Durham, NC, is not that far from my home. When I learned about the Bull City Barbecue Classic Cookoff, I was interested in participating for several reasons. Being at the event would give me the opportunity to experience an event that is still developing, work with several highly regarded barbecue experts, evaluate the value that a sanctioning organization provides, and develop more completely my judging skills.
|Cooking teams set up on the grounds of the Durham County Stadium.|
First, the event is still in its infancy. It started in 2012 with five cooking teams and three judges. Led by Renee Brown, the contest organizer, the cookoff has attracted more cooking teams in each subsequent year. This year 20 teams signed up to compete (and 19 did). For judges, Renee had put out a call in her network and recruited 19, a few who had been judges for her last year. Even as the cookoff has grown, it still limits teams to cooking two meats (pork ribs and barbecue), unlike other competitions that typically also include chicken and beef brisket.
|Smokin' Joe's BBQ was one of the 19 teams competing for contest awards.|
|Bob Garner, BBQ expert,|
judges one of the ribs.
|Anthony Wilson (right) returned to the cookoff again this year as a judge.|
|Coookoff judges take their responsibilities very seriously.|
|Smoking Dave's shows off racecar,|
trophies, and new trailer.
|People Choice's trophy went again|
to Smoking Dave's, also the winner
in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
|A cooking team keeps the grill hot with barbecue to sell to the public.|
|The line formed early for people interested in attending the cookoff; |
admission was $5 per person.