|California State Championships 1999|
The 3Men participated in their first barbecue competition at the Surf and Turf BBQ Classic held in Imperial Beach (San Diego County), California on Friday and Saturday, June 4th and 5th, 1999. Governor Gray Davis had earlier proclaimed the event the California State Championship. This was a Kansas City Barbeque Society ("KCBS") sanctioned event. The competition was held in Dunes Park and the next door parking lot of the Seacoast Inn. The 3Men all live in San Diego County so we were excited about having the event in our own backyard. The anticipation leading up to the event was so tremendous that some of the 3Men were unable to sleep for days!
|Scott designated himself the head cook for the event and, accordingly, took responsibility for the intense planning that he felt necessary. Scott, a certified planning and checklist nut, developed a Surf and Turf checklist that included more than 235 items and took nearly two weeks to complete. At that was not all. He also documented all of the items to be cooked and each cooking method along with brine recipes, rub recipes, cooking methods, estimated cooking times, etc., etc. Then came the schedule 26 pages of detailed steps in one-half hour increments.||Then there were the promotions to consider. We ordered 3Men tee-shirts, 3Men aprons, 3Men Koozie cups, 3Men banners (one wasnt enough, we ordered two for good measure) and 3Men business cards. Were promoting this web site for reasons unknown. Were not selling anything here, but promotion seems like the right thing to do! A special thanks goes to Tom at One Day Signs in Toledo, Ohio for the banners (firstname.lastname@example.org). He made these banners and sent them to us on very short notice. Rich Lishewski, Entertainer to the 3Men, pulled some strings with Tom to get this done so thanks also to Rich.|
Of course it wasnt just the competition we had to plan for....... In typical 3Men fashion we rented the penthouse at the Seacoast Inn for the post-competition party. Having a 2,400 square foot penthouse right on the ocean and right there at the competition was too much for the 3Men to pass up. Of course the desire to have a party following the competition only added to the complexity we had already created for ourselves.
Scott and Kevin took the Thursday before the event off work and started loading up all of the stuff. It took two full sized pickup trucks, a trailer and a Jeep Grand Cherokee to haul all of the essential items. Our cooking equipment included a JR Enterprises grill, a JR Enterprises smoker and a Weber kettle grill. Oh, and a propane stove as well.
|Kevin and Scott arrived at the event site about 9:00 Friday morning where,
after so many e-mails, we finally met Melanie Jones, the event promoter. Melanie is a
delightful person and set us up with what we concluded was the premier site. We were only
steps from the Pacific Ocean and naturally we had a tremendous view.
Kevin and Scott started unloading all of the stuff they brought and Grant arrived with another load shortly thereafter. We set up what we believed to be one of the more attractive sites 3Men banners, pig flags, pig lights, pig wind chimes and all.
Scott and Grant attended the KCBS certified judges school on Friday afternoon. John Ross, a competition and judging veteran taught the class. The class was fun, informative and a real benefit if you are going to compete in one of these things. Meanwhile, Kevin and his wife Nancy held down the fort at our cooking site and prepared much of the meat by coating it with 3Men rub.
After the judges school, we all sat down to finalize the cooking times what goes on when, when it comes off, when to start the fire, etc. There were many debates about the cooking times but agreements were reached for everything and everything was entered into the schedule. All of a sudden it was dinnertime.
|Kevin grilled ribs for all of us for dinner on his JR Enterprises grill.
Grilling ribs, as opposed to cooking them in a smoker, is a real art and very labor
intensive. Kevin has mastered this technique. The ribs were fantastic and we all scarfed
up as many as possible. At about 9:00 P.M. we fired up the smoker for a whole night of
We entered all five contest categories: seafood, chicken, pork ribs, pork (Boston Butt) and beef brisket. The brisket went on the smoker about 10:00 P.M. and the three of us stood around for the next hour and a half or so enjoying cold beers in 3Men koozie cups. Kevin took the first shift of sleeping at about 11:30 P.M. and Grant and Scott stayed up to manage the smoker.
Our site was right next to the Big Green Egg team sponsored by Barbeques Galore. The team included Greg Jorgensen, Tom Wynne and Scott Buchan. These were a great bunch of guys and Scott, Grant, Greg and Tom spent most of the early morning (that is, 12:00 A.M to about 4:00 A.M) having a good time, drinking and visiting with the Imperial Beach creatures of the night. We had all kinds of characters stumble through the park as the morning progressed.
|At about 4:00 A.M. we rousted Kevin for the next shift and Grant and Scott went to bed. We had a small suite for the first night that included two beds and a hide-a-bed in the back half of the suite. Grant and Scott took the two beds, but the snoring from Grant forced Scott into the hide-a-bed. Just as Scott was about to fall asleep at 5:00 A.M., Grant, in a sleep-deprived, alcohol-enriched stupor walked into the hide-a-bed area and ripped the bedspread off of Scott. It isnt clear why Grant did this, but he must have been cold. Scott growled and the bedspread was promptly returned. We each got about two hours of good sleep and woke up eager to begin the days festivities.|
Grant and Scott went down to meet Kevin who had things well under control. The brisket and pork was well underway and Kevin had recently added the first set of ribs to the smoker. Just about that time we fired up the Weber kettle for the fish. We were cooking honey-pepper salmon for the seafood entry.
Starting at 12:00 P.M. we needed to turn in one entry every half-hour until 2:00. The entries were submitted in this order: seafood, chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. It was pretty chaotic once we began preparing the entries. Many of our friends and family started to arrive about 11:00 but we had precious little time to spend with them during the period of 11:30 to 2:00. However, it was a great support team with many of them wearing their 3Men tee-shirts. Of course the 3Men were decked out in their matching red 3Men aprons.
|The entries in a KCBS event are judged on appearance, taste and tenderness. Each entry starts with nine points in each category. The judges then deduct points for any deficiencies as they see fit. Nancy was a big help in assisting us with preparing the entries for submission and focused on appearance. The 3Men were on their own for taste and tenderness.|
While the submissions were being prepared, Scotts wife Janis was busy setting up the penthouse for the after-competition party. Naturally, there was a ton of stuff (mostly booze) to tote up there.
While we were preparing the chicken for submission, a reporter and cameraman from the local CBS affiliate, KFMB stopped by. We were interviewed briefly while the cameraman shot tape. Two guys who said they were making a documentary also stopped by. They spent some amount of time taking pictures of our salmon while it was cooking on the grill.
The 3Men were relieved when the final submission of brisket was submitted to the judges. The awards event was scheduled for 3:30 P.M. so we had some time to relax and visit with our friends and family but not long. All of a sudden we were faced with the task of packing and moving all of the stuff we brought. We quickly imposed on all of our friends and family to start moving a great deal of it up to the penthouse much like a string of ants.
At 3:30 P.M. the 3Men and the gang went up to the stage for the awards ceremony. The ceremony started a little late so we stood around for awhile listening to the band that was entertaining the crowd. Grant took some more pictures and then turned the video responsibilities over to our friend Chuck Ervin. Chuck is always a great help to us during our cooking adventures.
|Prizes and awards are given to the top ten contestants in each of the five
categories and then to the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion. The Grand Champion is the
team with the most points in all categories. The Reserve Champion is second to the Grand
Champion. Melanie awarded the prizes in the same order as the submissions: seafood,
chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. Melanie started with tenth place and worked up to first
We were happy when Melanie called out "3Men With Nothing Better To Do" for ninth place in seafood. We all ran up there and got our certificate and some Weber barbecue gifts provided by Barbecues Galore. The next category was chicken, and we were quite pleased that we placed fourth in that category. We were presented with a ribbon and a check for $50.
|The next category was ribs, a highly coveted category. Melanie started reading off the results. Tenth, ninth fourth at this point, all of us were pretty sure we were out of the running. There were a lot of experienced competitors at the event. Third, second certainly at this point we were all feeling a little disappointed. And then, Melanie described the first place winner as a first-time entry "3Men With Nothing Better To Do." We really couldnt believe it and our level of excitement was incredible. We rushed to the stage and accepted our very nice plaque and a check for $300. All the while our family and friends were cheering for us while Chuck had the video rolling.|
That was the last entry we placed in. We need to go back to the drawing board for pork and brisket, but it didnt matter. We were ecstatic to win first place in ribs! And we were fifth overall in our first competition!
It should be mentioned that Mike Scrutchfield, of Top Secret, won a Kingfisher Cooker valued at $1,600 as part of the Grand Champion prize. Kingfisher had donated the cooker to the contest. When Mike accepted his Grand Champion awards and prizes, he surprised the crowd by donating the cooker to the Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Beach. What a classy act! Were not sure why he calls himself "Top Secret", because he shared a lot of information with the 3Men. At any rate, he was the class of the event in more ways than one!
|After the awards ceremony we all rushed to the penthouse and the party was underway. All of the food that wasnt presented to the judges was set out for the crowd and the vultures descended. It seems everyone, except the 3Men, had worked up quite an appetite smelling and looking and barbecue all day. Of course the booze was flowing, and everyone at the party was given 3Men koozie cups. A special thank you to Kean Corrigan of Barbeques Galore for stopping in and giving everyone Barbeques Galore hats! Everybody loved them!||Some of the teams came up to visit us at the party including the Pork Belly Bandits, Big Green Egg and Coyote Road Kill. We had a great time partying with our new friends. One thing we found out from this competition and from our earlier trip to Memphis in May is that barbecue people are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Theyre serious about their cooking, but they will share information, help you in anyway possible, and are great to be around.|
The party rolled along and our friends Frank and Yami showed up and gave us some wonderful Cohiba cigars. The 3Men smoked these in a celebratory fashion. As it approached 5:00 P.M. we began to wonder if we might be featured on the news. It was a long shot but the tape was rolling when the KFMB crew visited us. We knew the competition would be featured on the news from the teasers at the beginning of the news hour.
At nearly the end of the newscast, there we were, Grant and Scott in the picture with Scott blathering on about presentation of our chicken. It was certainly one of the highlights of a fabulous day and night. The party kept going until about 11:30 when we finally collapsed from exhaustion.
When we got up the next morning, we finally ate some leftover barbecue and packed up for home. Ahead of us were several more hours of unpacking our stuff and clean up. We started talking about 'next time' almost immediately .........