Over the Weekend: BBQ & Beer Festival
What better way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon than wandering the parking lot across from Tempe's IKEA, sampling barbecued meats and drinking beer? This past weekend, 33 teams from across the nation turned out for Que & Brew, an official Triple Crown Event BBQ State Championship.
|And this was the amateur category...|
|The Smoked to the Bone team of Gilbert, AZ readies their ribs.|
"The whole nation is watching this event," said Michael Reimann of AZ Barbeque. "Never before in history has it come down to the last contest in the last week of the season. This event will determine the championship of the nation."
Que & Brew was a crazy mix of food festival, swap meet and sporting event. There was only ONE lonely beer booth, so it was easy to tell what was important -- at least to the participants. These folks really take their BBQ seriously.They even took candy canes and Santa hats seriously, as each team's booth was judged separately for a Christmas decorating contest. Texas does everything B-I-G, so we weren't surprised to learn Tex-a-Que took first in the decorating contest.
|Tex-a-Que's porky airstream trailer gets decked out for Xmas.|
|This contestant used a Q-tip to clean up her plate until it looked perfect.|
Teams were given exactly five minutes of leeway in either direction. If you showed up with your dish at five minutes and one second past the hour, you would be disqualified from that round. Yeah, these suckers are tough. It was like the BBQ Olympics, complete with a timekeeper at the judges' tent to make sure teams didn't cheat.
"It gets really intense, especially when everybody's really scrambling for turn-ins," said Tracy Mescha of BBQPHX, the only all-woman team at the competition. "This is only our second contest ever. We did the one in Buckeye a few weeks ago and it was....an experience."
|Tracy of BBQPHX.com pulls her pork off the grill just in time.|
|Tasty ribs from all-girl team BBQPHX.com.|
|Loot N'Booty's brisket placed a respectable 11th, but we think their name was awesome. Almost as good as "Spank-a-Lotta-Butts" (yes, that's a real team name).|
So who won this battle of the barbecue? Pellet Envy (whose name sounds a tad unappetizing to us) took first place, while Rhythm n' Cue followed close on their heels. Visit AZ Barbeque's website for a complete list of winners.
Feel free to live (and taste) vicariously through us via some more photos of Que & Brew.