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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Mid-Summer Review

July and August saw our usual competition slowdown.  July saw Three Dogs head up to Old Forge, New York  to compete in The Great Adirondack BBQ Festival.  In August, we made our yearly trek to the Hudson Valley area for the Hudson Valley Ribfest.

The Great Adirondack BBQ Festival, Old Forge, NY

This was an addition to the schedule for 2017.  We usually have a two month lay off between our last June contest and Hudson Valley.  But, we wanted to stay sharp and started to look for a July comp to do so.  This competition fit the description.  Old Forge is a great mountain town about halfway between Utica and Lake Placid.  It is a great place for a competition, other than keeping on the lookout for the occasional bear.  Martie, our at the time 7 week old Springador puppy, made her debut there.

We had the typical Three Dogs, Three Meat Cook.  8th in chicken, 7th in ribs, 11th in brisket, and a deserved 27th in pork (ouch), added up to a 13th overall.  I tell you, if competitions were three meats we would be rivaling Myron Mixon  for most GC ever.  Just kidding, but we would have at least one. But, champions seal the deal and we just haven't been able to put great product out for all four categories yet.  No excuses.

Overall, Old Forge is a great contest.  Beautiful scenery, cool weather in July, big payouts if you are lucky enough to walk top five, and the area is littered with lots of great little pubs.

I believe that Old Forge will be a regular in the Three Dogs rotation for years to come.

Hudson Valley Ribfest, New Paltz, New York.

Hudson Valley is an odd duck of a contest.  Generally, you stay in your extended area for BBQ competitions.  You know what judges like, why tempt fate?  Hudson Valley, due to its proximity, pulls teams from New England, Western NY, and the Mid-Atlantic.  It also pulls judges from all three areas.  Good teams always rise to the top, but this convergence of different regions does add an X factor to the competition.  Results are always interesting.  

It all started here for Three Dogs back in 2011.  At our first contest here, we got a walk and a check for the pizza turn in.  Hope fell in love with BBQ at that point and the rest is history.  We followed that up with a chicken wing walk the next year and our first KCBS call in 2013.  This is the only contest we have attended every year since we started competing and we always will.  The ribfest has grown a lot over the years, adding country concerts and lots of vendors.  We have fun, but this contest has never been kind to us.  Perhaps this would be the year.

Friday was load in day and we were one of the first to arrive.  That gave us the opportunity to enjoy the oppressive humidity, constant rain, and the black flies and mosquitoes.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  Mental note, five tiki torches do keep the flies and bugs away.  They also stay lit in driving rain.  Bonus...

Saturday dawned and we sauntered over the Mort's Meat Mafia to assist with the NEBS grilling.  I made our pulled pork pizza for Mort and Jeff.  Yes, this was the pizza that gave us our first walk in competitive BBQ and has yet to disappoint.  Mort took a 6th with this pizza, along with a 10th in steak, and a 9th in apple dessert for 19th overall.  We won't talk about the wrapped in bacon turn in...

Afterward, we strolled back over to our site and prepped for the KCBS cook.  Still oppressively humid, but there was a slight breeze and a front was moving in later that night.  Perhaps it would cool off a bit.

When Sunday dawned, it was noticeably cooler and less humid, good cooking weather.  Everything made it in on time and all we could do was wait for what I fondly call The Reckoning.  Now, I thought we had a good cook.  I didn't say that out loud because generally that means the judges will tear you apart.  Yes, I am superstitious like that.  Well, for once my hunch was right.  4th in ribs and our first category win with a 1st in pork added up to a 5th place overall out of 59 tough teams from all along the East Coast.

Next up, our final competition of the year, Oinktoberfest in Clarence, NY.  Stop by and say hi.  Hope to see you there.

Thanks for stopping by,