MABA JUNE 2021 UPDATE
As we head into the second half of the season, I am thrilled to see how competitive cooking is thriving in our region. We have new cooks and teams joining MABA every month, BBQ teams earning their first GCs, steak cooks grabbing their golden tickets, Backyard teams making the jump to Master Series, and new judges, organizers and contests all around. There is great energy in the air. As always I am proud to be a part of our wonderful family, cheering each other on and supporting each other. Wishing everyone the best of luck for the rest of the year, and most importantly, fun and friendship.
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors who share our passion, support our obsession, and give us the great tools we need to succeed. We appreciate your support!
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns. I welcome all feedback from our membership. Be well and we hope to see you at a contest soon!
MABA Business Member Highlights!
270 Smokers We designed our line of insulated vertical cabinet convection smokers with a unique shape and patented heated draft that work in concert to optimize airflow in the cooking chamber. Our design creates one of the most stable, uniform, and efficient cooking environments to be found in a smoker.
These attributes, along with portability and ample cooking capacity, make the 270 line of smokers a great choice for both the beginning backyard cook and experienced Pit Master alike. Also, be sure to check out the line of accessories including the new and popular 270 Wolf Trays!
Mason Dixon BBQ Services Mason Dixon BBQ Services conveniently has two stores located in the center of the Mid-Atlantic region next to the Mason Dixon line. Mason Dixon BBQ Services offers BBQ supplies from rubs, sauces, pellets, charcoal and wood chunks to smokers and accessories.
BBQ Bootcamps and their ever popular Friday Lunches are also offered at their Greencastle, PA location!
Mid Season MABA Cup Winners
Now that BBQ season is full swing, two more MABA State Cup contests are in the books!!
The third MABA State Cup contest of the 2021 season took place at the BBQ Jamboree in Fredericksburg, VA on June 12th, 2021 where Pitmaster Chiles Cridlin and his Wolf’s Revenge BBQ team were crowned the Virginia MABA State Cup Champion!
The fourth MABA State Cup contest took place one week later on June 19th in Roanoke, West Virginia at the Almost Heaven BBQ Bash where Pitmaster Chris Jackson of Convicted Pigs BBQ Team were crowned the West Virginia MABA State Cup Champion!
A huge congrats to both teams!
Next up is the Pennsylvania State Cup Champion in Spring Grove on July 31st. Good luck to all MABA Pennsylvania teams!
Q & A With Ken Jensen, Organizer of the York County BBQ Festival
By Ron Calloway
This year, Ron Calloway of Zoni-Q had a chance to catch up with Ken Jensen, organizer of the York County BBQ Festival. Let’s see what they had to say…
Q. This is the 6th annual York County BBQ Competition and Street festival. Can you describe some of the preparation that goes into organizing such a large event?
A. Well, this is pretty much a year round planning exercise. We’ve just wrapped up this year’s event, and the next month or so will be spent checking our books, sending out thank yous, reporting results, and just wrapping up any leftover loose ends. At this point we also try to capture our own observations about what went well, and what could be improved, hopefully to be used as a lessons learned. Probably in September we will get together, try to fill any team vacancies, and start planning the next year’s event. We have to pick the date event, research any other schedule conflicts, then submit our sanctioning applications. A lot of planning has to happen this far in advance to choose what events you want to include, and new features, etc. so that they can be communicated with the local leadership, sanctioning bodies, competitors, and vendors. As the months tick on, we open registration for teams, judges and vendors. We also start the more detailed site layout planning, to include power planning. We have some pretty good lists of tasks and supplies that we’ve collected over several years, and we used those to make sure we are getting everything done in time for the event. It is really quite a large undertaking.
Q. Your team ran it’s second BBQ competition since the Covid 19 pandemic occurred. Can you describe some of the challenges you face to ensure everything is Covid 19 safe?
A. Last year was really strange, and we had to jump through a lot of extra hoops to pull off the competition. Everyone was still in full panic about touching anything that might be contaminated last year, so we added a lot of extra caution to keeping the food turn-in area and judging area as clean as possible. The table layouts changed, there were multiple layers of table cloth on each table, that were removed after each food, judges received individual bags with cleaning and judging supplies. That took a lot of extra supplies, when they still were not easy to find. This year a lot of that was more relaxed. We didn’t need as much spacing between tables, and were able to use more common sense in keeping the judges area and turn in area clean and safe. But since we had to plan our event back in September, we had no idea on how far out of the pandemic we might be. So we still limited a lot of the public facing events that we might have had if there were no restrictions due to COVID.
Q. Were there any specific challenges to running this year’s event?
A. Of course, there are always some new wrinkles to figure out. This year we wanted to bring the Street Fair portion of the event back, but the Main street area we usually use was not available. So we decided to pull everything together at the Community Center grounds and adjacent Elementary School. But because of that we had to figure out the best way to bring the public into where the competition was always held, without interrupting the competition. But even with that being planned out, I think we changed the layout at least 3 or 4 times, twice in the last week. That forced us to remain very flexible in our planning.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for the competitors to be best prepared for the event?
A. That’s a hard one for me to give a good answer on. I’ve gotten to know several of the teams over the years, and have seen only some of what they go through to have a successful cook. I’d have to say, be prepared, have a plan in place for how you want to approach your cook, and practice. I see a lot of these teams posting pictures of their practice runs weeks before an event, and it must work. I’d also say, get to know the other teams around you. The BBQ community really seems to stick together and will readily help each other out. So if you need something, or have a question, ask.
Q. Can you tell me how many volunteers your team has and is there anyone you’d like to recognize?
A. Wow, it seems like there are never enough volunteers to do what you really want to do. But we did get a lot of great help this year. I’d have to start with Rick Farrington, he’s the guy who started this thing 6 years ago at the town’s urging. He’s really the guy who keeps this moving. Then there is Cheyenne Knight, who has helped us from the beginning also, doing marketing websites, communications and vendor relations. She moved out to the Pittsburgh area and will be hard to replace. Then the list gets pretty large, Sal Ferranti, Cindy Seibel, Michele Frey, Linda Brittain, Norm and Marcy Laferte, Derrick Bennington, Darlene Ader, Deb White, Tony Hall, Joe Sledge, Cameron Ingool, Amy Boegner, Bill Langston, Theodore Kryven and the team from Exelon, and the list goes on. It’s hard to pull off an event like this, and the volunteers help us out all year round, without enough thanks.
Coach’s Corner – Pitmaster Tips
By Steve Dotson
If you’re involved in food sport, you probably have some aspirations of being a top competitor. I’m not saying we don’t love to have a great time on the weekends with our bbq and steak family, but I am saying if that was all we cared about was hosting a cookout, it would be a lot cheaper. With that said, if you want to get to the top of the heap in your sport and division, there’s only one way up and that’s no secret, it’s hard work and dedication and today we’re talkin bout practice.
I have a buddy who likes to jokingly talk about all the mental practicing he does and to some extent that’s great. You definitely need to spend some time trying to minimize all the variables in your cook, review what you did in previous cooks, and devise what you’re going to try to do differently and hopefully better the next go around.
However, there is no substitute for getting out there, lighting a fire, and treating a practice session exactly like it’s a competition. The way I look at practice is It’s much cheaper and less painful for me to make a mistake in my driveway than to make a silly error at a competition. The only way to really know how to handle a catastrophe is to go through one, let’s try to make sure we experience that at home where the entry fee is free.
So get out there, have a great time, make food sport what you want it to be, and if that means you want to go to the top, you better act like it when you’re in your driveway just as much as you do when you get on site.
York County BBQ Festival Contest Recap
By Ron Calloway
The town of Delta, Pennsylvania held its sixth annual York County BBQ Festival on June 18 and 19, 2021 and by all accounts it was rousing success. The hot and humid weather didn’t deter local crowds from attending the festival which was a welcome site compared to the 2020 competition when only BBQ Competition teams attended.
Going back to 2020, Ken Jenson and his organizing team was able to host the first KCBS BBQ competition in the mid-Atlantic region and they were rewarded in 2021 with 65 competition teams in attendance. In addition, several teams chose York County BBQ Festival as their first ever competition. That is quite an accomplishment considering this year’s date change and the fact that there was another KCBS competition held in West Virginia this same weekend.
Aislyn Smolka – Kids Que Champion
Added to the excitement of the event was a Kids Que and SCA Steak Competition on Friday night. The Kids Que is an awesome way to introduce children to the world of cooking and this year’s winner was Aislyn Smolka. Her parents Heather and Frank from Red Smoke BBQ were smiling from ear to ear as Aislyn received her award. Runner up in the Kids Que was Andrew Carey, son of Aaron Carey from MRC BBQ Team. In addition to the posted cash awards someone graciously contributed to the winner’s payout! Congratulations to all the Kids Que participants!
Andrew Carey – Kids Que Reserve Champion
The SCA awards saw some familiar faces with Rolfe Garret taking first place with Gary Zimmerman winning second place and the coveted Golden Ticket since Rolfe already qualified for the SCA World Championship. Robyn Garret, Michele Perelka and Greg Boggs rounded out the Top Five SCA finishers.
The Master Series had 41 teams and a hearty congratulations goes to Jerry Gates, Pitmaster from Bar-B-Que Mayhem as first time Grand Champion! Jerry has been competing for ten years after nailing a second place rib call at the Keystone Classic in 2011.
His best previous finish was third place overall in 2014. “I am blessed to have the means to compete and am very thankful for my fiancé Heather, my family and of course my BBQ family” commented Jerry. Bar-B-Que Mayhem finished third in chicken, fourteenth in ribs, second in pork and second in brisket to bring home a total score of 695.3832. Way to go Jerry! The RGC was awarded to Daniel Jacobellis from Top Gun Barbeque with a total score of 689.6344. The top five Master’s Overall was completed by Dan Hixson from Minister of Q and his first-place brisket call, Ercole Chila from Uncle Pig’s BBQ Pit and his first-place ribs call then Greg Boggs from Boggs Hogs BBQ and his first-place pork call. Greg Boggs was also gracious to host the 9:22 good luck shot with a healthy serving of Bulleit Bourbon. Thanks Greg and Bulleit Bourbon!
Jon Wade – Backyard RGC / Rob Weber – Backyard GC
The Backyard Series had 24 teams compete and the Grand Championship was won by Rob Weber of Weber’s Backyard BBQ with a total score of 345.0856 aided by his first-place rib call. Winning GC at York was icing on the cake for Rob as just six weeks earlier he and wife Cindy welcomed their son Dominic Robert into the world! Let’s give Dominic a couple years and I’m sure he will be ready to compete in the 2026 Kids Que. The RGC for Backyard was won by Jon Wade of Optimus Swine 757 helped by his second-place chicken call. Way to go Jon! The remaining top five overall Backyard teams were Brewski’s BBQ, Shiggin Chicks and Mispillion Meat Works.
Bob and Angela McKee and Louise Weidner and the KCBS judges are to be commended for their steady work. While we may not always agree with our individual scores it’s nice to know the KCBS Reps and judges try their hardest to be fair. MABA and all event competitors also want to thank Ken Jenson and his awesome team for doing a stellar job running this event. With today’s health environment and regulations this team worked tirelessly to present a safe and fun event. I know I saw many patrons having a great time at the festival. Ken is especially grateful for Rick Farrington for his hard work and dedication to organizing this great event. I cannot speak for all teams, but I found it refreshing to see so many festival attendees who were interested in BBQ. Maybe next year I won’t cook next to Syd from Good Googly Goo BBQ as literally every single competitor and attendee stopped by to chat with him. I’d venture a strong guess they were looking for his chicken recipe! All the attention surely didn’t affect his cook as he finished sixth overall!