Bandera cooking in the Bordertown Bash
Last weekend at Fort Smith, on the banks of the Arkansas River, was held the Bordertown Bash, a KCBS sanctioned event. Amidst the brilliant chrome and fire truck red trailers, the coal black big as a car smokers stood a man and his Bandera, burning tiny chunks of wood and charcoal. I am that man.
Around 10 pm a thunderstorm, bred in the desolate wastes of Oklahoma, crossed the border to destroy BBQ and all it stood for. I pulled my Bandera under the 10' by 10' canopy I had, cut holes in the side of a coffee can, placed it over my smokestack so the rain wouldn't get in, and the heat wouldn't burn a hole in my shelter. Then I placed blocks under the table legs so water would run to the outside, and sat on a ice chest of beer to guard my cooker while around me, the big boys retreated into their RV's and 5th wheels.
Wind lashed at me, blowing black water under the canopy, crashes of lightening illuminated the Bandera, popping and hissing, steam billowing from its hot sides as I tended it, one eye on the guage, like a boilerman deep in the bowels of a victorian steam ship. At 3 am I went to turn my briskets over using a pig tail, when the brisket was half turned the pig tail ripped out of the meat and slammed into my forehead, raising a welp and making a "THWOK!" sound that echoed through the park. Around 5 am I lifted a bag of charcoal and the wet bottom fell out covering my left leg and shoe in black soot. All night I stood watch, and when the sun rose scattered branches and leaves attested to the violence of the storm.
I cleaned off the tables, finished the last of the margeritas, and when time came, pulled out the pork sholder, it was tender and juicy, I shredded it with a pair of forks until blisters appeared on my finger, and turned it in. Then watched the clock until time came for brisket. The first one wouldn't slice, it crumbled under my knife. Might have to turn in chopped brisket. I pulled the second brisket and it sliced perfectly, juices running like mountain streams from the meat. My wife carefully arranged the greenery in the turn in box and we fanned out the sliced brisket, then walked it to the turn in table, where I lifted it for her to kiss before turning it in.
Well, brothers, I got 8th place brisket and 18th place pork. Considering the competition and the storm, I was pleased. Lets see, that cook off in Columbus Acres is near the end of June, if I added a little more garlic to my rub.....