Tag Archive: PA

  1. The BBQ Guru to hold Monolith Monster Fest – Saturday, Oct. 13!

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    The BBQ Guru is excited to announce the 1st ever Monolith Monsterfest at BBQ Guru headquarters in Warminster. PA. Sign up to be a cook, taster or pre-order your Monolith Grill to pick
    up at the event! October 13, 2018.  Get all of the event information here.

  2. MABA Business Member Feature – Mason Dixon BBQ

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    Long time MABA supporter and Business Member Eric Forrester who owns two barbecue stores in the Mid-Atlantic tells his story about his entry into the passion we all love!

    So let’s set the scene, it’s January 2009, I’ve now had my metal-finishing business – CELF Services – for 2 years now and things are going fairly well…and we are going over finances and planning for the coming year.  And as a small business guy and serial entrepreneur, I’m looking to get into more stuff…my wife and I have extensive backgrounds in the restaurant business although we’ve both been away from it for 15 years now…so I have a genius plan!

    Me:     “So, I’m going to buy a bar…”

    Carrie (wife): “A what?”

    Me:     “A bar in Shippensburg (local college town) is for sale and I know the guy who owns it and I can get it for a good price…”

    Carrie: “A college bar??  Are you out of your mind?  Did you start smoking crack?    Do you know how old you are?  You just want to look at college Chippies (slang for drunk college coeds) all day! Do you think I’m going to work there?  Sling drinks to drunk college kids?  Ha.  That is NOT going to happen!  Where do you come up with this crap?”

    Me:      “OK. Sorry.”

    So then I opened a BBQ Supply store.  The end!  Ha.  It actually did go down almost exactly like that!  For me it was a win-win situation…I get to work with and around restaurant and catering folks, which was great!….I get to work in and around Competition BBQ folks, which is great!…and on a daily basis we get to educate folks about BBQ – types of smokers and grills, types of rubs and sauces, and how to BBQ!  And, my wife didn’t leave me!  WooHoo!

    As described above, at Mason-Dixon BBQ we have (3) customer groups – the homeowner/backyard guy, the caterer/restaurant folks, and the competition BBQ community (we also ship smokers and grills all over the world under a Military GSA Contract, but that’s all computer and contract stuff so it’s not fun, profitable, but hands-off so I won’t discuss it here…).   As a BBQ Supply store, Mason-Dixon BBQ is not just a niche of a store. By specializing in only wood and charcoal-fired smokers and cookers, we are a niche of a niche.

    When I first opened the store in Greencastle, PA, folks didn’t know what to make of us.  I can’t tell you how many times people came into the store thinking we were a BBQ restaurant.  You could always tell because they’d have a slightly confused/glazed look in their eyes when they opened the door and looked around, but couldn’t find our menu board….then it dawned on them that we weren’t a restaurant.  It took about 6 months for us not to get at least one person looking to buy lunch…it still happens about once a week and we’ve been open for 8 years now!  Same thing happened when we opened the store in Frederick, MD in 2014…and at that store, it still happens 2-3 times a week!

    While I could really go into what we do and what we have at the store, for the purposes of this article for MABA, I’d like to talk about Competition BBQ and how it relates to Mason-Dixon BBQ.  We sell (4) lines of Competition BBQ Smokers – Backwoods Smokers, 270 Smokers, Meadow Creek Smokers, and Webers (WSM’s).  Over the years we’ve looked at other brands – Humphreys, Stumps, Peoria, Yoder, Mixon, and Deep South Smokers (missed the boat on that one!).  But we’ve stuck with those brands and haven’t brought in anything new since 270 Smokers in 2014.

    We’re looking at bringing in Drum Smokers this year and have been looking at a variety of brands.  Recommendations are welcome!  Mason-Dixon BBQ always stocks the most popular models of the smokers we carry and it’s one of the few places in the country where you can go and pickup a Backwoods, 270, or Meadow Creek smoker off the showroom floor.

    We also carry over 200 rubs and sauces from competition teams and/or used in competition around the country….Victory Lane, Meat Church, 3Eyz, Head Country, Dizzy Pig, Smokin’ Guns, ObieQ, Butcher’s, and Dixie Meat Rub to name a few!  With a few exceptions, if it’s not used in competition, we don’t sell it.  We also carry most competition injections as well – Butchers, Kosmos, Fab, Meat Church, Victory Lane, and Smoke on Wheels to name a few….very few, we have a bunch more!

    One of the coolest things we do at the store is our BBQ Bootcamps.  When I first opened the store, one of the things I quickly realized is that while folks have a passion for BBQ, very few actually know anything about it.  People coming into the store were intimidated by the equipment, by the variety of spices and sauces, and even by the meat – i.e.  “a whole packer?  I could never do that!”  In order to get backyard guys up to speed, we began to do BBQ Bootcamps.  Not “show and go” classes, but actual hands on cooking classes.  Everyone cooks a pork butt…or ribs…or a whole packer brisket.  We invite Pitmasters to come in to assist with the classes as well.  No pay, but when was the last time you got to play with 20+ Brisket/Ribs/Pork Butts at one time, and 20+ different rubs, and 20+ different injections on 12 different types of smokers – ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  If you’d like to come in for a Bootcamp, just give us a head’s up – we’d love to have you here!

    Anyway, another great thing about our Bootcamps is that through this type of exposure, we have brought 22 new teams into competition BBQ – people who had never competed before, took Bootcamps, got interested in competition, formed teams, competed in backyard comps, then went full KCBS comps!  That’s pretty cool if I say so myself.  One of the concerns I have for competition BBQ is that when I look at the results for competitions, it’s rare to see a new team listed.  The results might vary, but I always recognize the same team names.  If Competition BBQ is to continue to exist, there has to be new blood.  That’s one of the things Mason-Dixon BBQ is committed to – educating people about BBQ, giving them a foundation on how to do it, and possibly making them confident enough to try to compete!  I’d love to see MABA put together a formal Backyard Competition program to help develop more teams in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

    The IRONMAN.  As with all great ideas – started out by a few drunk guys sitting in a bar writing ideas down on a napkin with a borrowed pen (after all who carries a pen with them in a bar??).  We started small – The Go Naked BBQ Show – in 2010 as a backyard ribs ‘n chicken comp with no electricity allowed.  That was a lot of fun with 30+ teams showing up.  Then we played a little more with the idea – going with all (4) meats; then one year with no sauce allowed because judges were complaining about too much sauce on everything (that was a disaster – turns out judges love sauce!); then came THE IRONMAN.

    For those of you who don’t know, THE IRONMAN format is no electric for prep or cook,so no electronic controls for your fire…props to Bob Trudnak (BBQ Guru) for coming to compete in 2017 despite that rule!!  The other huge rule is limited meat…(1) Brisket, (1) Pork Butt, (1) Rack of Ribs, and (7) Pieces of Chicken only!  Essentially, if you screw up one category, there’s no fall-back .  You have to be on your game the entire time.  No, it’s easier than you think, because the weather in early April in Pennsylvania is normally beautiful, but we’ve had the odd year with poor weather and that really makes it a challenge!  Every year we’ve had more teams join us and in 2017 we capped out at 60 teams!  The beauty of this format is two-fold – with limited meat it’s a lot cheaper to do than most comps so even small teams can afford to do it; and with each team cooking the same amount of food – i.e. without 6 racks of ribs to choose from – it helps level the playing field for everyone!  Every year we’ve had at least (5) teams make THE IRONMAN their very first competition ever!  We’re on again this year for April 6 & 7, 2018.  Signups are well underway, and we have over 30 teams signed up already!

    For 2018 Mason-Dixon BBQ is going to expand and get more into SCA Steak Competitions and Classes.  Spoiler alert, we are looking to have an SCA class on the Friday morning before THE IRONMAN and then have an SCA Steak Competition that afternoon!  WooHoo!  More details to follow….

    That’s about it for now….I have to go sell stuff!  If you are in the area of either store – 93 Monocacy Blvd, Frederick, MD or 1542 Buchanan Trail East, Greencastle, PA – we would love to have you stop in.  If nothing else, just to talk BBQ for a while….Oh who am I kidding, buy something dammit!  Ha.  Or like us on Facebook to see what we have going on each week.  Or send us an email if you’d like to help out with a Bootcamp – info@mdbbqservices.com.  Or visit our webstore if you need supplies and can’t make it in, we’d love to help you out and send you what you need – www.mdbbqservices.com!

    Happy New Year BBQ’rs!!!

  3. Que for the Troops Levittown, PA

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    By Edward R. B’Que

    The eighth annual Que for the Troops is in the record books.  Falls Township Pennsylvania throws this annual event to support the Liberty USO and they do our troops proud each year.  This years’ event was spectacular with 63 Pro teams and good weather that made the teams and organizers happy for sure.

    The weekend ancillary contests were an Anything Butt and Dessert competition.  Dead On Q brought home top honors in the Anything Butt category and PA’s own Dante’s Inferno (local boy does good) made a dessert that put smiles on the judges faces and brought home the win there.

    MABA teams were well represented across the board in the final tallies.  Lo’-N-Slo’ BBQ was the Grand Champion with a 684.48 and Smoken Dudes BBQ brought home the RGC.  Dr. Pearl’ Medicinal Smoke BBQ Team and Uncle Pig’s Barbeque Pit brought home 3rd and 4th place honors overall.

    A shout out goes to the category winners.  Quegasm tops the chicken bracket, Smoken Dudes BBQ won ribs.  They were also kind enough to sponsor the trophies for this event and they must have really wanted one of their own to keep!  They got several!  Poppa Q-BBQ took home the big pork trophy and Sir-Pork’s-Alot BBQ must have packed a box chock full of burnt ends and won coin toss with Weekend Smokers to take home his first ever Brisket win!  Congrats Mike Licciardello!

    Jeff Dence and Matt Markey along with the entire team at Q4TT run a great contest and fair.  If you have never attended it to compete, I highly recommend doing it in 2018!  Plans are already in the works for a bigger and better contest.  Keep this one on your radar folks!

    Results:
    Chicken – Quegasm
    Ribs - Smoken Dudes BBQ
    Pork – Poppa Q-BBQ
    Brisket - Sir-Pork’s-Alot BBQ

    RGC - Smoken Dudes BBQ
    GC - Lo’-N-Slo’ BBQ

    Full KCBS results here.

  4. The Ironman Greencastle, PA

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    The Ironman competition in Greencastle, PA has always sort of been the “unofficial open to barbecue season” in the Mid-Atlantic.  Recently some other comps have moved in and held their event earlier in March, but to me, Eric Forrester from Mason Dixon BBQ Supply gets our season started with the most unique contest in some of the most “unique” weather!  As many know, the Ironman rules dictate you can’t use any electronics to control your pits and the meat you can bring to cook is limited to seven pieces of chicken, one rack of ribs, one pork butt, and one brisket.  The weather was again something teams had to battle, but if you’ve cooked this contest before, you know to be prepared for any conditions from sunshine, rain, wind, all the way to snow!  This year would be no different…Friday was rainy early and chilly late.  Saturday was improved but still a bit chilly!

    Friday night at the cook’s meeting teams were hosted to a pizza party and boat drink affair by Eric and his awesome crew.  The pizza was good and drinks were cold and set the tone for the night.  Soon after this soiree was a paella contest with a handful of teams trying their luck at cooking this special rice based Spanish dish!  Congratulations to Terry West of 270 Smokers for winning the paella challenge again!

    Once the festivities concluded, the night settled in and teams started to focus on the cook.  Overnight conditions were cold, but the wind and rain held off for the most part and the night was relatively uneventful for most part with exception of a lack of sleep for some who rely on electronics for their pits to stay stable.

    Saturday brought with it some warmer temps and reenergized the teams as the Mason Dixon Open House crowds started to roll in and partake in the day’s events including a People’s Choice event that had each team cooking a generous portion of 10lbs of chicken wings.

    The winners on this day would be Drilling & Grilling winning grand champion and The BBQ Guru for taking reserve.  Here are the individual meat winners and link to the full listing of results.

    GC winners Drilling & Grilling

    Chicken – 4:20 Q
    Ribs – 3 Eyz BBQ
    Pork – Dr. Pearls Medicinal Smoke BBQ Team
    Brisket – Hellbent BBQ

    Grand Champions – Drilling & Grilling
    Reserve – The BBQ Guru

    Full results here

  5. Interview With the Champs – Danny Thomas, Drilling & Grilling

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    by Brian Walrath, MABA Board Member and Pitmaster for Brown Liquor BBQ


    An emerging team on the scene in the Mid-Atlantic right now you better watch out for is Drilling & Grilling, out of Glen Rock, PA.  Pitmaster Danny Thomas leads this team that has been competing since 2009 and have started 2017 on a tear…right where they left off in 2016, winning Boo-B-Que in late October.  Drilling & Grilling took grand champion honors at the recent Ironman competition in Greencastle, PA in a field of 59 strong teams and followed that up last weekend with a reserve grand champion finish at Interstate in Hagerstown, MD just down the road.  To say they’ve got it dialed in right now would be an understatement.

    But if you know Danny and have spent much time with the Drilling & Grilling guys, you know they they’re just some great humble fellas dawning their signature cammo who ain’t afraid to have a little fun!  I caught up with Danny at Interstate and asked if he’d answer some questions for this month’s edition of IWTC, and he graciously agreed!

    Question:
    Congratulations on your recent win in Greencastle, PA at the Ironman competition.  How did it feel to go home with the Grand Championship?

    Danny Thomas, Drilling & Grilling:
    It always feels good to win any contest, but this one is special to us because we have competed in all of the Ironman competitions and won GC the last year it was just chicken and ribs before they went full KCBS.

    Q:
    How did your cook go…did you feel confident heading to awards?

    DT, D&G:
    We had a solid cook with no issues.  We thought our pork was maybe a little dry but felt maybe a Top 10 finish was realistic.  (Editor’s note…that “dry” pork finished 7th!)

    Q:
    Tell us a little about your team and teammates, where you’re from, how long you’ve been cooking, etc…

    DT, D&G:
    There are normally three of us…myself, my cousin Dan, and nephew John that compete.  We all live in southern Pennsylvania and we started cooking in the Fall of 2009.

    Q:
    What kind of equipment do you have?

    DT, D&G:
    We cook mainly on a Meadow Creek PR 60.  I am know for changing cookers weekly, lol, but always go back to the PR!

    Q:
    Tell our readers about the name Drilling & Grilling.

    DT, D&G:
    I own a Drilling company and back when we started I asked several employees what should the team name be…and Drilling & Grilling is what they came up with and it fits!

    Q:
    How many GCs is this for Drilling & Grilling?

    DT, D&G:
    Ironman is our fourth GC.

    Q:
    How many competitions are on the schedule this year for you guys?

    DT, D&G:
    We plan on 13 or 14 this year.

    Q:
    Are there any goals in barbecue you have yet to accomplish that you hope you check off your list this year?

    DT, D&G:
    We competed in the “The Jack” in 2013 and 2014 and did not get a call…we’d love to go back and hear our name called.

    Q:
    What makes Drilling & Grilling different or unique?

    DT, D&G:
    I feel you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.  That being your wife or barbecue teammates and we have a good team that works together.  Each has their place.

    Q:
    This win makes you eligible for the Royal Invitational and a possible Jack draw…will you go out to Kansas City or Lynchburg if your bung is pulled?

    DT, D&G:
    I’ve never had a desire to go to “The Royal,” but my goal in competing is to go back to “The Jack.”

    Q:
    I like to ask in this segment, what tip(s) do you have for competition teams to go from good to great and get that GC call?

    DT, D&G:
    This may sound cheesy but it’s just a piece of meat.  It should taste like and look like meat…and if cooked properly, any rub or sauce should compliment it and not offend anyone is the key.

    Q:
    Any parting shots or comments?

    DT, D&G:
    We should make sure we stop and take a moment to thank our Lord and our military for keeping us safe allowing us to live in this great land.  

    Well put Danny.  Good luck to you and Drilling & Grilling the rest of the year and beyond!

  6. MABA State Cup Contests for 2017 Officially Announced

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    The highest finisher from the native state where these contests take place will be eligible for additional prizes from the Mid-Atlantic Barbecue Association including a $250 check, attractive trophy, and possibly other great gifts, TBD!

    Delaware:
    Boo-B-Que Rehobeth Beach, De

    Maryland:
    Maryland State BBQ Bash Bel Air, MD

    New Jersey:
    Que by the Sea Seaside Heights, NJ

    New York:
    The Great Adirondack BBQ Old Forge, NY

    North Carolina:
    Tilley Harley-Davidson Biker Blues BBQ Rally and BBQ Classic Salisbury, NC

    Pennsylvania:
    Keystone Classic BBQ State Championship Harrisburg, PA

    Virginia:
    BBQ Jamboree-Day 1 Fredericksburg, VA

    West Virginia:
    Almost Heaven BBQ Bash Weston, WV

     

  7. Get To Know Eric Forrester, The Ironman KCBS Competition, and Mason Dixon BBQ Supply

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    Eric Forrester, owner of Mason Dixon BBQ Supply in both Frederick, MD and the flagship store in Greencastle, PA has been in the barbecue game for well over a decade and has one of the most unique contests in the nation.  He’s a wealth of knowledge of competition barbecue in the Mid-Atlantic and has always been a big supporter of MABA and a business member of the association for a long time.  We wanted to get-to-know Eric a little better and find out more about his start in barbecue, his businesses, but mostly his KCBS competition, the Ironman.  He was kind enough to answer all of our questions and I think you’ll agree, it was quite interesting and as Eric is, quite entertaining!

    MABA: 
    Tell us a little about your history in barbecue and how you came to be the owner of two barbecue businesses in the Mid-Atlantic.

    Eric: 
    I was born at a young age and everything after that was blur until I got my glasses at age 7….(Ha, thanks Groucho Marx!)  At 14, my first job was in the restaurant business and that continued through and after college.  I was recruited by General Mills (they owned Red Lobster back then) to become part of a 5-person team to open new restaurants along the Eastern seaboard.  I opened 12 restaurants in 3 years and closed and re-opened another 4 stores.

    When the GM stopped opening stores, I was assigned to the Red Lobster in Hagerstown, MD and I decided to go back to school for my masters degree and “escape” the restaurant lifestyle.  I catered for a couple of years and after getting my masters, I got into manufacturing and eventually owned a part of a company that made construction equipment.  I sold my share in 2001 and became the COO of Blue Ridge Mountain Cookery – BRMC made high-end catering grills for the military, restaurants, rental, and universities.   My “foodie” side kicked in and I started getting into competition barbecue on custom smokers that we built and a Jedmaster Smoker.  We competed in 10 competitions from 2004-2006 under the name Smoked Encounters of the 3rd Swine.  Primarily in MIM (MBN) comps; our best finish was RGC at the National Capital BBQ Comp in DC.  In 2007, I left BRMC and started my own company – CELF Services, LLC., doing sub-contract metal finishing work for military applications.

    In 2009, things were moving along pretty wall and I was looking for more to do and to maybe get back in the food business.  I had decided to purchase a bar/restaurant in Shippensburg, PA; so after my wife stepped on my head (in a good way), I decided not to go into the bar business, but to open a BBQ Supply Store instead – she was good with this!  I was friends with the guys at Meadow Creek and was selling their units to the military through a GSA Contract already, so I modeled my store after their store in New Holland.  That was it – Mason-Dixon BBQ Supply was born!  I still have/kept CELF Services and thought Mason-Dixon would be a write off for me for a few years, but we have done well and it has never worked out that way!

    After getting beat up by Maryland customers for a few years, I opened the store in Frederick in 2014 and have considered opening a 3rd location in Winchester, VA…we’ll see.

    MABA:
    When was the first Ironman event here at Mason Dixon?

    Eric:
    The first official event we did was in 2012 – The Go Naked BBQ Show(down) – a ribs & chicken Backyard Event that forbade the use of any electronics to prep, cook, or finish with.  No pellet cookers, no Guru controls, no electric knives, no stay-in thermos, etc.  We kept it as Go Naked for 2 years and then added THE IRONMAN component and turned it into a 4 meat competition in 2013.

    Eventually I wanted to grow this into a full-blown KCBS Comp.  I had run several other competitions – Smoketoberfest (3 yrs) and the Memorial Day Pignic – and wanted to get sanctioning, but ran into issues with KCBS.  Our format was fun, hard, and the teams seemed to like the challenge, but KCBS said we couldn’t force teams to limit their meat…that’s when I had an epiphany (or stroke, who knows) that we could be KCBS sanctioned if the teams voluntarily agreed to the limitations.  So that’s what we did and went KCBS in 2014.  This is officially our 4th year as a KCBS competition as THE IRONMAN.

    MABA: 
    Talk about the special rules association with the Ironman format?

    Eric:
    1. No electric devices to be used in the prep, cooking, or presenting of competition meats – no Guru/Stoker/Flame Boss controls, no Pellet Cookers, no electric rotisseries, no electric knives, no stay-in thermometers.  Just you, your pit, and meat. (Maverick/Thermopen/stick-in thermos are OK – food safety!).

    2. Limited meats! If you call yourself a Pitmaster, you should be able to cook!  In most comps you can cook as much meat as you want…but at THE IRONMAN, you can only cook (1) brisket, (1) pork butt, (1) rack o’ ribs, (7) pieces of chicken (1 to taste).  There is even a “challenge group” now that puts all (7) pieces of chicken in! (Editor’s note – I have it on good authority that the winning chicken box in 2016 contained all 7 pieces!)

    MABA: 
    What made you decide to do a contest in this non-traditional way?

    Eric:
    As with all good ideas, this was hatched in a bar and drinks were involved.  Some of you might remember Tim McMaster (Porter Mac’s Rockin’ Q) and Dave Nash (Pot Belly BBQ)…well, we were all drinking (not sure how that happened) and started talking about the Pitmaster TV show and how one of the competitors on there couldn’t operate the Egg without the Guru…some of you might remember that…ugh.  See, I still feel the same way about it.  Don’t get me wrong, electronic controls are marvels of science, but you should know how to operate your Pit without one – especially if you call yourself a Pitmaster on national TV.  Anyway, one thing led to another and Go Naked BBQ was born.

    Two years later we were trying to make it even more challenging and Mark Flanigan suggested limiting the meat.  I thought this was a great idea, so we did it and THE IRONMAN was born – incorporating the “no electric” clause as well!   We have toyed with the idea of having teams bring their meat in and putting it in coolers, then having a blind draw where the teams “draw” for meat coolers, but I think this will put KCBS over the top and will threaten our sanctioning.  This would, however, make the field more level when it comes to meats being cooked, i.e. – one team can afford the expensive Wagyu brisket and another team can’t…but again, I don’t think we can get this through KCBS.

    MABA: 
    This has been a very popular contest over the years, why do you think so many teams like it so much?

    Eric:
    Well…like any good comp, it has a lot to do with the organizer…ha!  We’ve traditionally been the first cook of the season for many of the Mid-Atlantic teams and we are an “inexpensive” contest to start with.  A lot of teams really like the different format as well.  It’s a challenge and makes you really tend to your pit and your food – one mistake can cost you, there’s no “fallback” entry!

    THE IRONMAN now sells out each year and we attract teams from 7 different states and Canada.  We are also what I call a “cooks competition” in that, while this is in conjunction with the Mason-Dixon BBQ Open House, we don’t attract 10,000 spectators, so the atmosphere is much more relaxed and the public doesn’t get in the way.  The cooks can socialize and have some fun without any concern for the public interfering with their cook…or their fun.

    THE IRONMAN has also introduced 22 new teams to BBQ competition over the past few years.  This year we’ll have 4 teams that have never competed before.  At $200 it’s inexpensive and you don’t have all of that meat cost normally associated with a competition.  Also, because it is low-key, these newbies can really talk with other teams and get a leg up.

    MABA: 
    Let’s talk about the weather shall we?  Your contest has always been at the beginning of the typical “BBQ season” in the Mid-Atlantic and sometimes the weather can be, I’ll say…interesting in Pennsylvania in late March, early April.  Can you comment on that and also give us your annual promise for weather conditions for this year’s contest?

    Eric: 
    As I explain to everyone, weather is a state of mind.  Do you see birds whining when it’s cold?  No, they just freeze to death and fall off the line!  But they don’t feel sorry for themselves at any point!   So, while weather at THE IRONMAN has been temperamental at times, it’s still fantastic if you have the right mind-set!  And if you freeze to death, we’ll give you a nice send-off!! That’s how we roll!

    We’ve had cold, windy nights (I think the record for lost canopies is only at 9!), nice nights, rainy days (maybe a little sleet), and one beautiful day!!  So THE IRONMAN, like me, is well-rounded.

    Last year, we had a great weekend with temps in the mid 50’s, partly sunny, and no 50mph winds until after 3pm on Saturday.  Despite rumors that I had sold my soul to the devil for good weather, that’s completely untru…there might have been some dancing and sacrificing of chickens, but that’s voodoo and not the same thing!  This year I’ve sent a letter to Donald Trump asking for an Executive Order for tree-e-e-mendously good weather!  I think I’m in!!!  But just in case, bring a long sleeved shirt.

    MABA: 
    What else about your contest makes this event special?

    Eric:
    As with all my events, we do some fun stuff for the teams…on Friday evening we have a pizza party – free pizzas for all teams and team members – after all, who wants to eat BBQ?!  I always think we get enough and it’s like a wave of vultures when we bring them – and I never get a piece – but I digress.  In an effort to stem the pizza purge we also offer free “Boat Drinks” to all of-age competitors!  A fruity concoction of rum and juices to make everyone happy!  It’s a grand effort to have everyone relax and visit….because, if nothing else, the BBQ family is great and it’s a lot of fun to visit with everyone.

    All of my events also involve charity…gotta give back.  This year we are raising money through The Wing Thing – a People’s Choice Wing Competition!  All the teams cook 10lbs of wings that are sold to, and voted on by, the dreaded public.  This year we are raising money for the Greencastle Relay4Life.  They are a good crew and because we work with the local branch, the money stays here and they do great things for the local community.  I am a big believer in giving back.

    We also invite other charities to come and set up displays at THE IRONMAN.  Better Days Animal Shelter will be here, Make-A-Wish is coming, etc.  Also, instead of paying Mason-Dixon BBQ, all food vendors and craft vendors have to donate their vending fee to the charity…which is also pretty cool!

    LAST, but not least, it is FREE for the public to get into THE IRONMAN.  We don’t charge a parking fee or a gate fee.  This is a great family event that revolves around the love of BBQ.  We don’t run THE IRONMAN to make a profit for Mason-Dixon BBQ.  All proceeds from the event go to supporting local charities, team pay-outs, and the coveted IRONMAN trophies!

    MABA:
    Ok, here’s your chance to plug the business(es)!  Anything special going on during the contest weekend for customers, teams, enthusiasts?

    Eric: 
    As I mentioned before, we do THE IRONMAN as a part of the Spring Open House at Mason-Dixon BBQ – Greencastle.  In addition to the Competition, we have sampling and demonstrations all day long – I think last year we gave away 400lbs of food!  There is also live music, door prizes, etc.

    We have a modified Eggfest with demonstrations, huge discounts, tastings, and 15% DISCOUNT ON BIG GREEN EGGS!  In addition, if you purchase an Egg that day, we team you up with an Egghead and give you meat – that way you not only purchase an Egg, you cook on it too!

    EVERYTHING IN THE STORE (with the exception of Backwoods and 270’s) IS 10-50% OFF.  When you have decided on your purchases, you get to pull your discount at the register….and yes, there are 20%, 30%, 40%, and even 50% off discounts in the jar!  So Weber, Meadow Creek, Uuni, and Bradley cookers are at least 10% off; as are all accessories – Mavericks, Flame Boss, Spitjack, etc.; all rubs and sauces; and charcoal, pellets, etc. – you get the idea!

    270 Smokers will be $100 off and we will waive the freight and crating fee off Backwoods, so they will sell at retail alone!

    For teams, we will be offering these discounts on Friday after 2pm as well!  We’ll also be offering financing (with pre-approval) for 6 Months same as cash purchases!  (If interested in this, let us know at least a week prior!)

    Discounts will only be available at the Greencastle store!  We are looking to put together an Open House at the Frederick store sometime in May!  Any ideas for something cool?

    MABA:
    Any parting words for our readers or folks on the fence about signing up for the Ironman?

    Eric: 
    The IRONMAN is about 6 weeks away and we are full at 60 teams!  Yeah, I know that’s a surprise…it’s a surprise to me too!  Ugh.  It’s like an addiction, I just can’t say no!  But WE ARE NOW DEFINITELY FULL!!!

    I’m looking forward to the warm Spring weather and seeing everyone!!!!

  8. Pit at the Park Macungie, PA

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    This KCBS competition was held as part of the 53rd Annual Das Awkscht Fescht.  Located in the private Macungie Memorial Park which boast a robust 43 acres full of classic cars, vendors, community swimming pool, and auto flea market.  The auto fest offered live entertainment from noon until 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday.  If you enjoy classic cars, classic 60’s era music, lots of fair food, and an awesome professionally produced fireworks display, this is one competition you need to put on your schedule for next year.  Did I mention the fireworks display Saturday night to end the days event…which were set off right across the street where competitors were set up.  The sight, sound, and percussions could be felt from each and every one launched, you will be hard pressed to find a better location and display of fireworks.

    The organizers did a great job with this 1st time event, making sure competitors had ample electric and city water from one of the parks fire hydrants.  There were oversized team sites as well as 20 x 20 regular sites to accommodate teams of all sizes.  Fortunately the competition area was on grass to help absorb the hazy, hot, humid, dog days of summer, unlike those that baked on the asphalt of Sam’s Club in Laurel, MD this same weekend.  So it is easy to see with 52 years’ experience running the auto fest that this new event has the possibility of longevity and becoming a team favorite in the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 11.25.49 AMTwenty-three teams went at it for the title of Grand Champion at the 1st Annual Pit in the Park.  As the sun was setting in the early August evening the title fell to the well-known, well respected, 5-time Pennsylvania State Champions Tom & Michele Perelka of Lo’ –N- Slo’ BBQ.  The event also held a chefs choice and dessert categories which were cooked and turned in on Sunday.  Eight teams were registered for these two categories which were to be done in German or PA Dutch cuisine theme.  The overall winner of the combined categories went to Tom & Stacie Feil of Christmas City BBQ.

    First place winners:
    Chicken – Smokin’ Tex BBQ
    Ribs –BBQFLY
    Pork –Christmas City BBQ
    Brisket –Top Gun BBQ

    Grand Champion –Lo’ -N- Slo’ BBQ
    Reserve Grand Champion –Smokin Foolz BBQ

    Check out the full competition results here.

  9. Victory BrewBQ, Parkesburg, PA

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    by Craigie Mack Rudzenski, Pitmaster of Craigie Mack’s BBQ Shack

    On Saturday, July 30th, Victory Brewing Company held their 8th Annual BrewBQ.  The event was held at the Victory Brewing Company’s Parkesburg, PA location.  While this event has been going on for years, this was the first time being held at this location.  Upon arrival, Victory Brewing Company representative Amanda Giangiulio, and her team were directing competitors to their spots in the parking lot of the Brewery.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.54.25 AMThis is a one day, chicken and ribs contest that provides fun for the whole family.  Upon arrival, teams were surprised to see…well…not much set up.   The most recent weather reports that morning were calling for severe lightning storms later on during the day, therefore the outdoor beer garden, live music, kids area, variety of restaurants and vendors as well as games were all moved inside the Victory Brewing Company Brew Pub.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.54.08 AMCompetitors fired up the smokers and grills, prepped their meats, got them going and then the rains came.   After some heavy winds and steady downpours, the rains finally let up, the ‘que was turned in  (during  a light drizzle, and up a flight of outdoor, metal stairs….talk about a nerve racking turn in!)  the public was able to venture outside, enjoy some brews and visit and chat with all 27 teams in attendance.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.54.46 AMAwards were announced inside the Brew Pub,  and in the end, team “Here Come the Judge” took first place chicken.  “Little Skips BBQ” won first place ribs.  However, it was “Brandywine Smokers” who took Grand Champion (9th place chicken and 2nd place ribs), with Shaker City BBQ Taking the RGC (8th place chicken and 3rd Place ribs).  Despite the weather, the Brew Pub was phenomenal,  the crew at the Victory Brewing Company went above and beyond in assisting the teams and everyone is already looking forward to next year!