So, waking up earlier than a lark at 4am with a flight at 10.30am normally gives you plenty of time to get to the airport… seems not if you’re flying from “Nowhere Near Manchester Airport” and you have to use the car park hell that is the M62.
After getting stuck behind 5 miles of standstill traffic because a commuter had their wing mirror knocked off while they painstakingly removed the sleep from their eyes instead of watching the road, one half of our team arrived a whopping 26 minutes before the flight was due to lift off the tarmac. After a frantic rush from the carpark reminiscent of the opening scenes of Home Alone, myself (James) and the 6ft ginger sweating love child of Kevin Mccallister and his big brother Buzz (Scott Munro) finally fell into seats 19a and 19b on a flight to Atlanta. We were joined by Clint Britz (Executive Chef) and 3 of our heroic Pitmasters – John Beard, Cristiano Andreoli & Stuart Clifford. Finally, we were ready to go kick some BBQ butt. Although Scott’s comment of “I had Chinese Soy Pork last night” confirmed that every second of this trip was going be lived well and truly though the nasal canals…
1 free bar, 2 hangovers and 22 hours of travelling later and we all arrived weary, soaked, sweating and boiled alive into Houston airport via a 2 hour internal flight on what can only be described as the hottest plane EVER to fly the skies. If you’ve ever flown Delta you’ll know that the blue rinse brigade that make up the air hostesses on these flights are nothing if not unique in their approach to customer service…in that there is none at all. Save for the grunts and dirty looks, the only other form of interaction is when their 60 year old trolly (the youngest thing on the team) interacts with your shoulder, dislocating it on the way up the aisle and just for consistency on the way back as well. Just what you want at the end of a long day.
We’re no different to anyone else when it comes to touching down in the good old US of A. As soon as you’re in the airport its a mad dash over to the closest McDonalds where all your favourites are ordered and laid out in front of you like a huge throbbing greasy junk food buffet. It’s then hurriedly scoffed to the sounds of grunts, belches, squelches and the repeated statement of “tastes just like it does in the UK doesn’t it!’… which never fails to amaze.
For anyone who shares my crack-like addition to Chicken Wings, you’ll know just how hard it is to pass by ‘The Blue Moon Bar’ knowing just how good 36 chicken wings slathered in blue cheese and onions tastes when piled hurriedly into your face. The internal food layering begun and just as with all our previous pilgrimages, this trip is set to be a big fat constipated gastric journey through Houston to the very heart of Texas BBQ.
A 30 mile drive to the hotel in our rented Dodge Challengers and we finally arrived. Bags were dumped, bowels were emptied and we headed back out on the hunt for food 90 minutes later and stuffed to the back teeth with a dodgy-ass Mexican (the food not a person) from Papassitos, we called it a day. All that was left was a walk back to the hotel to fall into bed and mentally prepare for waking up 4.30am with terminal jet lag.