Hey everyone.  Been awhile since I posted.  We are after all in the throws of the middle of BBQ season.  But contests aren’t all KCBS events.  I decided to throw my hat into a local rib burn this coming weekend.  I’ve heard bad things about this contest, about the judging, and its living up to that label.  I’ve tried calling, emailing and smoke signaling the coordinator to ask some questions, but have heard nothing back.  So, I’ll just wing it on Sunday, do my best and see what shakes out.  Anyway, this one is all about fun.  No need to get all uptight over it.

One interesting facet to this one is it has an “ambiance” factor to your cooksite.  A couple judges walk by and check out your “ambiance”.  At first I thought what does ambiance have to do w/ BBQ?  I’ve seen party themes there, palm trees, flamingos, make shift cabins etc.  I can’t do any of that. 

So I looked beyond the visual aspect of ambiance. I decided to try to capture the total sensory aspect of ambiance.  After all, there’s a lot more to BBQ than just the visual stimulus.  It’s the sight of ribs and cookers, it’s the smell of smoke, it’s the audible tones of John Lee Hooker, it’s the texture of the tables.  So I’m trying the simple, a red checked table cloth, a board w/ some ribs on it, some cool tunes playing in the background, the smoker kicking out some smoke, and a little soliloquy about our passion. 

Here are some thoughts to how that diatribe might go.  I’m not trying to memorize it, just convey some points.  I’ve rehearsed in my head, but just like a cook gone awry, the best tends to come out when you improvise a bit.  I tested it on my oldest daughter tonight and she laughed at first, then her eyes started lighting up, and she finally giggled and said “Daddy, you sound like a preacher”.  Don’t know if that’s what I’m going for, but at least the passion came through.  Take a read, let me know what you think. 

Good afternoon my friends, and welcome to Joey Mac’s Smoke Stax cooksite for the annual Last Fling rib contest. 

I was a little troubled when I first learned that there was an ambiance factor to the contest, but after a little thought, I realized that this could be lots of fun.  What better vehicle to share with others my passion, my passion for the all American Cuisine of BBQ.

Come on in.  I chose not to create a party, or rustic scene, or a flying pig scene for you today.  No, rather I chose to bring a little piece of true authentic BBQ to our wonderful town of Naperville.  Something reminiscent of BBQ joint in Memphis, or Alabama, or deep in the heart of Texas.  A table, a checkerboard table cloth, some condiments, and a simple roll of paper towels, oh yeah and some ribs. 

I want to focus on the passion of BBQ.  All of us cooks here today have it, or we wouldn’t be here.  But there’s more to a BBQ passion than hoping to win a trophy.  Its deep rooted in our understanding of Americana.  And above all, BBQ is simple.  Simple meats, simple cooking fuels, simple flavors, all melding to form a little piece of heaven, but only after a caring, or daring, cook decides to mentor the meat, guide it to its final destination. 

We have to start with what is BBQ?  It ain’t boiling, that’s pork soup, it ain’t about sauce, it ain’t really about the meat.  No BBQ is a passion.  A deep rooted passion about taming an inferno, coaxing out the tenderness of seemingly impossible piece of meat to cook, about dusting meat with a mélange of spices, delicately coating these morsels with just the right liquid.  This passion culminates on the tongues of those who dare to trust the passion of a cook.  A culmination of eyes rolling, of lips smacking, of tastebuds popping, and a consensus that this is good eats. 

And by stopping by Joey Mac’s site, you have entered the lair of true BBQ passion.  I love this stuff.  I love eating it, I love cooking it, but above and beyond everything, I love sharing my passion for BBQ.  I love sharing everything about BBQ.  But most importantly, I love sharing my food with others, it the best way I know how to share my passion. 

We’ve taken our passion out on the road, done a few contests, and we’ve even pleased a judge or two along the way and have been blessed with winning some nice hardware.  I’ve brought that along to share with you too.  But in the end they are just trophies and ribbons, they don’t reflect what BBQ is really about.  They don’t reflect the fact that it is about sharing, sharing food and drink with family and friends, backyard gatherings, or feeding some folks who may be having a hard go of it.  Now that’s why I cook BBQ, to share. 

In a little while, I’ll share some of my passion filled ribs with judges, and I can assure you that there is no one around who will pour more passion into every rib on that judge’s plate.  The ribs you get won’t be Carson’s, or Famous Dave’s or Smoky Bones, they won’t be boiled, but the will have passion.  They’ll be kissed by the smoky angels who see to it that all those who pour their passion into their BBQ, will be granted a little piece of heaven.

Thank you gentleman, and in parting I’ll leave you with one final thought, we all have our passions.  Some try to steer that passion, but some of us, just some of us have the courage to let that passion guide us, and mine had guided me to share my BBQ, my passion with you today.  As you step away from this makeshift shrine to my passion, my BBQ, I hope you will never view BBQ in the same manner.  Thank you again for listening to Joey Mac, he appreciates it!