<![CDATA[BBQCRITIC - Columnist Herb Kane]]>Wed, 09 Mar 2016 03:30:46 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Up in Smoke BBQ Bash - Mason City, IA 2011]]>Sun, 24 Jul 2011 19:30:45 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/columnist-herb-kane/up-in-smoke-bbq-bash-mason-city-ia-2011MASON CITY, IA (July 23, 2011) - Sixty-seven teams gathered in Mason City, Iowa to compete in the annual "Up in Smoke BBQ Bash" (July 22-23). This is one of the largest KCBS BBQ competitions in Iowa and luckily I got in right at the last moment to judge.

I expected a really hot, sweaty day in the BBQ judge tent. However, the shade from the tent combined with a big fan and lots of water allowed all the judges to stay comfortable. Overall, the judging went great. Chicken, ribs, pork and brisket were decent. The pork was especially good. I think I gave out two 999 scores and one 899. All the other categories had one or two entries that stood out.

Last week in Waterloo, IA (BBQLoo & Blues, too!) I completed a Table Captain class conducted by Mike Lake. Though I did  Table Captain at other contests before being trained, I would normally try to avoid having to do it. Part of it was because I was not fully trained. Now that I am trained, this was one of the first times I raised my hand to volunteer to TC (many judges try to avoid it because they want to judge & eat). Well For the love of God! Two other judges beat me to the punch and they were chose to TC. Wow. That's a first. Usually contests are short TC's, but this competition ended up with plenty of volunteers. That's always good to see.

Table captains do get to eat off of the grazing table (where all the left over' meat from BBQ turn-in boxes go after judges take their own samples of meat). I do like the idea of being able to pick and choose what meats I want to eat in between meat turn-ins. This particular day, there was one really, really, really, really bad piece of meat I had to sample and judge. Boy was I wishing I was a TC at that moment. Needless to say, I scored the meat accordingly.

It was great meeting up with old friends and making a few new ones. The Flying BBQ judges once again flew in to partake in activities (Jerry Bressel and T. Michael Garrison) and of course BBQ Critic columnist Dave Compton was on hand with his smoked cheese. Wow! Good stuff, Dave.

Shortly after judging concluded, I attended the awards ceremony. Last week, when I was a Table Captain in La Porte City's "BBQ in the Park," Big T'z Q Cru won the Grand Champion and Swine Assassins won the Reserve Grand. Well, to my surprise both teams did it again! Yes - Big T'z Q Cru walked away with a back to back Grand Champion and Swine Assassins walked away with a back to back Reserve at Mason City's "Up in Smoke BBQ Bash." Grills Gone Wild came in third overall (they won a Grand Champion the previous week in Waterloo, IA at "BBQLoo & Blues, Too!").

I really enjoy watching friends win and when they hit a streak like this it's really a treat for all to see. Congrats to all who competed in the "Up in Smoke BBQ Bash" in Mason City. Looking forward to next year already.

-- BBQ Critic
Up in Smoke BBQ Bash Top 3 Winners (out of 67 teams): (Left to right) - Grills Gone Wild (3rd), Swine Assassins (2nd) and Big T'z Q Cru (1st) - Mason City, IA 2011.
<![CDATA[The Buster Doggle BBQ Story]]>Fri, 03 Jun 2011 23:03:12 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/columnist-herb-kane/the-buster-doggle-bbq-storyPicture
WEST DES MOINES, IA (May 29, 2011) - It was this same time last year at Smokin' in the Junction I had the privilege to hang out briefly with Rod Anderson and his family from Buster Dog BBQ. I profiled their team for the upcoming BBQ Yearbook. I had no idea that Rod would pass away in less than a year battling cancer. Though Rod is gone, his spirit lives on in his wife Dawn, and son David.

Upon arriving at the contest site, Bubba Knapp (Bubba Q's) told me there was a team called Buster Doggle BBQ competing here. Buster Doggle? It almost sounded like Buster Dog BBQ crashed into a two-brother team called Boondoggle BBQ. Wait a minute. Could it be? Yep! They collided alright, but it was no accident.

Buster Doggle BBQ
Bob Denner, David Anderson, Dawn Anderson and Don Denner
I stopped by the teams BBQ camp to see how this all came about. A few months ago, Boondoggle's Don Denner attended Rod Anderson's tribute/fundraiser here in Iowa. He asked Dawn if it would be ok to have David cook and hang out with the team at Smokin' in the Junction in West Des Moines, Iowa. Dawn liked the idea and accepted the nice gesture.

As the event drew closer, Don decided to follow up with Dawn to make sure everything was still a go. Poor, Don. Instead of calling Dawn, they chose to phone text. Don recalls chuckling, “She wouldn't quit texting me while I was mowing the damn lawn. I had to stop the lawn mower about every ten feet because she kept texting me! I asked her since David is going to cook with us, would it be ok if we cook under the team name Buster Doggle BBQ. She came back with, 'Does that mean I get to cook chicken?' I said, hell yes! Let me talk to Bob about it.”

Brother Bob Denner responded with, “Oh, hell yeah - you betcha!”

Buster Doggle BBQ came together as a team and had a blast cooking together over the weekend. There were emotional times, too, as they remembered Rod. When awards time came, it was heart-tugging to watch them get calls. The team ended up winning 1st place in Ribs and 6th in Brisket. Oh, and the Chicken? It made the Top 10 and came in 7th.
Buster Doggle BBQ
Don Denner accepts trophy for 1st Place in Ribs
Bob commented on Dawn's chicken, “It was moist, unlike ours [laughter]. I picked up a couple tips. I'm not gonna lie [laughter].”  Dawn added, “It wasn't my best, but it turned out alright.”

Buster Doggle BBQ ended up 5th place overall out of 62 teams thanks to everyone's contributions. Bob said, "This doesn't have to be a one event thing. Dawn and David are welcome to join us any time.”

Buster Doggle BBQ came together as a team
and had a blast cooking together over the weekend.
There were emotional times, too, as they remembered Rod.
Rod Anderson was a true gentleman and a great BBQ cook. It was nice to see two other fine gentleman and talented competition cooks bring Dawn and David together again to compete in BBQ. It touched them deeply and touched the hearts of all the their fellow BBQ competitors on hand for the event.

I hope to see Buster Doggle BBQ compete together again in the near future. I'm sure Rod is looking down from Heaven and smiling on his BBQ family.

All of them.

– Smokin' Herb
Buster Dog BBQ
David, Dawn and Rod Anderson

Smokin' in the Junction 2010 - West Des Moines, Iowa

Next up: My story cooking with Iowa Outlaws at Smokin' in the Junction

<![CDATA[New Online Community to Inspire Certified BBQ Judges]]>Mon, 16 May 2011 17:30:43 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/columnist-herb-kane/new-online-community-to-inspire-certified-bbq-judgesIn March of 2008, I became a Certified BBQ Judge for the largest sanctioning body in the BBQ circuit - the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Though this started out mostly as a food driven endeavor (because I love BBQ), the more I judged the more I realized just how big of a responsibility the role of BBQ judging is to this food sport.

My first few contests blew me away. The quality of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket submitted by competition cooks was mind-boggling at times. The flavor profiles were new to me and it oftentimes made me wonder just how the BBQ teams came up with such tasty sauces and perfectly smoked meat. As my judging experience expanded, my judging style evolved. In the beginning, I probably gave away too many high scores. I am now in a place, after judging 40+ contests and becoming a Master Judge , where I am confident in my ability to give out the fairest scores possible based on the rules set out by KCBS.

Since I began judging in 2008, I've created a lot of meaningful friendships with cooks, judges, reps and contest m promoters and the list keeps growing. Some of them will be writing a blog for this site. They have all influenced me in some way or other to become a better judge.

It is my hope that BBQ Critic will inspire an independent community of certified BBQ judges (and cooks) to raise the various issues associated with task of BBQ judging to improve us all on a personal basis. Communicating our views and experiences amongst each other on this site will allow us to become more informed judges, make new friends and have fun with the sport of competition BBQ.

So if you are a certified judge and would like to write a blog here, send me a note on the contact form. Otherwise, join the forum and interact with us as we grow.

Welcome to BBQ Critic!

-- Smokin' Herb