| The 5th Annual Bakersfieldâs Biggest Baddest BBQ
by Steve Wilson
May 17-18, 2013
How would a Pitmaster describe their dream BBQ contest? In my mind, I would have a contest with 65 or so of my favorite peopleâŚBBQ people, competing at a centrally located site, on a nice piece of grass with perfect weather and a slight breeze, run by an experienced group of dedicated people for a wonderful charity, with thousands of hungry BBQ fans in attendance. I would like to see huge trophies handed out for the GC, RGC and 1 through 10 in each category. Iâd want it to be KCBS sanctioned and run by the best reps in the business and judged by a nice blend of judges from through out the state.
In Bakersfield this past weekend, we were all lucky enough to experience this dream. Bakersfieldâs 5th Annual Biggest Baddest BBQ was a dream come true to any BBQ enthusiast.
I left the greater Orange County area headed for the great Central Valley early Friday morning for a planned arrival at the Kern County Fairgrounds around 10:00am. I like to get to the competition early to set up my camp and start preparing as the other competitors start to arrive. As I rolled in, I was amazed that the venue was already packed with more than half the field of competitors. I knew right away this one was going to be special.
After setting up and having our meats inspected, the organizers came around and handed out Tri-Tips to those teams competing in the winner take all Tri-Tip Challenge. I didnât sample any of the Tri-Tip this year, but from last yearâs experience, I know it had to be awesome. Tri-Tip honors went to Kris Almquist of Karnivorous from Chandler, Arizona. Way to go Kris.
In conjunction with the Tri-Tip Challenge the organizers put on a well attended potluck dinner prior to the cooks meeting. For those not attending the potluck, there was a pizza bash hosted by Leftcoast Q in honor of Matt Daltonâs birthday and their back-to-back wins at Laughlin and Long Beach. The highlight was a spirited rendition of âHappy Birthday to Youâ lead by Sterling Ball on his ukulele.
Friday night was well attended by the fans of BBQ. I have to believe Bakersfield is one of the best BBQ communities around, there were 10+ teams from the Bakersfield area and the fans that came out Friday night were very interested in what we were doing as we prepped and readied our smokers. Really cool to see such a sparked interest.
Saturday dawned bright and beautiful. I just love the aroma rising from the venue in the morning. As Robert Duvall said in Apocalypse Now, âSmells likeâŚVictoryâ. And seeking victory was held at different levels this weekend. One particularly interesting story was the father/daughter battle between Pork Chop & Bubbaâs and BBQ Babes. Brandon Slichter, the head cook of Pork Chop and Bubba's has been cooking for many years and his daughter, Madison Slichter, started cooking with him at age 9. Now 14, she came to the conclusion, like all teenagers, that she knows more than her Dad. So she went out to prove it. As Dad tells it, she went to Outdoor Galore, a local BBQ store in Bakersfield and approached the manager saying she was looking for a sponsor. The manager asked, âfor what?â Her priceless response was âTo Beat My Dadâ. Well, sponsor they did but they also brought out torches and tables and the smokers. Madison had the best-equipped camp in the whole contest. Outdoor Galore, you guys are awesome to support this young lady so well.
All said, Brandon finished with better results, but there were certainly no losers in this friendly competition.
And now back to the main event. Dave & Marybeth Malone hosted the traditional 9:11 shots and wished everyone good luck for the competition. And luck was needed to compete in this stellar field of competitors. There were 19 teams with past GCâs, LCQ had been on a hot streak stringing two GCâs in a row. National Points chaser âTeam Enoservâ was here. And with the more centrally located venue, teams from both the North and South would be doing battle. If you were going to get a walk today, you were going to really be on your game.
As awards started, our Promoter Mike George called up the team of âPork Chop & Bubbaâsâ for a special award. Mike went on with an entertaining story about how Brandon Slichter of Pork chop & Bubbaâs was being recognized for meeting his present girlfriend at this event two years prior, their reward was a box of Cracker Jackâs. But there was more, as the two teammates arrived at the stage, Brandon went down to one knee and asked her to marry him. I was too far away to hear her response but from the perfect tackle and hugs along with the big smiles, I think I can safely say she said Yes. Congratulations on winning the best prize of the day!
Well, hard to follow, but chicken was next. Bowling Over Pigs took home the honors and the huge trophy followed by Royal Smokinâ Hot, Tropical Heat, Smokey Luv, and Cowboys Smokinâ Hot.
The Pork Rib category was next and honors and the huge trophy went to All Hogs Go To Heaven followed by Butcherâs Daughter, Dads Doing What They Love, Leftcoast Q and Cecilâs Smokinâ BBQ.
The Pork category had Big Bâs Down-n-Dirty BBQ take home the honors and the huge trophy followed by Hot & Smokinâ Catering, ZZYZX Bar. B. Q., Chicken Butt BBQ from Utah, and Butcherâs Daughter.
Brisket honors and the huge trophy went to All Sauced Up, followed by Burninâ and Lootinâ, Whoâs Smokinâ Now, Cecilâs Smokinâ BBQ and Hog Island Pitmasters.
Before the brisket category was announced, you could see that it was anyoneâs race to win and brisket was going to be super important. Team Enoserv had 3 walks, All Sauced Up had 3 walks prior to brisket, Butcherâs Daughter had 2 walks and would walk in Brisket, Big Bâs Down-n-Dirty had two walks, Burninâ and Lootinâ had two walks, Cecilâs had two walks, Dadâs Doing What They Love had two walks, Whoâs Smokinâ Now had two walks, All Hogs Go To Heaven had two walks.
When Dave Malone won the brisket Category coupled with his 8th place Chicken, 7th place Ribs, and 8th place Pork, he was the only one to walk in all four categories. You had to figure he had the GC wrapped up. But the RGC was still not clear. I thought it was going to be Donna from Butcherâs Daughter but she was third overall. The RGC went to Whoâs Smokinâ Now with a solid performance, 12th in Chicken, 6th in Ribs, 12th in Pork and 3rd in Brisket.
Outstanding job to all the Teams that took walks in this tight competition. And to the New King of Bakersfield, Dave Malone and All Sauced Up. This was their 3rd GC in 5 years at Bakersfield. Iâm pretty sure they are considering re-naming the Venue Malonefield in your honor. Congrats!
And many thanks to all the people behind the scenes of this great event, Mike George and Angie Trigueiro and their committee, K & K plus Gene and all the Judges, all the volunteers, all the teams and to the great city of Bakersfield for hosting such a first class contest. See you next year!!