Meat, meat and more meat. And talking about meat. And learning about meat. If this sounds like your idea of heaven, come on down to Manorville this weekend. The Maples restaurant is hosting the fifth annual Battle of the BBQ Brethren, Long Island's pre-eminent barbecue competition. Forty teams will be competing for more than $10,000 in prize money and an invitation to the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City. Spectators will have plenty to eat, see and do, too.
First, we are having a live chat with Phil Rizzardi, barbecue champion and founder of BBQ Brethren. Bring all your barbecuing and grilling questions and then read about the event below.
True barbecue -- cooking meat at a low temperature using wood smoke -- is a long, slow process. That's why the actual barbecue judging doesn't begin until noon Sunday. In the meantime, there's plenty of time for grilling.
On Saturday, teams will compete in four grilling categories: appetizer, dessert and two wild-card "chef's choice" challenges. The judging panel will include Michael Proietti and Brett August, two finalists from Season 5 of "The Next Food Network Star." Winners will be announced around 3 p.m. and the four top finishers will advance to a "Chopped"-style grilling shootout.
Grillers will be given a box containing a meat, a vegetable and a starch. They will have 15 minutes to come up with a dish and an hour to cook it. Competing along with the grillers will be a surprise celebrity chef.
This is the heart of the event, a New York State championship sanctioned by the country's leading authority, the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Teams will compete in the four standard categories: chicken, ribs, pork butt and brisket. It's fascinating to watch the teams compose their submissions in regulation Styrofoam "turn-in boxes." A stray leaf of the wrong type of lettuce can be reason for disqualification.
Judges for the barbecue have all completed a rigorous judging course to ensure that personal preferences don't outweigh the society's standards. "Turn-ins" begin at noon. The award ceremony should get under way around 4 p.m.
WHAT ELSE IS ON THE MENU
Cooking demonstrations will be held throughout the weekend, many of which will be conducted by Paul Kirk, PhB (doctor of barbecue philosophy), a world barbecue champion many times over. Kirk will expound on barbecue sauces (Saturday, 11 a.m.), rubs (Saturday, 1 p.m.), sides (Sunday, 11 a.m.) and ribs (Sunday, 1 p.m.). Lee Perotta, proprietor of Oyster Bay's Chocolate Lady shop, will tackle Cooking With Chocolate (Saturday, 3 p.m.); TV's Joe Tuna will discuss Seafood on the Grill (Saturday, 5 p.m.); pastry chef Gerard Molloy will teach Desserts on the Grill (Sunday, 3 p.m.).
Barbecue will be available for sampling; the primary barbecue vendor will be RUB BBQ, the celebrated Manhattan barbecue restaurant that is opening a branch in East Meadow this week. Also on offer: sausage and peppers, corn on the cob, Ralph's Italian Ices and Mr. Softee (silenced, we hope).
For the barbecue-averse (or for those who just need a break), the Long Island Moose Classic Car Club is hosting a custom car show on Saturday. About 50 cars are expected and prizes will be awarded at 4 p.m. Also on hand will be live music from Middle Island's Lisa and the Leftovers.
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at The Maples, 10 Ryerson Ave., Manorville
All of the finalist teams from last year's championship will return this year to defend their crowns. Here are the top-place finishers from the 2010 Battle of the BBQ Brethren:
Grand champion: Out of the Ashes, Islip
Reserve champion: Chubby Hubby BBQ, Medford
Chicken competition: Out of the Ashes
Ribs competition: Brothers in Smoke, Nesconset
Pork: Swamp Pit BBQ, Wantagh
Brisket: Gotham City Grillers, Ronkonkoma