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Grilling up a good time

Annual barbecue competition comes back to the fairgrounds

 

More than 100 teams were expected to compete in barbecue, steak and chili competitions during the two-day Big Island Bar-B-Que Friday and Saturday at Freeborn County Fairgrounds.

The event includes State Chili, State Cookoff Association and Kansas City Barbecue Association State Championship competitions and a children’s cooking contest.

Fifty of the teams are slated to make barbecue, and 50 steak. Seven participated in the chili competition.

Cash prize money will be awarded for the top three People’s Choice chili cook applications, and the top 10 places in all categories except Overall were paid.

“It brings cooks and judges from multiple states into town,” said event founder Perry Vining of the barbecue. “It generates a lot of visitors from far away, and it’s an activity that the community can come and taste chicken wings.” 

Wells-based Brakebush Chicken donated 500 pounds of chicken wings for the event.

Adam Johnson competes in the Kids-Que barbecue competition Friday. It’s the 13-year-old’s first year competing at the Big Island Bar-B-Que. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Scott Schreier of Delano, who has competed in similar events in Wisconsin, South Dakota, Kansas City and Canada, participated in at least his sixth cooking event of the summer this weekend. He cooked chicken, brisket, pork and ribs.

“We always like competing against these other teams,” he said.

The Big Island Bar-B-Que was expected to include performances by Dave Lambert’s Brother Sun Sister Moon Friday night and 34th Infantry Division Variety Band on Saturday.

Hanna Lauer, 11, made hot dogs in the children’s competition. She said she competed after participating in a hamburger competition two weeks ago.

She said she enjoys cooking, a different hobby than her family.

Clara Chapek of Albert Lea cooked hot dogs basted with barbecue sauce and chili and beans.

Her father, Shane Chapek, was also cooking in the event, and she expressed confidence she would win.

Tom Kendhammer said he judged at the Big Island Bar-B-Que for three years and has competed for seven years. Kendhammer said he hopes his group, Nectar of the Hogs, has “tender” barbecue.

“We enjoy barbecue contests, and Perry always has really good ones,” he said. “The Freeborn County Fairgrounds are great for this kind of setup.”

Hanna Lauer, 11, prepares hot dogs in the children’s barbecue competition at the Big Island Bar-B-Que Friday. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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