MASON CITY, Iowa – The Up in Smoke BBQ Bash is one of the biggest BBQ competitions in the area, and it draws in competitors from all over.
These cooks are experts, so we thought we’d try to get some tricks of the trade.
“Don’t cover up the taste of the meat, the judges don’t seem to like that too much.”
Rich Davis from Q Crew Competition BBQ Team has been competing at Up in Smoke for years, so he knows a thing or two on how to win over the judges.
“Buy the highest quality meat that you can get, and finding the right balance of the smoke and seasoning. A lot of people that start out tend to over smoke things, or go too heavy on seasonings,” Davis explains.
There are 10 teams that are new to the competition this year, including Ryan Friesth with Bonehead BBQ out of Fort Dodge, IA.
He heard this event has a lot of competition, and he’s ready for it.
“It’s a challenge just trying to get everything perfected. Get your times right and everything,” says Friesth.
A team who seems to have their BBQ strategy down, is the Fire for Effect or FFE BBQ Team.
They are not, just veterans of this competition, they’re also military veterans.
“It’s consistency. If you stick with your same recipe and that kind of stuff, and make sure your procedures are done correctly, you should get a call hopefully by the end of the day. We’ll see,” says Troy Elwood with FFE BBQ.
When you’re talking about veterans of BBQ, you have to mention Bill Milroy, aka “Grandpa BBQ.”
Bill has been doing competition BBQ since 1977. He and the Texas Rib Rangers are, of course competing, but folks can actually taste their award-winning food, because they’re also vending.
“We have beef, we have pork, we have chicken, and we have ribs. You can buy it by the pound, you can buy it by the slab, you can get a 3 bone sampler, and you can get dinner,” explains Milroy.