United Way of Nevada county brings state BBQ competition to Penn Valley | TheUnion.com

United Way of Nevada county brings state BBQ competition to Penn Valley

Kristian Hockingson is the past People’s Choice winner.
Submitted photo |

United Way of Nevada County announces a new state championship BBQ contest in Nevada County.

The annual Backyard BBQ contest and car show is being expanded to include a professional level BBQ championship, a new attraction will bring talented cooks from all over the western United States to compete for $5,000 in prize money.

The newly expanded event is called “Grills and Grilles” and will take place Aug. 8 at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley.

In this competition, barbecue teams battle it out as they compete for a California State Championship title and Team of the Year points.

This part of United Way’s annual barbecue event is being sanctioned by the nationally recognized Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) and entries are judged on their standards and weighting factors for appearance, taste, and tenderness.

For details on the judging and scoring system, visit the KCBS website. This competition is expected to have at least 20 barbecue teams showing up at Western Gateway Park to compete from all over the western states.

Along with the KCBS competition, United Way’s ninth annual Backyard BBQ competition will also be taking place.

This is a fun local competition that gives the public the chance to vote on their favorite barbecue team. This year the public will vote on their favorite Backyard BBQ and the team with the most spirit will also be awarded a trophy.

Spirit award winner Uptown Barber-Q-ers will also be coming out to defend their title as most spirited, first place Critic’s Choice and People’s Choice winners of 2014.

Past People’s Choice and Critic’s Choice winners, The Rib Doctors, headed up by Team Captain, Kristian Hockinson, will be defending their title at this fun and spirited event.

The Rib Doctors’ team captain, Kristian Hockinson answered a few questions and shared a recipe for his Beer Can Chicken below.

For more information on entering a barbecue team, visit http://www.uwnc.org or call 530-274-8111.

Q: What is your preferred method of grilling/special type of grill?

A: In competitions I use a BBQ/Grill I made out of a 55-gallon steel drum. I found that I needed more grill space and control of the heat so I fabricated my own barbecue that can hold two cases of ribs.


Q: What is your favorite item to barbecue, and why?

A: My favorite meat to grill is pork baby back ribs. Ribs are a fun finger food that works well for these competitions because one rack can be cut up into 13 tasters. With the volume of people that come to this event, I always run out of ribs.

Q: Tell us a little bit about The Rib Doctors:

A: The first year our main sponsor was Monster gym, they lent us the grill, shelter and donated some money. Thus, we were Team Monster. We have several sponsors that are well-known local businesses. 

Now there is no more Monster Gym so we chose a different name. The Rib Doctors was the new chosen name.

We are the same guys and cook the same ribs everyone comes back for. That is about all that we retained from the first year.

 Q: What made you decide to compete in the United Way event? How many years have you competed in BBQ Contest?

A: My friends and I were having one of our many summer cookouts when we discussed entering this competition four years ago. We decided we could be competitive and it would be fun, so we organized the team. United Way of Nevada County is an organization that supports needs in our community, and we support them.

Q: Do you have a recipe you would like to share with the public?

A: I will not share my winning recipe for ribs, however, I will share the following.

Beer Can Chicken

I start with the brine; this is where the flavor comes from and keeps the chicken moist.

Whole chicken

1 cup of salt to 4 cups water

Bring to boil, add some Worcestershire sauce and fruit juice (I use margarita mix or other citrus juice.)

Add crushed red pepper, optional

Boil 10 minutes, let cool.

I soak the cleaned chicken in the brine in a plastic container for 6-8 hours. Tip: Metal will change the flavor so I use a plastic bag. Let the chicken air dry for an hour before cooking, this is key.

This does a couple things; the air reacts with the salted water-soaked meat and brings the chicken to room temperature for even cooking.

The can: I use a beer can that I have tasted half of the fluid to make sure it will work. Then I cut the top of the can off and spray the can with cooking oil. It doesn’t matter what liquid is in the can; it does not add flavor.

The moisture is what is important, water even works. I close the neck hole of the chicken with toothpicks. Place chicken, open end down, over the beer can into the cavity so it will sit up on the can on the grill.

I cook the chicken over medium indirect heat until the temperature in the breast is 180 degrees.

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