Disclaimer: This was my first visit to a BBQ competition.
After paying the $5 door charge, the first thing we noticed was that all of the competitors seemed to be ALMOST selling Q. That is, we saw menus, price signs and plates, but no meat. LESSON 1: If you want to buy pulled pork from the competitors, BE THERE ON PULLED PORK DAY. Our bad - we were busy on Saturday. The result was a single line at the "official BBQ vendor," which was as depressingly long as a beer line at Fenway Park.
We were nearly heartbroken, the one ray of hope a stray chicken wing offered by a team we chatted up. We decided to stick it out, and stopped by "BBQ University" for sessions on ribs and pulled pork. The "lecturers" were from Slow Pokes BBQ, a caterer based in Concord, Mass. The sessions were pretty informative and they answered every question. Bonus prize for patience: free samples of ribs and shoulder! The ribs were smokier than most I've had in and around Boston (though I haven't had that many), no sauce but not too dry. The pulled pork was superb: smoky, moist and piggy. The vinegar based sauce had some hot sauce as well as some maple syrup ("New England North Carolina", I guess), and the folks were kind enough to let me pick the sample chunks with the skin on 'em.
Anyway, it was good fun, though if I ever go to one of these again, I'll be sure to go on BBQ day.
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