|Judges line up to sign in for the contest.|
The event’s full name -- Tilley Harley-Davidson’s Biker Blues BBQ Rally and BBQ Classic – clearly indicates that much more than barbecue is on the schedule. Motorcycles, specifically Harley-Davidsons, are everywhere: new ones on the showroom floor and lots of others brought to the rally that look so good that they could pass for new.
|Many new motorcycles are on display on the showroom floor.|
Although the event starts with music the night before any barbecue is judged, Saturday is the main day. The rally, a “poker run” that lasts more than five hours, begins well before the cooking teams turn in chicken, their first entries, for the contest. When I saw all the motorcycles parked before the rally began, I was surprised -- more than 100 riders were participating.
|The motorcycle rally was a popular part of the weekend.|
The cookoff, part of the Old North State Barbecue Series, drew 63 teams, making it one of the largest contests in the Southeast. The large number of teams was attracted by more than $15,000 in prize money. Sauced BBQ! Team from Denver, NC, took home $3,000 as the grand champion – a return to the top and a big improvement from the week before in Goldsboro, NC, when low brisket scores dropped the team to 19th out of 39 teams. (The team incidentally also won the cookoff in Lakeland, Florida, my first event this year, and was the reserve champion in Asheboro, NC, where I judged last month, so it usually is successful.)
|Cooking team set up in the back parking area of the dealership.|
The contest was flawless in execution, a challenge considering how many cooking teams participated. At the designated intervals for turn-in of the entries, the volunteers smoothly handled the containers to maintain the “blind judging” standards of the Kansas City Barbecue Society, which sanctioned the event.
|The People's Choice competition gave the public a chance to vote for their favorite barbecue.|
The blend of music, barbecue, and motorcycles attracts a sizable crowd in Salisbury. Begun in 2012, Biker Blues and BBQ is well established among judges and cooking teams as an event to attend. It will continue to be a favorite event each fall for everyone.
|The huge Grand Champion trophy was taken home by the Sauced BBQ! Team.|