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BBQ Tour Stop #9: Washington, DC

June 28, 2011

The Safeway BBQ Battle is held on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. This was the 19th year of the event, which has raised $1.8 million for charity. While in years past this event has been run as a KCBS contest on Saturday and a MBN contest on Sunday, this year was KCBS only with chicken and brisket on Saturday and ribs and pork on Sunday.

On top of the regular KCBS competition, there was also a Perdue chicken contest for teams who cooked with Perdue chicken. I think the teams were surprised when they were delivered 4 whole chickens when they were probably expecting thighs. On Saturday night, they announced the winner and Pork Barrel BBQ took home the trophy announcing them as “National Chicken Champions!” This just added more pressure to the top 3 teams knowing they placed high in the chicken category. Rancher’s Reserve also sponsored a Brisket contest for teams using Ranchers Reserve briskets. Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke won the Brisket category for the second straight year at this event and had he cooked with Ranchers Reserve, he would have walked away with the extra prize money and one of the coolest trophy cups out there! On Sunday since it was an all pork weekend, the Pork Producers sponsored a contest for the best pork cook at the contest, which took the total scores of the rib and pork category to award a winner. Quau, who also won the Pork category, won the Pork Producers contest.

All in all, 41 teams competed and it was down to the wire as Pork Barrel BBQ, Serial Grillers – who also won the Ribs category – and Jacked Up BBQ each had 3 calls in the contest. In the end, Jacked Up BBQ won Reserve Grand Champion while local favorites Pork Barrel BBQ took home their first Grand Championship along with the big Kingsford check and an automatic Jack Daniels invite!

While this event always has its challenges, especially at load-in time, it has always been a very good event for the BBQ Tour, as we see tens of thousands of people who stop by for samples. We also had a great crowd for our Grillmaster contest which pitted Myron Mixon from Jack’s Old South against Heath Hall from Pork Barrel BBQ. This was the first time that the judges could not decide which flavor profile was better than the other since both entries were fantastic. Myron made his sausage stuffed bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, which is featured in his new book Smokin’ with Myron Mixon. Heath made some bacon wrapped pineapple along with a reverse roll of flank steak wrapped vegetables served in an avocado shell. We will have to wait and see if these will be served in the new Pork Barrel BBQ restaurant opening this summer in the Del Ray area of Alexandria, Va.

Once in a while our tour sponsors stop by and this was the case in DC as one of the Redwood Creek Gallo Wine managers stopped in to say hello, Dave from Reser’s Fine Foods stopped in for some potato salad and Mike with Grate Chef brought his family down to the battle!

From here we head to Naperville, Ill. for the Naperville Ribfest over the 4th of July weekend!


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