First of all, a very happy birthday to our friend Mary Pat, who along with her husband Dennis conquered Mount Kilimanjaro for St. Jude last year.

The Moody Ques got together yesterday for our third and final practice cook for Best Memphis Burger Fest.

A lot of planning goes into Burger Fest. We got out a notebook and started writing down all the things we need to make sure to bring to the festival – ingredients, equipment and of course, beer. We don’t want any last-minute scrambles at load-in.

A big part of the reason behind our success is a great team managing the grill. Drew and Mac took care of things out there yesterday. We did timed cooks yesterday since we have to turn in entries on time at Burger Fest.

John D bought an electric smoker and for some reason we were tasked with assembling it. Our teammate Kao who has a pedigree for manual labor unfortunately wasn’t there. Misty asked me to take this picture of her hard at work while the boys watched football.

Per agreement with the team, I promised not to post photos of the finished product. Other teams read this blog and I don’t want them stealing our ideas. However, I received permission to post this one. “Oooh… the Moody Ques are putting CHEESE on their burger… we need to step our game up.”

By the way – if you see me in person and are not on another team, I will be happy to show you burger photos on my phone.

We cooked our Traditional Cheeseburger and it was mighty tasty. We also held a runoff vote for our top two ideas for Anything Goes, and ended up picking a combination of the two. Totally solid. From my days of playing poker, I realize that you can’t win every hand, because there’s luck involved. However, win or lose, at the end of the hand if you feel you played it the best you possibly could, you have to feel good about your performance. The Moody Ques have earned the right to feel good at Burger Fest whether we finish first, last, or somewhere in between.

You can’t have a successful team without sacrifice, and there were were sacrifices to made yesterday. Specifically:

The Arkansas game. Arkansas played Texas A&M yesterday at 11, nationally televised on ESPN. Initially the practice cook was set for Sunday, and I was going to spend yesterday at my home away from home on the south side, Max’s Sports Bar, watching the game with fellow Razorback fans. The move to Saturday canceled those plans. Fortunately our inspirational leader/father figure had WatchESPN on his phone.

I can’t use “Can you blame us for going 6-6? We’re in the SEC West” as an excuse anymore. Arkansas is a mediocre team in a sea of other mediocre teams (and Alabama). They should never have let that game drag on to overtime. I’m still not in the “Fire Bielema” camp though. I think he’s capable of developing a winning program, especially given the current state of the SEC. He just needs a couple more years. I tell you one thing, if Arkansas makes it to the Liberty Bowl I am going to camp out at Max’s Sports Bar hoping Coach makes another visit.

Skillets of Greatness. BreakFest 901 was yesterday, a celebration of breakfast and brunch. Teams competed in breakfast sandwich, breakfast sweets, bacon lovers, omelet, and Anything Goes. We were approached about competing but turned down the offer, not wanting to be distracted from our Burger Fest practices. The winning teams got Skillets of Greatness rather than trophies.

Anyone have a head count as to how many teams competed in BreakFest? I haven’t seen a number anywhere.

And now for the sacrifice that really hurt…

D-RANKS with B-RAD. Two months ago, our Sunday brunch Blind Bear bartender B-RAD tore his meniscus playing football with his son. He had to have surgery in August. I knew his return was imminent, but it turned out to be sooner than I thought. I got to John D’s house for the practice cook a little after 11 yesterday. With time to kill, I pulled out my phone and started surfing Facebook. I saw this:

I considered going “(cough)(cough) Hey John, I’m not feeling well, since this is a food event I better head back Downtown so I don’t infect anyone.” But I couldn’t do that to the team. At BBQ Fest, I have no role on the team outside maintaining the team website and email. I know nothing about BBQ. Burger Fest, however, is different. I’m a former judge. I have feedback to offer about how to get the scores up to 9s, especially in Appearance which is a factor many teams overlook. So I resigned myself to an afternoon of watching football with awesome people and sampling delicious burgers.

About 3 I got back Downtown and headed to the Blind Bear.

The gang was all there. I got the pleasure of hanging out with Katie (not Mac) and Wesley for a bit, and Rahul and Tony were there too. Rahul and Tony were discussing their plans for Halloween. “We’re going to go as butter and toast,” Rahul said.

“Butter goes on top of toast,” I replied. “So I guess Tony’s butter.”

B-RAD will be working Saturday brunch for a while, that being an easier shift than Sunday. So I guess Bardog then Bear is my plan from here on out on Saturdays. Wait, that was already my plan.

Attn Jeannette: Is there ANY chance someone can cover Brad’s shift Saturday, October 7 so he can come hang out with the Moody Ques at Burger Fest?

I’ll be back at the Bear for Sunday brunch action today. I’m currently about 50/50 on whether I will attend Memphis Farmers Market’s Farm Fest at Loflin Yard today at 5. Great event for a great cause and I want to go, but I will need to lay off the Fireball at brunch if that is to be a plan. We shall see. Outta here for now, back tomorrow with more.