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

Greetings and welcome back to Uncle Tom’s Corner. The corner is looking a bit barren since our little bout of plunging temperatures and the skiff of snow shocked the last of the hold-out trees into shedding their leaves. Soon the shedding process will be complete and we’ll be able to see the mountains again. All of life is a tradeoff.

With the shortening of the days and the dropping temperatures comes the “vision of sugar plums, etc., etc., etc. I saw a cartoon or something that said “Apparently Walmart wants me to wear my Halloween consume while eating Thanksgiving dinner and decorating the Christmas tree. I’ve admitted to being a hoarder…especially of recipes I think might work well in the smoker or on the grill. Recently I ran across one for…are you ready?…wait for it…Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese! Really, people, is nothing sacred? One of our absolute favorite comfort foods being bastardized to accommodate the craze? Isn’t it enough that we have Pumpkin Slushies, pumpkin spice lattes, and who-knows-what-else? Next some twit will come out with pumpkin-flavored brisket rub. And that would likely be all it takes to bring back public lynchings.

Speaking of rubs, in my quest to feed the hoarding obsession I ran across a list of five must-have rubs. Apparently whoever put together the list isn’t familiar with Uncle Tom’s All-Purpose Seasoning and barbecue rub but, if so, that’s on me. Their list read as follows:

  • Bad Byron’s Butt Rub Barbecue Seasoning
  • Bone Suckin’ Original Seasoning & Rub
  • Spiceologist Greek Freak BBQ Dry Rub and Seasoning
  • Plowboy’s Yardbird Rub-Ribs, Pork Poultry
  • McCormick Grill-mates Smokehouse Maple

Any or all of ‘em are available locally or through Amazon. With Amazon there’s always a chance they’ll deploy a drone to deliver.

The last bbq competition of the year was held at the site of the former Westminster Mall on October 19th. Actually, the competition began the afternoon/evening before with Cabo Wabo…a margarita contest. You might ask yourself “How many ways are there to make a margarita?” “Well, lemme tell ya what, Pilgrim. There were at least 15 last Friday and I think 35 in Grand Lake (although there may have been some duplicates between the two competitions).” “Who won?” you might ask. I’m thinkin’ it was the judges. Actually, the winner was Kristi Stoltenberg-Majors and the judges were terribly grateful for her effort.

To not mention the wind would be to do the whole competition a disservice. With all the construction ongoing in that immediate vicinity there was a virtual dust storm. A lot of the competition teams have pop-up awnings for doing their prep work, for shelter from the elements and to lend a bit of confidentiality from the other comp teams. By the time I got there the first thing I saw was several of the Proud Souls team hanging onto the cover so as not to become Mary Poppins-esqe and end up in Kansas. Apparently a couple of the other teams weren’t quite so fortunate and their pop-ups were destroyed in the flurry. By the time Cabo Wabo was over the wind had died down and that sweet aroma of barbeque pits being fired up filled the air.

The next day, Saturday, was the day of the actual barbecue contest. When I walked up to the judging tent to check in one of my fellow judges asked “What’s with the beard? (I’m trying to grow a beard…again.) I told ‘em I was tired of having to produce my ID every time I wanted to restock the wine cellar. Side note…you wouldn’t believe how much cooking wine is required at Uncle Tom’s BBQ Pit & Grill. But that’s another story for another time.

As for the contest itself, the Westminster Halloween Harvest Festival was going on at the same time. I think there were 48 competition barbecue teams in the competition. Most of a zillion people milling around all the vendors of everything from the proverbial soup to nuts. The Grand Champion of the competition was Bobby Stanfiel of Jo-Bawb’s BBQ and Reserve Grand Champion was Matt Heath of team You Que’d Me All Nite Long. They, along with others, shared in $10,000.00 in prize money.

That pretty well wraps up this episode as well as the 2019 RMBBQA season. The awards banquet is in a couple of weeks and then nothing until Stock Show. I think for the next issue of Inside Educated Minds I’ll include some turkey and appropriate sides recipes…none of which will include pumpkin spice. In the meantime, have a Happy Halloween and I’ll see ya through the smoke.