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Smokin' In Salt Lake

August 27, 2008
Chris and I pulled into Salt Lake City last week under beautiful sunny skys. The drive in was long and flat. This trip was a total opposite of our early adventure into Tryon, NC as there were very few trees and very few curvy roads.

Chris' mother had us play a travel game called "Windmill" years ago where you would look out over the landscape and call out "windmill" when you would see one as they were few and far between. We played "trees"...  Ok, there were some trees but mostly in the higher mountains and in the few cities that we passed through. We loved the hills and rock formations and were taking pictures out of the cab of the truck as we were cruising the highway.

We weren't the only ones snapping pictures, I caught a lady passenger in a van who was taking pics of the trailer as we were driving. If I was quick enough, I would have snapped their pic also!!  Chris finally took the wheel and was a trooper and did an awesome job!! That was until she hit a 5 degree downhill... I'm not sure who was more white knuckled between the two of us!

As we were driving, we saw groups of pronghorn antelope in the hills which was a nice change of pace from all the deer that we have seen.

We passed through Park City, Utah, where a number of Olympic events were held in 2002 and got to see the downhill ski ramps. The city and mountains were beautiful and overall the trip was fantastic.

Chris and I are now Certified Barbeque Judges as we were fortunate to take a judging class prior to the BBQ contest. It was held at the Q4U BBQ restaurant in Kearn, UT. T & Becci are the owners and also compete as Utah Smoke. As we were drooling over some of his Grand Champion awards (one was an old school meat cleaver in a block of wood while others were rattlesnakes) T showed us a book called "Killer Ribs" by Nancy Davidson that highlights some of the best rib joints in the country...and there on page 78  was their page. We spent a couple of hours after the class with T, class instructor Ed Roith, and a couple of the contest reps just telling stories and reminiscing about BBQ and travels. What a great time!

At the contest, we got to meet most of the teams and saw some neat pits. Jaime, one of our classmates, was cooking on his homemade smoker that he designed himself and we saw another pit that had hatchets as handles... All the smokers were set up in downtown Salt Lake right at the Gallivan Center. Checkered Pig from Martinsville, VA took home the Grand Champion trophy and will also be cooking in Reno at the Best in the West Rib Cookoff over Memorial Day Weekend.

T got first place in the rib category and the MOAB team who just entered at the last minute won first place in Chicken. You never know just how things will turn out at a contest.

We also went to dinner with my cousin Angie and her husband Berk in Salt Lake. It has been so nice to catch up with family on the road and get to go to some of the out of the way places that just a tourist passing through town might not get to see.

Salt Lake City was beautiful and we only wish that we had a few more days to take in more of the many things available to do. But for now, we're off to Reno for the Best in the West Rib Cookoff. 24 teams are invited to participate and they close down two blocks of the street from Wednesday through Monday. We expect to see more than half a million people over the six days... Looks like we are not in Kansas anymore!
Until then, enjoy some good BBQ... I know that we will out in Reno!!!
Mike & Chris

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