Saturday, September 5, 2015

Bedford Blues and BBQ 2015

After several years of judging at the KCBS contest at this event I decided to take a break this year.  Every year KCBS has been running their judging classes.  That built up the number of local judges to the point that many who showed up to judge were turned away or did other volunteer duties.  I decided this year I would do the public events and give someone else the chance to judge the main event.

There were 2 different public BBQ events at the fest.  The first was the People's Choice event on Saturday.  For $12, you got 10 tickets to visit participating cook sites.  About 1/3 of the KCBS cooks were in the event.  My wife and I combined our tickets and we were able to sample most of the joints.  Basically you just wandered around to the different stations, identified by a small sign, and picked up samples. At the end, you gave one or both of your poker chips to those you enjoyed the most.
It was a far cry from the usual KCBS standards.  Many were doing versions of jalapeno poppers, with cheese or meat filled peppers wrapped in bacon.  There was one cook who presented cheese filled meatballs.
The food was all over the map but much of it I would not consider to be BBQ.   Out of the 20 cooks we sampled I only found smoke flavor in one and they got my chips.  There was a lot of tasty food, though, and for $12 we definitely got our fill.  One of the more unique entries was a brisket mac and cheese sandwich.  The concept is solid even if the result was not.  I'd like to see someone with better brisket and mac take that idea on.

The second event was on Sunday and was billed as the Battle of the BBQ.  It was similar to the event Saturday, only this time the contestants were the food vendors at the festival.  This time there were far fewer players, 12 I think, which meant we had coupons left over.  We simply went back and got more samples from our favorite.
Once again, there was only one joint that had good smoke flavor and they got all 4 of our poker chips.
The funny thing is I talked to some of the judges from the KCBS event and they said they were actually short of judges this year.  It seems they skipped the usual BBQ judging classes this year and instead held steak judging classes.

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