DOVER – Ladies and gentlemen, start your grills!
His team, Love Me Tender, is based out of his Clayton garage and composed of friends and family.
“This is just a fun hobby we have together and this competition is always run fabulously,” Mr. Marino said. “I actually just had surgery and got out of the hospital, but this was an event I just couldn’t miss.”
While teams were cooking up their dishes, hundreds of barbecue lovers were trying more than 30 teams’ pulled pork to vote on for the People’s Choice Award.
“When I am judging them, I look for certain criteria like taste, texture and eye appeal. A lot of people think if it’s a little pink, it’s undercooked, but for me that’s just perfect when you see the difference from the dark outside to the pink inside,” Jason Vander Schel of Newark said during the tasting.
Although Mr. Vander Schel is only an amateur judge, he said he cooks his own barbecue at home in a smoker he built himself and is considering becoming a competitor in the future.
Mr. Vander Schel was sampling five different teams’ pulled pork, but others tried to taste of a wider variety.
“We tried to all get different ones so we could try as many as possible,” Kim Small of Lewes said who attended the event with her family and friends.
“I prefer the wet sauce and I go a lot off smell so that’s how I decided which ones to sample,” Sam Russell also of Lewes said. “I cook a little barbecue on my own so it’s interesting to see what everyone brings out here to show.”Matt Sturgis of Townsend couldn’t resist sharing his pulled pork samples with his 20-month-old daughter Natalie during the Triple Threat BBQ, Beer & Music Festival. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)[/caption]
Mr. Russel and the Smalls also took advantage of the wide variety of beer that was available for purchase at the event.
“We love local beers like Old Dominion but today decided to go with Bud Light and Shock Top, but it’s nice to see such a wide variety to choose from,” Russ Small said.
Most of the teams competing had catchy names but the People’s Choice Award was a blind taste test, served by the Fair’s volunteers, so attendees wouldn’t be swayed by the name of the team or the personality of the cooks.
After sampling, attendees could drop a ticket into the box corresponding with the number of the dish they liked the best.
While the People’s Choice voting was underway, most teams were working on ribs to be judged by professionals.
“I like cooking all the different dishes, but I really like the ribs and I’d describe mine as sweet with a little heat,”
Mark Holeva, leader of Papa Smoking Again said while his ribs were on the grill.
Le Prima Catering headed by Kyle Vermeulen, a chef originally from New York residing in Annapolis said his ribs are St. Louis-style.
“Even though I haven’t been there, I’d say these are St. Louis ribs,” he said. “ The sauce we use is a cherry bourbon barbecue.”
Mr. Vermeulen has been cooking for 30 years but is relatively new to the competition scene.
“It’s our third competition and we are here just to feel it out,” he said.
His team already has a first place win under its belt for its original sauce and was looking forward to the judge’s review at Triple Threat.
Award winners for both the judge’s and People’s Choice categories will be posted online at delawarestatefairgrounds.com.