Moody Ques team update

The Moody Ques BBQ team had a small planning meeting Thursday evening (which I attended) and a cook’s meeting this weekend (which I did not). If you’re on the team, you should have received an email update. Here’s what’s going on.

Several people in the Thursday meeting said they’d like to see a focus on team unity and camaraderie this year. “In the past, it seems like we’ve thrown a big party for other people,” was one comment. “We threw a party for WordPress (our 2012-13 sponsor). We threw a big party for Start Co. (20114 sponsor). We threw a big party for a bunch of our friends who weren’t on the team but who came and hung out for much of the weekend. Why don’t we take a year to throw a party for ourselves?”

Much of the 2015 sponsorship money will be put up by businesses associated with the team. We’re still open to talking to potential sponsors (email if interested and I will get you in touch). However, we’re perfectly fine with it if we don’t have a presenting sponsor that makes a big donation this year. That will allow us to focus on ourselves.

We are also going to handle the cooking internally, rather than bring in outsiders. Our head cook will be our team treasurer, Frank, who as you remember really stepped up on Saturday of BBQ Fest last year. Clay, Dusty, Erik, and Coleman will assist with the cooking. There’s a lot of BBQ experience among that group, and they are people we know will not abandon us.

At the Thursday planning meeting, I raised my hand. “If we want to promote team camaraderie and unity, then we need to stop having meetings like this, where it’s board members and a few friends of the board members who happen to be around at the time. We need to have FULL TEAM MEETINGS so everyone will feel like they’re part of this.” Someone else added, “Every member needs to feel like they helped make the Moody Ques what it is, not like they’re people who paid dues and then just showed up the third week in May. Some people will want to just pay dues and show up, and that’s fine, but let’s give every team member at least the chance to help build the team.” There’s an additional reason full team meetings are important: It’s hard for first-year members to get to know people once BBQ Fest is underway and everyone is busy with team stuff. New members need get-togethers in March and April when they can get to know their teammates.

The others agreed and as a result, two meetings have been scheduled. The first will be Saturday, March 7 at 3:00 at the Silly Goose. (Why the Goose, rather than Blind Bear which has been our usual meeting spot? Because Dusty, who is one of the cooks, is bartending that shift at the Goose and we want his valuable input in the meeting.) We plan on bringing a few shoulders for you to try, Dusty will have happy hour drink prices for you, and you’ll hear more about the plans for the booth and the food. We’re asking that people RSVP to so we can get an idea of how many shoulders we need.

The second meeting will be Sunday, March 21 at Brent’s house in Midtown (we’ll send out directions at a later date). Brent and his company Holliday Flowers were key to the booth designs that won us two successive Best Booth awards in 2013 and 2014. We are excited to have Brent and Travis back on board. For this meeting, we are asking team members to bring $10 to help with the costs. The event is BYOB, although Brent is saying he may get a keg. Again, more details to come.

Last year we had a number of people who are our good friends, but not on the team, who spent a considerable amount of time hanging out in our booth, especially during the peak hours of Thursday and Friday night. We’re glad we could provide a spot you could use as your BBQ Fest headquarters. However, this year we would like to invite you to become full paid team members. Since we want to focus on throwing a party for ourselves this year, we are going to limit guest access as compared to past years, and non-team members won’t be able to just hang out the entire weekend. We are also going to limit non-member access to liquor, which was a financial drain to the tune of four figures in past years.

What will you get as a team member? You’re going to get FED, that’s what, and not just our award-winning Moody Ques microwave popcorn that our friends at Squeal Street talk about all the time. The cook team is planning to serve three meals a day, with serving times approximately 12:00, 4:00, and 8:00 with plenty of finger foods in between. The one exception to that menu schedule will be Saturday which is judging and awards ceremony day. I don’t have full menu details, but you will hear a lot about the food at the March 7 meeting. We are once again entering the shoulder competition category.

You will also get access to our large, two-story structure. We are not on the river side but the second story will have a river view where you can watch the sun set or watch people pass by on the sidewalk. Since we won Best Booth last year, we see little need to make a lot of changes to our structure, although we may expand the kitchen area for the cooks’ convenience. You’ll be well sheltered from rain on the first floor. We have a new industrial-grade water-sealing material, rarely even seen in the South, that we will use instead of Visqueen to waterproof the second story floor.

“But Paul,” some of you may be asking around this point, “how do we know we can believe you? Last year the team made promises that weren’t kept.” Valid point. The reason you can believe us this year is that we are doing it all OURSELVES. We are not depending on a large food donation from a supermarket chain that vanishes at the eleventh hour. Our head cook has been with the Moody Ques since day one, and was with our predecessor team the Ques Brothers since day one of that team. He’s one of the most responsible guys I know, and he doesn’t own a restaurant that is more important to him than the team. The three new assistant cooks, Dusty, Erik, and Coleman, are rock-solid guys who stepped up for the team in a big way last year. They’re experienced cooks, and by the way, they know how to clean ash out of a smoker.

One other note: Our team president Moody, while retaining her presidency in name, is stepping back from a leadership position on the Moody Ques this year so she can focus on her career. We certainly understand that, and we have a group of people in place who are passionate about the team and who are committed to carrying it on.

I had offers to join two other BBQ teams this year, both very strong teams. However, after hearing plans for the Moody Ques for 2015, I made the decision that this is still the team I want to call home. My dues are paid as of about a week ago. I hope you will join us. Dues need to be in by April 1 and you can pay them here or get a check to Clay.