What a fantastic day for an outdoor barbeque competition - low 40s, wet, windy and really, really gray. This picture was on our way there before the rain really moved in!
It didn’t get any better throughout the day.
Today was the 4th Annual Diamond State Barbeque Championship Cookoff at Dover Downs in Dover, Delaware. As of this year, this is the largest BBQ competition on the East Coast, boasting 82 cooking teams today. (I say “as of this year” as there are two other contests in close competition as far as how many teams participate.) Sponsored and coordinated by the Dover Downs Casino, this is generally a fairly big one-day production of cookers, other food vendors, merchandise vendors, community displays, children’s activities and live entertainment. The rain pretty much wiped out all spectators so I’m sure they took a big hit on gate admissions.
This year, they set up a large enclosed tent in the infield for the judging. The wind and heavy rain beat against the sides of the tent the whole time and shook it quite a bit, but we stayed dry. Now, if only it had been heated!Our normal average temperature today should be 60°-64°. For the last three days, we’ve either tied or broken the low maximum high temperature records. That means the high temperature each day has never been lower on these dates. I’ve never worn a leather winter coat and gloves at a contest before and I was still cold!
The good news is, we had 82 cooking teams who braved the cold wet weather to set up camp Friday morning and cook all night to serve us up some fantastic food today. Whether they won prizes or trophies or cash, they deserve a great round of applause for simply surviving. My particular judging team had excellent samples in all categories in spite of the terrible cooking conditions. (It’s really hard to control temps in a slow cooker in this type of weather.)
We normally hang around these events after judging, enjoying the entertainment and other activities but, having turned into popsicles, we escaped into the casino for warmth, indoor plumbing and another form of entertainment. Perhaps our “donation” will offset the admission gate losses!
This contest wraps up our competition season here. We’ll be back to do it all over again in April. Till then, we hope to stay warm.
On our way up the road this a.m., I spotted this billboard by the Cecil County Marriage Initiative: “Just be nice. Duhhhh !” Great advice, isn’t it?