The first of our travels in our attemp to cook a BBQ competition in every state of America took us to California in Easter 2012.
This was to be our first meeting with our, ‘soon to become very good friends’, Benny and Shari Adauto of Funtime BBQ Whittier CA. Benny was a former assistant cook (right hand man) to Harry Soo of Slap Yo Daddy BBQ. Whilst on the team Slap Yo Daddy acheived many Grand Championships so we were honoured to be helped out by such a class cook in his own right. We contacted Benny through the California BBQ Association website, asking for help with the possible loan of equipment. Benny offered to give up the chance of competing that weekend and lend us his entire set up and even drive it to the competition ground and spend the weekend with us and his other BBQ family in California. That is what BBQ is all about! Not only that but he even took us on a few sight seeing excursions too.
After a few days in Los Angeles it was down to the ‘serious business’ of our first ever U.S. competition. The competition itself was being held in Wildomar CA and titled ‘The Ultimate BBQ Showdown East vs West’. I think we were the furthest team from the East anyway! En route to our next hotel, a short drive outside Wildomar, we met up with Benny and Shari again to do the competition meat shop. We had also persuaded Benny to take us to see a real live storage auction as we are both big fans of the U.S. show ‘Storage Wars’. Benny found us a storage auction in the city of Industry and off we went. As we turned into the parking lot we started to notice a few ‘familiar’ faces. We had accidently stumbled on a filming of an episode of ‘Storage Wars’. What a fantastic experience, we got to be part of the show and met all of the stars aswell. When the show aired I was featured in glimpses after trying all day to be on TV and Lyndsey was constantly on the show after trying to avoid appearing! Must be a reason for that!
Anyone that has ever prepped for a competition in a hotel room will tell you it isn’t the easiest task in the world but by 3 a.m. of the night before the competition it was done. We were keen to get to the competition sight and were one of the first teams to arrive and greeted by Henry Silvestre, one of the nicest guys in BBQ and also the organiser. Henry assigned us our space based on whether we wanted ‘quiet’ or ‘party people’ nearby. We went for somewhere inbetween and shortly after Benny and Shari arrived and we got set up. It was a fantastic experience and a great contest with 41 teams competing for the state championship. Some very good teams with excellent cooks such as Sylvie the ‘Lady of Q’ Dave Malone from ‘All Sauced Up’ Matt Dalton of ‘Left Coast Q’ and Sterling Ball of Big Poppa’s and Master of Disaster, to name a few. We cooked exactly the way we would for a U.K. competition and felt everything had gone ok but at the awards we never expected to win anything, so when Henry called us for 4th in Brisket we were astounded and the applause was amazing. Henry then announced he had made a mistake and he should have called Piggy D’s. Amidst the boo’s for Henry’s mistake he did say there was method in his madness and then announced 3rd and then 2nd in Brisket …..Miss Piggy’s! More rapturous applause and we were picking up our fantastic award for the second best brisket amongst these phenomenal cooks and teams(first place Brisket went to Big Poppa’s who went on to win the American Royal Invitational)! A moment we will never forget.It was also fantastic to be present to see Left coast q’s first ever GC after ‘knocking on the door’ for so long. They went on to be crowned California BBQA Team of the Year. Miss Piggy’s finished a very respectable 14th overall(joint 13th but lost a coin toss). Full KCBS results here http://www.kcbs.us/event/3217/the-ultimate-bbq-showdown-east-vs-west-iii We said our goodbyes to all of our new friends and headed further south, to San Diego, for the final week of our stay. We visited ‘Old town’ and the famous Zoo. We also managed a trip to the Mexican border but Miss Piggy managed to talk me out of a visit to Tijuana. Maybe next time. We managed to take in to shows aswell. Squeeze in downtown San Diego and our favourite band Zac Brown Band live at Chula Vista, just outside of SD. We had an amazing trip and met many new friends who we have met up with since. More additions to the great big BBQ family.