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BBQ Tour Stop #8: Jeffersonville, IN

June 28, 2010

Coming into Jeffersonville from the West, Chris and I drove through the beautiful rolling hills of Southern Indiana. It reminded us of home in the Ozarks with the full trees and we could only imagine how the trees would look in the fall as the colors change.

Before we loaded in on Thursday, I was able to tour the American Beverage Marketers plant that produces the Master of Mixes products that we promote on the tour. I thought I had a cool job but these guys have a “Mixologist” on staff, who designs new drinks and pairings for restaurants that serve Master of Mixes and Finest Call cocktails. They even have a café/bar to entertain clients with their own full size Jack Daniel statue!

As we went through the plant, they were packaging the Big Bucket Margaritas for shipping to some of their domestic and international customers. In the mixing room, there were 55 gallon drums, five gallon buckets and multiple containers of juices, oils and flavors that make up all the Finest Call and Master of Mixes cocktail mixes that are produced.

According to Bill Hinkebein, who has worked for American Beverage for over 19 years, this is their busy season. He said product cycles through their warehouse about every 10 days and sometimes it is shipped out as quickly as it is bottled.

As I loaded the trailer in, I had to maneuver around some cement pigs decorated by some of the local businesses. The pig with the full body Mohawk was probably my favorite. Since the festival is held on the riverfront, there were boats at the dock and nice riverfront lofts on the street. There was an amphitheatre on the river where the bands played and was just right for our demonstrations.

Across from us was the “Hot Racks and BBQ Stacks” team, who did a presentation for the local Fox TV station with a couple of the cutest little girls. They had some help from the “Juicy Butts BBQ” team, who broke up to help run the contest.  The “Juicy Butts BBQ team” had one of my favorite t-shirt designs that I’ve seen this year.

Since the weatherman had called for clear skies and hot temperatures, Chris and I were looking forward to a nice weekend. As I was startled out of my sleep early Saturday morning by the boom of thunder, I remembered that we left our tent up so I jumped in the truck to make sure the tent was put away before the wind came up. As I walked the street seeing who was up, Rob and Cowboy Dan were sitting up tending their gorgeous flame painted Jambo as “Two Worthless Nuts” Professional BBQ Team. Since the Jambo anchored their tent, I knew it wasn’t going anywhere should the wind come up. As the storm came through, there was an almost simultaneous thunder/lightening strike, which seemed to be right up the street.  This made me scream like a little girl and all the electricity in the air had my arm hair standing on end!

I must say that Velma and Charles Krininger took care of all the judges as they came onsite for the competition. Dan, the organizer, also brought Chick fil A breakfast sandwiches around to all the teams.

After our last demonstration on the main stage, awards were announced, “Steel Smokin BBQ” was crowned with their second ever Grand Championship with “Hoosier Crawdaddy” winning the $1,000 Kingsford Challenge and Reserve Grand Champion.

Mike (& Chris) Peters

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