Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pig Out!

Dexter BBQ Rib Eating Contest, 2006
BBQ is traditionally considered a Southern dish.  Where we're from, folks have competitions, grill-offs and some major throw downs over this cooking technique.  In fact, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is held at Memphis in May every year and is the world's largest pork barbecue contest according to the Guinness Book of World Records.  Few people may remember that Heather & Brett participated in a BBQ rib eating contest at Dexter BBQ in Jonesboro and that automatically qualifies them as BBQ experts.  Plus, we really like to eat.

True BBQ is cooked slowly and at a low temperature by wood smoke.  Down South, BBQ is pork.  (Except for Texas where it's beef, but then Texas is practically it's own country)  But ever wonder why swine is so fine?  Back in the 1800's pigs were a pretty low-maintenance food source.  Turn it loose and then kill it when you were ready.  Before the North and the South went head to head, Southerners ate about five pounds of pork for every one pound of beef they consumed!  Think about never noticed Scarlett O'Hara eating a hamburger at any of those barbecues did you?

We think the real difference in barbecue boils down to the sauce.  Memphis barbecue is known for tomato and vinegar based sauce, while Brett's beloved North Carolina uses a vinegar-based sauce.  In Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, you'll find pork BBQ with a sweet tomato-based sauce.  Some places use dry rubs for seasoning and save the sauce on the side.  Point is, you can't really go wrong, regardless of where you are and what you're eating.  

When we read about the 3rd Annual Troy Pig Out BBQ Festival, these two carnivores packed our toothpicks and hit the road!  We followed the smell of BBQ up the Hudson River and found 31 teams cooking up some chicken, pork ribs, pork butt/shoulder and brisket for the Kansas City Barbecue Society.  The highlight of the competition is the People's Choice Rib Championship where you buy tickets for $1 a rib and take your pick from the competitors.  The Festival sold out 9,000 tickets in 45 minutes...and we did not get a single one!  We settled for a half-rack with riverside seats and didn't waste anytime having it from ear to ear.  Make no bones about it, them Yankees had some good BBQ, but then again, it's hard to ruin something so good!