“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace but it’s a start.”-Anthony Bourdain

Welcome back to Uncle Tom’s Corner. There are a number of things going on in the world of smoke so, gratefully, you won’t be subjected to too much of what my smoke-addled mind conjures up. That smoke, for the benefit of the curious or condemning, would be of the barbecue variety…not that I’m here to judge.

This past weekend (April 26th & 27th) was a barbecue competition at Lulu’s…on Hwy 85 south of Brighton. Friday was a SCA (Steak Cookoff Association) steak grilling competition. The steaks were beautiful boneless ribeyes, well-marbled and probably 1 ½ inches thick. I judged at that one and would have matched and one of ‘em against the best steak houses in town. My only complaint (if this is a complaint) is there were too many of ‘em…31 entries. There were 2 tables of judges of 5 at each table. Even though that figures out to 15 for one table and 16 for the other and only one bite of each…that’s a lot of steak. Thank goodness there wasn’t a salad, baked potato and glass of Malbec to go with it. First prize was $1000.00 and it was won by some guy from Wyoming.

Saturday was the KCBS competition consisting of chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. There were 41 teams registered for the KCBS event and I’m happy to report that I table captained this one. After ingesting all that steak the night before I didn’t really think I could handle all that meat two days in a row. In retrospect, I wish I’d had that same sense of self-control when it came to beer in a past life. But that’s another story for another time. The table I captained raved about the turn-ins…especially the ribs. Several of the judges commented that these might have been the best ribs they’d ever judged. I know the team from Proud Souls Barbecue took first in ribs. As for the rest of the categories…no clue. By the time the competition was over this fair-haired Swede’s face was burned to a perfect medium rare with a nice char so I didn’t stick around for the awards presentation.

Speaking of which, Saturday was sunburn day and today and tomorrow are snow days. Go figure.

Next month will find me in beautiful downtown Lamar for the Wild West Cookoff. That’s always a nice drive and an opportunity to view the eastern plains of Colorado. It’s also a great opportunity to get acquainted with Colorado Highway Patrol if you happen to get lost in the reverie of windshield time.

And lastly, there are a couple of public events coming up in the near future.

There is a new Texas-style barbecue joint opening up in the Highlands area of Denver on Tennyson. Post Oak Barbecue. Apparently, they have a BookBar section because on Tuesday, May 21 they are hosting a book signing featuring Steven Raichlen and his new barbecue cookbook. If you aren’t familiar with Steven Raichlen, he must have a dozen cookbooks or more…all dedicated to smoking and grilling. He’s gone all over the world checking out various cultures and their concept of outdoor cooking. The new one is The Brisket Chronicles and Mr. Raichlen will likely tell you more about the fine art of cooking brisket. Additionally, Post Oak Barbecue will be providing samples of their Texas brisket which, according to any Texan is the ONLY way to cook brisket. The cost is $30.00 and I think it includes a copy of the book.

The other event is the Denver BBQ Festival-June 14. 15, 16…Father’s Day weekend at Mile High Stadium. They’ll have some of the top bbq teams from around the country (apparently not the teams from Colorado and the surrounding states because that’s the same weekend as the competition in Frisco) featuring live music, VIP passes so ol’ dad (or anyone else for that matter) can rub elbows and hobnob with some of the best pitmasters available.

One last thing. Although I vowed not to use this forum for promoting my spice mix I’ve been asked a number of times where you can get Uncle Tom’s All-Purpose Seasoning and barbecue rub. It’s being carried by Lulu’s in Brighton, Wally’s Meats in Westminster, Proud Souls BBQ in Denver, The Grillin’ Shop in Centennial and Holy Smokes in Castle Rock. And it also available online at www.uncletomsbbqseasoning.com.

And that, fellow bbq enthusiasts, about wraps it up for another issue. The weather is changing for the better so get outside and burn something. If anyone’s looking for me I’ll be slumped in the corner watching my cholesterol levels drop in anticipation of the next go-round. Take care and I’ll see ya through the smoke.