View Full Version : Thank You to The Brethren!

Frank Mahovlich
06-04-2018, 07:39 AM
Just wanted to pop in and say “thank you” to the members of this awesome little community. Six years ago, my then-5 year old daughter & I were watching an episode of BBQ Pitmasters. As the program wrapped up, she turned to me & said, “Dad, we could totally do that.”

Later that morning, pretty much on a lark, I checked Craigslist to see how much smokers were selling for. Didn’t know a thing about them, & I’m not even exaggerating. Ended up finding a brand new, still in the box WSM 22 that the seller accepted my offer of $150. No idea or appreciation of how much a score that was at the time.

Almost all of what I’ve learned about BBQ has come from this forum. Since buying that smoker six years ago, I’ve cooked countless meals (some certainly better than others), cooked the meal for my sister & BIL’s groom’s dinner, and cooked for an aunt’s birthday party that served 85 people. Couldn’t have done any of that successfully without the help of The Brethren.

This past weekend, my daughter & I entered our first quasi-real contest, in the backyard division. Categories were chicken, ribs, & a ‘surprise’ category that ended up being bacon. Turn in anything you’d like, as long as it included bacon.

In the time leading up to the comp, I realized how much I was enjoying it all. And the sole reason for that was because it was something my daughter & I were taking on together. In the interest of expectation management, as it was our first real comp- I told my daughter I was just hoping we didn’t finish last in every category. The important thing was to enjoy it & have fun, & if we did that we’d be winners regardless of how the standings turned out.

Our comp cook ended up going okay. For chicken, we did something we’ve done before with varying degrees of success: chicken lollipops. The cook went pretty well, they ended up tasting pretty good, but we weren’t thrilled with how our box ended up looking. It was our very first time putting together a turn-in box, & things got a little hectic as it came down to the wire. Izz ended up turning our box in exactly right at the 1:00pm deadline. Whew. We weren’t thrilled with it, but still felt a sense of accomplishment. Took a minute to catch our breath, & then got to work on our rib box.

Sidebar: This was a fantastic contest, and as part of it, Smithfield generously sponsored pork loins for each team to cook & give out samples for. So people were walking around the comp area, grabbing pork samples from each team. We took a break from passing out samples to focus on our turn-in boxes.

As we were prepping our rib box- again, first time doing this under the pressure of a comp turn-in time- I started slicing the ribs. I started separating them into two groups- candidates to go into the box, & another pile that were definitely not going to be turned in. Struggling to come up with 6 high-quality looking ribs, I ended up with 8 candidates for the box. Here’s the goofy part: As I’m slicing the 8th potential rib, two people watching me slice simultaneously reached onto our table and ‘helped themselves’ by grabbing a rib! Feeling the pressure of coming up with a presentable product we were proud of, along with the heat of knowing the clock was ticking, I couldn’t help myself from uttering a “No!” as the pilferers grabbed two of the best-looking bones we had, of course. Trying to regain my composure, all I could muster up was something along the lines of, “Errr, we’re taking a break from giving out samples right now- these ribs are for the competition judges.” Absolutely could not believe someone would just grab food off our table like that without even asking. Resisting the urge to put a knife through the backs of their hands, we forged on. Pieced six ribs together, and had them turned in with about 3 minutes to spare. Again, not a great box, but we were happy to get it turned in on time.

Took a couple of minutes to regroup, then got to work on our final turn-in box. Lacking any imagination whatsoever, we decided to make a bacon weave, and to use some of the pork loin to turn in slices of bacon-wrapped, garlic butter injected pork loin. As we were slicing, the bacon started to come off in varying degrees of disarray. Ended up piecing 6 slices together as best as we could for the box. Just kinda shrugged off the fact that the appearance wasn’t great, as the injection kind of stayed in the center of the meat, leaving us less than satisfied with its appearance. But it tasted pretty good, and we were happy with that, along with getting our third & final box turned in on time.

Long story longer- as mentioned, we were just hoping to not finish last across the board. After a couple of long, hard days of prep & then the comp, Izz was just about to doze off when the awards announcement started. She snapped it around in a hurry when we got called for third place for chicken.

After getting shut out in ribs, but still basking in the glow of the chicken results, we got another big surprise with a second place finish in the ‘surprise’ category. Holy moly, **** was starting to get real.

Lastly, we ended up getting Reserve Champion. Nobody was more surprised than we were! As I said, we went into this just hoping not to be last in every category. Things ended up coming together & falling into place.

The thing that made this so worthwhile was that it was a great experience to share with my daughter. I told her after we had our last box turned in that I didn’t care if we did take last across the board. I was super-proud of her and that I couldn’t have possibly enjoyed this shared experience any more.

After all that, I just wanted to share my appreciation to this forum for everything we have learned from so many of you kind folks. Thanks, gang.


06-04-2018, 07:51 AM
Awesome story! That's what it's all about IMO.

06-04-2018, 08:09 AM
Great job, and thanks for sharing!

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06-04-2018, 08:09 AM
Great story and congratulations!

06-04-2018, 08:12 AM
Nothing better than sharing a hobby with your kids. As you expressed...that is a win no matter how you place. Reserve Champion is just a bonus.


06-04-2018, 08:12 AM
Great story, neighbor.

06-04-2018, 08:41 AM
Congratulations to you and your daughter, Frank!

Now that you've won...welocme to the addiction!

06-04-2018, 08:46 AM

06-04-2018, 08:52 AM
What a great story. Congratulations

long haired hippie
06-04-2018, 09:39 AM
Right On!! Congratulations to you both!

checkrd past
06-04-2018, 09:47 AM
Very cool. Its hard not to go for something when your little girl says "you can do that dad"
I've heard that many a time

06-04-2018, 10:17 AM
Awesome, even better when your teammate are your children. Looking to hear more great stories like this from you.

06-04-2018, 10:31 AM
Awesome. Congrats!

el luchador
06-04-2018, 10:48 AM
Great story man!!

are you still cooking on the wsm? If so even more amazing.

06-04-2018, 10:58 AM
Doesn't get any better than that, Frank! Congratulations!

06-04-2018, 11:07 AM
Great story. As a father of an 18 month old girl, I'm hopeful to have a similar experience someday!


06-04-2018, 11:19 AM
Fantastic story and congratulations, such an accomplishment. I can't help but think of my daughter with the hope that she will ask me the same thing some day. Good times! Nice work!

06-04-2018, 11:39 AM
Congrats to you both!! :mrgreen:

06-04-2018, 12:14 PM
Well Done to both of you!! Congrats on the win!!!

06-04-2018, 12:44 PM
What a wonderful story and testament to what a great site and membership here.

06-04-2018, 01:32 PM
Congrats to you and your daughter! Super cool story to tell!

06-04-2018, 01:38 PM
What a great story. Congrats...

06-04-2018, 02:15 PM
That is a memory that you will both share for years to come....

06-04-2018, 02:19 PM
Awesome story!
I actually got into BBQ because of my dad... it's great to hear of other families passing along the fun of low and slow cooking and just spending time together.

Congrats on the wins!

06-04-2018, 04:01 PM
Well you ruined your daughter.....she will probably marry some tycoon that looks like hollywood...... but in the back of her head she will be thinking....”I wish he cooked like dad”!!!!.........awesome awesome post.....congrats brother

BBQ Bacon
06-04-2018, 04:15 PM
That is so awesome. Congrats on the father daughter time and the standings.

Smoke Dawg
06-04-2018, 04:17 PM
There is nothing but win win win in that story.


06-04-2018, 04:35 PM

....nuff said!!

06-04-2018, 05:16 PM
Congrats to you and your daughter, Frank. The funny thing about your story is that I could have signed my name to it because so much of it mirrors the same experience for my daughter and me. We even cooked lollipops for our chicken, which we had been struggling with, and we won. Our only prize, but the memories outweighed it.

06-04-2018, 05:18 PM
Very cool, thank you for sharing!

06-04-2018, 05:44 PM
Maybe the coolest story/post that I’ve seen. Simply AWESOME.

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06-04-2018, 05:55 PM
Nice one mate, great bunch here

06-04-2018, 06:23 PM
Great story, thank you for sharing it .

Frank Mahovlich
06-04-2018, 07:26 PM
Thanks very much for the kind words. Suffice to say Father's Day came early for me this summer.

Kinda crazy to think of all that can happen during a comp. We went in to it with a plan, but as noted thinker / philosopher Mike Tyson says, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face." We took a left-right combo when the ribs were taken off our table mid-slice, but we shook it off. I have a whole new appreciation for the time & effort people put into competitive BBQ.

06-04-2018, 07:36 PM
Made my day!

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tom b
06-04-2018, 07:40 PM

06-04-2018, 09:21 PM
Awesome story! Would love to hangout and have you teach me how to make chicken lollipops someday ;) Just moved to MN last September and it's really nice to know there's a real BBQ community here. Thank you.

The Wookiee
06-04-2018, 10:52 PM
Splendiferous tale indeed!

I think I would have knifed there hands to the table and taken back the ribs.... hope my critters wants to cook with me someday!!!

06-05-2018, 08:03 AM
Congrats on the experience with your daughter. My wife already thinks I’m out of control with the smokers so entering a comp would push her over the edge lol

Sid Post
06-05-2018, 10:26 AM
Totally awesome! Even better doing it with your daughter! Trophies are nice too but, not the most important part. :wink:

Frank Mahovlich
06-05-2018, 01:56 PM
Thanks again you guys, means a lot. :thumb:

Seeing a coupla threads with chicken lollipops- love it! Here's what we turned in. In a total rookie move, I sauced some of the entire legs. Pretty sure that's why a coupla these look more discolored. This box was turned in with about 20 seconds to spare. One of the many things we learned this time around was to make sure the box is ready to go without having it go right down to the wire...

Joe Black
06-05-2018, 03:42 PM
Great looking box and amazing lollipops.
This story was a really nice thing to put in our hearts.


Blythewood BBQ'er
06-05-2018, 04:48 PM
Congratulations man! That smile on her face is the real trophy!

06-05-2018, 06:50 PM
Congratulations! That's an awesome feat and best of all you got to enjoy the experience with your daughter.

06-05-2018, 06:54 PM
Well done, Frank! Great story, mate.

Fun to read about your family adventures. Way to roll with the punches!

Best wishes to your and your daughter in your future adventures!

06-05-2018, 07:17 PM
Congratulations to both of you, and thanks for sharing.

06-05-2018, 08:25 PM
Great post!!!!

06-08-2018, 11:19 PM
Frank, I am new to MN and new to comp BBQ. What are some good contests around here to get my feet wet as a beginner? Thanks for any advice!

06-09-2018, 04:03 AM
Loved reading your post.
What an awesome experience for both of you. :clap2:

06-09-2018, 06:40 AM
Fantastic story, and one that is similar to mine in how I got started into some competition cooking. I was smiling reading some of your remarks.

06-09-2018, 08:00 AM
Great story Frank! Definitely The Spirit of The Brethren.