Come and learn to ‘Q’

Published 9:22 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

I don’t think it’s any secret that one of my hobbies is competitive barbequing. It’s something my wife and I enjoy and have done for the last two or three years.

About a month ago, I was approached by Dr. Haywood Mayton, who’s the wheels behind Demopolis-based competition team Doc’s Ribs, to help teach an introduction to barbeque class at the University of West Alabama.

My team, Loose Cannon BBQ, was thrilled and we jumped at the opportunity. The classes will take place Oct. 17-18 and Nov. 14-15 on the UWA campus, and will give participants the opportunity to learn about the rules, equipment, meat preparation and other aspects of competition cooking.

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If you’ve ever been to a competition, which I’m sure you’ve made your way to the Christmas on the River Cook-off, the sight of those giant smoker rigs can be overwhelming. Well, I’m here to tell you that having a smoker the size of a cement mixer is not a requirement to produce excellent barbeque.

During Loose Cannon’s first competition three years ago, all we had was a Brinkmann canister smoker.

You can find one of those at almost any store than sells charcoal and they only cost about $30. People who obviously spent several hundred, possibly thousands of dollars more on their equipment surrounded us. In that competition, we finished 12th out of 72.

Good barbeque isn’t about your equipment it’s about how you use it. Students in this class will prepare entries in each of the four competition categories, which include chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, while working alongside the professional teams. The barbecue will then be evaluated for taste, appearance and texture by Kansas City Barbeque Society certified judges.

Aside from Doc’s Ribs and Loose Cannon, Butt Masters and Eddie’s Smokehouse will also serve as instructors. I have competed against these guys several times and they bring a lot of experience in producing good barbeque.

A $75 registration fee covers both weekends of barbecuing, including meals and all competition supplies.

The registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 13. And don’t worry about missing any Alabama or Auburn football games. The classes will end about noon on Saturday and the lessons you learn from these few days will make you the king or queen of your tailgate parties for years to come.

For more information, or to sign up for BBQ 101, please contact Monica Moore at 205-652-3497. I hope to see you there.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of the Demopolis Times.