Smokin’ Aces

Yesterday I made a decision concerning this fall. For the first time in 21 years, I’m going to skip Cooper-Young Fest. Instead, I am going to attend the Smokin’ Aces BBQ Championship in Tunica.

Yesterday I was hanging out at the Saucer (imagine that) and a lot of my friends on the Squeal Street team came in after the Redbirds game. They’ve had a team at Smokin’ Aces the past two years. The festival has already grown from 20 teams into the 50s and should get even bigger this year, mainly because it is so well run by Harrah’s. “They brought us coffee and donuts every morning,” one team member told me. “Friday they brought us pizza. And if you need to run back to your hotel room, which isn’t that far away anyway, they’ll take you on a golf cart.”

It’s a lot more laid back that Memphis in May BBQ Fest, they told me, and noted that I’d get a much closer look at how a team is run than is possible at the Memphis festival. Also, they said, “the teams that are down there are the top 10% of the May BBQ Fest teams. It’s more intimate and you get to know everyone. When BBQ Fest happens in 2013, you’ll find that you know people on all the best teams.”

The time of the year – September 14-15 – is ideal in that it’s still tube top weather, with highs usually in the mid 80s. It’s unfortunate that it occurs the weekend of Cooper-Young, but that was the only week many of the teams on the BBQ circuit could do it. This year I’m going to give it a try and see what I can learn about BBQ.

Plans for tonight: It’s our friend Mardoqueo’s last night in town, so I’ll probably skip poker at the Blind Bear tonight (it’s 8 PM for those who want to play). Other stuff going on Downtown: $3 pint night at Bardog, a special movie trivia night at Ferraro’s with Kevin Cerrito, and also trivia at the Saucer at 7:30 and 10.