Book Excerpt: Startin’ the Fire

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An Excerpt From:

Startin’ the Fire

Everything you need to know about starting a competition BBQ team (except the recipes)
By George Hensler
Published by Rio Grande Books
Copyright 2010
100 Pages
ISBN 978-1-890689-14-8
Available on here

Chapter 1

Competitive cooking, is it a sport?

I finally found a competitive sport that I like. I tried my hand at golf, but never had much interest. Besides, it takes too long to play a round these days, what with all of the slow playing women on the course (just kidding girls.) My vertical leap is not quite good enough for the NBA, close, not off by much, and I got that age thing working against me. Bull riding is out. World Series of Poker costs too much just to buy in and I have trouble seeing the cards with sunglasses on. Nope, BBQ looks like a winner. Good friends, cold beer, beef, chicken, pork, and sauce. (All the major food groups covered.) Now there is a sport you can really sink your teeth into. Any sport where one of the first steps is to rub your meat is OK in my book. Vegetarians need not apply.

I know, I know, there are some who will say, competitive cooking, that’s not a sport. I used to get into these arguments with guys at work all the time. These same guys would say NASCAR, that’s just driving in a circle, no sport there. Then they would go home and watch golf, poker, billiards or competitive hot dog eating on ESPN. Correct me if I am wrong, but if competitive eating is shown on the nation’s premier sports channel, then it must be a sport. And if the eating is a sport, why can’t the cooking of those hot dogs or in this case BBQ be a sport? My dog-eared copy of Merriam-Webster’s says, sport: noun- /’sport/a source of diversion: recreation, physical activity engaged in for pleasure.

‘Nuff said, I think we have those requirements covered here.

It’s probably a good thing too, that BBQ is my sport. You have heard how “they” say he has the frame of a halfback, or, he has the hands of a quarterback, or, he has a body built for wrestling. I never quite heard anything of this sort when I was growing up. I will spare the gory details of the comments that were, and continue to be, hurled my way. One thing for certain, I have a body built for BBQ, there is not much dispute to this statement. A hot greasy smoker, surrounded by  friends and family, some good tunes, a couple of stains on my shirt, cold beer in my hand, all shrouded in a sweet smelling blue smoke, that’s what I am talking about! That’s what I call livin’. It really don’t get no better than this.

George Hensler, head cook and founder of the “Who Are Those Guys?” BBQ cook team from Street, Maryland, is a monthly columnist for both the Kansas City Barbeque Society Bullsheet and the National BBQ News. He is also a contributor to Smoke Signals. In the process of starting his own bbq competition team, he and his crew have received several honors for brisket, chicken, beef ribs and overall team competition.

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