Wed Aug 22, 2012
After successfully fundraising to get The Meatwave on the competition circuit, I took a look at the sea of competitions out there and decided to take a pragmatic approach to the contests we'd enter.
Taking the jump from backyard to comps is an uphill battle—grilling for friends and family doesn't really prepare you much for the challenges of dealing with tight deadlines and cooking to a judge's taste and not your own. So I started small, with the closest contest to home, the one day Grillin' on the Bay in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, which pitted us against 17 teams. Then I upped our game slightly for our second comp, with a true barbecue competition only slightly further away at the NYC BBQ Cookoff in Staten Island, which had 20 teams and required an overnight stay. Then I gave myself a buffer of a few months for recipe development before I took on the big time with the established festival that is the Hudson Valley Ribfest, two hours north of the city in New Paltz.
In its eighth year, this comp attracts a full house of fifty teams (actually scaled down from 70 last year) and attracts some of the best competitors in the New York region and beyond. It's three days and two separate competitions, which I thought would put a nice bookend for our first year of competition.