This year’s Derby celebration was going to be very scaled back. There was no fresh Zurekbrau available due to the effects of the polar vortex. It was just never warm enough out there to brew beer! With freezing temps, it was hard to be exposed, standing on cold concrete, and trying to use water without risking frostbit.
On Friday night, I made margarita popsicles. I gathered the ingredients and combined them into a pitcher so I could pour the mix into Dixie cups. One of the last steps is to cut a lime into slices as garnish and to help hold the stick in place while it freezes. As soon as I started cutting limes, Sascha’s nose went to work. She was standing on top of me and nosing my leg. She really, really wanted a slice of lime. Or maybe it was nice aroma of tequila that she found attractive.
I finished up the leftovers in the pitcher after I filled as many cups as I could. I wanted to make sure there were enough. Why was I going to freeze this wonderful concoction? I should just serve it like this! I placed the limes on top with a stick in each cup. Once adorned, I placed them into the carefully prepared shelf in the freezer to await the presentation during the celebration.
After the bowling banquet, Rich came home to start seasoning ribs, chicken and brisket. Wow! The slab of packer’s cut was more than 12 lbs. It was a beautiful cut of meat. As Rich was applying the rub, he was shaking it all over the floor. Don’t worry, Sascha was right there to clean it up. All I could think was that was going to hurt on the other end tomorrow.
So with ribs, chicken, and brisket seasoned and packaged, we were ready to get started in the morning.
Derby Day dawned pretty well. There was a little sunshine and very little sign of rain. Rich had gotten up at 5:00 to start the BBQ pit for the meats. Sascha, of course, had to get up also. She trotted around with Dad. After the brisket had been added to the pit, Rich headed back to bed. That meant Sascha had to come in also, which she fought. She loves being outside when it is her kind of weather.
Rich had a bucket of wood chips by the pit. These are part of his secret. He has a mix of hickory, cherry, and oak chips to help give the meat a little extra flavor. Sascha also found them very flavorful. She was sneaking chips out of the bucket to chew on them. When Rich tried to take them away, she actual growled at him!
At 7:00, Sascha had to get up and go back outside. That meant that I had to get up. Now Sascha didn’t want out because she had business to take care of. She had to go out because the sun was up and shining. That’s just how things work in Sascha’s world.
Since I was up, I started coffee and moving around to get things ready. As always, we wait to do so many things at the last minute. We cleaned up around the house and started getting out the items to help make a party.
Over the course of the day, Rich would go out and check the temperature of the pit and add more wood or chips. As soon as he walked out there, Sascha would come running to help do the check. Personally, I think she was hoping he would move the bucket of wood chips over so she could reach them. Rich had made a mop, which is the sauce used to keep the meat moist and help give it that burnt skin. It sounds funny to mop the BBQ, but it literally is a really small mop like you use on the floor to apply the liquid. The smoker stay up to temp and the meats were getting down right on time.
Around 2:00, I looked out to see Rich sitting in his chair on the patio with a red solo cup of Zurekbrau. I know I said there wasn’t any fresh beer, but there was a little bit of Husky Paws on tap. Sascha was hanging on Rich’s lap trying to sneak beer out of his cup. She can be very cute when she wants something. I tried to take a picture, but I just wasn’t fast enough.
Tyler, one of Rick’s friends, was the first guest to arrive. I love Tyler and I don’t see him as much these days. Kim and Diane arrived not long after that followed by a few other people. Rich started bringing up ribs for an appetizer, but the other meats were ready also. Soon, we had a full on dinner set out. With baked beans, potato salad, slaw, and the sides brought by the guests, we were filling plates. The brisket melted in your mouth and the ribs fell right off the bone. Oh my gosh! It was wonderful.
I wasn’t sure about doing pots to draw for Derby horses, but Kim insisted that it would be more fun. I had made up three pots, but we only got through two of them. You really need to have a bunch of people there to make it easier. There were 19 horses in the field and that takes a lot of dollars to make a pot. We each had a horse or four in our hands by the start of the race.
We sat down in front of the TV and watched the race. I explained how things worked and answered questions. It’s really a lot of show and pageantry to the Derby. One of the things I miss about being down there. The three weeks leading up to the race are busy and always something going on.
In the end, Diane and Barb Doty cleaned up on the first and second places. Rich and Mike got the third place horses. It was a slow race this year without the excitement of past years, but it was cool to watch. I guess in the end, it was no surprise that California Chrome won. I was hoping for Hoppertunity, but he scratched early.
We continued to eat and talk after the race. Barb, Mike, and Josh left to prepare for a night at the drive-in. Before you know it, the clock said 7:00 and people started to leave. We got down to just Spank for a while before he headed off. He was leaving for a fishing trip the next morning bright and early.
We put in on picking up what absolutely needed to get down. I started the dishwasher with one load and stacked the next load to be ready and waiting. Sascha was sacked out from her exhausting day. We settled into some TV before bed.
Sunday morning came way too early and Sascha wanted to go out when the sun was just coming up. I got up, but not very willingly. Coffee got started and I sat down with the morning paper. The guys straggled out little by little. Unfortunately, Rick woke up with a sinus thing going on. Not too surprising with the weather. Hopefully, it’s not a cold that the rest of us will catch.
We went out to Brunch to get breakfast. I love this place, but it is a little crazy. Everyone wants to eat there. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait in line too long. We came back and continued to clean up the house. Rich worked on cleaning up the pit, with Sascha’s help. She has to lick the grates and parts of the smoker. Then there is the grease that drips down on the gravel. I’m surprised she doesn’t eat any of the rocks.
So this year’s Derby party is in the bag and the cleanup is complete. Have to think about whether to do this again next year. Maybe we should not have a party and just go to New Orleans for Jazz and Heritage Festival. Might be fun to do something different for once.