For regular Food Network viewers, the notice of a BBQ cook-off Saturday in Queen Creek, south of Mesa, said that is where we would go that day. We have watched various BBQ and chili cook-offs on TV and were anxious to attend one in person. John had been to one in Houston in the mid-80s. I had never attended one before.
The first thing we noticed were the signs with names of the teams.
Then there was the BBQ equipment. These folks even had a computer attached to the smokers. We asked what it was for. Apparently, the smokers had gauges inside to check the temperature. At some point, the computer would tell the fans or heat to come on. That way, the cooks could get some sleep overnight!
But there were other set-ups, as well.
And some were rather simple.
These were called green onions, I believe.
As we started wandering between the booths, we watched this guy prepare his ribs for presentation to the judges.
This is a box of barbecued chicken.
The way the meat looks in the box is very important, from all we have seen on TV. These people were too busy getting their entries ready to spend time talking to us.
And here are the judges, sampling some of the entries.
These lucky volunteers were able to sample the leftovers as they cleaned up after the judges had tasted the entries. That's were I would like to help out.
Of course, we went to the cook-off to taste the food, not just look at the signs and equipment. Our entry fee included two tasting tickets each and we bought an addition three each, at a cost of $2 a ticket. Here you see two of the booths where we tasted their food.
We enjoyed samples of chicken, brisket, pulled pork and ribs. In the past, our favorite has always been brisket. But we discovered we also enjoy ribs when they are moist, falling off the bone. And I am really partial to sweet tomato-based BBQ sauce.
Many of the contestants put a lot of effort into decorating their booths. They seemed especially partial to pigs.
It was a fun day. And we learned a few things. First of all, it would be good to wear dark brown or black shirts to eat BBQ. And more of the food is ready to eat if you come a little later in the day, after all the entries have been submitted. Now we are looking for a chili cook-off.