NORMAN — Sizzling summer temperatures only added to some heated competition at the inaugural Kansas City Barbecue Society Smokin’ Up A Storm Charity Challenge.
Drawing competitors from as far away as Kentucky, Smokin’ Up A Storm was a tasty trial of culinary expertise for barbecue lovers of all ages at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds.
The top 10 competitors in each category received a plaque or trophy, depending upon their placement. Grand prize winners, Mike Payne and Stu Wintrode with Hogs on the Sause, walked away with a $7,000 prize.
Smokin’ Up A Storm also featured a competition for barbecue masters-in-training with the Kid’s Que, awarding trophies and plaques to competitors ages 6 to 17.
The event was a feast for visitors, but it also will feed the region’s hungry by donating the day’s proceeds to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
“Barbecue competitors use everything from backyard grills to 55-gallon drums to stainless steel smokers with custom paint jobs. While you can spend thousands of dollars on high-end equipment, the expense of the tools does not in any way guarantee superior food,” KCBS judge Sam Ott said. “It really comes down to great guesswork with temperature and timing and just luck.”
In addition to raising money for a charitable cause, Smokin’ Up A Storm was also environmentally friendly.
“This is a very unique aspect of the event. There are plenty of events and contests which have charitable goals, but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of such a recycle-friendly barbecue. It was set up very well,” Ott said.
All waste from the event — including meat, fat, bone, aluminum products, ash, paper, green, leafy matter and styrofoam — was all recycled. Vegetable matter was sent to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma Urban Harvest compost pile. Proteins, grease and oil were sent to Valley Protein Inc. to be used for animal feed and biofuels.
“We were really pleased to have hit our maximum number of desired competitors,” Ott said. “Events like this are a great opportunity for people to come together and have camaraderie, like coming back to the tailgate at OU football games.
“We hope this becomes the kind of annual event to make Norman a destination for people who might otherwise not visit.”