Tag: event

2011 Praise the Lard BBQ Competition

I had the opportunity to travel back to Murphysboro, IL this weekend and attend 17th Street BBQ’s annual competition, Praise the Lard.  This is the second time I’ve attended the event, but the first time that I was able to stay for the awards ceremony on Saturday night.  


This event is a little unique in that it’s a combined event with both a Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) & and a Memphis BBQ Network (MBN) contest occuring at the same time.  KCBS contests feature stricly blind judging in the categoreis of chicken, ribs, pulled pork, and brisket.  While MBN contests feature both blind judging and team presentations in the categories of whole hog, pork shoulder, and ribs.  Some teams competing this weekend entered both contests, while other (and probably the majority of the) teams entered only one or the other.


The more involved in the BBQ culture I become, the more friends and acquitances I acquire.  Carey Bringle & his team at Peg Leg Porker welcomed me and allowed me to hang out with them on Saturday.  I watched Carey’s presentations for shoulder & ribs and gained a new appreciation for the MBN teams.  I was pulling for Carey and his guys to bring home some hardware from the event.  While they fell a little short in the 3 MBN categories, I thought it was fitting that they did win the Ambassador’s Award for hospitatliy and showmanship.  They were gracious hosts and I enjoyed hanging out with them.

Peg Leg Porker Competition Team

I connected with Jeff at BBQ ProShop who particiapted as a judge for the KCBS competition.  I’m a customer of Jeff’s and it was good to put a face with the name.  Jeff’s a great guy and I encourage you to look him up if you’re in need of rubs, sauces, and accessories for your own BBQ adventures.

I also got a chance to connect with my Backwoods Smokers dealer, Brian Luke.  I met Brian at Praise the Lard a couple of years ago and bought a Backwoods Fatboy from him.  Brian also let me hang out with him in Steeleville, IL last spring.  Another great BBQ guy.

There are lots of others, but I can’t name them all.  It’s a really neat community of folks who enjoy competing and sharing their love for BBQ.  I look forward to doing it again real soon.

Whole Hog Presentation

Oh yeah, there was a competition going on too.  Tower Rock BBQ pulled off  a clean sweep in all 3 MBN categories and walked away with Grand Champion honors.  On the KCBS side,  Gilly’s Barnstormin’ BBQ took Grand Champion.

Here’s a link to a larger set of photos from the event.


Recap: Pig-a-palooza 2011

For the second year in a row I volunteered to smoke the pork butts & ribs for Pig-a-Palooza.  This is the big fund raiser for Jacob’s Ladder, an organization that provides scholarships to school children in our area to enable them pariticpate in music & band programs.  

We planned to cook 20 pork butts and 25 sides of ribs.  Ribs we served in 4-5 bone portions and we served nice big pulled pork sandwiches.  Additionally, we had a large grill to cook hamburgers & hotdogs on.

Friday night, I headed to the park at 10:30pm.  I had the cooker lit by 11:00 and we began rubbing the pork butts shortly after midnight.  We put half of the pork butts on at 1:00am, and the other half went on at 3:00am.  I managed to rack out for a couple of hours around 4:00am, but when you’re sleeping outside and it’s 90 degree weather you don’t sleep much.

We began pulling the membranes and trimming the baby back ribs at 9:30am.  We staggered the start times of 27 sides of ribs.  This allowed us to keep a steady stream of fresh ribs coming off the cooker throughout the afternoon.

There were lots of activities for the kids, music, and silent & oral auction items.  We had a great turnout despite a heat index of well over 100 degrees.

By the end of the day, we sold all of the BBQ that we had prepared.  I had great help from my friends and neighbors.  I can’t thank them enough for volunteering to help prepare and serve the food.  As I write this, I’m still pretty tired from working more than 20 hrs straight.  But I’m sure that I’ll be ready to do it again next year.

Here’s a link to a few more photos from Pig-a-Palooza 2011


Grillfest 2011

Just like last year, my buddy & I will be demonstrating the Big Green Egg for the local dealer.  This is their annual wing-ding where the manufacturer’s representatives come and display their wares, answer questions about their products, and cook samples for folks to try.


Last year the Big Green Egg rep couldn’t make it, so we stepped up and handled the demo in his place.  They asked us back for another demo on Father’s Day weekend also.  I don’t mean to brag, but between the two demonstrations and their normal sales efforts we sold every Egg of every size that they had ordered for the entire season….and then some.

So if you don’t have plans this weekend, come on down to Hearthside Grill & Fireplace to check out the Big Green Egg (as well as the Weber, Traeger, & Holland line ups). 

Here are the details:

Hearthside Grill & Fireplace


418 South Belt East
Belleville, IL

One Block East of the Fairgrounds.

We’ll be there from 8:00am – 8:00pm this Saturday, April 30th.  Hope to see you there!


Update: Pig-a-palooza 2010

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I volunteered to help with the cooking at a local fund raiser.  The main course was to be a whole hog, but there were also plenty of pork butts & ribs to cook too.

We convened on the cooking site at 3:00pm on Friday and began preparing the rotissiere/spit that we would use to cook the hog.  Now, I’d never done a whole hog before but one of the volunteers was experienced with the process so he took the lead.

We prepped the hog, got it mounted on the spit, and had the first coals under the 159 lb. guest of honor shortly before 6:00pm.  We had a large trailer-mounted pit that we used for the ongoing process of lighting fresh coals and readying them for shoveling under the spit.

We decided that we’d use my Backwoods Fatboy to cook the butts and ribs.  We picked up my cooker and had 12 boneless pork butts (~60 lbs.) on by 9:00pm.  That would allow us to get the butts done and the ribs started early in the morning and hopefully have things finishing up by the noon serving time.

It was all revelry and good times early on, but slowly the observers drifted off to their homes for a comfortable night’s rest as the night wore on.  By 1:00am we were down to three guys who were committed to the process and whatever outcome morning would bring.  We had one close call around that same time.  We hadn’t anticipated that the hog would shrink as much as it did, and we had to readjust the clamps that held it on the spit to keep it from flopping around and coming apart.

The hog finished up around 7:00am, about the same time that we began taking pork butts off of the Fatboy and started putting the ribs on.  We had the hog picked by 8:00 or so.  We kept it in pans on the pit we used for charcoal starting and waited for lunchtime.

Once we pulled the pork butts and began to serve lunch, it became clear to us that the pulled pork butts were much tastier than the whole hog.  Over the course of the afternoon, we served all the pulled pork and the ribs.  We only served about half of the pickings from the whole hog.

So here are a couple of observations about my first time doing a whole hog.

  • I don’t care for it.  There’s so much of it and no real good way to season it, so it ends up tasting mosly like pork roast.
  • I think we cooked it too fast early on.  The pit that we rented for the event had no thermometer, so we were cooking by feel.  I think we should have started at a lower temp.
  • Doing a whole hog is really all about the process and presentation.  For pure eating pleasure, I think the pulled pork and ribs were much better.

After tending the pits for 23 straight hours, I’m beat.  But I do feel a sense of satisfaction and pride when I see folks’ reaction to our efforts.

Additionally, we helped a great cause.  I hope the whole event was successful enough to warrant doing it again next year, cause I had a blast.


Pig-a-palooza 2010

I recently became aware of a local charity that’s putting together a BBQ & music event.  The folks organizing the event are neighbors of mine who have a foundation in the name of their son who they lost a short while ago.

I’ve volunteered to pitch in and help cook a whole hog & pork butts for the event.  Luckily, we’ve got an experienced hog cooker signed up to help as I’ve never had a chance to cook a whole hog.

Here are the details:

WHAT:  A Bar-B-Que Eat’n • Music List’ning • Game Play’n Charitable Fun Time
WHERE:  Schranz Park (aka Swansea Kingdom), 360 Honeysuckle Lane, Swansea , IL , 62226
WHEN: Saturday, June 12TH – 11 am to 6 pm
WHY:  To honor the memory of Jacob Kellogg and raise scholarship funds
for students of Wolf Branch and Belleville East

Entry donations:
unaccompanied kids ($15); single adults ($25); couples ($40); entire
families ($50)
RSVP to:
deatrice@charter.net (RECOMMENDED)

If you can’t attend but would like to make a donation, please send to:
Jacob’s Ladder Foundation, 2661 N. Illinois Street, PMB 309, Swansea , IL 62226

Hope to see you there!