I told you about the new smoker I picked up in Texas in my first blog, and how I brought it straight home to Iowa.
Here's what happened next.
We started practicing on the smoker. I started out cooking a pork butt, then it was ribs, then it was chicken and brisket. This was in 2002, and in 2003 we entered our first barbecue contest in Sedalia, Missouri.
We had our brand new smoker, our brand-new tents, our brand-new everything to this competition and that night it rained four inches.
Then it hailed.
The next morning, we had an 85 mph. downburst come through our site. It took my new tents and melted them to the firebox of the smoker.
Everything was in shambles.
We were up to our ankles in mud and I was soaked. It wasn't fun and I was ready to give up barbecuing. My wife convinced me to stick it out and turn in our meat, and we got two top-ten calls that day. I was hooked.
Click the video above to hear what Warth does with 2,500 lbs. of pork shoulder, 1,200 racks of ribs and 250 lbs. of pork loin every week.
When we started out, we decided that we would compete five or 10 times a year. But then it became 15, then it became 20, and this year we'd competed in 29 contests already by the first of October. It's just an obsession.
Barbecuing was a great release from my corporate job. Within six months of starting to compete, we won our first barbecue championship, so we were very successful for a young team. We won five or six championships and that first year, we were invited to the Jack Daniels World Championship and then again four years after that. I'll tell you more about the Jack Daniels competition and give you an update of how we're doing today in my next blogpost.