Advantage 'Cue Crew

A team from Advantage Trailer competed in the ‘Cue for a Cause BBQ competition in Elmhurst over Labor Day weekend and walked away being crowned “Best Ribs in Elmhurst.”

Sales manager Jim Groveau, salesman Zach Morrison, fabricator Paul Caruso, and marketing manager Justin Potts (of Pasatiempo Barbecue) used the 500-gallon Primitive Pits smoker trailer in the event.

The event, which was to benefit the Elmhurst Walk-In Assistance Network, was a judged competition with 26 teams cooking ribs, chicken, and sauce.

The Advantage ‘Cue Crew arrived at 8am, pulled the smoker into place, and fired it up. With chicken turn-in at 2:30 and rib turn-in at 4pm, the team got right to work prepping the meat.

While the chicken thighs brined, the team trimmed four racks of spare ribs into St. Louis cut ribs, removing the rib tips, squaring both ends, and peeling off the membrane. Next, they seasoned the ribs and placed them into the Primitive Pits smoker at 250 degrees.

Once the ribs were on, it was time to prep the chicken thighs. They removed the thighs from the brine and separated them by size. The goal was to focus on the largest thighs for the judges. They pulled the skins off of each one, carefully scraped the fat off each skin, and trimmed up each thigh. Next, they seasoned each thigh and wrapped the skin back around it, forming it up into a pillow, and seasoned the outside of the skin.

The team decided to try a couple of different methods to see which one turned out better. First, they placed nine prepped thighs into a foil pan and surrounded them with pats of butter. They placed that unwrapped foil pan into the smoker at 275 degrees. The second method was to place nine more prepped thighs onto a wire rack and place it into the smoker right next to it.

Competition chicken thighs in smoker

After an hour, they covered the foil pan with foil and left the wire rack as-is. Eventually, they moved the wire rack closer to the heat to crisp up the skin.

As turn-in time approached, they removed both versions from the smoker, dunked each thigh in sauce, and returned to the smoker to allow the sauce to set. Once ready, the team tested both versions and decided the chicken thighs cooked on the wire rack were best for turn-in because they had a better appearance, better skin, and more smoke. They placed six of the thighs into the turn-in box and took it to the judges on time.

Competition chicken thighs turn-in box

For the ribs, once the rub was completely set after a couple of hours, the team placed each rack onto a piece of foil along with additional flavorings. They wrapped them up tight and placed back into the smoker.

After another couple of hours, they unwrapped the ribs, glazed with sauce, and put them back into the smoker to let the glaze set.

Competition ribs

With turn-in time approaching, the team sliced each rack of ribs, searching for the best six individual ribs to give the judges. A test bite of one rib told the team they nailed the bite-through and flavor the judges would be looking for. They turned in their box, and then it was time to wait for awards.

Competition ribs turn-in box

At 4:30, sauce and chicken winners were announced (top three for each), but the team didn’t hear their name called. Still, the team knew they had a great chance with their ribs, which would be announced at 7pm.

When the time came, the Advantage ‘Cue Crew got the call they were looking for – first place ribs!

Next, it was time for the top three overall teams to be announced. In this competition, ribs were weighted 45% of the total score, with chicken 40% and sauce 15%, so the team knew it had a chance to place – and they did!

Best Ribs in Elmhurst trophy

Advantage Trailer captured second overall, just short of grand champion, which was won by a team that competes in this event every year.

Will the Advantage ‘Cue Crew make future appearances at local BBQ competitions? That remains to be seen. But the good news is you can lease the very same smoker trailer that the team used to great success!

The 500-gallon Primitive Pits smoker trailer is available to lease by the weekend or week (or longer if needed). Ideal for catering, competitions, events, tailgates, block parties, and more, this smoker has the capacity to cook 12-15 briskets, 30-plus pork butts, or 20-plus racks of ribs at a time.

While it has capacity to cook a lot of meat, it can also cook smaller amounts of food if your needs don’t call for that much. As the team showed on Saturday, it can turn out fantastic results just cooking a few racks of ribs and a handful of chicken thighs.

If you have an event, but don’t have someone to actually do the cooking on the smoker, you can also hire us to do the whole thing! 

Give us a call at 630-524-2029 or email justin@advantagetrailer.com.