|The Oakland Fire Department BBQ team shares samples and smiles|
|Liam Mayclem puts on his game face|
Here's what I learned, BBQ is taken very seriously! There is an official organization, the Kansas City Barbecue Society that sanctions competitions and even judges. I'm not a certified judge, but who knows? Maybe someday I will be. There are thousands of dollars in prize money not to mention bragging rights at stake. This year competitors will choose from chicken, pork rib, pork and brisket categories. Just hearing the names of the teams should be enough to convince you to attend, you'll meet the Butcher's Daughter, Bad 2 the Bone, Bad Boyz of BBQ, Big Dick's BBQ, Casual Smokers, Chain Smokers and Sir Porkalot BBQ. Over 35 pro teams are expected.
The amateur categories are a bit broader and include tri-tip, vegetarian and "Captain's choice" which can be beef, pork, chicken or seafood. There's also a BBQ sauce competition and a "throwdown." I've helped to recruit some of my favorite local chefs as judges--Ben De Vries from Luella, Hoss Zare from Zare at Fly Trap, Scott Youkilis from Maverick and Hog & Rocks, Mitch Rosenthal from Townhall and Tanya Holland form Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-side BBQ.
|A winning tailgate dish from 2011 Bay Area BBQ Championship|
This is a super family friendly event with carnival attractions, an urban garden, a baseball clinic and lots of entertainment. Tickets are $33 and include both tasting tickets and A's vs. Mariner's game tickets. You won't want to miss the chef demos or the beer tent where you can learn about pairing beer and bbq. Check out all the details at Bay Area BBQ. I hope to see you there!