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Grillin’ & Chillin’ Team attends West Tennessee Strawberry Festival BBQ Cook-off in Humboldt, Tennessee


Grillin' & Chillin'Paris, TN – This week the O’le BBQ trail took us, James Brawner of Team Grillin’ & Chillin’ on a short trip west to historical Humboldt, TN where they hold the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival BBQ Cook-off.

This was their 10th year of hosting this event, but get this, they have been hosting and holding this Strawberry Festival since 1934. That to me, some 80 years, even for this C average boy, but they were advertising only the 77th anniversary.

West Tennessee Strawberry Festival

West Tennessee Strawberry Festival

So I though back thru the years and just knowing 80 years of anything is a lot. A lifetime for many. And I realized that in 1934 our Country was in a deep Depression and just a few short years later we were involved in World War II. This is when they forgoed the Festival for years for the War effort.

Man could you just think what was going on back then? Now is not so bad a life. 2014 is good.

As I was running solo on the 1st part of my journey, my wing Girl, Mrs. Lisa, had to finish some loose ends up back at Paris, TN our home town.

The 1 1/2 hour trip went by quick because not only was Mrs. Lisa running behind but one of my best friends that had started traveling with us and playing roll of Co. Chief is in the hospital at Tennessee Valley Health Care in an induced coma because of some viral arthritis attack.

I have never heard of this and I am terribly afraid that his physicians haven’t either, PLEASE PRAY for Sergeant Kenny Barber, that’s right, Sergeant Kenny is full time in the Army National Guard in Trenton TN.

Grillin’ & Chillin’

Grillin’ & Chillin’

See Kenny started helping me cook after we had a conversation about his hidden passion of cooking and his desire to compete against his unit and be able to win, you know just friendly bragging rights and this cook-off is one of two that their team will compete in and only God knows what the answer is that he seen fit for Sergeant Barber not to be able to compete.

I last spoke with him 4 days ago, right before they induced him into a coma and I told him to rest easy that I had this. Man, are you talking about pressure.

But I thought just all the hard times people have been thru since this festival had started being a Promoter my self I know about rain, economic ups and downs. Jobs moving out of areas and leaving towns badly bent if not broken.

Well, let’s get on with the story. I get to the park and low and behold the spot I like to park in was open. Man, I’m thinking what the odds?  The sky is starting to clear and no rain on the rader screen. You know I’m starting to think someone has got my back.

Lisa arrives some short time later. We finish setting up and go to cooks meeting at 5:00pm. Rush, rush. This competition has three turn ins on Friday night:  Sauce, Chicken and Chef’s Choice. Bam, all cooked, all turned in, man, what a great cook.

Every entry was as good as I have ever done. Still it’s all up to the judges and we have two more Categories tomorrow, the big meats, shoulders and ribs. Boy, this is where ol’ Kenny really shined in our cooking team.

West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Grand Champion

West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Grand Champion

No Kenny, no sleep. Just keep thinking, I got this. Night rolls on, midnight, all well not a wink yet, too much on the line I guess what’s this, oh finely I doze off only to be woken up by rain falling and thunder in the distance. Oh, it’s on, now, might as well stay up.

To my amazement, the rain stopped and the storm went right to the north of us. I put more wood in the cooker, time to wrap the pork shoulders and start the ribs. Someone is watching out for me tonight or I could easily over slept. Time to turn in the other categories and they look amazing. It should be a great turnout.

That’s all for now, remember: Women are made to love, Money is made to spend and if you’re looking, you’re not cooking.

Oh, as you can see I’m a man of my word: 1st place Chicken, 1st place Cooks Choice, 5th in all other Categories and 2014 West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Grand Champion. Let’s just say God just won another one.

About James Brawner




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