What a year we had. We celebrated our 5th year at COFaQue and also participated in a pair of KCBS events. This was quite a set of accomplishments given the challenges associated with trying to align the schedules of our quite busy team members.
Bluemont BBQ Bash (Kirk, Dwayne, Michael, Eric). We had really nice weather on the mountain this year, and we enjoyed something that we didn't have in 2011: electricity. The great part about having so many engineers on the team is that the guys did an excellent job of wiring up our cook site for lights, fans, music, etc. The lighting in particular was first rate, but we had just one problem: bugs. There were probably at least a dozen different types of bugs that swarmed all over us and the meat we were trying to prepare in the middle of the night. Some of the smaller bugs looked like the pepper in our pork rub, so we had to meticulously remove them from the meat. It was a real pain in the ass, but we got the job done. There were many more teams this year, which was the second annual event hosted by Great Country Farms. (photos)
COFaQue (Kirk, Luke, Dwayne, Michael, Eric). We always have a good time at COFaQue. This year we did something we have never done at any competition: we flew without a plan. Let's be clear, we worked from a very detailed list of meat, gear, and supplies; however, we did not have a preordained cooking schedule. We simply worked out everything on site, and this low-key approach allowed us to have more fun at the event. The highlight, of course, was seeing our own Luke Darnell on stage with his musical partner LeAnne who together form Sweet Tea Blues. (photos)
Pickin' in the Panhandle (Kirk, Luke, Dwayne). At the time that our team was profiled by a local news outlet, we thought we were going to have smooth sailing, but in reality this event presented several challenges. For starters, we had only three team members. While we had postulated that we could meet all of the competition obligations with only three guys, the real trick was getting all of our stuff into just three vehicles. Guess what? We did it, and we felt pretty good about it. The other difficulty we faced was the weather, because on Saturday we had some winds and torrential rains that threatened to trash our camp. We held down our canopies and survived with minimal damage. The main thing was that we made all of our turn-in times despite the storm hitting us during our busiest period. (photos)
Even though our scores weren't that great, we accomplished our main mission this year, which was to get together as a team as often as possible and have fun preparing BBQ for ourselves, our friends, and the judges. Our BBQ is not the best on the planet (although it is pretty damn tasty), but we always have a good time doing what we do, and that's all that counts.
Separately, one of the biggest changes this year was how we communicated information about our team. This web site was not updated as frequently as it had been in prior seasons, and the main reason for this is the focus we placed on our Facebook page. Facebook is simply more versatile for us when it comes to posting updates, sharing photos, and making general observations about the world of BBQ. We'll try to do a better job of updating this site in 2013, but please keep in mind that Facebook is where to find the stream of real-time updates.