July 3rd, 2008. I'd had wonderful success BBQing fresh hams in my small brinkmann
stillwater smoker. The next day was my 2nd wedding and we were to have BBQ at
the party afterwards. No problem, I'll BBQ a couple of nice hams and we're good to
go. 50# of smoked meat.... Mmmmmmmmm.
F A I L
I really couldn't go to my own wedding on no sleep. Rather than starting early,
cooking the hams to completion and putting them in a warmer until the next morning,
I'm not sure whether I was drunk or what, but the idea hit me to start the cook,
go catch a few hours of sleep while it's cooking, then get up and check the smoker,
etc. Did I mention: F A I L
When I got up I'd missed my alarm by a few hours. When I ran outside the
temperature of the cooker was 80 degrees. Yep, a complete die-out. 100% fail.
So, in a panic, and not yet completely awake, I have a great idea: Lets put them
in the oven (now that they're smoked) at 320 until they're good enough. Ok,
now we've added another level of FAIL. It didnt take but about 30 minutes for the
stench of 1000 rotting dead camels to infiltrate the entire house. The meat was
WAY beyond rancid. I had to remove the meat (allowing all of the wonderful aroma
to infiltrate the air in the house, put them in a doubled garbage bag and haul them
to the dump (no putting THIS in the trash can, I mean "make you vomit" stench).
All the time I'm dressed to get married and the preacher is due any minute. I ran to
the dump, stopped by Wally World on the way back and grabbed 50 lbs of hamburger
meat, and got back only to realize that I'd left the doors and windows shut in the
house. HOLY COW what a smell!!!?!?! It's now getting close to noon, on July 4th,
in the DEEEEEEEP south. Hot doesn't quite describe it; I think the temps were already
around 92 degrees and climbing. Anyway, I opened all the windows and doors and
turned on the attic fan. I met the preacher in the driveway and off to the wedding
we went (didnt want to subject him to that, plus he'd think I was an axe murderer
and that the bodies were stored neatly underneath the house).
Luckily, after we got home from being hitched the home had lost most of it's unique
appeal so that we could close the doors and windows back up and fire up the
A/C for the reception party.
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.