The Smoking Car #2 - Lost Nation
The Smoking Car is on the move again. We're making a return trip to Vermont to pick up Rich Decker of Lost Nation Smoke Company. He was telling us the story of his first barbeque competition, but was unable to finish when the Smoking Car came to his stop. Well, we're back and Rich can pick up his story again. Take it away Rich....
So now we were ready, Lost Nation Smoke Company (I live on Lost Nation Road) was going to compete. The drive to Harpoon is about 100 miles and I was nervous and excited to make that drive. While setting up many of the other cooks came by to wish me luck and offer any supplies I may not have brought. As our team assembled our goal was to hear our name called one time. Harpoon gives ribbons to tenth place so we had 1 chance in forty to get a call.
Once we fired up the pit I wasn't nervous any more, a little drunk but not nervous. The cook went great, the pit held temperatures all night with minimal adjustments. All the meat went on at the right times and came off around when I thought they would. The girls were doing a great job with the boxes and we got everything turned in on time. I thought the chicken was good, the ribs were a little tough, the pork was over cooked and the brisket was dry. Even though I was disappointed with the product we turned in I was still hoping for that one call.
A band of bag pipers leads everyone down to the awards tent. I don't think I was ever so nervous as the team names were announced to get their awards. The first category Chicken was announced, no call. As the rib scores are announced we hear “4th place ribs; Lost Nation Smoke Company” We did it!!! All that time, effort and money over the last year paid off with a call. We were still on cloud nine as they called out the pork scores “with a perfect, perfect score, 1st place pork; Lost Nation Smoke Company”. It was beyond my wildest dreams I never thought we would get a first place and one of the cool beer tap trophies. I don’t think I was ever so happy.
After the brisket scores were announced we got down to the Reserve and Grand Champions. The Reserve Champions were The Yahoo’s. Lance is a legendary cook in New England with the NEBS team of the year trophy named after his team. Next came the Grand Champion, the first place winner, Charlie Story announced that the Champion is a home state team and a new competitor.
That’s right the 2003 New England Regional Barbecue Champion was Lost Nation Smoke Company. Whenever you win something you are shocked, surprised and mostly humbled. It took a year of hard work but if it happened to us, it could happen to anyone. The rest of the day and night were a blur but there was a grilling competition the next day. As fate would have it we won the grilling contest also. I don’t know how to explain it except that weekend was the second anniversary of my fathers passing. So I guess as a teacher and coach my dad may have not taught me how to cook but he did teach me how to prepare for a competition.
Well, we've reached Rich's stop once again, there he goes. Thanks for the story Rich. I really enjoyed it. Talk to you soon. Hopefully we'll see you in Brooklyn soon!
On a side note, today I'm cooking in another's kitchen. My friend SweetNick's is on vacation and she's generously offered me the chance to cook on her blog. When you get a chance, take a look at my postings over there for her weeking Husband Cooks Wednesdays section. I hope she comes home rested, because little did she know, when I make dinner, the wife does the dishes!