National BBQ Competition a big hit in Bangor’s Bass Park
By Ramona du Houx
America is known for BBQ. Native American’s had Barbeques (BBQs) and every nationality that has landed on these shores has enjoyed BBQ. It’s become a serious American tradition, as no July 4th is complete for millions without a BBQ.
Thirty-five BBQ cook teams drove their custom smoking rigs into Bass Park this fall, competing for the biggest BBQ prizes on the eastern seaboard. The park was full of enthusiastic people tasting stimulating BBQ with seasoning to please every pallet.
“It’s a nationally recognized event that’s growing every year. We’re very happy to have its annual roundup, if you will, right here in Bangor, Maine," said Mayor Joe Baldacci. “Most everyone loves BBQ.”
2017 marked the second year for the Great Maine BBQ Challenge, which encompassed competitions for both the regional New England Barbeque Society (NEBS) and the national Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). BBQ competitors from as far away as Florida and Ottawa, Canada participated.
This year’s 3-day event was a sanctioned State Championship, the winning teams earning points toward the Annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbeque in Lynchburg, TN, which is considered to be the Grand Daddy of all American barbeque competitions.
“BBQ is the truest American cuisine and the concept behind the existence of the BBQ societies and this GMBC event is to help keep that history alive,” said organizer Frank Pendola. “Next year we hope to grow and attract more than 40 teams.”
The competitors showed their prowess at smoking chicken, brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken wings, chili, and this year’s mystery meat, which turned out to be pork belly. Each team selected the best portions of what they cooked for the judging tent.
The public had the enviable job of enjoying the spoils when judging was complete.
“It took hard work from a lot people, including a host of dedicated volunteers, to make this year’s GMBC a success,” said Chad Daggett, Manager of the Sam’s Club in Bangor and co-organizer of the event. “The event supports the local community, and more importantly, local children, with proceeds supporting the Children's Miracle Network. We’re looking forward to making 2018 the best year ever for GMBC.”
Grand Champion: SMOKIN HOGGZ BBQ - MA
Reserve Champion: TEAM EATAPEDIA
Barbecuing techniques include smoking, roasting or baking, braising and grilling. The original technique is to cook the meet using smoke at low temperatures and long cooking times. Baking uses an oven to convection cook with moderate temperatures for an average cooking time of about an hour. Braising combines direct, dry heat charbroiling on a ribbed surface with a broth-filled pot for moist heat. Grilling is done over direct, dry heat, usually over a hot fire for a few minutes.