By Bryan Lipscy, Event Organizer
The Washington State Spring BBQ Championship, a competitive two-day barbecue cook-off sanctioned by the internationally-renowned Kansas City BBQ Association, was held in conjunction with the Evergreen State Spring Festival at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds the last weekend of April.
Sponsored by Monroe Fireplace & Stove, 22 teams from Washington State and British Columbia competed for a share of a $5,000 cash purse.
The grand champion (1st place overall) took home $1,000 plus invitations to the American Royal BBQ Championship in Kansas City, Missouri and the World Food Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as a chance to receive an invitation to the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational BBQ in Lynchburg, Tennessee. With cash prizes and invitations to prestigious barbecue events, much was at stake at the premiere competitive barbecue event in Washington State.
The competition led off on Saturday with ancillary categories sponsored by Mitch Ruth of Ruth Realty: “Celebration of Sausage,” “Mac & Cheese,” and “Dessert.” Judging ancillaries this year were KCBS judges Tom & Marty Riggs; Monroe Public School’s Rosemary O’Neill; Monroe Public School Foundation’s Sue Skillen; Sahara Pizza Manager Bridgette Tuttle; Boys & Girls Club’s Marta Miller and her husband, Wendell Miller; Let It Fly Facebook group manager Josh Rakow; owner of Gary’s BBQ Supplies Gary Vander Giessen and a randomly-selected Spring Festival attendee.
Each dish was judged on taste, creativity, and plating/appearance.
In the “Celebration of Sausage” cooks were challenged to simply create the best sausage. Teams were permitted to prepare sausage ahead of the event to allow them time for curing and proper preparation, which then had to be cooked on site.
When the judging was complete and the scores tallied, Jerimiah Johnson’s Mountain Man BBQ of Duvall walked away with top honors. Team Megasmoke 206 from Seattle and The Not-So-Kosher-Dawgs from Ellensburg tied for second. Separated by one point in overall taste scores ground Team Megasmoke 206 into second place.
Next up was the iconic American comfort food, Macaroni & Cheese. In this category teams were given free rein to cook and present how they please. Teams were allowed only to prepare pasta in advance. Everything else had to be prepared on site.
With no rules, the eleven teams pushed the competitive juices into high gear, bringing phenomenal dishes paying homage to this classic before the judges. This time, Smoke It If Ya Got It, of Kent, Wash., walked away with uncontested top honors. Mountain Man BBQ of Duvall and Rusty’s BBQ of Port Moody, BC, rounded out the top three.
To complete the ancillary categories we challenged the teams to bring forward a dessert. Again, there were no rules and no restrictions. Desserts were permitted to be prepared in advance. However, the reward changed to a winner-take-all-format, with the winner taking home $150 and an invitation to the World Food Championship (Dessert) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nine teams took up the challenge, bringing forward desserts worthy of the finest Michelin Star-rated restaurants. The judges had their work cut out for them and the high degree of skill and quality of the entries reflected in the scores. Two teams rose to the occasion tying for the prize. We couldn’t just leave it at that, so the tiebreaker, overall taste scores, was decided by a single point, crowning The Not-So-Kosher-Dawgs of Ellensburg the winner. They are going to Las Vegas!