2010 Dillard, GA Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival Review

Dear BBQ Friend:

The 2010 Dillard, GA Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival was a huge success. Congratulations to Empress Head Hog, Jane Tomlin, for putting on a good show. This was our first time at the Dillard BBQdillard bbq contest contest and I was impressed with the quality of the contestants... it was like a mini Jack Daniels Invitational. Teams like Smoky Mountain Smokers, Jack's Old South, Cool Smoke, Jus Fer Fun, Wild Bunch Butt Burners, Big Bob Gibson's, Buttrub.com, Swamp Boys, Bub-Ba-Q, Carolina BBQ Co, Team Bobby Q, Team Top Chick, Wicked Que, Tarheel Smokers, and many, many more were on hand to battle it out. There was even a team from Great Britain on hand.

And battle it out we did... through the rain, wind, and heat we kept our fires going. I'll be the first one to tell you, I was the most surprised person there when we got first place in brisket and then the Grand Championship in this prestigious barbecue contest. Our brisket cook didn't exactly go as planned... we were using a fairly large Snake River Farms wagyu beef brisket. When we foiled it in a foil pan, it barely fit in the full size pan. Shortly thereafter, it puffed up so much that the foil came loose from the pan and we didn't notice it until after two hours like that. The internal meat temperature was not coming up as it should and I took a peek inside the smoker and discovered the shipwreck that was about to happen.

I quickly re-foiled the pan and got it back in the smoker and started praying. Luckily we cook our brisket way ahead of time and let it rest under a moving blanket for a couple of hours. So... I knew I had some time to spare. It finally came up to about 195 degrees internal so I knew I could start my burnt ends. So I cut some burnt ends off the point and put them back on along with the whole brisket which needed just a little more time to make it nice and tender. It finished up just in time and with no time to rest, we sliced it up and turned it in.

Well... at the awards ceremony, we started off with a nice 6th place walk in chicken. Then nothing at all in ribs and pork. I knew our chances were somewhere between slim and none for the grand. Especially after everybody had been called through 2nd place in brisket. I thought it was impossible for us to take 1st place brisket and I was sure our day was over... they I heard it, but I could not believe it! Chatham Artillery BBQ team wins 1st place brisket! And shortly thereafter, we won Grand! Unbelievable!

I would like to congratulate Cool Smoke for a well deserved Reserve Grand. Sorry Tuffy... I did it to you again! Uncle Chet's BBQ took first place chicken, Cool Smoke took 1st place ribs, Jiggy Piggy took 1st place pork, and your's truly took 1st place brisket. Note that Big Bob Gibson's was tied with Chatham Artillery BBQ for the brisket title, but we won the tie breaker. According to KCBS rules, "If there is a tie in one of the categories, it will be broken by the computer, as follows: The scores will be compared (counting all five judges) for the highest cumulative scores in taste, then tenderness, then appearance. If still tied, then the low score, which was thrown out, will be compared and the higher of the low scores will break the tie. If still tied, then a computer generated coin toss will be used."

J&J Southern Smokers took the grits category. Grillin' Gangsters took the cabbage category. And Kilted Kilby's BBQ Team took the desest category. Again, I'd like to thank everybody for their Southern Hospitality especially Jane Tomlin and her team. I'd especially like to thank the Dillard House Restaurant for that fantastic family style meal Friday night and the breakfast Saturday morning.

Here's a video I took of the Dillard BBQ Contest weekend's activities...


Bill Anderson