Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another Throwdown on the Charleston Harbor

Charleston is such a favorite place that I returned for another Smoke on the Harbor BBQ Throwdown. My experience in 2013 created many fond memories, and last year’s event continued to be unsurpassed throughout 2014 as I participated as a judge at other events.

Perfect weather drew a large crowd again to the Throwdown.

The competition this year was again a great event: superior location, large crowd, perfect weather, excellent organization, superior cooking teams and tasty meat. The only surprise: No team could surpass Killer B’s again this year. The winner of the 2013 contest repeated as grand champion, and its score this year was even higher than in 2013.

Cooking teams certainly know how to travel in style.

The public again showed up in droves and lingered for hours. A huge crowd enjoyed the music, food, and sampling. In addition to admission fee (which was cut in half with a donation to the local food bank), sampling tickets sold for $1. Sampling of pork butts cooked by teams was available after 1 p.m. However, for hours well before the public began arriving at 11 a.m., spirals of smoke rose from the cooking area.

No Throwdown can be planned without signs pointing to BBQ.

Although each team had received eight butts to prepare barbecue for the public, several teams ran out of samples by mid-afternoon – an indication of everyone’s interest in evaluating the skills of the cooking teams and voting for a favorite in the People’s Choice Award.

Samples of cooked pork are served to the public who vote for the People's Choice Award.

After all the votes were counted, the favorite barbecue team and the winner of the People’s Choice Award was Swig & Swine, a team from Charleston. Because it’s a full-service catering company as well as a restaurant, name recognition may have helped it in garnering the most votes.

Winner of the People's Choice was the appropriately named Swig & Swine team.

Dates for the fourth annual throwdown, which again will be sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, have already been set for 2015 (the weekend of Nov. 12-14), and several cooking teams were discussing plans to return. With a total cash prize purse of $6,150, this event will continue to be popular in the Southeast. I hope to be with them again as a judge.

I hope to see this sign again next year.