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BBQ Tour Stop #14 - Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ribs Cook-Off

July 21, 2009
Well, I can say that the College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ribs Cook-Off will be something that we will never forget. More on that in a moment though…

The Hall of Fame (HOF) is located in downtown South Bend, IN and even has a partial football field in the backyard! The Ribs Cook-Off had eleven amateur teams and eight restaurant/caterer teams entered for the Friday evening activities. We loaded into the event on Thursday afternoon and were surprised to pull up to tents already erected on the site. Luckily with a little help from the set-up guys, we moved a tent and pulled into our spot.

On Friday, we met the KCBS contest reps and some of the teams that loaded into the event at five in the morning. While we were setting up the trailer for the day’s activities, we had a minor malfunction. Chris dislocated her finger and tore a ligament in her hand, which resulted in her making a special trip to the emergency room. Lucky for us, our youngest daughter, Spencer, is along for this part of the tour and was an even bigger help at this stop than the others. We made this a family affair with the addition of our oldest daughter, Tracie, and her fiancé, Nathan, who live in Southern Indiana. They came up on Saturday to help too.

We also had a CBJ come out to help us before the judging started on Friday. Fred was great with people who had questions, especially those interested in the Good-One Smoker/Grill that we use for demonstrations. He had attended a cooking class held by the Good-One’s own Chris Marks.

Friday night was exciting with Chris on Percocet for the pain and our hotel hosting a rapper and his entourage, who arrived at three in the morning. Where is the 11 p.m. “quiet” time when you need it?

Saturday was the Enshrinement day, with Troy Aikman and local coach Lou Holtz as the highlights of the day. The city hosted a parade in the morning and football mini-camps in the afternoon. We held our “Grill Master” competition after the announcement of the inductees. Spencer & Tracie got to watch the ceremony from right behind Troy Aikman’s family and got a great picture of him onstage. There were some semi-pro ball players out promoting that evenings game so I talked one of them into cooking onstage with our soon to be son-in-law. It is always interesting to see what people think-up to cook. Mike, the football player, made a nice steamed chicken on the grill with green peppers, onions and tomatoes to make a nice tasty dish. Nathan had a great presentation of his chicken sandwich for the handpicked judges.

It was interesting to attend a “ribs” only event using the KCBS judging criteria of “Appearance, Taste and Tenderness.” For most of these teams, this was their first KCBS venture. The teams seemed to cook for themselves and what “they” like instead of cooking for the Judges. It will also be interesting to see this event expand to all four categories.

Don’t be offended if you ask Chris which finger got hurt and she shows you. She is a trooper and in very good humor. I even caught her doing dishes one-handed on Saturday. No keeping her down!

Mike (& Chris “Lefty”) Peters
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