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FACT: Learning from friends, family and at competitions is the best way to improve cooking skills    
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Cheers for Charlotte

September 22, 2008
A few weeks back, we spent the weekend at the Blues, Brews and BBQ event in downtown Charlotte, N.C., where we had a wonderful time.

Our location was great as it was between the BBQ competition teams and the vending booths. There was foot traffic early on Friday as all the "suits" that worked downtown came out for lunch. The weather was great for BBQ with some clouds and nice cool weather.

This BBQ event was sanctioned by the Memphis Barbeque Network and used their rules which are different that KCBS sanctioning. It had been seven years since we had competed in the backyard division of a Memphis sanctioned event and got to see some of the differences on Saturday. The event was run with three parts - the first was blind judging of pork shoulder, pork ribs and whole hog. Teams did not have to enter all three categories if they did not want to.

The second part was when the judges came to the teams and were served their food and explained how the cook went about creating the meal. Then the top three teams scored in each category were judged on-site by a group of four judges. The top score ended up being crowned the Grand Champion which went to Big Bob Gibson's cooking team for their pork shoulder. We got to meet a brand new team in the backyard division and felt pretty helpless as they were asking about some of the MBN rules. In visiting with the judges, most were certified in both MBN and KCBS, which was nice to see.

Our demonstrations were very well received and we had big crowds both days. We even had one couple - Mark and Fran - who enjoyed the demo on Friday so much that they brought their neighbors to see us on Saturday. We had a wonderful time visiting with them and Mark even took home nine KCBS applications for family and friends. Things like that just give us that warm fuzzy feeling insid!

This last weekend, we spent another great-weather weekend in Hot Springs, Arkansas for the Smoke on the Water BBQ event. For now, we're off on the road to Nebraska...so look soon for our update on the well attended, big money payout in Hot Springs!

Mike & Chris
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