New Jersey State Barbecue Championship North Wildwood , NJ

By James “Tex” Laudenslager, Pitmaster of Smokin’ Tex BBQ

2016 marks the 18th annual N.J. State BBQ Championship in North Wildwood, NJ. As each year approaches many teams put this contest on their calendar. It is a well run event hosted by the Angelsea Fire Department. The only notch is they pack you in like sardines, but for many teams it doesn’t matter. Sixty-five teams come to compete for the coveted title of Grand Champion and that’s the case for Brian & Meg Ferguson of Finn’s Finest BBQ who won the event back in 2012.

This year was different for Finn’s Finest as this year they were moved to champions row which is right next to the sea wall by the inlet. They were surrounded by last year’s winner Uncle Pig’s BBQ and four time winner of the event Local Smoke BBQ.  Also next to them was The BBQ Guru and add in teams like Wilbur’s Revenge,, and other accomplished teams and you know you’re in for a knife fight!

As we all sat at the awards and listened to the top 10 teams get called in each category the crowd was becoming aware that this years GC was gonna either be Finn’s Finest BBQ or Wilbur’s Revenge. Finn’s took 2nd and Wilbur’s took 5th in chicken. Then they swapped spots as Wilbur’s was the top PIG in ribs and Finn’s took 3rd. While Pork did separate them a bit Finn’s finished 3rd while Wilbur’s finished 8th. The rumblings got a little louder when brisket was called and there Wilbur’s took the 2nd spot just edging out Finn’s who got 3rd. At this point the crowd was calling out both teams as to whom they thought who would win GC.  To me it didn’t matter who won, both teams are awesome people and great ambassadors to the sport.

As they started the count down #10 to #3 the anticipation was exciting to see who would be GC and RGC. Wilbur’s Revenge was called for RGC and I looked over at Brian and he went straight over to Dave Marks and was the first to congratulate him. Then GC was called and Finn’s Finest BBQ was the last one standing…

First place winners:
Chicken – Piggin’ Whiskey
Ribs –Wilbur’s Revenge
Pork –Smokopolis BBQ
Brisket –Beerbeque

Grand Champion –Finn’s Finest BBQ
Reserve Grand Champion –Wilbur’s Revenge

Check out the full competition results here.