It does not take a math genius to know that the formula Good People + Good BBQ = GOOD TIME!
At the Festival of Discovery, the focus is all about tasting the best BBQ. Cooks from the surrounding areas have come together to participate in the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned event. The goal of KCBS is to showcase BBQ and promote those who love to BBQ. Across the US, there are KCBS sanctioned events and participants can receive points for their placement in each competition. Some people only compete at the events in their local area. Others will travel hours to compete. If a team travels the KCBS circuit and enters different local competitions, they can accumulate enough points to have the opportunity to get invited to national premier events like the Jack Daniels Invitational competition.
The KCBS judges take their job seriously. They make sure that all the rules are followed to ensure a fair competition for the $20,000 in prize money. There is a 10 minute window to turn in food for each competition category. Even one second outside of the window, disqualifies the entrant team for that particular competition.
In the past, categories that were judged were hash, chicken, brisket, ribs, pulled pork, potato salad, and a category called “Anything But”. In the “Anything But” category, the submission could be anything but BBQ. For this, one team submitted New England Style clam chowder. Not what you would expect at the BBQ competition, but it goes to show that these cooks are versatile in their culinary abilities.
No gas grills allowed. These grills and smokers use wood and charcoal only. Many of the grilling teams prefer a blend of apple and hickory wood.
How does someone get to the point where they want to compete in one of these competitions? I talked to a few teams to learn more about this type of competition.
One team captain was Chip Youngblood of CD’s BBQ and More. His love of cooking dates back to the days when he was 8 years old watching his parents working at the family own business Somebody’s House in Hodges SC. I like that his team reflects his family oriented origins because his wife, children and grandchildren were all there on the team helping in any way they can. See picture below for some shots at his cooking station.
CD’s BBQ and More is one of the original 7 teams that started participated 12 years ago when the Festival of Discovery was formed. He has seen the competition grow from 7 teams to almost 80 teams in 2012. And after about 4 hours of setup, Youngblood is ready to start cooking.
This is not the only place where he competes either. He has awards from other competitions:
2009 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 1st place Hash 2010 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 2nd place Hash 2010 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 3rd place Overall team Michelob Ultra Invitational Rib Cookoff 2nd place
When it was time for food submissions and Taster’s Choice competitions, there were so many complimentary comments made by tasters. I overheard one person say, “That is the best piece of meat I ever had in my mouth.” Another person commented on the “smokiness” and “tenderness” of the meat. In my opinion, the meat had a mild flavor. The meat was tender and fell off of the bone (just the way I like it). It tasted like a balanced blended mix of seasoning and smoky flavor. But even with all the seasoning, the meat could not be considered to have spicy heat.
Overall, there were a lot of talented BBQ cooks at the Festival of Discovery and I enjoyed trying the different styles of BBQ. I will be in line the second weekend in the next July for more delicious BBQ. I will make sure to look for Chip Youngblood for a BBQ plate also. Super yummy.