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Teams get ready for tomorrow's West Coast BBQ Classic at the Queen Mary

It is less than 24 hours till the start of the Queen Mary's 2014 BBQ Championship Classic and the teams are setting up and doing prep. Tomorrow, May 10, will be a wonderful day for anyone who likes the taste and aroma of classic barbecue. Today, speaking to the, some of these teams talked about tomorrow's contest and barbecuing. Renea Teasdale, of the Woodshed BBQ Team, said. “We are doing our first competition The Woodshed Company is located in Orange and we supply a lot of the teams with the Shed's Gourmet Cooking Wood”.

Outta Gas BBQ is preparing short ribs for tomorrow's BBQ Classic at the Queen Mary
Edward Simon
Barbecue fans are welcomed to the Third Annual West Coast BBQ Classic at the Queen Mary in Long Beach
Edward Simon

Renea thinks they have a good chance in the competition. She said, “Our ribs and our brisket should really do well. I've been doing BBQ for the last four years; it's the family business. We've really gotten into the quality cooking woods. We're going to be using pecan and cherry in our reverse-flow cooker. We also have a Santa Maria grill that we're going to be doing our teriyaki chicken on”. We'll also be having for the people, Maui Wowie Barbecue Sticks and Hawaiian Baked Beans. We'll also be doing some tri-tip in the pit barrel”.

The Third Annual West Coast BBQ Classic is one of the biggest events held at the Queen Mary's Events Park. It is easily one of the most popular on the BBQ Championship circuit, with all 60 BBQ team slots being booked for this year almost before the grills were cold last year. As one of the events of the circuit that is sanctioned by both the national organization, the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) and the California BBQ Association (CBBQA), it attracts the best of the best who come to barbecue, compete, visit with friends and prove that they make the best BBQ around. It is an important event on the way to the National Championship.

Outta Gas BBQ already had delicious smells coming from their grill. Chris Ades, on the grill, said “These are beef short ribs, for the Outta Gas Beef Short Rib Tacos. This is something we can produce on a good scale on backyard equipment”. Like may teams, Outta Gas uses a combination of Weber Grills and Weber Smokey Mountain Cookers to cook their meat. They also use a Big Green Egg, one of the other popular cookers for smoking and grilling. Chris is looking forward to cooking barbecue for everyone, saying “If it's any indication from last year, it's going to be great. There were a ton of people here last year. Everybody was hungry and looking to eat. We sold out; didn't bring enough food and ran out around 1 o'clock at the latest. People were coming to the booth begging for food and we didn't have anything for them. This year it will be better. We doubled what we brought last year!”.

Smoke Hound BBQ Team, from Ontario, CA, was getting their equipment set up and putting up their banner. They are a family team, with “myself, Mike Brady, my wife Gail and my daughter Amanda. Our mascot is a basset hound that helps me every time I go into the smoker. We are a Rookie Team this year. This is our fourth competition and so far we are in First Place in the Rookie Race. We're not doing everything right, but we're not doing everything wrong either! We're having a great time and looking forward to competing!”.

Mike's favorite meats for the competition are brisket and ribs. He enjoys coming for the entire event, not just the cooking aspect of it. “I just enjoy barbecuing, family, getting out, meeting people and having fun! I've got my son-in-law coming down shortly, he's going to cook racks of ribs for the 'People's Choice'”. The People's Choice category is not a defined category for competitive barbecuing. Those categories are beef brisket, pork shoulder, ribs and chicken. People's Choice allows teams to cook anything they want so the crowd can purchase different BBQ dishes. At the end, there will also be a tally of who was the most popular under the People's Choice category.

Meanwhile, Dead Pig Walking BBQ Team was getting ready to hang their banner up. Tim Wong said about his team, “We're doing the four competition meats, chicken, ribs, pork butt and brisket. We're also going to do the People's Choice. We've been barbecuing since 2011, our little tag line is 'Sending pigs to heaven since 2011'! It kind of goes along with our theme! We didn't do it last year, but we liked the location so much we just had to get back here this year. You just can't find a more fitting, scenic venue than the Queen Mary”.

Tim loves barbecue, not only cooking competitively but serving on the Board of Directors of the California BBQ Association. He also runs the classes for the Association, with the classes covering everything from basic backyard cooking all the way to advanced stuff and on up through competitive barbecuing. “This is a Team of the Year event”, Tim said. For a Team of the Year event, it has to be nationally sanctioned and have a few other qualities. It's a year-long race. Team of the Year''s been going on easily thirteen years now. It's exciting stuff! Sometimes it comes down to the very last contest of the year. A large contest like this one in Long Beach is a one-hundred pointer, so it's very important that teams make a good showing here”.

Tim is also excited about the turnout for this year's event. “I think it's going to go even greater this year. I've seen more publicity about it this year. Arlie [Bragg, producer of the KCBS BBQ competitions] and the Queen Mary have done a super job of bringing every thing together for us”.

Daniel Jess, of Smokey Dokey Barbecue Team, said that “We're prepping, just getting a little Korean ribs going right now to keep our energy levels high. Twenty hours of smoking ahead of us, you know it's going to be a long haul, but we've brought about ninety pounds of meat and we're just going to have at it!”. His team has also brought several of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cookers as well as a large offset smoker so his team can handle any of the meats in the competition.

For Daniel, the BBQ Classic has a hometown feeling to it. “This is a great event and a great venue. I lived in Long Beach for a few years and went to school here. I was married on the Queen Mary three years ago. It's great to be back! We live in Torrance, so we drove down for two days to be here. This is our first competition, so I'm kind of anxious to see how it all unfolds. I've been cooking for about nine years, so I'm pretty confident with the food. I'll stick to what I know and see how it turns out! ”. He added, “As long as I learn and have fun, it'll be great!”.

Bad Boy Barrel BBQ is one of the veteran teams at the event. For the People's Choice, they will be doing something a little bit different than the other teams, a smoked tri-tip beef taco and a pulled pork beef taco with some barbecue hot sauce and some pico de gallo. Dave Cardona, along with his son Jed and childhood friend Fred Keeler, will be doing the barbecuing for the team. Dave has been doing competitive barbecuing for over 20 years now, although it is Fred's first time in a competition. “I was going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, got a Santa Maria grill and started by doing tri-tip”, Dave said. Another local team, he went to St. Anthony's High School along with Fred and later to Cal State Long Beach as well.

Many teams do the BBQ for the competition and money, but Dave has other incentives for his barbecuing. “We do competition barbecue for the sport and fun of it and continuous learning, but the barbecuing, at least in my son's heart and mine, is our ability to give back to the community. We do fund raisers; we've raised over $800,000 with our pits and our barrels”.

Dave keeps busy working with several different organizations. “Some of the charities we're associated with are Precious Life Shelter, We Care, some of the high school athletic events for Los Alamitos, Mater Dei, St. Anthony's and St. John Bosco, quite a number of church and social events in the neighborhood as well. At the St. Hedwig's Carnival last year, we did over two thousand pounds of tri-tip and meat for that weekend and raised quite a bit of money; that's how we cut our teeth for doing this. We're really happy that a lot of our blood, sweat and tears goes back to the community and also some charitable events. We're real proud of that”.

The Third Annual West Coast BBQ Classic will be held on Saturday, May 10, at the Queen Mary Events Park in Long Beach. Tickets and information are available through the Queen Mary's BBQ event website. At stake for the BBQ teams is over $10,000 in cash prizes and the coveted title of “West Coast BBQ Pitmaster Champion”. Live entertainment, a “Kid's Country”, eating contests, a merchant market and more will round out the fun at the Queen Mary Events Park. Sixty teams will be participating in the categories of chicken, ribs, pork and beef. In addition, many teams will be offering their 'People's Choice' entries for the public. Tasting portions are available from many of the teams for $2 each.

Third Annual West Coast BBQ Classic

May 10, 2014

11am to 6pm

Queen Mary Events Park

1126 Queens Highway

Long Beach, CA 90802

Ph: 800-437-2934

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