The Report of the Competition in Bardonecchia
It’s already been a year. They look like they’ve flown but it’s already been 12 months since the first edition of Bardo Q. Since the first italian Perfect Score by Cecca on Pork. From the first Reserve Grand Champion of the Bros Hog in their current shape. Of the first Grand Champion of Sticky Fingers. Of the first KCBS competition in the West Italy, more precisely in Bardonecchia in the splendid Val di Susa. Yes, the Bardo Q is the competition of the first times.
And the first time you are faced with the alpine crown that surrounds the competition field it is difficult not to be stunned in front of so much beauty but I have to say that the feeling was repeated overwhelmingly in this second edition. The residues of the abundant snowfalls of the incredible and very long winter of this year, together with a warm spring sun that, against every poor prediction, has burnt the necks of all the participants, have created a spectacular contrast, once again unique. Excellent friends’ streetfood has been introduced compared to last year Mad4BBQ and homemade draft beer in rivers. Also present the very welcome technical support of Barbecue Paradise, now very specialized in importing tools that otherwise we would find hard to find in Italy, naturally well exposed and illustrated by the present staff, with lots of food samples. What to ask for more?
Another nice novelty of the event organized by our friend Giorgio Violino was the presence of a competition that was part of the SCA circuit, where in addition to the inevitable Steak category was added the unpublished Chicken Wings. For those who do not know it, the SCA circuit was born as a cooking competition for steaks and has the characteristic of being simple, fast, undemanding both in terms of time and economic resources. If you remember, we had participated in the first Italian edition at WEST. On the steak we started late, we had some temperature problems and we did not really do a great job but on Chicken Wings we took a good third place at home.
About the main competition … well … what to say? We bring home three walks (4th Chicken, 3rd Ribs and 2nd Brisket) and a call (6th Pork), enough to guarantee the Reserve Grand Champion. Our congratulations to the talented Smoking Bad, Grand Champion of the day with a stratospheric score, of those that leave no room for any recriminations or regrets: that’s right. Congratulations guys, you’ve been great!
We just have to close as always, with the ranking of the 5 best memories that we bring home from Bardonecchia. If you have been following us for a while, you know that in this section we usually speak rather little of ourselves, preferring to tell you what we have seen, tasted, experienced and the place that has hosted us. Today we make an exception by selfishly dedicating the first two points to ourselves.
- We like Barbecue competitions. But we have never put the sporting side at the top of our priorities and we live competitions as opportunities to enjoy a unique atmosphere that can be created only between people who share a common passion before anything else. So I hope that nobody considers me a frustrated sportsman if I say that objectively we are not a particularly lucky team. In the 22 competitions of these just over two years we have collected something like 65 among call and walk (see section prizes for explanations about the criteria), an average of almost three per competition. We finished first at least once in all categories. We are one of the few teams in Italy and Europe to be able to say to have had a perfect category score. Yet the “overall victories” box continued to remain sadly empty. It looked like one of those football matches in which you attack for 90 minutes without scoring and you have the impression that you could stay there another 180 without the ball wanting to enter the net. Our fault, of course, in the competitive barbecue you won with the “consistency” (the ability to have a uniform performance as a team) that has never been our point of strength. That said, we had cases that are at the limits of the grotesque. I remind of France when we did a second, third, fourth and fifth place in the categories and then finish “only” third overall, or the Prime Uve with a first, third and eighth place to finish “only” eighths and several others. Yesterday we finally brought home an RGC of which we are very happy and proud. What is certain is that with a second, third, fourth and sixth place, it is quite a singular thing not to win and we have had to find a team capable of a two-first-place and one-second-place performance (who compete, know what this means, it’s almost impossible). But we are aware yet that we really have to sweat things and that the same sweat will separate us from a possible next success. For today we let the Bardo Q be once again the competition of the First Times, we raise the glasses and celebrate this RGC. Cheers Barktenders!
- Life is strange and the Barbecue probably manages to be stranger than life. Those who know us a little bit more know it already, while we confess it to the most recent friends. The catering activity started to finance the competitions, over time has gradually become something serious and this year we had to make a choice: the season of private barbecue-themed events overlaps completely with that of competitions. Attempting to do everything inevitably means to do both things badly and we saw it last season, where compared to the first we lost several positions in the end of the year ranking while on the other hand we gave up very interesting job offers. For 2018 as you have already understood, our decision was to give priority to the work and to fully dedicate the summer season to the catering business. So the Bardo Q was officially our last competition, at least for a few months. It’s curious sometimes to notice the strange designs of fate: we pursued a goal for two years and we succeed in the last date, as if it were a gift from an old friend, a memory of him left when he knows that you will not see each other again. Better than in a soap opera!
- Faustino is really a unique character. He’s one of those with a credit card always hot and a curious by nature, wants to try everything, to know, to see. A few days before the Bardo Q sends me the link to something called iKegger, which I did not know existed. It is basically a portable system for tapping beer or any other beverage. Connect a small tap to a special 5 l. Keg. (but there are also bigger or smaller), with a mini cartridge of Co2 and you’re done. Needless to say, I did not even have time to say “interesting!” that the courier was already calling on his door. Equally useless to say that it was brought back to Bardonecchia, where together with our friends Torino Ribs we decided to feed it with Gin Tonic. It turned out to be a real discovery: very easy to move, to be put in the fridge to cool, to put on the table and serve. A never again without.
- For those who do not know, a few days ago it was my birthday. In the evening of Saturday with my big surprise I received a cake from the Burnt Bros, a new and very nice team that has appeared for the first time on the competitive circuit just in this Bardo Q. As Matteo Pesce repeated to me, the gift was also by the rest of the paddock members who naturally organized a small reunion based on choirs and a lot of grappa for the moment of delivery, as often happens when there are many Italian teams on the field. It ‘a gesture that made me really happy and that affection shows me more than a thousand others. I wanted to thank all the people involved from my heart.
- During the weekend, my friend Craig Price, editor of BBQ and Smokers News, the online magazine with which I collaborate, together with his nice wife, came to join us. Craig is a barbecue enthusiast, of course, but he is not particularly into the competition system and it was an honor and a pleasure to be his guide during the two days of the Bardo Q. In doing so by his wonder, you realize how much certain mechanisms taken for granted, are actually what makes this small niche of the world really special. I’m not talking about the technical mechanisms of the competition, to know which is enough to read any regulation. I’m talking about something more subtle and less obvious. Of the interaction between the members. Of complicity and solidarity among the teams. Of the perennial sharing of every minute spent on the competition field. From the subtle jokes and the small gestures of understanding that can only be understood by those who have seen so many things together and that I clearly had to explain (cit. Pollodimerda). I go away for a while. Take care of this little treasure and let me find it intact when I return. I’m counting on it.
Our first session of seasonal competitions ends with the Bardo Q. We plan to come back after the summer. What and how much we will do we do not even know it but keep on follow these pages to talk about barbecue and you will be the first to know 😉