As the world well knows companies can live or die with social media. We at Draper’s have been solid at social media when we really push at it and frankly terrible at it when we do not. Case in point, we have over 2500 Twitter followers but only 850 likes on our Facebook page. You can probably guess from those numbers were we spent our time over the past couple of years.
Given that Mike and I sat down and pitched a few ideas back and forth on how we can convert our Twitter followers into Facebook likes. We quickly settled on the idea of giving something away as a membership drive of sorts for Facebook. Everyone likes a good giveaway and honestly we like giving stuff away making people happy.
So from there we came up with a few things that might fit the bill. I kept thinking back to the question I get asked via email the most “what is the best bbq/smoker on the market for a new team or for my backyard?” With that in mind Mike and I thought it would be great to give away some sort of “pitmaster in a box” kit where the winner would get essentially everything they needed to either start competition barbecue or at least have a heck of a leg up to starting a team.
The hunt was short for what bbq/smoker/grill would fit the bill. We naturally went with the one we recommend to 90% of the people who send us that email. We turned to Pit Barrel Cooker Co and their Pit Barrel Cooker for this contest and new pitmasters. And here’s why: First it rings in around $300 which is a solid value given that most complete pieces of bunk from Lowe’s will cost you that much. Second it has a good cooking capacity. Third while it is simple to use it does introduce the budding pitmaster to fire and air flow management. Fourth it helps the cook to learn the valuable trait of trusting time, fire and smoke to do the job without messing with the meat too much. Fifth, its made in America and I can’t think of another complete functioning pit at this price point that is also made here.
Many people would recommend a pellet pit for a first pit but I just don’t think pellet pits or any device that controls the airflow and fuel for you helps make you a pitmaster. That’s not to say you can’t create great food on them, but there is no way to learn the essentials of being a pitmaster if you are not actively managing that fire in my opinion. I know I will get hate mail over that statement, but remember I come from a family who did barbecue for many, many years without the use of a thermometer or fans and burned down wood into coals. The only tools my grandfather needed to be an amazing pitmaster was his trusty shovel and his old cinder block pit. Never once saw him use anything else. His lack of tools (read crutches) helped him develop those instincts that are so crucial to a pitmaster. That my friends is being a pitmaster to me.
Don’t get me wrong, the PBC is dead easy to use. Essentially you light the fire and walk away, but it at least gets the pitmaster introduced to good old charcoal as a fuel and forces them to not rely on a temp gauge or digital control. PBC will run at 275 degrees for 7hrs on a basket of charcoal without much fuss at all and turns out a fantastic product.
I could go on and on about the PBC and why I recommend it, but I think Meathead Goldwynn over at Amazing Ribs.com does a pretty comprehensive job at covering it: http://amazingribs.com/bbq_equipment_reviews_ratings/smoker-pizza-oven/pit-barrel-cooker and John Dawson with Patio Daddio also has wrote extensively about the PBC: http://www.patiodaddiobbq.com/2012/07/competition-bbq-pit-barrel-style.html
With that we called up Noah and Amber at PBC and placed the order. They graciously decided to sponsor part of the contest with us. The ordering process was dead easy and Noah and Amber are great people to work with.
Next to be a pitmaster in training you need a good temperature reading device. I love my Thermapen even though my grandfather would have quickly laughed at how much I paid. I now have learned to cook more by feel, but I always check my competition meats with a high accuracy thermometer. So given that, the fine folks at Thermoworks gave us approval to give away one of their top of the line Chef Alarm units.
I won’t completely steal Mike’s thunder as he is doing a review of the unit as we speak. But I will tell you this, no tricks were missed in the development of this beauty. It’s a professional piece of gear all the way and all a budding pitmaster needs to help him dial in that time and temp aspect of cooking. For $60 its a great value and worth the investment.
After some more discussion Mike and decided we should give away this awesome kit live at the Kentucky State Barbecue Festival in Danville, Ky on September 7th. This is the last day of the event and we figured it would be fantastic to do the announcement on stage there since it is one of our favorite events each year. This is our favorite event because we get to feed about 50,000 of our closest friends, fans, family and cook right along side the likes of Brad Simmons, Carey Bringle, Craig Kimmel, Mike Mills, Moe Cason and Shelly Fritch. All superstars in their own right and we are humbled each year to cook with them.
This planted the next seed of what we should include. The Danville area is home to one of my favorite snacks, Pap’s Beef Sticks and Pap’s CEO Rick Waldon. So I called up Rick and asked him if he wanted in. He was quick to pull the trigger and offered up a bevy of beef snacks to keep any pitmaster satisfied on those long cooks. Go check out the Meat Maniac on the Pap’s site. Seriously if you have not tried Pap’s, go order some or go tell your favorite store to carry some. It’s seriously the best beef jerky around. My personal favorite is the Pitmasters Barbecue, it is a awesome mix of smoky, sweet and heat. Not to mention Pap’s ensures only the highest quality US beef is used. Pap’s is legit and if you win this prize pack you will know why.
By now you have to be asking, well that is all fine and good but what does Draper’s BBQ bring to the table in this contest. Well, we figure you have the pit to cook on, the thermometer to tell when it is done and even snacks to keep you happy while you cook. So we are there to fill in the remaining gaps. You will need some great rubs for your meat, so you get 1lb of our A.P. Rub and 1lb of our Moo’d Enhancer. You need sauce to top that meat with, so you get a gallon of our Smokin’ Sauce. But you also need something to keep the sun out of your eyes while you cook, so you also get one of our team caps. These hats are nice adjustable flex fit hats with our logo embroidered on them so you can be apart of the DBQ crew. We also toss in enough charcoal for your first several cooks on the PBC.
If you have been keeping up with the prices, this is a prize pack worth over $550 delivered to your door. If you are within a reasonable driving distance we will deliver the prize pack personally. All you need now is some meat, some free time, a frosty beverage of your choosing and a lighter and you are ready to start your trek towards pitmaster enlightenment.
So now you have to be wondering how do I enter? Well, stay tuned. July 25th at 5pm Central time the contest will go live on the Draper’s BBQ FB page and Mike will post the rules on our blog. All you have to do to enter is Like our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/DrapersBBQ That’s it, we have made it simple. Because it is so simple we would greatly appreciate it if you shared our page to your friends after you like it. If you are one of the 830 people who have already liked our page you are already entered but again we would greatly, greatly appreciate you sharing our page as often as you can to help us out.
If this contest successfully generates the results we are looking for we want to do something like this once a quarter. Mostly because we just like giving stuff away and making people happy, but also because we have LOTS of things coming up including a new video series that Mike and I are ironing out that we want everyone to see. Draper’s is being reborn and we want to share everything with as many people as possible, so stay tuned!