BBQ Fest Wednesday Friends & Family Night recap

I’m going to dispense with any kind of clever introduction and show you our 2014 team booth!





In Panama City, Panama, mass transportation is handled by private bus companies. The buses are known as red devils and there is no published route or schedule for them. They are elaborately decorated and you know where they are going by looking at the decorations. Sadly the devils are being phased out, but we decided to bring them back for a weekend for our BBQ booth facade.

I have to give credit where credit is due here. I may be “Mr. Load-in” but the facade was other people’s  brainchild. It started with our team vice-president, Clay, who communicated the idea to our booth sponsor Holliday Flowers. “The reason it works so well is, Travis (from Holliday) knows what’s up here (pointing at his head) when I can’t even put it in words,” Clay said. If you need an event planned or decorated, Holliday is the place to call. They will blow your mind and exceed all your expectations.

Once the facade was erected, a team of artists led by BBQ teammate Sarah, newly returned to Memphis after four years in Chicago, got to work painting our red devil. They incorporated elements of Memphis, our sponsor Start Co., our logo, and of the Memphis in May host country Panama.

And now let’s get to the rest of the pics. I didn’t take as many as usual because it was so blasted cold. It was 52 degrees outside, windy, and misting for a while.

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BBQ Fest toenail polish


Koozie for Schweinehaus, the new restaurant being opened by our head pitmaster David Scott Walker


We incorporated the motto of our sponsor Start Co. into the booth design.


Team president Moody commented that in all the years we have been BBQ teammates, there has never been a photo taken of her, the team president, and me, “Mr. Load-in.” Last night we took one.


The zip tie which caused me to injure my back during load-in Tuesday. The back is feeling much better thanks to peach moonshine shots last night and the Bloody Mary I am drinking at Bardog right now as I type this post.


Our pitmaster Chef DSW is a pretty easy-going guy but he did have one demand for the team: Cheese balls in the booth at all times.


Speaking of DSW, here he is. I had someone read my blog and ask, “Wait, Designer Shoe Warehouse is your sponsor?” No, I’m just too lazy to type our chef’s full name over and over.


Otto’s mom with her boyfriend Buddha. Expect many drunk inappropriate comments from this man over the next few days. Buddha is the one who invited people to our booth and said, “We’ll get you so drunk you’ll have a seizure and die.” (Moody will kill me if I don’t add this: This man does not speak for the Moody Ques and your experience may be different than what Buddha advertised.)


I guess John D couldn’t be bothered to smile for this photo. At least his rain coat matches the colors of our sponsor Start Co.






Otto’s mom getting down. There is a video of me dancing with her to “Back in Black” that will probably hit Facebook sometime today if it hasn’t already.

Complete photo album here on the Moody Ques website. Again, the photo album is smaller than usual because it was so damn cold. There will be a ton more photos today. Since we’re using a WordPress gallery this year, I need to ask Otto how to stop the photos from displaying in reverse chronological order.

With the photos out of the way, let me recap the rest of the day and add some comments. My road to BBQ Fest started about 2 yesterday when I stopped by Bardog. I was just going to have a couple of PBRs and move on, but team president Moody showed up to give “Mr. Load-in” a report on the food delivery situation. We were running behind schedule and I needed a Fireball shot to deal with the news.

Moody left to go get blankets to keep the cooks warm. Teammate Kao joined me and we moved to the Silly Goose for an abbreviated session of our usual Wednesday Jessica visit. After a couple of PBRs I went to the restroom and came out to find “The BBQ Fest Bum” talking to Kao. He has a habit of begging every BBQ team member on every team he knows for a guest wristband until someone feels sorry for him and gives him one. I need to give a couple of teammates who don’t live Downtown a briefing of his behavior over the past year, so they understand why this person is persona non grata in the Moody Ques and Squeal Street booths and possibly others too.

On Friends & Family Night the cooks keep the menu simple, with burgers and hot dogs. I wasn’t expecting much but Matt, one of the assistant cooks, came over and told me, “Paul. Get in line at the food table. We have burgers coming out. You want to try this.” So I grabbed a bun and slapped on mustard, some kind of gourmet white cheese that had been put out, and salsa. Ten minutes later the burger patties came out and I grabbed one. OH MY GOD. That burger was moist and flavorful and artfully seasoned and was one of the top five burgers I have ever had in my life. Seth from Best Memphis Burger – I will let you know if those burgers are on the menu again this week. You have got to come try one.

Even though the weather was horrible, this was the best Friends & Family Night in the 8 years I have been on BBQ teams. Everyone was in high spirits and we fired up the music and danced and did moonshine shots. It’s so cool to watch new team members assimilate themselves into the team.

After the park closed, I caught a ride to the Blind Bear. Trivia was going on and about 10 of our members and sponsors and friends were playing at one of the tables. They gave me a round of applause as I came in. They had heard that I was pretty much the Clydesdale of the load-in effort at our booth this year. It’s nice to be appreciated.

Looking forward to a big day today. Cody Rogers who is one of our team members will be picking out the tunes tonight, so the music should be top-notch. The food should be top-notch too. I still haven’t seen the menu, but if I do I will try to get it posted to the team website.

After last night’s weather, I can announce that we are seeking a few new members for 2015. Desired qualities in new members:

1) Female
2) Wears tube tops when it is 52 degrees outside
3) Becomes extremely affectionate after a couple of stiff drinks made with less-than-premium quality vodka

All right. Still at Bardog and Bloom just talked me into a Fireball shot. It’s not even 10:00 yet. I hope I don’t drop the MacBook on the walk home. As always I will have a pre-game beer at the Saucer at 11 then hit the park for Day 1 of BBQ Fest that is open to the public.