This year’s competition had a bonus category available for competitors in which to to participate. Sponsored by McCormick Grill Mates, a 5th challenge in the delicious art of Seasoning with Grill Mates was available to anyone wanting to try their hand in this special category. Kansas City was one of only four other cities hosting McCormick Grill Mates for this special competition, and thanks to the team at McCormick, Visit KC’s Carolyn Anderson got to interview a couple of competitors who were eager to submit their creations to the judges.
While the Kansas City barbecue competition scene might get the most attention during The American Royal, there’s another major competition in town that heats up every June just across the border in Kansas. Since 1982, The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle has brought the best BBQ’ers around for the biggest competition in the state. It’s so big, in fact, that in 1984, Governor John Carlin declared the contest the official Kansas State Championship. I was eager to see what the “second biggest Kansas City-area barbecue competition” was all about.
Kevin Boetcher and Ed Youngwirth of Team “Tender Racks N’ Smokin’ Butts” were competing for their 8th year at the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle. They opted to highlight the peppers and garlic spices in Grill Mates by making a Philly Tenderloin, adding fresh, grilled vegetables to their own specially cooked meat. Outside the competition, their creations can be enjoyed at The Rub Bar-B-Que in Olathe, KS. Ink Magazine recently added their “Hillbilly Bowl” to their barbecue bucket list, so I think these guys knew what they were doing!
Next up I visited Team Fire in the Hole to see what they thought might win them the judges vote in this new category. Tim Byrnes said joining this additional category was easy as they’ve been using McCormick Grill Mates for over 24 years and have won 3rd place in the miscellaneous category for a perfectly seasoned salmon. This year they decided to go big with a smoked prime rib. I got pretty jealous of the judges and what they’d get to be eating in just a few hours. This lineup of ingredients is only half of what would be seasoning the prime rib entry.