BY ESTEBAN ADROGUE
For many, Sunday morning came around smelling of fried eggs and homemade pancakes, with a fresh glass of squeezed orange juice. Tip-toeing all the way to Mom\’s room… For others, Sunday morning had a completely different meaning.
The sound of wood burning away in the BBQ\’s, heating up the air, spreading that familiar smell, that aroma that takes us back to our childhood… It can only mean one thing: The Smokin Q BBQ Pitmasters Competition was finally here!
Lynnwood Ranch (Okotoks, AB) once again played host to the 3rd annual KCBS sanctioned BBQ Competition and BBQ Feast. The Smokin Q gathered 35 of the best Pitmasters and their crews from all around Alberta, in a sizzling battle against the toughest judges to become this year\’s Pitmaster Champion.
The competition consisted of four different entries: first entry was BBQ chicken, a classic! Half hour later, competitors presented the judges with their best smoked ribs. Third entry consisted of delicious tender pulled-pork. And last, but definitely not least, judges were delighted with a low and slow roasted brisket. Makes you want to become a judge, doesn\’t it?!
But before Sunday\’s competition all participants had a chance to put their skills to the test.
Saturday night hosted the BBQ Bash Feast and Frolic. This year\’s event consisted of competitors displaying a little preview of their abilities, not only to the judges, but to almost 300 guests as well. Everyone was eager to taste the pitmasters’ wonderful creations, which included everything from chorizo tacos with coleslaw, to a delicious fig and shrimp canapés
After sampling magnificent delights, guests were treated to a delicious brisket and salmon dinner, with a side of locally grown steamed veggies, salads and corn on the cob; followed by a dessert course of seasonal fruit trays and sweet delicatessens.
Once dinner was over, it was time to get up from those seats and shake that body to the rhythm of live jazz-fusion music. People came together to share a great time, laughed, had a few drinks and danced the night away as this year\’s BBQ Bash came to an end.
To fully appreciate and understand the hard work behind such a fantastic culinary experience, we must venture back to Saturday morning; 10:00 am brought with it the first few trailers loaded with BBQ equipment, food, and competitors ready and full of ambition to demonstrate what they are capable of.
While pitmasters got their fires going, Western Horse Review went around interviewing different cooks and their crews, and talked about which elements a BBQ team should include to be the best.
They each described a “perfect BBQ” as having two crucial factors: food and atmosphere.
“It has to be the perfect balance among smoke, spices and meat. Not overpowering any single one of them.” – shared pitmaster Chris, head of Rocky Mountain Smokers.
All competitors also shared one unanimous tip: low and slow.
“…the best? Low and slow! It is a long and slow process, 250 degrees fahrenheit for about 8 to 12 hours” – said pitmaster Danny Cooper, from Fahrenheit 250 BBQ.
Sydney from Bordertown Bar-B-Que commented – “It\’s all about friends coming together to have fun, a good time. You want to create a \’party\’ rather than a competitive atmosphere.”
Not only did they talk about friendship between their crew, but amongst their other rivals too. “We are all (competitors) a big family. If we don\’t win, we are thrilled they (rivals) did! Barbecue it\’s like golf; it\’s not you against the competitors, it is us against those judges.” – Logan, part of the crew of Rocky Mountain Smokers.
As a very thankful attendee, I must admit with every bite of the tender brisket I took, I tasted that camaraderie, I felt that love, effort and passion pitmasters put in every single BBQ they cook.
Western Horse Review can\’t wait to see y\’all there again next year!
For more information, visit the Lynnwood Ranch website.