I know that in some context I say this every year and I have since this whole crazy odyssey began, but NEXT year we are definately going to spend some time on the competition trail! You see, back when this all began it was in our home kitchen brewing up a BBQ sauce. Not just ANY sauce mind you, but “Hoover’s” sauce! It was my goal to develop a primarily vinegar based ‘red’ sauce (just like most folks in North Carolina prefer) that could actually win a comptetition. You see, back then and to a significant degree still today, vinegar doesn’t win competitions. It seems that the majority of judges prefer some thick, sweet smokey sauce…at least that’s MY impression.
With that in mind I made batch after batch of sauces to try and strike just the right balance between the two. In fact, I made so many batches that good friends began to cry “Uncle”, reminding me that they already had several bottles of my sauce. I wasn’t deterred by their pleas for mercy and kept loading them up! Finally after nearly 5 years, ‘Hoover’s Southern Fusion’ sauce was born. With a touch of Kansas City, a smidgeon of Memphis and a whole lot of those North Carolina roots it was still a discernably vinegary sauce, but I thought it just might have a chance!
With the sauce complete, I embarked on learning the fine art of choosing the right meats and tending the Pit. It was a steep learning curve and I had LOTS of help from others who were involved in KCBS competitions on a regular basis. While it didn’t take as long as I thought to become proficient at the Pit, I’ll steal an analogy from my golfer friends and say that learning to swing and send the ball in the general direction you want it to go is one thing, building the perfect swing is another thing entirely! So, I continue to work on my techniques to this day and have had a lot of fun doing it!
While friends kind of complained about the bottle upon bottle of sauce that they had piling up in their kitchen cabinets, I never have heard any complaints about the ziplock bags of Pulled Pork, Brisket or Chicken! Alas, it was all that handing out freshly smoked meat that led to the beginning of the catering business. Ever since then, it’s been cater, competition, cater, cater and more catering! I am certainly not complaining, I love to meet new folks and even better to find new fans of Hoover’s sauce! BUT, this whole thing started out as a way to win in a competition using a non-traditionally favorite sauce of the judges!
We’ve had a blast year after year at Pork-In-the-Park in Salisbury, MD and then moved on to our busiest season for delivering GreatQ to parties, weddings, family gatherings, events and even a Hoe-Down (not sure how to spell that)! However, I would like to spend some more time on the competition circuit and next year we are going to do just that! Finally I am coming to the point of this ramble…if you are interested in being on the GreatQ4U! BBQ Team, we’d LOVE to hear from you. I would request that you join (if you’re not already a member) either the Kansas City BBQ Society (www.kcbs.us) or the National BBQ Association (www.nbbqa.org) before contacting me so you’re already on the way. Better yet, join BOTH…as well as your local BBQ Association too! Membership will bring with it a great deal of access to knowledge along with a support group of fellow BBQ enthusiasts!
Once you’re a member of the Associations, shoot me an e-mail (Jim@GreatQ4U.com) or call the office at 717-254-1937 and we’ll talk about your interest, your availability and we all have to offer each other! Hopefully this will lead to a more consistent presence at KCBS events across the country in 2010! I look forward to hearing from you and wish you happy “Q”! – jak