We won 1st place in shoulder at Memphis in May. That sentence still feels crazy to say. You can read the tale of our first, very unsuccessful attempt in 2018 in a wonderful 2021 blog post written by HHP’s John Jordan Proctor, who is also the head cook of our BBQ team, Sweet Cheeks.
It’s a true Cinderella story from basically last place in 2018 to a 3rd place finish last year to take 1st this year. Normally self-deprecating to a fault, we do have to admit at this point that we know a thing or two about cooking pork. What’s so satisfying to us about excelling at this competition is that it’s historically the territory of commodity pork brands and BBQ celebrities with huge rigs, egos, and BBQ franchises or rub/ sauce/ smoker brands. Your favorite hog farmers from Como, MS have certainly shaken things up!
Of course most of the praise goes to the pork. Our pastured pork is just a whole other product from the commodity variety. Our shoulders are well marbled, dark red, covered in a luscious fat cap, and about twice the size of the pale, flaccid little guys we see on some other smokers. Of course they take close to 20 hours to finish, so the size doesn’t come without its disadvantages, but the judges have certainly been rewarding us for the grueling cook time. (Shout out to our buddy Nick Woolfolk and his team for getting 1st at Hogs for the Cause and 2nd at MIM with our whole hog!)
This year I took particular pride in the win. The week leading up to the contest we had some staff out and I had to resume my former role of running our harvest floor at our USDA plant. I also hand picked the shoulders from our butcher room a couple days after we harvested the hogs. I could say with confidence to the judges that we were the only team in the park who raised, harvested, butchered, and cooked the BBQ for them.
The remaining praise for the win goes to John Jordan, who is our BBQ guru and head cook- he’s developed the process, the rub, the injection, the mop sauce, the glaze, and the sauce. Years of brutal all-night cooks, meticulous notes, consulting other bbq experts, trial and error- its all coming to fruition now. He also pulls and prepares the “blind box” and handles the most important part of the on-site judging: pulling the shoulder for the judges. Needless to say, he outdid himself this year.
We are certainly riding high from the victory and working hard to make BBQ a staple of our Farm Store menu. We also are now offering packer briskets and competition shoulders as add-ons for our new subscription boxes. The new boxes are a fully customizable on a new, easy to use platform- you choose the products and how often you want them. In addition to the selection of cuts for your box, you also get access to cool add-on cuts like the competition shoulder, packer brisket, tri tips, picanha’s, all the fun delicious stuff for the grill and smoker enthusiast, straight outta Como, grass fed and pasture raised.
If you sign up by June 30th, you get 2 free lbs of ground beef with every order, for as long as you keep the subscription. If you read this whole thing, go ahead and reward yourself with a 15% discount code at checkout: BBQBLOG. Click here to go to the boxes.
Thanks friends- here’s to sharing delicious food and good times with you on the Home Place soon!