The best seats in the house for this event are definitely downwind.
You’ll want to line up for a mouthwatering sample afterward too.
About 25 teams are expected to fire up their barbecues for the 2010 Manitoba Open Barbecue Championship August 28 and 29 in Morden, a newcomer event on the Manitoba festival scene that’s starting to get a whole lot bigger.
The competition got off to a modest start in 2007 after Morden resident Perry Hopkins, who’d heard about traditional barbecue competitions on the Food Network, pitched the idea to the Corn and Apple Festival.
The Manitoba event is now sanct ioned by U. S. -based Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), the largest society of barbecue enthusiasts in North America which should help raise the event’s profile and grow the competition, Hopkins said.
“It started off as just a fun event and we’ve just got real serious about it,” he said.
This is a competition for tried-and- true enthusiasts of the traditional way of barbecuing, that is, cooking meat over a coal-fired wood-smoked barbecue. Some cuts of meat will be on the barbecue at low temperatures for as much as 12 or more hours, Hopkins said.
The meat goes on the barbecue the night before judging.
“They’re up all night watching their product,” he said. “They have teams of at least two so they can trade off over the evening. You’ll see some of these fellows sleeping next to their barbecue.”
Last year they had 15 teams compete, including from Saskatchewan, Ontario and a couple from the U. S.
“This year we’re expecting over 25 teams and we have a number of individuals who are going to be coming up from the U. S. to help us out,” said Hopkins.
The contest is open to amateurs and professionals alike.
Teams entering compete for points and prizes which include a $1,250 cash prize as the Grand Champion (Smoking Division) and $900 Reserve Grand Champion. Other trophies, plaques, ribbons, lesser cash and non-cash prizes will also be awarded to the first-through 10th place teams in each category.
Competitors can enter beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork back or side ribs, and chicken.
This year they’ll additionally offer a judges’ training course to help produce more local competition judges. The four-hour course earns participants a KCBS certificate toward judging barbecue competitions throughout Canada and the U. S. The course costs $80 which includes a one-year membership to the KCBS. The judges, course will be offered from noon to 5 p. m. August 28. Deadline to register for the course is August 1.
Those registering a team for the barbecue competition by Aug. 1 will receive an early-bird discount. Teams are urged to register early to ensure a spot, Hopkins said.
For more detail on the Manitoba Open Barbecue Championship log on towww.bbqchampionship.ca or http://www.kcbs. us.
– PERRY HOPKINS, MANITOBA OPEN BARBECUE CHAMPIONSHIP ORGANIZER