Tag Archives: KCBS Competition

Grillin’ and Chillin’ on Main in Waxhaw, NC

First off, I owe a great big thank you to my wonderful wife!  This contest fell on our wedding anniversary, and she was still okay with me going to judge.  She rocks!!

A few weeks ago, I was judging at the Sam’s Club contest in Greensboro, NC.  During the break between the judges’ meeting and the start of the judging, we were approached and asked if we wanted to judge a competition on the 9th of October in Waxhaw, NC (about 30 minutes from the Charlotte city limits).  I submitted my application, and before I know it I was in!

Sixteen teams competed in the professional division, while seven teams competed in the backyard division.  This contest was the first contest that I have experienced where there was not 100% KCBS certified judges.  The table I sat at had a 50/50 split of certified judges and non-certified judges.  It made for a very interesting dynamic.  I also had the pleasure of having George Goodyear as my table captain for this competition.  As Kevin Sandridge of BBQSmokerSite.com got to experience first hand at a competition in Salisbury, NC, George is a vast wealth of BBQ knowledge and experience and did a superb job as our table captain.

As for the event itself, it was very well organized and put together.  The venue for the contest was right in the middle of downtown Waxhaw, a very picturesque and cute downtown area.  If I wasn’t on a schedule and forced to depart early, I could’ve explored the downtown area.  The contest itself was in its second year, but this year was the first as a KCBS sanctioned contest.  It was very well organized.  So to everyone who was involved with organizing the contest, thank you!

Taking Grand Champion at Grillin’ and Chillin’ on Main was Uncle Mac’s BBQ Crue, with Palmetto Smokehouse taking Reserve Grand Champion.  The full results of the contest can be found on the KCBS website.

Below are a few pictures I was able to capture from the venue.  Hope you enjoy them!

Best Of: Pigskin Edition

Fall has arrived!  Cooler temperatures are here, but that doesn’t mean the end of BBQ for this year.  In fact, it continues on stronger.  Here are some tidbits to keep you occupied while you cheer your team on to victory!

  • Southern Soul Barbeque is teaming up with Kevin’s BBQ Joints to give three lucky winners a four-pack of their small batch craft BBQ sauce.  Contest information can be found here.
  • Check out this tasty sounding recipe for Smoked Mac ‘n Cheese published on BBQ Smoker Site, courtesy of Hanneke Eerden of The Dutchess Cooks!
  • With the weather cooling off, chili is becoming the meal of choice.  Check out this chili recipe published courtesy of Lea Richards of Pig of the Month BBQ.
  • Here’s an article about the Biker, Blues, & BBQ Festival as well as a recap of the contest written by Cyndi Allison.
Enjoy!  Let me know if I missed something noteworthy that should go on here.

BBQ in Bulk: Judging the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour

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For those of you keeping up with the competition circuit, you’re probably aware of the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour.  Sam’s Club has partnered with KCBS in putting on a BBQ tournament.  Teams compete in 25 local and regional contests throughout the country for the opportunity to travel to Bentonville, AR to compete in a national contest.  With over $400,000 in total prize money dispersed at all of the events, many teams jumped at the chance to enter.

I was able to get in and judge at the Greensboro, NC contest.  This contest was a feeder to the regional event in Laurel, MD.  Thirty teams were present at this event (as is the case for all local Sam’s Club events).  Since my wife had to be in Raleigh by 9:00am, we decided to carpool.  What does this mean?  I got there WAY ahead of the 9:30am start for judges check-in.  I was able to go around and get a few pictures.

Later that morning, several of us judges assisted in putting together the trophies for this competition.

Now on to the food!  Overall, I thought the food was about on par for a good competition.  There were some entries that were middle of the road, and there were some entries that were absolutely excellent!  Only one of the entries was below what I expected for good competition BBQ.

For the event itself, I was concerned that there would just be the focus on the competition aspect.  However, when I arrived, I found at least 3 or 4 different entities there that were either demoing cooking or touting the heavenly qualities of meat.  In between judging entries, I peeked outside of the judging area and saw steady crowds checking out the area.  So my worries were for naught.

If you want to view more photos taken at the event, you can go to the photo album on my Facebook page.  All in all, the event went well!  Big thanks to the organizers, Jerry and Joyce Gardner, as well as the KCBS representatives, Don and Debbie Harwell.  This event was lucky in that the organizers had ample time to work out any kinks demonstrated at earlier events in the series.  Would I want to judge this again?  Yeah, I would.

A Sooie’t Time in Greer, SC

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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!

Sooie't Relief BBQ Benefit

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.

BBQ Teams

BBQ Teams

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!!!

Pigging Out at Franklin, NC

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It’s another judging adventure!  This adventure takes me into the mountains of Franklin, NC for the Mountain High BBQ & Music Festival.

Franklin, NC

Franklin, NC

Located approximately 3 1/2 hours from Charlotte, NC, Franklin is nestled in the Appalachian mountains just minutes from the Georgia state line.  The contest was held at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center.  There were a grand total of 52 teams entered in this contest.  The festival also featured a car show and other attractions such as a cornhole tournament and several performance artists.

Car show

Car show

Competition area

Competition area

With every KCBS competition I have judged thus far, the theme has been the same in regards to the judges: seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones.  I can’t continue to stress how that barbecue people are just the nicest people on the planet by far!  I enjoy this aspect of the competition almost as much as I enjoy tasting the entries.  😉

Speaking of the entries…  I knew that the table I was at would be in for some good food when I took the first bite of the first chicken entry and was completely wowed!  Overall, the entries that came across my table were very good!  I was certainly not disappointed.

For the most part, the weather was not too terribly hot!  Just prior to brisket turn-in at 1:30pm, a torrential downpour came through the area that lasted about 15 minutes.  After that rainstorm, it was really, really humid!  Also, parking was very much at a premium.  At times navigating through traffic proved to be quite tricky.  Other than that, I thought the competition went pretty well.

For a few minutes prior to judging, I decided to check out some of the vendors.  As I was making my rounds, I came across an area for BBQSuperStars.com.  This site is a great resource for all things BBQ ranging from instructional videos to in-depth interviews with some of the most prominent teams on the BBQ circuit.  After judging, I got to meet the man behind BBQSuperStars.com, Darryl Mast!  And here’s proof.

Big Wayner and Darryl from BBQSuperStars.com

Big Wayner and Darryl from BBQSuperStars.com

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings on my latest judging adventure!  I’ll be judging a first-year contest in two weeks in Greer, SC!  Let me know if you’ll be there because I’d sure like to meet you!

I do have more pictures posted on the Facebook page for Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog.  You can get to the Facebook page by going to http://www.facebook.com/bigwaynersbbq.