This past weekend was Dripping Spring's Founders Day Festival; a 3 day event complete with a parade, carnival, live music, tons of local vendors to shop from and BBQ cookoff right in the heart of town. Last year we had applied to be part of the cookoff but we never got a spot. We applied again and this year and were finally won a space!
We packed and shopped and prepped as much as we could early in the week and drove our gigantic rig out at noon on Friday to begin set up. It really is amazing to see the process of all the teams setting up on a small street in such a short amount of time. Louis built two bar sections to put in front of the pit area, we put some bar stools up and we started unpacking and organizing immediately.
After settling in, we started to chat with the teams on either side of us. Both of them had twice the space that we did and had been competing int his cookoff for 15 and 18 years. Also, each team had matching uniforms and at least 12 people (if not more) in their crew working the whole time. It was definitely intimidating to be sandwiched in between these two, but luckily one of the teams was super friendly, partied the whole time, was serving us drinks and gave me the nickname "NOLA girl"
Before we knew it, the parade was starting and friends were coming by to see the set up and say hi! The first entries to turn in were due at 7:30 for the Margarita round. I made 2 entries; a Pineapple Habanero Margarita with a Sweet and Spicy Sugar Rim (recipe at the bottom) and a Mango Serrano Margarita with a Smoked Salt Rim
After turn in we were able to relax and hang out with friends. It was a blast, but by 11 I was exhausted so we headed home to be ready for the next day
Louis got back to our spot at 4 am on Saturday to begin the brisket and I met him later with the kids at 6 am. We knew Saturday would be the busiest day for us with Chicken, Ribs and Brisket due at different times of the day. All meat had to be served off the bone (even the ribs) which I thought was strange, but our ribs and chicken came out great!
Turn in time is always stressful!
Luckily, we had awesome friends taking pictures all weekend for us since we were too busy to do it ourselves. Thanks again DJ!!
Although the brisket had a great smoke ring and was seasoned perfectly, it stalled way too long for us to recover from, so it wasn't as tender as we would have liked.
Our other awesome neighbors gave us a huge batch of Smoked Venison Sausage and Cheese and Jalapeno Venison Sausage. We grilled batches of it all weekend long and set it out as samples. Brianna really loved helping with that part. Thanks again Derrick and Amber!
Apparently I make a ton of faces while cooking....
Ahhh the life of a competition kid
Gotta get a funnel cake at least once!
Sunday morning started bright and early again, this time for Chili and Salsa turn-ins. Me, my mom, Louis and a few friends judged the salsa round which was fun. We tasted and judged 16 salsas. Most of them were good, but some of them were pretty awful
After judging we started on Bloody Marys to share, and the chili
In the end, we made final table for our chicken and ribs and placed 7th overall out of 120 entries for ribs! For our first time, competing against teams that have been doing this for almost 20 years, I guess we didn't do too badly.
I'm sunburned, hoarse and everything we had out there smells like smoke now, but I learned a lot through the process and look forward to doing even better next year!
Pineapple Habanero Margarita with a Sweet and Spicy Sugar Rim
2 cups silver tequila
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/4 - 1/2 habanero pepper
1 Tablespoon tajin seasoning
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
In a high powered blender puree the tequila, pineapple chunks and depending on how spicy you want it, use 1/4 to 1/2 of the pepper habanero pepper. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Combine the tajin seasoning and sugar in a shallow dish. Dampen the rim of your glass with some of the strained tequila and dip into the sugar mixture.
2 cups strained infused tequila
1/4 cup agave
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup passion fruit juice
In a pitcher stir together the tequila, agave, lime juice and passion fruit juice. Fill the rimmed glasses with ice and margarita mixture. Serve immediately.