The Illinois BBQ Festival brought out the competitive attitudes of some expert grillers who gathered south of the Quad Cities.
Orion, Illinois was where all the barbeque-action was on Sunday, July 28, 2013. The third annual event took place at the Hillcrest Event Center.
Competing in four different categories, eight contestants put their best grill-brush forward in hopes for a win – bragging rights for the next year.
In the categories- chicken, brisket, ribs, and pork shoulder- judges selected their winner based on color, texture, aroma, and taste. The prevailing group, Bone Collectors, took first place in all four of the categories. The captain of the winning team, Ken Versuis won the prize of Grand Champion.
Creating a grilled masterpiece is more than competition, contestants say it’s about preparation, patience, and lack of sleep.
“It takes about a day of preparation and a lot of patience once you get here,” said owner of Log’s Cabin Barbeque Company, Brandon Logsdon.
“You’re up all night, you’re eating smoke, you don’t sleep,” Robbie Hoggard from Grill and Villain Catering.
“It’s an all-nighter,” said Billy Sheredy, from Smokin’ Butt Barbeque. “You don’t get very much sleep, by the time it’s all over and done, you’re ready for bed.”
Despite the hard-work and exhaustion, a general consensus of the event was that it was a good time.
"Everytime we cook, we all talk to each other,” said Hoggard. “I’ve never met these guys next door to us and we've become friends and we're just talking back and forth and learning things."