BRETHREN FIELD REPORT – FAYETTEVILLE, NC
Arrived @ 8:00 pm in Fayetteville, NC Wednesday night... and drove to the cooking site to get familiar with the directions a day early... (don't you just hate it when trying to arrive on time only to be late due to fuzzy directions). Just after I figured out the lay of the land... the sky opened up. Not rain... I mean mad, angry and painful rain... buckets of it. Pulled into a gas station... hoped to gain some refuge under its canopy... no luck... was drenched just trying to fill the tank... just got too wet to top off... had to wait for another time.
Drove around town looking for a motel to lay my weary head. Plugged in the GPS to see any nearby motels. The place was loaded of them... a byproduct being a military town of sorts... and was shocked the vast majority of them was already sold out. It took me hours... yes, hours trying to find a place under $80 that would have enough space for my trailer and truck. Some of these places looked pretty seedy and uncomfortable... like it would be a place where cockroaches would get mugged... no thanks. Finally found an affordable, somewhat safe location around midnight.
The day of set-up and prep... the weather forecast predicted those three little “h's”... hot, humid, and hazy... was already pumping out the humidity at 11:00 am... anticipating one of those 100+ degree days and scattered evening thunderstorms. Stopped at another gas station and started to sweat just filling up all the gas tanks (generator, truck, and refill gas can) and headed towards one of those Brethren watering holes... HOOTERS! (and her name was Brittany).
How did those new Bubba Kegs get on there? Oh yea... I remember... before heading south from PA to NC, checked around a few Home Depots along the I-95 corridor if there was any Kegs left from the earlier clearances on the Bubba Keg Grills. Well.. found three at one store... and knew a few Brethren Brothers were still looking for their own Kegs... and asked them we could do each other a favor... if they still wanted their own Bubba Keg... I would pick one up for them and secondly... if I could use the new Kegs for the military BBQ benefit in Ft. Bragg. The answer was yes on both counts. Thanks goes out to Brothers Boshizzle and Goddahavit for lending their new equipment for a great cause.
At the site... (3) large BGE, (3) Bubba Kegs, and one Lang smoker.
How did I survive the commonly Southern Hot Summer day on-site?? Its not pretty... but it works!!!
(2" X 4' X 8' insulation foam board + $200 a/c unit)
The meats – Boston butts and brisket.
[If I didn't mention it before... Pete Benac (Celtic Wolf) and his son ran the show... I just lent them the use of my gear while mending my pits and temps thru the night. They had Guru's.]
Here's where the difference lies... 3 Bubba kegs and 3 large BGE. The kegs each held (3) butts on the main grate and one brisket flat on the upper stainless grate... whereas the BGE each held (6) butts... 3 on each stacker level. The Lang 48 had its personal best expanded... holding (5) brisket packers and (5) brisket flats... over 140 lbs on the smallest smoker Lang makes. It looked like a meat carpet... wall to wall with brisket.
As a member of the forum... not many folks know... had a stroke over forty years ago that prohibited me from pursuing any military opportunities. Personally it was a personal and internal quest... to serve those who have served in my place and our country. As the food was being served... was cleaning up the after-effects and the smokers. At this point in my life, it was definitely one of the most satisfying moment that tied up that loose end. As I was cleaning up... I was asked by the event co-coordinator, to be present as the Commanding General at Fort Bragg was going to give a few announcements as the event was nearing an end. He called up the members of the American Spirit BBQ and myself... as a sign of thanks for supporting the troops... and have given each of us one of his own military coins. It took a bit of effort from not tearing up... a three star Commanding General of Fort Bragg... in front of over 1,000 people … palming his own coin into my hand as a firm handshake was the concluding result. And here I thought just minutes earlier it couldn't get any better.
The plan was to drop off the Bubba Kegs on the way home... however had a few delays... specifically two separate incidents (2 different tires) with the trailer tires. One... developed a slow leak. An hour later, patched. Six hours later... had a complete wheel separation from the trailer.. thank god I had a dual axle rig.... maintaining control pulling over. Can't imagine the amount of damage if pulling a single axle and all hell broke loose.
It was mind-flashes of WTF, then an OMG, then an adrenaline pumping WTH looking where the tire should have been... a brake drum with sheered off lugs. Walked back a half mile and found the loose wheel still intact. Still can't believe the wheel wandered across three lanes of traffic without causing any ricochet-causing collateral damage with nearby vehicles. Still counting my blessings 24 hours later... and to top off was less from an hour from Boshizzle's place... the destination of one of the kegs. He was my hero helping to call parts houses and service stations looking for replacement studs and lugs while I pulled off the highway, jacked up the trailer, and removed the drum. Five hours later... back on the road.
(4 of 5 useless lugs)
Got the second Keg to Goddahavit... then made it home even though was 6 hours overdue.