Currently viewing the category: "Events"

The American Royal Barbecue

When it comes to competition, the American Royal is as serious as it gets. Like many of the events covered in this guide, the barbecue contest is only one part of a greater opus; in the case of this Kansas City classic, almost 40 events dot the calendar from April through November.

The American Royal season includes livestock shows, parades, races, auctions, rodeos, a Texas hold ’em tournament and an event called the Unbelievable Horse Happening. I’ve always hoped that someone would hear my plea for an M. Night Shyamalan buddy flick starring Mark Wahlberg and Mr. Ed; this might as close as the universe ever gets.

KC Masterpiece Invitational Contest

The American Royal Invitational contest presented by KC Masterpiece is a true national championship with more than 100 teams competing annually! Teams from the United States, Canada and abroad, who have won a Grand Championship at a qualifying contest between August 1, 2011-July 31, 2012 will be invited to compete at the American Royal alongside the best of the best in the competitive barbecue circuit.

Cochon 555 Chicago: A Porkapalooza Starring Face Chorizo And Ham Cotton Candy

The traveling Cochon 555 competition made its annual stop in Chicago on Sunday and once again the event, which we call Porkapalooza, took place at the lovely Four Seasons Hotel. This year, the competitors included Kevin Hickey of Allium, the excellently named Cosmo Goss of Publican Quality Meats, Matthias Merges of Yusho, Ryan Poli of Tavernita and Joshua Adams of June. As always, each chef used a different heritage breed of pig and prepared five different “bites.”

bbe news

This year’s festival is not only about BBQ, it’s also about participating in games that, well, don’t necessarily require a whole lot of athleticism or experience (or even an average IQ). Redneck Games are scheduled to include:

  • Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
  • Dead Lawn Mower Races
  • Beer Pong Tournament
  • Arm Wrestling
  • Hub Cap Hurling Challenge
  • Bobbing for Pigs Feet
  • Pie Eating Contest
  • Horseshoe Tournament (with toilet seats)
  • Redneckiest Tattoo Contest
  • “Rock Out With Your Dentures Out” Eating Challenge
  • Mullet Beauty Pageant
  • PDaisy Dukes & Cowboy Boots Pageant
  • Best ‘Stache Contest

It is a day filled with food and fun. This year, festival attendees will be able to participate in Redneck games!

Summer BBQ

A unique dining experience greeted visitors to the Bryce Jordan Center Wednesday. Everyone got the “rock star” treatment, and a chance to treat themselves to a delicious backstage dining experience. The folks at Bryce Jordan Center Catering put on a show, whipping up some very special menu items.

In addition to barbecue staples like hot dogs, burgers and a variety of salads, attendees of the “Backstage BBQ” were able to enjoy dishes requested by artists who performed at the BJC this past year.

“They always put on a nice barbeque,” said Corry Bullock, who raved about the Bon Jovi crab cakes. “I wish they put this on all-year-round.”

The State College resident has been attending these events for the past couple years. Bullock usually works right through lunch, but said she always finds time for the all-you-can eat barbecues, which cost $10.

“It’s a great deal,” she said.

There were fresh berries, which were requested by the Boss in November; Zac Brown Band’s famous Whisky BBQ Chicken Legs and, along with the crab cakes, roasted corn and tilapia from Bon Jovi’s visit.

“A month ago, we sat down and tried to think of something different,” Brandon Girts, concession manager of the Bryce Jordan Center said about the concept. However, Girts said that some of the other themes are more popular because they are recurring events from past years.

Bullock’s favorite is the carnival barbecue, which features gyros, walking tacos and a cotton candy machine. Then there’s the extremely popular “Philly vs. Pittsburgh” barbecue where diners show off their hometown pride and eat native dishes like Philly cheesesteaks and Primanti Brothers style sandwiches from the Steel City.

On average, each event draws 250 to 500 diners.

The barbecues take place every other Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside of Gate B through August 7.

“It’s a good idea,” said Jim Hemcher, who was one of the first people in line at the event. “Everybody’s happy. Plus, it’s all-you-can eat. There’s nothing at fault there.”

Barbecue Competition at It’s Finest at the 1st Annual Kingsford InvitationalBefore I tell you a bit about my experience, I want to thank the amazing people at Kingsford Charcoal for selecting me to have this amazing experience it was truly an “epic weekend,” and I was really proud to be apart of it in a very small way. {Click here to view all of my great photos from my adventure to the 1st Annual Kingsford Invitational}

Okay, enough fluff, lets get down to the nitty gritty of the competition. We all know that there are many barbecue competitions during the year that say that they are the ultimate barbecue competition: we are talking about Memphis in May, The American Royal and the Jack specifically. While I think that they are all great barbecue competitions, I really think that there needs to be 1 barbecue competition that is the SUPER BOWL of barbecue competitions, because in my mind without a barbecue competition that will crown the ultimate barbecue competition, in my mind there is a sense that every winner can claim that they are the best. Enter Kingsford charcoal and the 1st Annual Kingsford Invitational.

Yazoo Delta Q: Grand Champion of the 1st Annual Kingsford Barbecue Invitational

Given the fact that all contests span several organizing bodies, Kingsford came up with a blend of categories certain to appease all of the qualifying cooks. Here’s is how Kingsford arranged the categories: Ribs, Chicken, Brisket and here is where the twist came in the teams had a choice to barbecue either pork shoulder or a whole hog. In addition to these four standard categories, Kingsford came up with a fifth category titled: the “best bite.” The teams using food of their choice had to demonstrate their fire-fuled cooking chops and represent their home region. This could include anything from more traditional items, such as regional sausage or smoked turkey legs to non-traditional fire-kissed foods, such as wild game from the team’s last hunting trip, an inspired backyard burger or even dessert. The team with the “best bite” was rewarded one additional point in the overall competition. {Click here to follow Grilling with Rich on Instagram}

Qualifying teams are as follows:

• Motley Que Crew, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest Grand Champion
• Yazoo’s Delta Q, Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest Grand Champion
• Smokin’ Triggers BBQ, BBQ Pitmasters Grand Champion
• Smokers Purgatory, Great Lenexa BBQ Battle Grand Champion
• Shiggin’ & Grinnin’, American Royal World Series of Barbecue Open Contest Grand Champion
• Lucky’s Q, Sam’s Club National BBQ Championship Grand Champion
• Pig Skin BBQ, Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue
• Checkered Pig, Kingsford 40k Challenge Representative (competition team that earns the highest score at one of the 15 sanctioned events)

Teams: The one aspect of the barbecue competition that was a bit controversial and had a lot of those who were around covering the event was how the teams were selected. I really felt that Kingsford did a great job of picking the correct barbecue competitions. The one competition that I think that they should have added a slots for regional barbecue competitions such as a winner from a Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, SouthWest, and West coast you can really get a lot of different barbecue teams and have each region really represented. I do understand the need from Kingsford to keep the competition a bit small, but I really think the more the merrier and therefore the winner will be able to really say that they are the BEST in the country!

Judging: Among those select to carefully choose the best-cooked barbecue include Tuffy Stone, Harry Soo, Brad Orrison, Ardie Davis PhB, Amy Mills, and Grilling.com VIP blogger Meathead from AmazingRibs.com. I think that Kingsford did a great job in selecting the correct judges. I asked a rep from Kingsford on what type of personalities and also backgrounds were they looking for, and by seeing this list they were spot on. Of course, I think that there was one blogger who should have been put into the mix, but I will not mention who! {click here to follow Grilling with Rich on Twitter}

Judges and Chris Lilly of the 1st Annual Kingsford Invitational in Belle, MO

One Bite Challenge: Being able to try each entry and also see the recipes for all, I was not surprised at all, about the winner for the One Bite Challenge and the eventual winner of the whole thing. Yazoo’s Delta Q’s Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Shrimp was amazing and it was filled with some amazing flavors that were balanced and also just mind blowing. Don’t get me wrong here, there were some other great entries. My second favorite was Motley Que Crew’s Tiger Steak, Motley Que’d. The reason why I really enjoyed this one also is because it really reminded me of a steak on a potato latke which makes total sense because the steak was resting on shredded fried potatoes and that is what a potato latke is. My last favorite was Checkered Pig BBQ’s Blue Cheese Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms. Overall, I really enjoyed everyone’s entries in the one-bite challenge and it was a great way to see some creativity in a barbecue competition that can get a bit formulaic in the cooking.

Actual competition: Out of five categories, four were won by one team: Yazoo’s Delta Q. Before the award was given out (It was a Kingsford Cup, which looked a lot like the Stanley Cup), I had a chance to do some taste testing myself. I have heard how amazing Melissa Cookston’s whole hog was, and boy were they ever right! The taste of the bacon and also the pulled pork was amazing, it had all the great flavors and it wasn’t overly smoky and it was just like butter in your mouth. It was truly an amazing experience to taste something that remarkable. In addition to Melissa’s whole hog, I got a chance to taste a pork rib from here smoker. Again, the flavors were amazing and also it wasn’t too sweet but it wasn’t to spicy and had the perfect tenderness. I personally think that EVERYONE in the barbecue community needs to experience.

The one category that she didn’t win was Brisket, and I could see why. I personally loved Pig Skin BBQ’s brisket as it was nice and tender and full of flavor, it was something that I need to personally find out how to re-create.

Overall thoughts: I think that by starting the Kingsford Invitational, Kingsford charcoal has put together an event that will become a must win and every serious barbecue competition team will want to be apart of in the coming years. Despite some grumblings on the internet about the various ways in which Kingsford has chosen the participants, I think that within a couple of years, or even sooner all that will go away. But for this year, I do agree with the barbecue contests that were chosen as by making the categories a bit diverse they were able to really incorporate the true essence of barbecue competitions. I am looking forward to seeing and also meeting the winner’s of the second Annual Kingsford Invitational

Recipes

The American Royal Barbecue
When it comes to competition, the American Royal is as serious as it gets. Like many of the events covered in this  Full Story
KC Masterpiece Invitational Contest
The American Royal Invitational contest presented by KC Masterpiece is a true national championship with more than 100 teams competing annually! Teams  Full Story
Cochon 555 Chicago: A Porkapalooza Starring Face Chorizo And Ham Cotton Candy
The traveling Cochon 555 competition made its annual stop in Chicago on Sunday and once again the event, which we call Porkapalooza, took  Full Story
Arizona Barbecue Festival - 2013
This year’s festival is not only about BBQ, it’s also about participating in games that, well, don’t necessarily require a whole lot  Full Story
Eat Like a Rockstar: BJC Summer BBQ Event Kicks Off with Backstage Theme Lunch
A unique dining experience greeted visitors to the Bryce Jordan Center Wednesday. Everyone got the “rock star” treatment, and a chance to  Full Story