View Full Version : Marysville, KS Big Blue BBQ June 3rd & 4th

05-31-2011, 05:09 PM
Back to the game. Going to where we won our very 1st contest 2 years ago.

05-31-2011, 06:45 PM
Good luck! Look forward to hearing the results.

05-31-2011, 06:51 PM
Good luck Kim & Andy!

Big Poppa
05-31-2011, 06:52 PM
Yeah Baby...Heres to hittin the right tables!

05-31-2011, 07:27 PM
Go get 'em Andy & Kim!

05-31-2011, 07:55 PM
Good luck guys, hope you get a call!

06-01-2011, 07:43 AM
Go get 'em Andy & Kim!

You should come down Rip! There will even be room in the camper because the girls and I stay at a friends house. ;)

06-01-2011, 09:33 AM
That would be awesome!....but I will have relatives in town this weekend, need to stay home. Thanks for thinking of me! My airplane is being worked on or I would consider flying down for a short visit....always something!

contracted cooker
06-01-2011, 02:34 PM
good luck guys . looks like were headed for lee summit.

06-01-2011, 06:22 PM
Good luck to you too. Make sure you follow all those rules! :p

06-01-2011, 07:38 PM
Good luck!! Take pics for us. :)

06-02-2011, 06:20 AM
Rip may be coming down to visit, so I will stick him on photo duty :) hehehe. (I didnt tell him I was going to put him to work < insert evil laugh here>)

06-02-2011, 09:18 AM
Good luck guys, we will be pulling for you as usual. The BPS team has the weekend off which we will use wisely, as BP and Brad are working on some brisket changes.

06-02-2011, 10:12 AM
Rip may be coming down to visit, so I will stick him on photo duty :) hehehe. (I didnt tell him I was going to put him to work < insert evil laugh here>)
Haha! Of all the things that will be going on I'm probably most qualified to take pictures!

06-03-2011, 08:37 AM
Good luck guys, we will be pulling for you as usual. The BPS team has the weekend off which we will use wisely, as BP and Brad are working on some brisket changes.

you know what i want to say here right? lol

06-03-2011, 06:41 PM
Good luck!

06-04-2011, 03:10 PM
This just in, SOW, Chicken 12th, Ribs 4th, Pork 13th, Brisket 2nd - 3rd overall!! RGC - Dodge Country Smoker, GC - Munchin Hogs.

Pics to follow, might not be until morning, had a great time! Thanks Kim and Andy!

06-04-2011, 03:22 PM
Very cool! Congrats and can't wait to see the pics Rip.

5 Hole
06-04-2011, 03:32 PM
Smoke On Wheels! Nice job Kim and Andy.

Big Poppa
06-04-2011, 06:57 PM
I want to know what you want to say!

06-04-2011, 07:08 PM
Congrats !

06-05-2011, 08:12 AM
As previously posted, thanks to an invitation from Andy & Kim, (and the schedule juggling of my awesome wife Nancy), I was lucky enough to attend the heart of the Big Blue BBQ competition in Marysville, Kansas.

My 24 hours starts with a 2 and 1/2 hour drive down to Marysville. I arrived in town just after 630pm Friday night. Typical of small town USA, (population ~3400), this is a place you would picture when you think Americana. Following the sweet smell of hickory I found the competition site, grabbed a parking spot, called Nancy to let her know I'd arrived, and then set out to find Kim & Andy.

They were up by the stage where the Kid's Cook was in full swing. For this event the participants gather their grills in a designated area and perform an entire cook without assistance (coaching perhaps, but they DO everthing themselves).

With Turn In just minutes away Lauren is finishing her box (under the watchful eyes of Mom and Dad), while big sister Kaylin tends the grill.

These kids have serious talent! (no surprise) Check out the homemade Guacamole and Salsa that Lauren is putting on the chips and burger!

Kaylin preps her box and then they're off to turn them in. (Runner!)

While Kim starts cleaning up, Andy tosses on a few more burgers and I'm lucky enough to score one! In the background Lauren offers a burger to Bruce. (family friend and contest organizer)

Back from turn in, the girls check out some of the equipment on display by one of the event sponsors.

The charcoal from the grill is dumped and we start heading back to the campsite. The place is alive with activity and doing my best kid in a candy store imitation, I forget to take any pictures! (They would never capture the aroma anyway)

Casa Groneman. Louisiana Country Cooker on the left and FEC on the right.

Kim heads inside to prepare her Dessert Contest entry. Unlike virtually everything else cooked this weekend...no samplers of this one....sigh....

Meanwhile Andy and I have a cold one and I meet the wonderful folks next door, Team Moo Cow. Team members are wearing these great shirts which proclaim in large type, "Moo Cow Security". Once Kim is back from turn in we head off with the folks from Moo Cow to eat dinner. The girls stay with Bruce, riding in his four wheeler, emptying trash, getting ice, socializing, and other coordinator activities.

Returning from dinner it's dark and as we walk thru the competition site the place is abuzz with activity, a pleasant hub bub of folks out on their "front porches" in lawn chairs or standing in groups, sharing this awesome experience. Around the edges though, there's serious business and cooks are putting on the "big meat" for an overnight journey. Did I mention the aroma? I'm stuffed from dinner (waddling even) and I want Q!

Lots of cool illumination...A real photo journalist would have dug out the 50D (I brought it) and done some technical photography...but I'm really here to soak up the event and I know this is not done well with an eye glued to a camera and a brain crunching exposure values! So, we'll deal with the limitations of a hand held point and shoot.

The Moo Cow prep area.

To Be Continued!

06-05-2011, 09:10 AM
Congrats Kim and Andy!!
Great photos Rip, looks like a fun time. :)

06-05-2011, 10:39 AM
The story resumes....It's 10ish and Shane of Moo Cow is preparing their cooker.

In no time this baby will be ready to go!

Meanwhile, Kim preps the turn in boxes. I'd heard how important this detail is....for those who don't already know, guess how long it takes Kim to prepare one box...(and trust me, for teams that are players, this is not a job that goes to the incompetent!). About 15 minutes a box! When she is done, it looks and feels like a putting green!

I keep Kim and Lauren company for a while and Lauren regales me with witty chatter....seriously, this kid's a charmer.

Back outside, Andy and Kaylin are busy too.

Once the big meats are on Kim and the girls head out to a friend's house to spend the night. Andy and I are left to the serious business of the BBQ Comp Social Scene. Haha, this part is a blast and in no time we are in what I call (from year's of experience) the "Camping Time Warp"....where time flows along like a lazy river of social interaction, punctuated a few times by Andy saying, "We need to prep the chicken soon"....

BBQ folks are great to hang with, it's like one big happy family (oh sure, there's always someone in the family who can irritate), but by in large this is one very congenial and sharing group of folks. "Night Guy", (who under a different persona during the day is known as Wayne), shows up all happy and shooting barbs at Andy...then he stops mid sentence, turns to me and barks, "Who the hell is this?"....Andy vouches for me and Night Guy picks right back up where he left off, I'm in.

Eventually we become mobile and work our way north...picking up folks here and there eventually including (Molly?) daughter of Bruce (contest organizer). She's looking for Bruce and the group agrees the most likely spot to find Bruce is the Wagon Wheel Bar and Grill. Sure enough, Bruce is there and we all have a great time catching up on the night's events. At one point in the evening I spy Bruce (who's a mountain of a man) and Wayne (Night Guy) standing together...I go up and with an arm around each I assure them they need to stick together because together they are Batman.....(ta, dump) Ok, it was hysterical then....

Next thing we know, it's closing time. Andy and I head back to finally prep that chicken! Walking in to the trailer I'm surprised to see it's just after 2am! BP is right, this man is a seriously talented cooking machine! He turns on some loud music and gets after the chicken like it was 10am. I try and stay out of the way and do the gopher work.

The left side of the Country Cooker is fired up and soon we'll be putting on the pork butts for the People's Choice cook.

It's 0330 by the time things are ready and we have to get back up at 6am to work on ribs! Time to get some sleep!

Ding, ding, ding....It's 605am by the time I realize what that damn noise is and wake up. Andy is just coming to the same conclusion and in no time this cooking dynamo is out checking the overnighters.

Back inside Andy starts giving the ribs some extra love.

While Andy works on the ribs I stroll around a bit, the place is coming back to life. Folks are up tinkering with smokers and doing prep work, sharing coffee and stories.


To be continued! (later today, got things to do now!)

06-05-2011, 10:46 AM
Great stuff Rip! Love the pics and the narrative thanks for sharing. Cant wait to see the rest!

06-05-2011, 03:28 PM
Thanks Rip!!! What a great narrative on the weekend. Rip left alot of the social hour out, likely to protect the innocent :) This is one of the biggest events in town, and is really supported by the community. I tend to cut loose here, a little more than most; but it is just one of those places you feel at home as soon as you stroll down Broadway. Some of the teams cooking here this weekend, drove past Lee's Summit to go 3 hrs further west, just because of that special feeling you get here. Looking forward to part 3!

It was a pleasure to have Rip hanging with us, and I told him he is welcome back anytime!

06-05-2011, 04:11 PM
Rip left alot of the social hour out, likely to protect the innocent :)
It was a pleasure to have Rip hanging with us, and I told him he is welcome back anytime!

Haha! Damn that was a good night! (no clue what parts I left out) :) Brother, I'm already plotting the next time! Your family now has another place to visit when you come to Bellevue! Part three, coming up!

06-05-2011, 06:03 PM
Alrighty then, I'm back! (Just finished hanging out at the pool and then feeding the family an awesome feast of Big Blue BBQ! Ribs, Butt, and Brisket, all cooked by the Awesome SOW team.) Thanks again Kim and Andy!!

Back to the story, it's a little before 7am Saturday morning and we now have a little breathing room. The ribs are on, butts and briskets have been foiled as needed, time for some breakfast!

We head back towards the Wagon Wheel...seems like we were just there! Here's a few more scenes from the walk.


On the way a fellow competitor hails Andy and asks if he could demonstrate how to whomp a lollypop cut on a chicken leg. (apparently he had told Andy the day before that he was thinking about making that his chicken entry and Andy had told him if that's what he really wanted to do he needed to lollypop them.) So Andy and I step into his kitchen. Andy gloves up, grabs a knife, and gives a two minute demo. I don't even like chicken legs and Andy made it look pretty damn good! Class act.

We join most of the organizing team and another competitor for a hearty breakfast (way more food than I thought I would eat) and one of the organizers, Jeff I believe, even picked up the tab!

Back at home base, Andy cranks up Joe Bonamassa on the sound system and gets after round two of chicken prep. Yeah I'm being vague here, but hey, that's comp biz.

While the chicken sits and gets happy, there's more futzing around with smokers one and two. At some point in time the People's Choice butts get foiled. Andy, like BP and others, foils his butt and briskets mostly by color, Andy does some touching as well. The only time I saw him check temp was towards the end of foiling and I think even then he was going more on the resistance to probing than he was by what the temp was.

A little later there's a knock on the door. I answer it (Andy is busy in the back prep room) and an official with an atomic clock displays it prominently and announces, "official time is 8:52!". I quick confirm Andy's clock agrees and thank him....don't want to miss a turn in due to an incorrect clock!

The closer it got to crunch time the more reluctant I got to take pictures, so bear with me here!

Kim and the girls returned and Kim got filled in on the overnight activities. The girls played games on Kim's phone and my iPad while Kim got things set up for box prep.

Time to put the chicken on. In addition to the thighs, Andy also cooked wings. The plan was to submit the thighs and maybe the wings too (if Andy was happy with them). The wings will go on later. Chicken turn in is between 1155 and 1205.

Siezing a slack moment, I gather the team for a photo....

That's Katie the dog in the chair.

And yeah, I was there too!

So there's a brief window before it's time to start prepping the chicken box. Andy and I lounged around guzzling cold water and Gatorade. People came and went, some bringing samples of this and that, faux pig candy (don't ask), etc. My favorite was the Bloody Mary guy who was delivering free Bloody Mary's to anyone who wanted one...these were made with Thai pepper infused vodka, suhweeet momma, I like hot stuff and these were off the hook! But with little sleep and a drive home looming in the distance, I nursed it a little and then let it go.

Then there was a special moment...a young lad (6 ish?) shyly showed up, a small foil pan in hand. The pan was laden with carefully placed parsely and small chunks of brisket. His Dad was following along, camera in hand. The young man (sorry little guy, I forgot your name) asked Andy if he would judge his efforts. Andy was wonderful. He took the pan and after careful consideration proceeded to rate the presentation very high. He then asked if he could taste a sample. The little guy nodded his head up and down vigorously. Andy (with all the flourish of a wine connoisseur) carefully tasted and then rated the various qualities (all high) of the meat. He then added, very seriously, "I want you to go back and take your dad's share of this and put it all in one of the green cans." The dad laughed. (green cans were for trash, white for coals.)

He then gave the little guy a "pound" and it was Andy's turn to learn, he now knows how to do a "Spiderman Pound". (if you don't know, ask your kids)

I've come a long way on this trip...moving my way up the list of gopher duties, I'm now trusted to help call out time reminders.

Andy and Kim put a final finish on the chicken, after a short 'set', they will be pulled and taken inside for final selection and box prep.

So the next hour and 45 minutes were very exciting! The approximate drill was Andy would pull the appropriate meat and take it inside to the prep area. There he would select, cut, trim, bend, poke, prod, etc., finding the best of the best to go in the box. I got to stand by and help with quality control sampling. When ready Andy would call out to Kim and the two of them would go over the choices, discuss placement, any additional finishes, etc. Then Kim would take over and work her magic on placement. To get the freshest turn in possible, all of this would go down within the 10 minute turn in window. At times this left very little time to physically make the turn in time.

I would stand in the back (nice to be tall some times) and watch. At times there would be a gopher need and I would get to spring into action...mostly though I just nervously hopped from one foot to the next, watching the atomic clock, and resisting the urge to hurry them or disturb the process with too many questions. They were cool as cucumbers but I could tell they were enjoying the adrenaline rush this process brings.

Finally the Brisket was turned in and it was all in the Judges hands. Time to relax, for about 5 minutes, then setup for peoples choice!

The organizers gave each competitor four pork butts to cook for Peoples Choice. Starting at 2pm, paid attendees of the competition eat all they want and vote on their favorite....SOW was assigned number 15 for the voting..."Vote for number fifteen, best pork in the world!"

Lauren is all set to serve.

Shortly before 2 the herd arrived, first a trickle (shown below) and then moments later a full blown flood.

People were lined up from one end of the BBQ site to the other. I stayed for the first twenty minutes of this, enjoying the carnival atmosphere, and then I had to go, quickly, like ripping off a bandaid. I would have loved to stay another couple of hours, next time for sure! Kim and Andy, it's been 24 hours since my 24 hours, and I'm still smiling!

Final impressions, (and then this windbag will sign off!)

Competition BBQ is awesome good fun! I told Andy it was like "Camping with a purpose".

The Groneman's are as fine as people come. I'd had an absolutely wonderful time! Your hospitality is unmatched.

Just about all BBQ competitors can cook great Q. It's the accumulation of attentions to a myriad of tiny details, the quality of prep, and the mastery of timing your cooks that separate the finishers (plus a little luck in the judging).

Attending and walking through a competition is great fun....actually being a member of the team (albeit very junior) is an incredible experience.

Disclaimer....I did not take notes (other than making sure I had Kaylin and Lauren's correct spelling), so if I've mis-stated or out right messed something up...I apologise!

I'll leave it to Andy or Kim to correct as necessary. Thanks for reading along!

06-05-2011, 07:48 PM
Awesome Rip, the narrative was great, just a wonderful look at a comp with some great folks. Thanks for taking the time to share.

06-05-2011, 09:26 PM
Rip, Thanks again for taking the time to share the weekend. You nailed it all! Great narrative, and priceless pics. I think you covered it!

Yes, you were correct on breakfast, Jeff C. picked it up. We always get invited to breakfast by Jeff, Bruce, or Jeff D. The committee always battles over the check. I think Jeff actually paid before we ate, since Bruce tried to pick it up, and Jeff already had lol. There is not a better group out there.

I know Jim mentioned the slice of Americana that he got coming into town.... the other half of the weekends events are one of the larger car shows in KS. There is some amazing classic hardware running around. Friday evening is like a time warp to the late 50's -- early 60's. Hot Rods cruzin, music from the square in the air, and smoke swiriling around from the comp. Great stuff!!

The people's choice was fun, the whole town turns out, and it is a zoo for about 90-120 mins. We serve probably 1000-1200 people. Lauren and Kaylin did all the serving up this year, and worked thier butts off. I played 'barker', and kept the line of folks entertained. :)

I am glad 24 hrs later, you are still smiling Rip! I know we are. I threw ya right into the fire, and I'm glad you enjoyed! The pictures are wonderful! I'm glad you were able to squeeze 24 hrs in. Next time, we'll get ya all the way through awards. Those are always great, and would give you a great cap to the weekend. You're definately hired for picture duty. We never find the time to take them, yours are wonderful!!!

Again, appreciate the compliments, and glad you were able to make it out!

06-06-2011, 03:21 AM
Awesome pictures & report Rip!

Big Poppa
06-06-2011, 08:06 AM
Andy There are awards? Ive never been to the awards...heheheheh Johnny Trigg is always trying to force me to stay for the awards...and I say "Johnny, dont you get it?, It's the process not the podium? That usually shuts him up

06-06-2011, 10:30 AM
I know, I tried to get you to stay in Scottsdale, even though the guys said there was no way you would. LOL
Andy There are awards? Ive never been to the awards...heheheheh Johnny Trigg is always trying to force me to stay for the awards...and I say "Johnny, dont you get it?, It's the process not the podium? That usually shuts him up

Every good process has to end with some measure of accuracy and precision... that's the awards :)

5 Hole
06-06-2011, 01:19 PM
Nice shirt, Katie!

06-06-2011, 09:17 PM
Nice shirt, Katie!

You mean "Kaylin". :) Kate is the dog. :p

The girls Love the shirts. ;)

Big Poppa
06-07-2011, 05:24 AM
Joe has tri tip on his mind....

The accuracy moment is watching Joe and Jody walk with Trish Trigg's Little denim moo cow box carrier to the table with 5 minutes to spare.

Johnny says that I'll have to go at the Royal....Im not so sure

06-07-2011, 07:14 AM
Awards at the Royal are amazing. Hale Arena is essentially full, including seats on the floor (dirt) arena space (for the dressage/hunter jumper, etc going on). IT is quite the experience. And if you get a call, you get to walk up on stage in front of ALL your BBQ friends. The whole BBQ community is there, cheering.

We heard people from all over the place yelling things out for us to hear on the walk up. That RGC walk is still the best one I've ever experienced. Even more so than that 1st place pork walk at the Jack. IT was neat, for other reasons (like Jeff Arnett handing you your JAck statue trophy) But walking at the royal is one you dont want to miss BP. Johnny is right on.

Joe has tri tip on his mind....

The accuracy moment is watching Joe and Jody walk with Trish Trigg's Little denim moo cow box carrier to the table with 5 minutes to spare.

Johnny says that I'll have to go at the Royal....Im not so sure

Big Poppa
06-07-2011, 09:17 AM
I will be pulling the lint in my navel at that time in the airstream

contracted cooker
06-07-2011, 05:29 PM
great coverage enjoyed your post very much. S.O.W. is what bbq is all about family friends and having fun. great job guys

06-15-2011, 06:45 AM
Excellent post Rip!

I think you give a better picture of a competition team's weekend than anything else I've seen or read! Thanks for taking the time to write & post it.