<![CDATA[BBQCRITIC - Features]]>Tue, 08 Mar 2016 20:55:11 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Sam's Club BBQ Tour (Regional 3) - Madison, WI]]>Tue, 05 Aug 2014 22:12:19 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/features/sams-club-bbq-tour-regional-3-madison-wi
Pitmaster Michael McDearman giving a presentation at the cooks meeting.
PictureGrand Champion - Big Brother's BBQ
MADISON WI (BBQCRITIC.COM) August 2, 2014 : Sam's Club is known as as place to buy food in bulk and today they provide BBQ in bulk by inviting 30 qualifying competition BBQ teams to compete in the Sam's Club BBQ Tour (Regional 3) competition. The top 10 teams from this contest will move on to the national Sam's Club finals in Bentonville, AR. This will be no easy task.

I had a great time cooking with Bubba and Sabrina Knapp (Bubba-Q's) and I was extremely happy with our chicken, pork and brisket. Ribs were a bit tough and Bubba felt the quality of BBQ fell short as compared to the last few comps. Bubba said there is absolutely no room for even the slightest imperfection today. The competition is just that tough.

The competition? Fierce! Top teams will compete against top teams. There is no predicting who will win. Each team is quite capable of winning this competition. The bottom line: You have to be at the top of your game and land a successful cook and pray your entries land on a good judge table. Crunch time went fast as teams rushed their turn-in boxes to the judge tent.

A few weeks ago, I was in Hayward, Wisconsin and met Famous Dave Anderson. Now I am back in Wisconsin again, this time in Madison and I had the honor to meet other fine cooks who I communicate with online. Richard Parker (co-owner of TheBBQSuperStore.com) ended up our next door neighbor and John Cossman (Bringin' the Heat) camped on the other side of us. It was great talking Q with these guys.

John built his own smokers (quite impressive and very well-built). Richard's goal with his online BBQ store is to have “the best products and the best prices but also give the backyard cooks access to the rubs, sauces, injections, and accessories that the competition cooks use on a regular basis.” The site features a rare variety of BBQ products not usually found in stores. Check it out. I am always fascinated by the creativity and abilities of cooks. The BBQ community is filled with talented people from all walks of life.

While the competition is the main focus here,
Pitmaster Michael McDearman also presented free backyard barbecue demos and samples were given to customers. People enjoyed the food and walked around the competition team area talking to cooks asking questions about smokers and BBQ.. A few people said they were interested in competing, especially after watching shows such as BBQ Pitmasters. Oh howeasy it is to get caught up in competition BBQ!

Awards time finally came. Mike and Theresa Lake (KCBS REPS) were ready to give out some money to the lucky trophy winners.
Congrats to Big Brother's BBQ (GRAND CHAMPION) and iBQ'n@TheBBQSuperStore.com (Reserve Grand Champion).

Here is the list of the Top 10 winners. In the spirit of Sam's Club, they will arrive in bulk at the Sam's Club BBQ Tour National in Bentonville, AR.

Congrats to all teams who competed here. You are all top teams in my book.

-- Herb
BBQ Critic


Big Brother's BBQ
Grand Champion - Big Brother's BBQ
Reserve Grand Champion - iBQ'n@TheBBQSuperStore.com

Going to the national in Bentonville, AR


2 iBQ'n@TheBBQSuperStore.com









1st Chicken - SMOKIN' IN THE D
1st Brisket THE SMOKIN' C'S BBQ


<![CDATA[Frostbuster breaks ice between cooks and judges]]>Mon, 07 May 2012 10:08:54 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/features/frostbuster-breaks-ice-between-cooks-and-judgesPicture
Frostbuster 2012 Organizers
COLO, IA (April 28, 2012) -- It is forbidden for cooks and judges to fraternize on contest day at a KCBS sanctioned BBQ contest, but that is not the case at Frostbuster 2012 in Colo, Iowa. This non-sanctioned competition, held at Twin Anchors Campground, was created for cooks and judges to learn, not win big cash prizes.

Jay & Ray Ringgenberg and Rick Dodd have organized a unique event that allows cooks to sit down with judges and discuss the final scores of their competition boxes. Judges faced the cooks (eye to eye) to explain their scores. It is not as intimidating as you might think. The cooks are very open and willing to hear all the opinions whether good or bad. That made it extremely easy for the judges to be brutally honest about each turn in.

Iowa State Grilling Team discuss their scores with the judges.
BBQ Critic took photos of all 48 boxes submitted from 12 teams and will be posted online for BBQ Critic Online Judges to score. The original scores will be published with the online scores for comparison purposes. All team names and box associations will remain anonymous. It will be interesting to contrast the live scores vs BBQ Critic.

The first chicken box to be presented to the judge table.
Chicken, Ribs, Pork and Brisket scores came across the tables ranging from a low 5 to a top 9 in the categories for Appearance, Taste and Tenderness. Most fell in the range of 6, 7, 8 and 9 (the norm at most professional contests). Obviously, judges didn't hold back even knowing they would have to explain their handy writing to the cooks. Cooks often agreed with the low scores while others challenged it at times. Judges also used this opportunity to give kudos for a job well done on some really tasty turn ins. The food was very high quality over all and the score sheets were very convenient – allowing judges to quickly score the box and add comments.

The Judge Score Sheet (click for larger view)
Frostbuster helps break the ice between cooks and judges by allowing fraternization to take place under these special conditions, of course. It's a great way for cooks and judges to get to know each other, especially by participating in the event's social activities.

Mike Green (Woodward BBQ) explains the operation of his pellet grill to Ed Hartman (Certified BBQ Judge).

Friday night they had a Chili Potluck (Chili provided by Smokehouse 72) and Crappy Beer Night. Appropriate since the weather turned out to be chili and crappy. The next morning, Jay, Ray and Rick provided a hearty breakfast for all judges, cooks and volunteers. This hot breakfast was a prefect fit to a cold morning. Everyone got a Frostbuster 2012 T'shirt and cooks got a goodie bag thanks to various donations.

A few BBQ Critic Online Judges/CBJ's were also on hand including Dan Rote, Dave Compton, Ed Hartman, Buzz Dean and Mike Hall.

Frostbuster 2012 is a win, win situation for cooks and judges. Practice makes perfect and this is the perfect event for a new and seasoned teams to perfect their cook by learning from judges. It's also a great venue for new judges to practice their first bite before embarking on the KCBS competition circuit.

- - BBQ Critic

List of Frostbuster Contributors: Smoke on Wheels, Simply Marvelous Rubs, Smokin' Bonz BBQ, Easy Camping RV, Ames Computer Forms, Twin Anchors Campground, Slabs BBQ, Ron Lewen (Captain Ron), Milam Concrete, wrringge Consulting, Strawberry Patch Appreal, Dixie Meat Rub, Russ and Franks BBQ Sauces, Colo Telephone Company and Ron and Dena Milhouse and KCBS for scoring the event. Helpers - Phil, Rob, Ryan, Steve, Stumpy, Lauri and Nancy for the golf cart. And all CBJ's who attended.

Final Results: 1 - Raccoon Flats, 2- Herb-a-licious Funny Bob-BQ, 3- Totally Sauced BBQ, 4 - Woodward BBQ, 5 - Down Home BBQ, 6 - Smokin Bonz BBQ, 7 - Smokin Big Dawgs, 9 - Hooligans BBQ, 10 - Dirty Pig BBQ, 11 - Iowa State Grilling Team and 12 - Jaestar BBQ.

Short Video Interviews with Cooks & Judges

Frostbuster 2012 Photo Slideshow

<![CDATA[Smoke Over VEISHEA]]>Sat, 21 Apr 2012 21:52:39 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/features/smoke-over-veisheaPicture
AMES, IA (April 21, 2012) - Thirty teams gathered at the first annual Smoke Over VEISHEA BBQ Competition this this weekend to compete for the Grand Champion.

Today was a rainy, cold day and finding the event location was a challenge. Streets were blocked off for the event parade and cars were scrambling everywhere. Luckily a nice girl on a golf cart brought escorted me right to the exact location. After that, parking was a cinch.

The BBQ Critic judging table had some pretty good turn-ins. Ended up really liking three chickens, two ribs and 1 brisket. It was an average day for pork at our table - nothing really stood out. Brisket is probably one the most difficult of all the meats to judge. Why? A lot of times it is just plain bland. However, that makes it very easy for a really good brisket to stand out in terms of flavor. One turn-in did just that. Nice smokey flavor, moist and passed the pull test nicely.

When all was said and done, Ryan Newstrom's hometown team Big T'z Q Cru won the Grand Champion. TippyCanoe BBQ Crew won the Reserve. Swine Assassins came in 3rd overall. For a complete list of winners, check out KCBS events page.  Congrats to all winners and participants. Look forward to seeing this event again next year.

-- BBQ Critic

Check out BBQ Critic's photo gallery and interview with Ryan Newstrom from Big T'z Q Cru below.


Ryan Newstrom (Big T'z Q Cru)

<![CDATA[Why was this rib box disqualified at a contest?]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2011 07:00:00 GMThttp://www.bbqcritic.com/features/why-was-this-rib-box-disqualified-at-a-contest
Why was the rib box above Disqualified at a contest?
Recently BBQ Critic Online Judges were asked to figure out why the rib box above was DISQUALIFIED at an actual BBQ contest. Click here to see the comments. This was intended to make judges THINK. ;-)