I LOVE the Hudson Valley Ribfest
. It's by far my favorite event. It's far enough from NYC to feel like I'm cooking deep in the country. The views are fantastic. The sites are level and on grass. The bathrooms are indoors. The bands are far away enough that you don't have to hear them if you don't want to. The team that puts together this event works their ass off for you. They feed you a pancake breakfast. The weather is always exciting. And they have a fantastic pool for the teas to use. I really can't ask for more.
But as much as I love this event, I hated getting to New Paltz this year. The team was long in coming together with people joining and others dropping off the face of the earth, financial issues, transportation problems and just about anything else that could rear it's ugly head did in the week before the contest. When we did finally coalesce we were battle scarred.
But as they say out, of adversity arises greatness and boy did that come true with this contest. The team that finally did emerge; Kevin Lincoln, the founder of the New York BBQ Lover's Meetup Group
, Matt Fisher, assistant pit master at RUB
, Michael Rosen, a great old friend who has worked with me on more projects than anyone else in my life and myself, worked like a well oiled machine.
Unfortunately, we didn't cook so well. Let me rephrase that, the judges didn't think we cooked so well. We came in 51st out of 72 teams. It was a dismal showing on paper, but it was an encouraging showing none the less. The four of us have never cooked together before. Mike and I have cooked together outside of competitions for years, and cooked together once before at New Paltz when I joined his team Smokey Mikes 4 years ago. Kevin joined my old friend Pete and I for half of the event two years ago. Matt and I have never cooked competitively together before. Sure I've lent Matt a helping hand at various events over the years, but this was the first contest we cooked together.
And as amazing as it may seem, we achieved the perfect mix of ego, temperament and disposition. We laughed, we prodded, we joked, we directed and we talked, all while maintaining a festive and cordial atmosphere. We were there to compete, but we were also there for a good time. We achieved both.
Thank you guys. I can't wait until we team together again.
Next up, the food, the sponsors and the results.
Labels: barbecue, barbeque, bbq, competition, contest, hudson valley ribfest