Monday, June 9, 2008

Maybe we should start again...

We just got back from the Big Apple Barbeque Block Party. In fact, the Ubon's trailer and crew are still in transit from the big city. Over the weekend my daddy and I were able to spend some time with Elizabeth Karmel ( She something of a celebrity in my world. I will admit to you that I was more than a little star struck. Elizabeth is a major champion for us Cue Chicks. At Elizabeth's suggestion I'm going to backtrack and tell you the story that I should have started this blog with: Why I am the Barbeque Princess.

When I was about 11 my dad decided to start the process of bottling and selling my grandfather, Ubon's, sauce. In 1989 Daddy, Mama and a few of their friends decided to cook in the backyard competition at the Cleveland, MS Octoberfest Contest. Daddy had a grill and a card table and cooked some wicked chicken. Who knew that plain ole barbeque chicken, delicious though it may be, was nothing close to what the judges were looking for. They didn't win a trophy but Daddy made friends and found a new love. Daddy and his friends invested in t-shirts (I mean it's official if there's a tshirt for it, right?) and they hit the road. The first few contests were a bust. In 1990 I was a senior in high-school and my daddy forced my sister and I to drive up to Octoberfest. We showed up on Saturday (show day is never ever the fun day) and we cut out as soon as we didn't make the finals. It was official, my parents were enjoying old people fun.

At some point that barbeque season we got a pass down for Memphis in May and the Friday before my graduation from high school mama and daddy made my sister, Jennifer, and I catch a ride to Memphis. Mama called us and told Jen and I to bring out mud boots. We balked because we’d agreed to wear the t-shirts with skirts. When we got to Tom Lee Park, we found a good 6 inches of mud. And lots of old people. Having fun.

Alright, alright, about 4 hours in and we were hooked. We were so hooked that my sister stopped being a vegetarian and started eating ribs. We were so hooked that the next fall if there was a contest, Jen and I were there.

In the fall of 1992 we headed to Possum Town Pig Fest in Columbus, MS. I had grown weary of doing gate duty. Jen and I were obviously BBQ Eye Candy. I was at a pretty decisive time in my life. My daddy has always been easily persuaded by his girls. I’ve been a master of manipulation for a long time. The best way to get my way with daddy was to convince him that putting me at the presentation table was his own idea. I may have even protested a little so he’d really think it was his idea. Daddy cooked some show ribs that you wouldn’t believe. I smiled, I flipped my hair, I flirted, I sold some damn good ribs. I used every skill I had as a southern woman. I got lucky that my daddy knew what he was doing when he cooked those ribs. When we got the notice that we’d made it to the finals my dad and I looked at each other and knew...we make one hell of a team. My research tells me that history was made that day. I was the first female to do a table presentations in the finals round and the first to win a State Championship/Grand Champion.

By 1993 I was tired of getting the look to my daddy to check facts. So I got my butt up and I learned. I started cooking the ribs myself. I watched my dad step gracefully back so that I could find my own place at the table. I’ve prepped and presented in 50 or more contests in the 16 years since my first start. I’ve changed recipes and methods. I think after all this time, I may have finally found the right combination that will help me continue getting into the finals. I’ve stepped far out on a limb and created my own sauce. I was always afraid of making too many changes. Daddy likes to “dance with the girl that brung you.” I think you should always dance with the better looking one.

We cooked in Pearl, MS back in April. An old family friend watched our finals presentations for hog, shoulder and ribs. When I began the presentation, I knew I had some beautiful ribs. I was full of energy, full of pride. My daddy stood right behind me in his traditional spot. My sister accidentally laughed too loudly when I described my rib rub as having ‘paprika, the sweet and smokey friend of the rib.” I was unfazed! On I went because I knew I had a winner.

My friend said later that she teared up because of how my daddy looked at me, at how proud he was of me, at how she could tell how pleased he was to have me smack up in his old people fun.

So I’m not so sure that I consider myself barbeque royalty so much as I consider myself my daddy’s Barbeque Princess.

For my new friend Elizabeth...a couple of sauces

Ubon's Comeback Sauce:

1 cup prepared mayo
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of hot sauce
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, minced (I would consider sauteing in butter until wilted, depending on personal prefrence)
salt, pepper, red pepper, lemon pepper to taste.

mix together, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so.

serve with fried pickles, sweet potato fries, as a salad dressing, or as a dipping sauce for chicken or sausage.

Ubon's Come Hither sauce

(My friends the Rosen boys, don't like mayo so this is for them:)

1/2 cup of yellow mustard
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of ketchup
2 tbsp hot sauce
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
minced onion optional

serve with chicken, on beef sandwiches, over cream cheese with crackers


Linda Hitt said...

why do we not have photos from NYC?

Gary House said...

Great story! Thank you for the share.