Aloha Thriftway Classic BBQ Competition

The Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association sanctioned a barbecue competition this weekend at the Aloha Thriftway on Farmington near 170th. My buddy Herb is also a BBQ enthusiast so we took a spin over. I figured I’d be styling in my new BBQ shirt Andrew got for me last week at Real Urban BBQ.

Not a big turnout; 18 teams so it won’t be a qualifier for the Jack Daniels annual invitational. This was my first ever visit to a BBQ competition. Things were slow; the meat was getting inspected and so no real cooking had started yet.

The people were mostly pretty friendly. Most folks thought we were competitors because of my shirt. After that mistake was made once I was real clear we weren’t out to steal any secrets. Our first stop was to Junior Q’s setup. They are from Portland. What got our attention was there UDS (Ugly Drum Smokers) or BUD (Big Ugly Drums).

They use 55 gallon drums with holes on the bottom for air flow to the coals and wood. With a few bolts through the side, they can easily mount Weber kettle grill grates.

They were nice enough to show us how they trimmed their brisket for cooking.

Next was Jossy Farms. The head guy built a smoker to cook for his daughter’s wedding last year. Figured he’d better do something with it so joined the competition circuit.

Next we talked with Pat; forget his name and team; a husband and wife combo. He was preparing his pork butt, making a big cut to expose the “money muscle”. We learned a lot from him. Herb said he wished he had a tape recorder to capture it all; I agree.

Here he is talking while trimming while Herb watches.

That head gear reminds me of Michael Fletcher: one of the guys in the office.

Pat’s arsenal is a Weber Kettle; two small Weber Smokey Mountains; and one large Weber Smokey Mountain. The kettle he uses for chicken; the small WSM’s he does pork butt and brisket on. The big WSM is for ribs. He does his butts and brisket hot and fast rather than low and slow; we heard other teams talking the same way. Hmm.

He also said that the Northwest competitions are different from those in the South and Midwest. We don’t tend to do things as sweet here.

As we left we checked in with Dazed and Confused. The most laid back group of all.

They also are using UDS. We asked what the tops were made of. They are the reflectors for some industrial GE halogen lights. Look at the size of the thermometers there. It’s hard to see in the picture but these guys are high tech. They have a little computer fan connected to a pipe feeding air into the bottom of the drum on the right. The fan is connected to a thermocouple which helps regulate temp; if the temp falls too low, the fan kicks up a little higher to feed air to the fire.

A fun day; might go back in the morning for the turn ins.

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