I just posted this on my blog and thought y'all might appreciate it.
A BBQ Cook's Paradox
This past weekend I had the privilege of cooking a brisket for a friend's
party. My philosophy about cooking, as corny as it sounds, is that each
meal is a gift on a plate. So, to me occasions like this are a cherished
thing. I always look forward to opportunities to share what I love with
family and friends.
On this particular occasion my friend from work, Beverly, asked me to cook
a brisket for her friend Winnie's birthday.
Herein lies the BBQ cook's paradox. Why is it that I can't cook in
competition the way I do in the comfort of my backyard? Why is it that, at
a competition, no matter how much I try to tell myself, "Just relax and do
what you do.", it rarely works? Why do I over-think things and change
what I do on-the-fly in the endless pursuit to please six judges?
This particular brisket cook followed the pattern of many more before it.
There was no pressure of a turn-in or judging, and it ended up being one of
the best briskets that I've ever cooked. It's bittersweet situation that, at
least for me, is much more sweet than bitter. Pleasing real folks with real
barbecue that is prepared with love and care is what it's really all about.
I thank Beverly for the opportunity to serve her guests, and I can tell you
that the outpouring of accolades from her friends, and especially the very
sweet e-mail that I received from the guest of honor, Winnie, are worth
much more to me than a trophy. And that's not because it made me feel
like some sort of brisket hero, but because it brought an extra measure of
joy to the occasion. I was humbled, happy, and proud to have had the