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Smithfield Rib Super Series: Chesapeake Jubilee BBQ Cook-Off

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May 30, 2013

The Smithfield® Rib Super Series is busy keeping those competitive fires burning this summer, awarding teams with bonus checks for cooking up the best rack of Smithfield ribs. In mid-May, the series went to Chesapeake, Va. for the Chesapeake Jubilee BBQ Cook-Off, an event nearby to Smithfield. With demonstration of brilliant BBQ know-how and a refined rib recipe, Serial Griller took home the day’s first place win.

“They were [typical] Smithfield ribs,” said Mark Breen, Serial Griller pitmaster, of his rib turn-in. “Good and meaty, with just the right amount of fat marbling to them.”  Serial Griller has been competing since 2007, with their very first competition, held at the Norfolk Naval Base, being sponsored by Smithfield.

Every team maintains their secrets to turning in a winning recipe, and for Serial Griller, it’s all about reaching that perfect, 50/50 balance between sweet and spicy. 

“I always try to have that sweet and spice combination; that’s what has worked the best for me over the years,” said Breen. “Then, focus on the proper amount of smoke – not over-smoked, and not over-sauced. You really want to be able to get the taste out of the meat itself.”

But regardless of how well you may think your rib, or any barbeque recipe may be, at the end of the day, it’s all about pleasing the judges. Once you hit the winning jackpot, you can’t help but wish for those same judges time and time again. 

“It’s either that, or just learn to stay consistent,” said Breen.

Breen was born and raised about 15 minutes from Smithfield, and has grown up cooking pork for seemingly his entire life. Today, he owns a couple of barbeque restaurants in Yorktown and Hampton, just across the bridge from Smithfield, where he proudly serves Smithfield products.

What does it take to reach a Serial Griller winning status? Breen advises to not overthink things. 

“Most of the time, the feedback I get from the judges is either that it’s [too] salty, over-spiced, but probably most often, over-sauced,” said Breen. “Let the meat speak for itself and don’t try to overdo it.” 

Serial Griller, the 2012 KCBS Pork Team of the Year, plans on competing in several more competitions before the season is over.

For more information on the Smithfield Rib Super Series, visit: kcbs.us/Smithfield.php.    

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