Our season in Pork Category
Good but not very well. We could thus end our 2017 season in the Pork category, using a quote on fashion on social media during this period. With satisfaction and pride we can say that we have passed at the top of the ranking 24 competition out of the 26 organized in Europe in the kcbs circuit: from the second until the last day when we were overcome by that phenomenon of Richard Wagers from iQ.
However, we believe that it was a great season, full of joy and satisfaction, we want to share with you through this article tracing competition by competition small anecdotes funny and smart or simply technical.
WEST, Riva di Tures (IT)
4° in ranking (score 173,1660)
The unknowns are many: we arrive at the west with the aim of giving stability to a season characterized by ups and downs, we present for the first time in competition a new raw material, the Boston Butt by Federico dal Lago and it’s cold, so cold and I hate it. Just to give an idea of the temperatures to those who have never been there, during the night we forgot to “ambient temperature” a steak cooked the night before and when we return after the rest, about 4 hours, it was as hard as a stone, completely frozen.
The Pork that we pull out of the smoker is not at all up to the average value of the teams in the competition: money overcooked and the rest paradoxically undercooked, stringy, dry. At the time of the turn in, discomforted by the result, I would not deliver and here comes out all the value of the team leader Marco: he rolls his sleeves and tells me: “Come on, let’s put this fucking box together”. We bring out the best from what we have available and try to pull out of the cylinder some small trick from the experience and fingers crossed. At the Award Ceremony we were not hoping for a Call and instead what happens is actually a Walk: fourth place! With a cold mind we make the point and agree on the fact that the Taste works well. Let’s go on like this.
MEAT, SMOKE AND BEER, Wels (AT)
1° in ranking (score 178,2972)
Very nice location with a lot of beer, perhaps too much 🙂 It was probably the seasonal competition in which we let ourselves be more distracted by the external context (beautiful anyway). This certainly did not help but we had a blast and we all keep a wonderful memory, except perhaps Marco who had a fever at 40° C. By the technical side the news continue: we have a new device, the Fornetto by Razzo with which we must become confident but luckily everything else remains unchanged. This time in cooking everything goes as it should go and afterwards I consider this Pork the best of the whole season. The rest of the team does not agree but it matters little: we bring home a nice first place for the TOY and an excellent score for the EBCC. Excellent result.
BARDO Q, Bardonecchia (IT)
1° in ranking (score 180,0000)
The Bardo Q is the second Italian stage of the season and as in any national contest that respects more than focusing on their preparation, teams focus on how to enjoy of every sort of good things on Saturday night at the competition field with friends. For the occasion, we and the Torino Ribs, our tent neighbors, organize to join forces. No offense for other teams but with the Torino Ribs since the time of our first IBC we we became attached particularly and on every occasion in which we are side by side we can create culinary devastation. It comes out a pizza party, beef ribs, gin tonic and bubbles from everywhere. It ends so that Saturday evening I exaggerate with the beef ribs, which I struggle to digest and the night I’m sick.
In this competition our Pork really makes us sweat: we pull it down at 11.30 in the morning, among other things aesthetically not very inviting compared to the standard but with a bit of trade we straighten it up. During the dismantling phase of the stuff, it start to circulate strange voices in the “paddock” that speak of high opinions on one of the Pork on judging but I do not let myself be influenced, I await with my usual anxiety the awards.
We arrive at the category calls, the positions begin to climb up to the first and we have not yet been called: either first or nothing. The speaker’s words flow very slowly: “first place … pork category … with a perfect score …. The Barktenders!!!”. The joy is really explosive: the first Italians to get this result in one of the four KCBS categories! Satisfied, extremely satisfied and proud.
In conclusion I think that having the Torino Ribs close and throwing up all night takes luck 🙂
BBQ BULLS CHAMPIONSHIP, Salzburg (AT)
6° in ranking (score 174,2628)
The Salzburg competition cause of some family commitments was one of the two of this season in which I could not be present. However, there was my 3 pages long checklist that the good Faustino has followed inside out (eh yes, the preparation of Cecca is extremely effective but equally complex and following it in the right way but especially in the right time, is not just a rose water – Boss’s note). We consider the sixth place a good goal: by changing the addends the result does not change. Let’s go on like this.
BREW’N’Q INVITATIONAL, Burton Upon Trent (GB)
4°posto (score 172,0000)
Due to some logistical delay, we arrive at the competition field with a somewhat late schedule: Boston Butt to be collected, gazebos and various equipment to assemble. We are busy, as usual in a moment everything is ready but we are a bit ‘late on time and being me a maniacal methodic, I try to recover the lost time trimming and injecting as quickly as possible. Result: I forget an entire step. Let’s come to term with it and in the end, even here it’s gone fine, even if with a score slightly lower than the seasonal average.
BREW’N’Q OPEN, Burton Upon Trent (GB)
1°posto (score 174,8572)
Let’s move on to the open part of the event. The teams of the day before are added to other teams that only sign up for this competition for a total of 34 teams overall: it is no longer an Invitational but the level is certainly not lower, indeed!
This time was a bit difficult for me for personal reasons. No one was hurt but I have little desire to stop to tell the competition by itself, I have experienced it badly and I do not have a good memory of it. Trying to be professional I focus on important moments and even here we can say that it went well: the first place is one of the few positive notes of the day. In the end and with the benefit of hindsight, I am happy that the changes and the different conditions of the preparation seems to don’t effect on the results.
PRIME UVE INVITATIONAL, Gaiarine (IT)
3°posto (score 174,2628)
Personally this is the event that among all amuses me the most to tell about. Prime Uve is not A competition, it is THE competition. I waited for the Prime Uve since the time the invitation came, about 6 months earlier. And I FEEL IT, I feel it a lot and this worries me because when it is so, I inevitably cause some crap.
The Maschio put together a really fantastic event, in every corner there is the best of the best: those who grill profusely, those who produces sublime pizzas, those who mix cocktails with a truly incredible mastery. In short, for a fan it is paradise!
It happens, however, that under conditions of strong pressure come out two flaws of my character: being sometimes clumsy and being against waste (the good Faustino would call me “short arm” but it is not so). It’s afternoon and it’s time to inject the Boston butt by Federico Dal Lago (our sponsor and friend). Being heavy like crazy, I placed a little ‘violently on an unstable table and, thanks to the injection container higher than it is wide, the disaster materialized: the injections fall hopelessly over the asphalt! I have to inject two Boston Butt and I have half of the conventional dose for one left. Disaster! Among other things at that moment I do not even have my friend Mattia who visits me sometimes at the competition, including the Prime Uve, otherwise I could have get annoyed with him 🙂
I recover from the blow: team briefing on what to do and we put together a strategy to try to optimize the little bit of injection left. In some way we did. Do you believe it’s over here? No. The second crap happens at night while I’m crouched inside my warm sleeping bag. I have the Guru’s batteries (an instrument that is used to keep the smoker’s temperature stable, ed) at 70%. Any normal person would change them before an overnight stay but not me, because I do not like waste (ok Fausto, I’m a short arm) and I reused used ones. In the morning at 4.00 am at the change of the turn, to the question “how is it, all right?” I got a bucket of insults! “We found your smoker at 60°! We had to look for the batteries to change them, we did not find them and …”. All the other can not be repeated. Yes, in short, the smoker ran a couple of hours under any temperature that can be considered cooking.
Despite these two “small” hitches, we get incredibly a good Pork and at the calls we get a third place among the best 18 teams in Europe of 2016 and considering how it went is not bad at all!
BLACK FOREST, Bad Bellingen (GE)
6°posto (score 174,8456)
At the Black Forest 2016 for the first time we obtained a first place in the Pork category with a stratospheric 179.44. We arrive in Germany with a different goal: after the West we worked all season for overall, aiming to consistently exceed 170 points, the minimum score in our opinion to get a good overall score. Not here, I want to win! We are at the home of Michael Koepf of the Dragon bbq with whom a nice friendship was born and we often joke about our Pork (think that at Prime Uve we have made the same score) and I would really like to receive the prize from him. The idea would have been that but there are other 39 teams that do not agree. Bed Bellingen is a beautiful spa location that allows you to take a hot bath after the competition, perfect for relaxing the muscles before returning home and being able to keep your eyes open.
I think we finally pulled out a good Pork, with a good placement but honestly this time I wanted to win. Instead, the Smoke’n Fire were placed first, repeating our same score of 179.44 of the previous year and using the same Pork by Dal Lago that we transported for them from Italy to Germany. Next time I’ll punch the bag! 😀
SLOVENIA BBQ OPEN, lago Zbilje (SL)
3°posto (score 173,1544)
The event is in another beautiful location, along a river, next to a small restaurant where you can refresh yourself with a simple but well-made cooking. Among the ranks of the Barktenders we have Daniele, Marco’s henchman in the courses he holds in the Garden he works for: a pleasant novelty, he gives a big hand and is really well skilled. In retrospect I have to admit I was on the cutting edge for the whole weekend: I feel a lot of the competition and this was an unprecedented occasion, in which we faced it for the first time with only two members of the historic core: I was electric.
Despite this, in the specific preparation of the Pork, the competition flies away quite well: we get a good third place. To be noted a great performance by the Brig Boys who get a perfect score in the category, the second in this season for an Italian team as well as of course we all know, the Grand Champion! Compliments!
TÀLLYA MASTER SERIES, Tàllya (H)
12°posto (score 167,4628)
Do you remember the beginning of the post? 24 competition out of 26, first in the Pork category in Europe? Now, here we are exactly at the story of the 26th. Last day and last battle to decree the winner of the war. And I? On that occasion my heart takes me to another place to conquer something else and I decide not to participate in the final.
The dispute is between the Barktenders, first of few points and Richard Wagers of IQ, great American Pit Master who lives in Holland. And here I think comes out the champion that there is in a person who competes in any discipline: Richard probably had not even planned to attend this competition, but given the rankings (he pointed to the Overall rather than that Pork) decides to participate. You understand that going down from Holland and heading to Hungary is certainly not a trivial matter, but he decided to do it, champion attitude, he tried! And I pursued other goals instead. Of course, tomorrow I would decide to do the same thing, but I like to emphasize his attitude, the one of a pure champion!
We keep in touch constantly with my mates and the news that arrive about the quality of cooking are not entirely comforting (as mentioned, Cecca’s procedure is not exactly among the easiest to follow. During the night shift, the Pork decides to anticipate times a little and overlaps with other critical steps of other categories, which we have been given guilty priority. If I could go back, I would probably decide otherwise. Unfortunately, has been lost only a half hour but in that phase has significantly changed the final result – note by Boss), however hope is always the’ last to die and I am very pleased when I hear them tell about how they are living the extra side of competition and they seem to have a lot of fun.
The award ceremony hour is approaching while I am driving back from the airport. I open the facebook direct live of Carlo (Alvaro), I connect via bluetooth to the car’s speakers, place in full concentration and they start the pork calls: no call for the Barktenders and nothing even for IQ up to second place, only the first is missing: or we or he or everything remains as it is. I support hands and head on the steering wheel and as a punch to the heart comes the call for IQ. First place blown to the last race. The champion attitude won. Congratulations!
Writing the conclusions now, after having told about the Tàllya defeat is a bit difficult: I wanted a lot and there is a lot of blues, but you know this is the world of competitions.
I want to make a game before closing: in the American TOY (the world ranking where the best 10 competitions of each team are counted) we finished 123th despite having attended only 8 competitions valid for the standings. If we add the two Invitationals (invitational competitions scores are not counted for the rankings) to get 10 competitions counted, we get 419 points more (a 4th and a 3rd place) that shoot us at the 41st place in the world rankings on 2940 team and 1° in Europe! Of course it is only a game, be clear. But you can understand our satisfaction for a season that we can only consider as fantastic.
Who would have ever said to achieve so great results at only the second year of competition? I have to thank Marco so much, cause he immediately directed me to the right path and if I had listened to him from the beginning perhaps I would have been there even before and the good Fausto who, for brilliance, sympathy and availability, is the number one.
Thanks guys, Pork is the Barktenders Pork!