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Great American BBQ Tour Stop #3 – Porkin' in the Park

April 13, 2009
Chris and I left the TABASCO® factory and headed north to our next event in Tennessee. Driving across Louisiana and Mississippi, it looked like the President’s stimulus package has been spent on the Highway… Highway Patrol that is. Those guys were thick out there looking for speeders. Lucky for us, we don’t speed - that’s my story and I am sticking to it!

We stopped in Memphis for the night and went down to Beale Street to Silky O’Sullivan’s bar. We met Silky in Lynchburg and we wanted to take in some of the history of Beale Street. The rack of ribs that we shared probably would have scored 7/8/8 but I’m not sure because it was really dark in there. Chris wouldn’t let me take a picture of the meal before we ate either. When we got into the truck to leave, we were greeted by the ding of the low fuel sound, which is never a good thing in an unfamiliar town. Everything worked out though because we weren’t too far from the interstate.

We pulled into Clarksville the Thursday before the event and dropped the trailer to scout out our location. We normally stay at a Quality Inn along the highway while passing through Clarksville so we have never actually ventured into the town. Boy, we were surprised at how large and spread out the Clarksville community was.

The event was called Porkin’ in the Park because it was originally held in a city park down by the river. Due to massive rains and flooding last year, the event was moved to the city square. The other things that were moving into the area on Thursday were tornados and thunderstorms. It seemed that this would be our third straight event with precipitation but the rain ended on Thursday and the weekend ended up being beautiful.

Our spot was right next to the stage, which allowed us to hear all the good music acts that were lined up. We had a great crowd for our Friday demo. As it got dark and we loaded everything up in the trailer, we were invited to the judge and team dinner. There were six tables lined up in a row, covered with newspaper and loaded with corn, potatoes, shrimp and other delicacies for people to eat. Dinner was great. We always enjoy the hospitality at the BBQ contests. We also met some teams that we had not been able to visit with on the BBQ trail yet - Joe & Voncile of Smoky Mountain Smokers, Danny of Swiggin’ Pig, Billy of DoRagQ and the guys from Ulika, who even brought their couch! We spent some time with a first time cooking team, Hawgs and Hunnies. It brought back some great memories of our first competition. One of the teams that I won’t mention was also nice enough to introduce me to Tennessee Moonshine, which burned all the way down. It did hit the spot though because Chris said I had a smile on my face the rest of the night!

Saturday turned out to be just as nice as Friday and there were wonderful crowds for our demonstration and the band. We did another Grill Master competition and I recruited Katie Nixon from Ol’ Man Larry’s BBQ team to try to knock off Chris’ winning streak. Either I am jinxed or Chris cheats because her cook, Steve Eckart, won the Grill Master contest. We wrapped the contest up right before the awards ceremony. During the awards, we were able to see the men in kilts, the Smokin’ Scotsmen, take Reserve Champion and Smoky Mountain Smokers win Grand Champion. Smoky Mountain Smokers won first place in two categories and had top ten finishes in the other two.

While it was great to be out on the road seeing old friends and meeting new ones, it was nice to then head back home to get rested up for our next event. Our next event is our hometown BBQ competition, Rock’n Ribs in Springfield, MO. Chris and I will be competing and holding our BBQ Tour demonstrations. We will also be cooking the ribs for the Saturday night dinner since we took first place in the rib category last year. Good thing we will then have a couple of days to rest before we head out to Indio, CA and the Stagecoach Festival and BBQ competition.

Don’t forget to stop by and say hello when you see us at one of your events!

Mike (& Chris) Peters

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