A couple weeks back I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw that my good friend Karl was tagged in a post from Luxe BBQ. His name had been chosen in a draw and his prize was a free entry into the Steak Cookoff Association (SCA) event happening in Morris, Manitoba as part of the Howl at the Moon Festival. I, of course, liked the post and shot him a quick congratulations in the comment section. Minutes later, my phone began to ring. It was Karl wondering if we could team up for the competition. Of course, I said “yes!”
So, after only one practice run where we, of course, declared ourselves as automatic winners with our beautiful sear lines, our great flavours and perfectly cooked steaks to medium doneness (don’t freak out, that is SCA regulations), we decided we were ready to compete.
It’s now game day. We meet at Karl’s to get the trailer loaded with the smoker, a pop-up canopy and all the accessories we felt we needed to compete. From there, we take off to make the hour long drive out to Morris. We rock out to some classic 90’s grunge to wake ourselves up and to get into the competitive spirit. When we arrive at 11am, we quickly unload, get everything set up, so that by noon we are ready to cook. The only issue…the competition doesn’t start until 4.
The good news is the late start time gave us a chance to walk around and check out some of the other competitors. The bad news is it gave us a chance to walk around and check out some of the other competitors. This is when Karl and I realized that we had truly entered the world of competitive BBQ.
This was the first year an SCA event took place in Manitoba. They partnered themselves up with the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) who hold a huge 2 day competition where BBQ teams come from all over and compete in categories such as chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. Of course, since many of the teams were here already and had their cooking set up ready to go, most of them decided to compete in the steak competition as well.
As intimidating as some of these set-ups were to see, truly the best part about the whole experience was how welcoming everyone was. Each team invited us to look around and told us to take pictures if we’d like. Many teams offered us a drink and a chance to sit down and talk. There was such a great sense of camaraderie. We had chicken wings and some homemade honey bourbon with one team, we in turn shared some of the smokies that we had brought for our lunch with them . Even when it came down to competing, everyone was willing to answer any questions that a couple of rookies had to help us out. One gentlemen helped us because, of all things, we forgot to bring a tray to put our steaks in when we picked them out at the selection process. He was kind enough to lend us an extra one that he had.
The time finally came to cook. Karl and I jumped into action and applied all of our calculated “science” to the steaks that we had selected. We had rubs, enhancers, and fancy butters. We were well equipped with digital thermometers, timers, and grill plates. We cooked both of our steaks to our liking and then picked the best one, placed it in the special container for the judges and with a little turn so that it looked its best we closed the lid and confidently turned our steak into the judges.
Well,we didn’t win. We finished 9th. We rocked it in appearance and doneness, but we have some work to do when it comes to taste and texture. Regardless of the result, the day for me was a total success. I got to hang out all day around the barbecue with my friend, we met a bunch of incredible people and best of all it has inspired Karl and I to enter the full KCBS competition next year and to see what we can do against these pros in all of the other categories. What an incredible day.
I hope you enjoyed this article today. Please leave a comment and let me know how you felt about it. If you are interested in learning more about who I am and would like to see photos and recipes of the meals I cook, please check out my social media links at the bottom of the page Enjoy!!