Missouri barbecue team smokes competition at McLouth blowout
McLouth Bulldog Boulevard becomes Smoker's Alley once a year for the McLouth BBQ Blowout.
The smell of barbecue filled the air Saturday as 36 aficionados lined the street, competing to win over people with their cooked meats.
Dozens of local judges sat inside a tent, methodically scoring the meat presented to them in plastic foam trays.
"That last one ... it was good," said Josie McAfferty, as she munched on a pork rib. "There was something different. I've tasted it, but I can't tell what it is."
The judges rated several meats, including sausage, chicken, pork and beef brisket.
"It ends up being breakfast, lunch and dinner," said state Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, who judged the competition.
Meanwhile, competitive barbecue teams from as far away as Lone Jack, Mo., hurried to prepare the next meat for judging.
"The competition makes it fun, makes it exciting," said Ed Albert of Albert's Ash Kickin' Barbecue in Topeka.
The 16th annual event, sponsored by the McLouth Recreation Commission, is also fun for the town's 868 residents, who will one day see a new community center built from the money raised at the event.
Thousands of people walked down Smoker's Alley, taking in the smells, tastes and sights as everyone waited anxiously while the judges determined which cooking teams would receive a share of the $4,500 in prize money.
Some of the cooks put pans of their meat out for festival attendees, who voted privately for their favorite.
"Fabulous," said Bonnie VanHoozier, of Oskaloosa, after trying Albert's beef brisket. "It's not too spicy, not too sweet.
Grand champion of the competition was Rabbit Gulch Farm Cooker of Lone Jack, Mo.; Daniels's BBQ Sauces, Tonganoxie, was reserve grand champion. Curtis Oroke's Hemphill Smokers won the People's Choice Award.
In the "Backyard Division," Tail Gate Grillers, captained by Dale Ping of McLouth, was named the Blowout's grand champion. Roasting Recyclers, with team captain Jesse Snyder, McLouth, was named reserve champion.
The McLouth Barbecue Blowout is the Northeast Kansas State Barbecue Championship.