Saturday, we drove to Mercedes for Smokin' on the Rio, a BBQ cookoff.
When we left our RV, the temperature was in the upper 40s and it had rained for several hours. Not the best weather for cooking outside or for eating there, but we still had a good time. The event was the 9th Annual Texas State Championship BBQ Cook-Off, with $10,000 in prize money for the one team crowned "The Best in Texas." The teams compete in fajitas, beans, chicken, ribs and brisket. Though we went hoping to eat brisket, it wasn't due to the judges till 4 and we weren't willing to wait that long to eat lunch. Instead, we sampled several kinds of beans and fajitas and a whole lot of chicken.
Was that chicken ever good! So tender. After studying what they were doing, we decided they often used the beer-can method of cooking it. We will have to try it some time.
This team is deciding which pieces to turn in to the judges.
It's in the box.
What does it take to cook it just right? It must be at the correct temperature.
Then there is the rub of secret spices.
Later, some other trimmings to enhance the flavor for the last period of cooking.
Of course, there is the mesquite wood. But isn't it cheating to get the fire started with a blast of burning propane?
The contestants brought their own wood for cooking. But if people like us enjoyed the food enough to want to cook it at home, we could even buy our wood there.
The BBQ rigs came in all shapes and sizes. Click on the photo to get a better look.
The names of the teams were interesting, as well.
We see the US Border Patrol everywhere down here. Apparently, in addition to trying to keep our borders safe, they also are good cooks. Last year they placed 5th in fajitas. We don't know the rankings this year--we didn't stay until 6:30 pm.
We ran into Eric and Kathy, two of the volunteers we work with at Santa Ana. Look at how we are all dressed. I told you it was cold.
It was cold enough that we even accepted smelling like a campfire to get warm.
BBQ cookoffs are a family affair. So, if you have a six-week old puppy, you bring it along, too.
And this little fellow was helping cook.
An outhouse was part of the decor at Da Smokin' Boys cooking area.
If you looked closely at the collage of signs for cooking teams, you saw that one was sponsored by a funeral home. This fellow converted a casket into a trailer to haul his BBQ supplies behind his motorcycle.
How about this sign?
I don't imagine they sold much ice cream yesterday, but this sure was a clever way to turn the cranks on the freezers.
There were various bands entertaining during the afternoon, in addition to these dancers. I'll bet they were freezing by the end of their set.