Posted: Aug 17, 2012 7:36 AM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
Updated: Aug 17, 2012 7:36 AM
BILLINGS - MontanaFair smelled of barbeque sauce and smoked ribs for much of the day Thursday as competitors in the first-ever Montana State BBQ Championship cooked up a storm right on the fairgrounds.
"What's unique about this event is that it's the only championship in this state," explained Kansas City BBQ Society Representative Gene Goycochea. "Many states that have state championships have maybe 20 or 30. In Montana, there's one."
The event is a legitimate Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned, professional BBQ cook-off. The winning team will automatically go to the Jack Daniels Invitational and the American Royal in Kansas City, where they'll have the chance to become world champions.
"Because of that, it drew some teams in that normally probably wouldn't compete in this area," stated Goycochea. "From Oklahoma and Illinois, some of the top teams in the world."
Among those teams is Team Buffalo from Sperry, Oklahoma.
"This is our 17th year of competing," said chef Donny Teel.
Team Buffalo averages 35 to 40 competitions every year.
"I like competing and every day's a new challenge," Teel said. "I've done it a long time and been pretty successful at it."
Teel was one of two world champions at the competition in Billings.
However, with 21 teams competing there were quite a few chefs looking to earn that title for themselves.
"Everyone we've fed our barbeque to says they have never had a rib as good as ours," said Lon Mitchell of Rozet, Wyoming. "I hope the judges have the same opinion!"
Tyrel and Justin Hamilton, with Team Montana Outlaw BBQ, were also optimistic for the judging.
"If we could place in a couple categories and get a few calls, it's going to be a successful competition for us just because of the high quality of teams that are here competing," explained Tyrel.
Of course, for every cook-out there must be taste-testers. Our own Ed McIntosh signed right up.
"Because I got to eat great BBQ!" Ed exclaimed. "That was really it!"
Alright, joking aside, Ed is a certified barbeque judge and it's serious business.
"They have rules that they have to follow in terms of what can be in the presentation, how things must be served, the ratings and scorings for penalties that might come up," Ed listed off. "You don't know whose BBQ you're getting. It's completely blind."
The Montana State Barbeque Championship attracted folks from all over the nation, each one of them believing that they are the best at creating juicy, tender, flavorful meat. And when it comes down to it, it's anyone's game.
"You can spend a lot of money in this or you can come with a little Weber Smokey Mountain that costs you $200 and win the contest," explained Goycochea. "But you can also come with $1 million in equipment and lose. It's all about the cook, not the equipment."
In the end, Team Eno Serve from Oklahoma won the competition. The second-place team was from Illinois.