years ago, 6 years of trying and we were finally validated in the BBQ Competition world with a 1st Place win in the Ribs category. It was at the same event that we started. The same one that we had to hang our head in shame. 6 years of doubt and confusion had finally come to an end.
We haven’t won again but at least we know what it feels like.
We have a different understanding of the process and the judging so we take the non winning moments better now. We are continuing to learn and try new things that make us better. We continue to share a couple of days together hanging out and doing what we love to do. We have had people join us, leave us, and stay with us. In fact the friendly neighbor from our first competition was on our team for the victory. (He claims it was because of him. HaHa)
We love doing what we do.