First Annual Colonial BBQ Competition, New Castle, DE
by Mark Stallard, Slower Lower BBQ
Word started spreading in July 2015 while we were at the BBQ contest in North Wildwood last year that Sandy Fulton was looking to get a new contest going in Battery Park in Old New Castle, Delaware. Our team Slower Lower BBQ being a Delaware team, are always looking to get on board with any KCBS contests in Delaware. But this one had us especially excited for a couple of additional reasons. First, Old New Castle is where my teammate, Mike Jarrell and I first started grilling and BBQing together. We were neighbors about 25 years ago in this small town and have been close friends since. Second, I and my teammate Ron Kalmbacher live about 10 minutes from Old New Castle, so this would be right in our backyard. It’s a win-win, right?
As the contest neared, Mike and I found out we had to work that Friday morning, so Ron stepped up and got all of our gear to the park and managed to get everything setup for us before Mike and I arrived around noon. First order of business was to crack an adult beverage and go around and say hi to our BBQ family. The competition grounds were in a grassy, beautifully shady area of the park and the weather was absolutely perfect. As many of the teams in the Mid-Atlantic will likely remember, the weather so far this year had been miserable, cold and wet. I think this was one of the first dry, sunny weekends of the season. Fortunately for us (or perhaps unfortunately) we had managed to not schedule any contests between Harrington in April (where it had rained, sleeted AND snowed) and this contest in June, so we bypassed a lot of that misery. But we had not managed to get in any cooks in between.
Once everything was settled, we trekked over to Jessop’s Tavern for lunch. This was an old haunt of mine and Mike’s (it used to be called The Green Frog) when we lived here, so it was great to be back. Not to mention they have a stellar beer selection! Then back to the park and it was time to start trimming and prepping the big meats for the overnight cook, along with a little cornhole to pass the time before we fired up the smoker. Being so close to home, we certainly had our share of friends and family that stopped by to hang out Friday night and this likely attributed to me having more than my fair share of said adult beverages. Finally, the smoker got fired up and big meats on around midnight and it was time to retire to the RV for a couple hours of sleep.
Saturday morning, a little worse for wear and tear, we got the rest of our meats on and everything went through with relative ease and no major events. More friends stopped by in the morning, we got all of our turn-ins to the judges on time and hoped for the best. During and after turn-ins, we had live entertainment from local Blues favorites The Bullets and Doctor Harmonica & Rocket 88. The event organizer had advertised a charitable donation of $5 entry to the contest grounds for the public along with (unbeknownst to many teams) $1 samples of BBQ from the teams. Right after turn-ins, I decided to start selling and we quickly had a line of what must have been 50-100 people; but I couldn’t see the end of the line, so I’m guessing. It was great, because we made our money back on meat costs and sold almost all of our left overs. However, this part was poorly organized and lot of the public left dissatisfied since they were expecting to eat some award winning BBQ and most teams did not participate since they were unaware of this part of the contest. It was a great idea however and I would like to see the organizer get more consensus from the teams and `maybe charge $2-3 instead.
Awards time finally came around and as Sandy called out the top 10 finishes in each category, there were no Slower Lower BBQ calls for us this weekend. It was a big weekend for 3 Eyz BBQ though with 3 first place calls and a GC to finish out the contest. Sauce This BBQ won the RGC and Pigheaded BBQ managed a big 3rd place finish along with Delaware State Champions. Poor finish aside, we head a great time at the Colonial BBQ in Old New Castle and look forward to another chance to redeem ourselves next year.
First place winners:
Chicken – 3 Eyz BBQ
Ribs –3 Eyz BBQ
Pork –3 Eyz BBQ
Brisket –Sauce This BBQ
Grand Champion –3 Eyz BBQ
Reserve Grand Champion –Sauce This BBQ