I planned to smoke a lot of meat while competing in the Arizona Barbecue Festival this weekend. I did not plan to smoke a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer.
I am embarrassed to report that in addition to preparing pork ribs, pork shoulder, brisket, and chicken at the Scottsdale contest, which I was dared into participating in after a heated exchange in the comment section of our blog (backstory here) I very nearly caught my teammate Jonathan McNamara's car on fire.
Turns out that even after sitting for eight hours, some of our coals weren't totally out. It also turns out that the smoke they produced was enough to make quite a bit of heat seep through the rear seat of Jonathan's car, forcing him to pull over to the side of Galvin Parkway where he waited for me to smash our $15 smoker to bits, putting out the coals with two bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale then tossing the shrapnel in a dumpster.
Here are a few more things we learned from competing -- and beating at least a few people -- at this weekend's festival.