Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2008 Peoples Choice BBQ Awards

2008 Peoples Choice BBQ Awards

The tasting and evaluation party for the 2008 Peoples Choice BBQ Awards was held on May 31st. The invitations were extended to over one hundred people that were fans of BBQ, but would not be considered enthusiasts. Our goal was to determine what the ‘every day person’ prefers when it comes to backyard ‘Q.

As you may be aware, most contests employ serious BBQ enthusiasts to evaluate the entries. In general I am in support of these efforts. Unfortunately this process ignores the majority of the people that purchase sausage. If you are catering to a highly selective minority, this is definitely the way to go. On the other hand, our goal was to find out what the other 95% of the population has to say.

Our criterion for the products entered was fairly simple. You had to be able purchase the product regardless of where you lived. For the most part, we succeeded in obtaining a diverse and eclectic collection of products. Some were mail-order, some were nationally known products and some were locally manufactured but found in select nationwide chains.

We had two products that were being evaluated, sausage and BBQ sauce. With a guest list as large as ours we wanted to ensure that people wouldn’t be going hungry. We supplemented the food to be voted on with ABT’s (see previous article), smoked beef ribs and other standards. Unfortunately, that wasn’t necessary. We had torrential rainstorms that day and there were even reports of a tornado touching down nearby. Not very conducive to a day of BBQ’ing. Our guest list was cut almost in half.

We divided the products up into three categories: standard, hot and specialty. Our sausage ran the gamut of Jimmy Dean to Poche’s pork and alligator. The sauces ranged from $2.00 bottles of Kraft from our local grocery to specialty mail order sauces that are almost completely unknown outside of the world of the BBQ cognoscenti.

For the next three days we will be listing the top placers in each of the three categories for the sausage. We will take a few days off from the awards coverage and then do the same for the sauces.

There were a few sausages that received very high marks but didn’t make it amongst the highest rated. I would like to commend Aidells, Trader Joes, Karl Ehmer’s and Premio for making outstanding sausages.

We will be following this up in the fall with the inverse in judging. The tasting will all be done by Certified BBQ Judges and the reviewing process will be considerably more strenuous.

Check back here tomorrow for the ‘standard’ category in sausages.


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