Saturday night’s torrential rain didn’t daunt the 25 barbecue teams who competed this weekend at the fourth annual WilliePallooza—but it did make for a sleepless Saturday night. The teams had set up their smokers in the parking lot of VFW Post 6431 in Brentwood on Saturday. That day’s activities included grilling lessons for the public and a chili contest, won by Blazin’ Buttz. The peoples’ choice award went to the Smoke ’n Barrel and Smokin Charlie VFW.
Later in the afternoon the teams prepared their ribs, pork butts and briskets—cuts of meat which would need the night to smoke before being judged on Sunday. As the rain poured and the wind blew, the teams struggled to keep themselves, their work areas and—most importantly—their smokers dry. No one slept much.
Sunday morning the sun came out and the teams readied their chicken to smoke. (Chicken only takes a few hours in the smoker so it doesn’t have to be started the night before.) Judging, by two dozen Kansas City Barbecue Society-certified judges, commenced at noon and the results were announced at 4:30 p.m.:
The prize for chicken went to Smokers Lounge; ribs to Grim Reapers; pulled pork to Babylon Grill Billies and brisket to BBQ Brethren. The grand champion, with the highest overall score, was BBQ Brethren (Phil Rizzardi of Nesconset assisted by Scott Owitz of Shokan, NY) who had also placed high in ribs and pulled pork.
The event, a fundraiser for Long Island Cancer Help & Wellness Center, raised more than $1,000, according to Alex Fezza, the organization’s executive director.
WilliePallooza is organized (and named for) Will Breakstone, Long Island’s much-decorated barbecue champion. Sample the great man’s smokin’ wares at Lily Flanagan’s in Islip.
The BBQ Brethren team puts the finishing touches on two racks of ribs.