The big leagues | Planet Ryan - Republic-Times | News

The big leagues | Planet Ryan

By on May 11, 2016 at 8:10 am

In my last column, I wrote about my love for smoked meats. Usually, I wouldn’t go back-to-back on the same subject, but I’m so excited about a recent development, I felt compelled to share it with you.

Let’s just say I’m so addicted to “low and slow” BBQ that I decided to kick my game up a few notches and jump into the competitive BBQ world. Luckily for us, we live in an area of the country where great BBQ doesn’t go unnoticed and the opportunity to show off one’s skills is presented just about every month in various cities.

After talking with my closest friends, who also have an appreciation for smoked meats, we decided to form our own team in order to show off our skills and get a humble butt-whooping by the experienced guys in the process.

We’re going into this to compete, but most of all, to learn and have fun. Some of the teams we’ll be up against in our first competition this summer are the best of the best in the Midwest. Some of them compete all over the nation and have the trophies and big prize money to show for it.

Being realistic, we understand we have a long way to go before we’re that cool, but in the meantime, we’ll be more than thrilled with a ribbon here and there. A trophy of our own would be icing on the cake.

The great thing about BBQ competitions, which I’ve attended in the past as a spectator, is that you have a group of good folks who love to produce amazing meat and have a good time doing it. From the networking I’ve done so far, the competitive BBQ guys and gals are top-notch people – always willing to help a rookie team get their foot in the door.

So, while they’ll be there with their big, fancy smoking rigs and trailers, we’ll be the eager, ambitious guys smoking meat under our modest 10-by-10 canopy tent with a couple of backyard smokers doing our best to deliver an award-winning presentation to the judges.

There’s still so much to learn and prepare for, but unlike other sports, you get to eat a lot in this one.

And I’m really good at that.

Our first competition will be at the Ballpark Village “Big Pig & Swig” on July 9. It’ll take place in the Ballpark Village parking lot in St. Louis. Alongside the competition, there will be a whiskey, cigar and craft beer festival, live music and a hot dog eating contest. Lots of cool stuff for the entire family to take part in.

Hopefully you’ll get a chance to stop by and give your hometown boys a shout. We’ll make sure all of our Republic-Times readers get all the delicious barbecued meat they can handle. Deal?

Wish us luck!

Ryan Ledendecker

Ryan is a biweekly columnist for the Republic-Times newspaper. When he's not working, he enjoys a good movie, bass fishing, and CrossFit.