Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Year of the Great Spork Shortage!

The Stuffed Buffalo Q Fest 2015 Review


Me and Carter winning Judge's Choice!
Well, another Q Fest has come and gone, and it has taken me a couple months to finally recover and get some thoughts together about the event. If you know me well enough, you know that this past summer was an especially difficult one for me and my family, and planning for the Q Fest was very much at the back of my mind most of the time. For that reason, I am going to start this post right up front with all the thank you's that are just way overdue. So many people helped to keep this event on track and I am truly grateful for such a fine group of friends!

Johnny "the punk" Soos
John Soos, you really are one selfless son-of-a-bitch and we are so lucky to have you and Ellen as our neighbors. Thank you for everything: the large tent, pub tables, chairs, set up (twice!), tear down...shit, this event should be re-named in your honor. (Should be, but it's not!)

Me, Frank and Carol from 2013.
If I have such a thing as barbecue mentors, Carol and Frank Tutzauer (Doghouse Willie BBQ) are it. They have graciously helped me along with sharing their smoking secrets and gave me my first taste (literally) of real KCBS competition barbecue. Thank you so much for all the support and for being our resident judges again at this year's fest!

The Hearty Boys!
The Hearty Boys, Don Boyer, Dave Machan and Otis Vincent, really came through with a couple sets of great music for us this year! I had never seen or heard Don and the boys before, but I trusted him when he said they could deliver, and they did. Thank you so much for the wonderful entertainment guys!

People's Choice Dragon Breath BBQ
Thank you Melissa and Mike for once again tallying all the People's Choice voting. Thank you Emily for being our Judge's Choice coordinator for the day. Thank you Jake for spending the day with us and filling in as our third judge. Thank you Michele for being our official, unofficial photographer for the event. Thank you Maria and Steve for donating the much needed wine at the bar, and Mary and Danny for their yearly donation of a gift basket. Thank you Lexi and Rachael for tending bar and keeping the drinks flowing, and well, for the outfits. Paul Masters for being our resident cookie judge (did you enjoy your damn milk this year?) and for his generosity. But most of all, thank you to my beautiful wife Jill, Cody, Dustin, Carter and Lily for all the work you did and patience you had with me!

Hoggies Bryan and Damen
Okay, so despite the weather giving us a scare and demolishing the large tent and two smaller tents the night before the event, we had another great afternoon! Highlights for me: We had three new teams competing this year and despite not placing with an award, they all had great entries for their first time out. I hope they had fun and made some new friends (that's what it's all about folks!) and will come back next year for another go at it! We raised the most money ever at this year's event for the volunteers at Pets Alive WNY so they can continue their amazing work! Laura almost cut off her finger, but that's not really a highlight I guess. Mike came to the rescue! No one complained about the cheap, shitty keg beer so you will all be rewarded with more of the same next year.

Wasze imiÄ™ jest teraz Stashu!
As winners of the very first Q Fest in 2011, Gary Jankowski of Polska Brothers fame was given the high honor this year of finally bestowing a name to the original stuffed buffalo that we use as the official Q Fest mascot. Gary came through with a name to not only reflect his team's winning tradition, but more importantly to also to pay respect to his father: Stashu! Well done Gary!

Dustin rockin' his first time.
 And no, we didn't run out of sporks! There was a whole bag of them on the teams' supply table and no one bothered to look. Duh!

Polska Brothers make a comeback.
Congratulations to this year's winners! Once again, top People's Choice prize went to the cooking powerhouse of House Targaryen Dragon Breath Barbecue with their stuffed pork loin, with the Polska Brothers making a winning return in second place, and Johnny and the Punks placing third for their first ever finish. I know first hand that these three teams probably spent the most time planning, preparing and practicing their dishes before competition, so future competitors be warned: the level of competition is slowly creeping up each year and the teams who seem to put the most into planning and practicing do really well!

Cale and Downtown take Honorable Mention
Now, I'm not gonna brag about winning the Judge's Choice competition this year, but Carter and I whooped all your asses to take the top prize with our chopped beef brisket! We felt really good about what we served and were ecstatic to hear our names called! I couldn't be happier to have shared the Judge's Choice winnings with Cale and Downtown who took the judge's honorable mention, and John Soos for best side dish. You guys have put in a few years of great efforts and it finally paid off!

Jill's cookie contest was another smash hit again this year! Congrats to Danielle Weber, Lily and her friend Kyle who all seem to be making a habit out of winning this contest each year.Jill was afraid that we wouldn't have enough entries this year, but as usual, everyone came through and there was plenty left over for the extremely popular Q Fest dessert table to share.

Danielle, Lily and Kyle with another year of winning treats!
So, another Q Fest has come and gone, and with this blog post I am officially putting it behind me. I hope that all of you had a great time and are looking forward to next year's event. I think we have created something unique and groovy, and I thank you all so much for your support and being on this journey with us!

John, The Stuffed Buffalo





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