By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Judges not only declared the winners at the first Biker, Blues & BBQ Rally, they declared the entire event a success.
“ ‘Wow’ just doesn’t totally describe how your crew handled the contest today,” judge Gordon Hubbell wrote in an email to event organizer Gary Moss. “I’ve been to several first contests this year and while all came off very well, you guys looked like veterans.”
All judges were certified and volunteers, and most came from out of town to judge 39 teams from six states in the cook-off held at Tilley Harley-Davidson. The motorcycle dealership threw a three-day party to launch Salisbury’s first cooking competition sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society.
Local pitmasters were out-cooked by out-of-towners.
The coveted title of grand champion and $3,500 in prize money went to well-known pitmaster George “Tuffy” Stone’s team Cool Smoke from Norfolk, Va., and Richmond, Va., seen on TLC’s “BBQ PitMaster” and CBS’ Ultimate BBQ Challenge.
Scott Jarrett’s Smoke This team from Hickory won $1,500 and reserve champion, and Roger Wise and the Pickin’ Porkers of Clemmons won the People’s Choice Award.
In the overall competition, the top Salisbury team — Chris Finney and Iron Pig BBQ — came in 14th, and the highest-placing Kannapolis team — Nathan Berry and Rollin’ Smoke BBQ — came in 28th.
Many pitmasters, who cooked all night Friday, said they wanted to have fun and gain experience for future competitions. While the cook-off drew the most attention, the rally also featured blues bands, DJs, kids activities and more, all free.
“Everyone there was extremely nice and went out of their way to assist us in every way,” judge Billy Smith said. “This was one of the most enjoyable events I have ever judged, the location, the atmosphere, everything.”
Moss, a former Tilley employee who spent months organizing the event and relied on dozens of volunteers, said he will apply to host another Kansas City BBQ Society-sanctioned cook-off in 2012.
“Teams, mostly from out of town and some (from out of) state, were extremely pleased, and many have said they will be back,” Moss said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.
Grand Champion Cool Smoke
Tuffy Stone, Norfolk, Va. and Richmond, Va.
Reserve Champion Smoke This
Scott Jarrett, Hickory
People’s Choice Pickin’ Porkers
Roger Wise, Clemmons
Chicken Two Old Men and a Grill
Bobby Roberts, Bessemer City
Pork ribs Bayou Poker Smokers
Allen Rainwater, Denver, N.C.
Barbecue Rocky Top Barbeque
Walt Moulton, Jonesborough, Tenn.
Brisket Smoke This
Scott Jarrett, Hickory