York County BBQ Festival – Delta, PA

By Chiles Cridlin, MABA Board Member, Pit Master of Wolf’s Revenge BBQ

In the sleepy little town of Delta, Pennsylvania, 53 master series teams and 21 backyard teams assembled for a KCBS sanctioned BBQ contest! For most, this was the first opportunity to cook for the calendar year. Ken Jensen and team have always gone to great lengths to make this an incredibly hospitable event for the cook teams and judges, and you can imagine all the extra work that went into this 2020 event given all the restrictions and precautions required from the COVID pandemic. I say CHEERS to Ken and team for doing what was necessary to host a safe and successful contest. 

Friday’s load in was a little tight given all the teams and the layout, I personally witnessed some amazing parking skills by teams that arrived after noon on Friday and still managed to perfectly park their rigs without issue. Power was a little spotty in the beginning as they struggled to balance the load on the ample generators but by mid-afternoon on Friday, all was well. For those of you who do not understand what it takes to run temporary power for a contest, imagine planning a meal and you don’t know who is coming or how much they are going to eat. It takes some juggling but in the end, it seemed to all work out. Kudos to the power guy who stayed to address concerns. Public Port-O-Johns were few and far between so next year consider renting one as rentals were readily available (the gymnasium was closed at night). 

The Kids Que had a handful of participants and I was all smiles to see that Colton Schriver from Brother-Uncle Barbecue walked for first place with his Philly Cheese Steak slider! (Where was my sample?) Congratulations to all the kids who entered, and to the parents who support them and encourage their kids to cook. 

The SCA steak contest had more than 40 participants and David Paulini with Pullin My Money Muscle took home the golden ticket. What I would have given to taste that steak because mine was (I thought) really good but not near good enough. Congratulations to those that got calls. 

On Saturday morning, Harco Loco BBQ had their sponsor show up and set up a nice presentation for the 9:22 Toast. After the socially distanced greetings, the comradery and the toast, the gloves were off, or shall I say stayed on because of new safety requirements… Either way, the competition was fierce! I would consider this an unusually high scoring contest for the North East, with the top 5 teams all in the 690’s and within 4 points of each other. Chicken turn ins were a little slow as all the extra precautions for judge seating and turn ins were still being ironed out but things seemed to pick up from there, and the judges seemed very satisfied with all the extra precautions for health safety. 

For KCBS backyard, D’Qued Barbeque took first place and MRC Barbecue took second in chicken. There was a little more distance between them (4 points) but the top 4 teams for chicken all had scores in the 170’s. As for ribs, House of Hawg BBQ took first place with a 174 and Butchie’s Backyard BBQ took second with a 170. The overall Backyard GC was D’Qued Barbeque, and House of Hawg BBQ took Reserve Grand. You all pay attention to these names because I see future Master Series contenders coming from this crowd. 

Everyone loves a Cinderella story! Did you know that just days prior to this contest our own MABA member Hank had hip replacement surgery? Talk about being tough, Hank must have gotten right out of the hospital and decided to cook a BBQ contest as part of his rehabilitation! That alone is noteworthy for the contest, but then imagine his surprise when it was announced that Weekend Smokers took the Grand Championship (their third ever according to BBQData.com) in a very stout crowd. Their 2nd place in ribs (178) and second place in brisket (179) along with two other better than mid-field finishes were enough to push them in front of the pack and way less than a point ahead of the Reserve!

Our friends at Smokecraft – MD did an amazing job with their pork (176) and got a 9th place call in ribs. I am guessing they were a bit more than surprised to hear their name for Reserve Grand! This is what happens when you are consistent. With their chicken and brisket in the “teens” they kept their pace and almost won the contest. Keep up the good work fellas and keep your eyes on Syd with Good Googly Goo. If he starts cooking the rest of his categories like he did chicken (1st place) and ribs (third place) this past weekend, and we know he can, we are all in BIG trouble!