I experienced a tragedy last Friday on my way to the BBQ contest in Hammond, LA!

Worked for about 4 hours, left right at noon. Turns out there were 3 points of failure on the firebox door. It just plain fell off when I crossed the railroad tracks just a piece up the road from work! Was found in the middle of the road by someone that recognized it and brought it back to work. In the meantime, I’m driving south, made it 30 miles! My brother calls, “You’ve lost your door!”. What, says I! Promptly pulling over to go check the back end of the cooker. Yep, no door just a wide open firebox.

I turn around, go back to work to check the damage to the pellet fire. It’s very likely DOA, but after 6+ years of fairly heavy use, the auger had started to grind and bind in places. Jambo has a wood door, but the hinges need to be rewelded. This isn’t going to happen in time for my next contest, Jackson, TN April 1-2.

So what did I do to cook Hammond? This was the 13th year of this event and I’d been to every one except the first (wasn’t cooking then)! I had to go. Well, I took the poor Jambo home to its spot in the driveway. I brushed off the 22″ Weber Smoky Mountain and grabbed charcoal and whatever else I needed. With creative loading, got the WSM in the RV and took off back down the road! Got to Hammond at 9 pm Thursday night.

My neighbor, Gary of Kokomo Q, came over and asked if I was just cooking on the WSM. Told him yes, that was my plan. He offered his Yoder 640, which was his backup to a Stumps. After determining that it was BBQr’s Delight pellets in the hopper, I was very thankful to use his Yoder. I cooked in pans so I wouldn’t dirty it up too much. The Yoder 640 performed great!

Made it thru all 4 categories. All in I was 25th overall with my highest place in Brisket.