Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Competitions: NY State BBQ Championships

I was honored to be part of the event committee that helped to organize and run the Battle of the BBQ Brethren on the weekend of October 19th. The event was the NY State BBQ Championships and was held as part of the Sayville Fall Festival on Long Island.

We were certainly blessed with great weather on Saturday and Sunday and the attendance by the public was unprecedented. This years event tripled the attendance from last years. There was a grilling competition on Saturday that was sanctioned by the North East BBQ Society and a KCBS sanctioned BBQ contest on Sunday. Over the course of the two days an estimated 25,000 people visited the Festival.

Although both days of competition enjoyed the wonderfully clear and unseasonably warm weather, Friday was a nightmare. It seemed that a monsoon arrived with the specific intention of vexing the competitors as they attempted to set up their plots. Winds howled and rain poured as valiant efforts were made to erect tents and carports.

As a diligent and compassionate host, I made sure that I was on hand during the arrival and set up. Yes, I was seated on a bench under a secure tent, but I commiserated with friends old and new as they came up to chat, drenched and cold. I hope that they found some comfort in the knowledge that at least I was warm and dry and was cheering them on. Ok, that might be asking for a lot.

The sauces that were used for the grilling were varied and excellent. The ‘steak’ category had a few bĂ©arnaise sauces and a few traditional Kansas City style sauces (which surprised me). Most of the sauces were either a deliberate or incidental au jus. The fruit category also displayed an array of sauces that included everything from fruit syrup reductions to chocolate sauces. One chocolate sauce had a spicy ancho taste and was used with grilled bananas.

The KCBS event was a bit disappointing in the lack of variety in sauces, but the sauces that were used were exceptional. The most variety was to be found in the ‘pork’ category, where every competitor that I am aware of entered pulled pork. All of the sauces were, to one degree or another, tomato based. They ranged from very sweet to slightly sweet but laced with diced onions.

I would like to congratulate Phil Rizzardi of Brothers in Smoke on his taking the Grand Champion title. Phil is the current reigning NY State Champion and is entitled to attend invitational events requiring a State Championship to enter.