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So far in my KCBS Certified Barbecue Judge journey, I’ve had the opportunity to judge at well-known and established events such as the SC Festival of Discovery. My journey now goes to the other end of the spectrum just 65 miles up the road from Greenwood, SC to the town of Greer, SC for the 1st Annual Sooie’t Relief BBQ Benefit!
The contest and festival is the brain child of the Greer Relief and Resources Agency. Chartered in 1936, the mission of the Greer Relief and Resources Agency is to provide emergency assistance to families and individuals in Greer and its surrounding towns. All proceeds from Sooie’t Relief BBQ Benefit go directly to aiding the agency’s mission. The contest drew 27 competitors from as far away as Ohio.
As a judge, I confess to being a bit nervous. This competition was a first-year contest, so I anticipated there being quite a few problems and snags. Boy… was I ever wrong! From this judge’s perspective, everything went as smoothly as it possibly could.
The venue for judging was The Cazbah, a tapas bar located in the heart of downtown Greer. The decor of the restaurant provided a very different atmosphere for judging that I am normally accustomed to experiencing.
And, as with every competition, you always meet some characters…
This competition had the extra little touches that made the judging experience top-notch! Some examples of this include providing each judge with a small cloth towel to use in wiping sauce off of their fingers and having volunteers walk around to each table to collect trash. The judging process went so smoothly that no one would have been able to tell that this was a first-year event!
So I offer my sincerest thanks to all of the volunteers that made this event possible. In particular, I want to especially thank Caroline Robertson and Thomas Wells for the extra special attention that was paid to the event! Also a big thanks goes out to the two KCBS representatives for this event — George and Donna Baroody.
I know what you’re all asking… how was the food? Overall, the entries that I sampled were not quite up to par with entries at other contests. The flavors were good. However, the tenderness was off. I had the chance to talk to a few teams after the competition. The ones I talked to all mentioned that today’s cook was not an easy cook, and that things seemed to take longer to cook today than normal.
In addition to talking with the teams, I got to meet up with some blog readers. I really appreciate you guys reading the stuff that I write, and I had an absolute blast!
Results from the competition were not available as of the time that this blog post was written. However, when they are made available, they will be published on the KCBS website. I was also able to get a few pictures. You can view them on the Facebook page for Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog. If you have any photos from this event, I’d love to add them to that album as well!
So as a judge, would I recommend this event to other judges? ABSOLUTELY!!!