September 30th marked the end of the 2011 season so it stands to reason that October 1 was the start of the 2012 right? RIGHT!!
The first area Tolbert cook off was October 8th at the Cedar Hall Bar in Lockhart. We decided to go with me doing chili and Jon doing BBQ (status quo baby) ..except .....we weren't sure if there would be a BBQ competition due to the huge fires that trashed Bastrop and the current strict burn bans in our area. Finally, on the seventh, the organizers worked out a deal with the Caldwell county Fire Marshall and after following an extensive, several page list of rules, you could cook BBQ if you so desired.
We didn't. Jon decided to try his hand at chili (and beans) for the first time and I decided to experiment with my recipe a bit.
Yup we got poured on BUT we were lucky enough to be under cover of the Bar's patio so we stayed nice and dry for a change.
Dwight Hamilton (Central Texas Tolbert Chili Group god!) stopped by to say Hi. He asked me if I was going to Terlingua this year. Ummm No. Only got 6 points. Thanks for rubbing salt in the wounds sigh. He did mention that first in this competition is an automatic qualifier for 2012 Terlingua... Gotta love his optimism!
So we set out to cook and actually had a helper!
So we cooked. Jon was using my old stove so the fire went out every five minutes...pssstt.... thats why its my OLD stove. Jon was a fretting ...I was a chilling....good chili cooks itself... thats my story and I am sticking to it!
Beans turn in was at 1 and chili at 2 and don't ask me how but I ended up judging ribs at 3. Just a little taste... and a lick...nom nom nom.
After everything was turned in and while judging was still going on, I screwed up all my courage, poured some of my chili in a cup and marched all the way over to Dwight's camper. I told him I trust his opinion and to be brutally honest. And he was. Brutally. Honest. Ok maybe not so brutal..Dwight is a sweetie pie ...but he did tell me repeatedly TOO MUCH SALT. Ok got it.... too much salt. He thought I would still do well though.
Time for awards!
They announced the margaritas and the black eyed peas...then onto the beans......
Jon got ninth! of course there were only nine entries but hey... a trophy is a trophy!
They announced ribs and brisket and then finally onto the chili!
Dwight got eighth or ninth. The gal that just won the Tolbert Ladies State Championship on 10/1 got fourth. Jon and I were discussing the merits of salt reduction in both our recipes.
I was holding on to at least make final table.....
Dwight dragggggeeeddd out the announcements. Joking about first points of the season and who gets bragging rights for getting them.
Jon and I discussed the merits of better preparation.
Dwight got to to the winning ticket and felt compelled to announce every single stinking number.... he said it was too important not to....ummmm everyone has the same number except the last four digits and I am starving.
Jon and I discussed the merits of eating then sleeping.
Dwight got to the last two numbers.....5.......7....
Jon and I discussed the merits of... wait a minute.... Jon was jumping up and down screaming ( and I do mean screaming) F%^& Yeah! F%^& Yeah! F%^& Yeah!
I looked at my ticket... Hey wait! That's MY number??? I just won???? What just happened here??
I beat Dwight?
I beat the current Tolbert Ladies State Champion?
I freaking won?
I just qualified for Terlingua 2012?? In the first competition of the season?
As I made my way forward in disbelief, Dwight proclaimed into the mic "All that I just told you about too much salt? Forget it!"
Got a real nice trophy too!
Jon? No he didn't make final table but I don't think his story is over yet ;)
And now friends.... time to introduce a new tag line....