Steve the Houston livestock show is the venue for all round Texas food cookoffs. It's ginormous! The rigs that show up there are truly amazing and food category champions are selected. Best ribs, chili, brisket, sausage, chicken etc. My sons team won the best ribs category a number of years back. The weeklong event was held in the Astrodome parking lot in conjunction with the rodeo and livestock show and auction each year. I'd like to say his ribs were my secret recipe, but it wasn't and the California cookoff Chili recipe mentioned in a previous post wasn't mine either, but I'm sad to say I'm the last remaining team member so I inherited the secret through force reduction, which is strange....I worked for an auctioneer who had lived in Huston Texas for 20 years. He had a bar and he hired a chap with a smoker on Friday and Saturday night to add to the draw for the bar. Jack said he was really good and well known. After a few weeks Jack would go out to where the smoker was and the fella would show him tips and trick that he's learned over the years.
A couple of years later he wanted to retire and he offered Jack the smoker and he said he'd stay around for a while to make sure there was a smooth change of owners. Jack bought it and as he said what do you do when you own a smoker, you go to competitions to see how good you are.
He won a lot of them and the original owner of the smoker heard he was doing well and called him up and said Jack was ready for the next step and to stop over at his house. Jack got there and they went out to a barn, pulled tarps off a house trailer frame and there was a BBQ Smoker deluxe.
It had three propane tanks converted to smokers on it. The type of propane tanks that you would see behind peoples houses. A huge wood rack on the front and a 250 or 300 gallon propane cut in half that served for cooking beans and chili. The original owner had used it for years at all the top cook offs in Texas and gave it to Jack.
I only saw the photos but it was impressive. Jack had a wall covered in trophy's. He was still BBQing when I moved away 13 years ago and he had a large following but only cooked for weddings and special events.
Jack said the best advise the old owner gave him was to make sure you deliver the samples you were taking to the judges to be tested were in pre warmed coolers. It seems by the time they have gone through dozens and dozens of samples that had cooled off they smiled on the people who were thoughtful enough to make sure the samples were hot.
Your employer got bit by the cookoff bug in a big way & much of that is due to the social aspect mixed with testosterone and beer.
We got started on brewing and social distancing due to covid. We need socializing to function well long term as humans. Keeping in touch electronically is an excellent strategy while isolating, but long term we need direct social contact even with the increased risk that presents. I wear a mask and keep spacing but take time to visit with others in public which helps, but if you are a caretaker like Pete and Tom, perhaps others or are at high risk yourself I'd err on the side of both reason and caution for as long as it takes!