Last-minute grilling and garnishes for presentation were being finished Saturday morning for the Kansas City Barbeque Society-Sanctioned BBQ competition as part of the Taste of Downtown Danville.
The 25 teams competing this year, up from 17 last year for the first event, were preparing their best meats for judging.
Some were new at the process, while some others were old hat, as they travel around to barbecue competitions.
The grand champion prize was $1,000, with reserve champion receiving $500 and other category prizes too.
Joe Drejewski with B.U.Z.Z. BBQ of Danville said a half point or full point off in a category can make a huge difference.
“I’m taking more time with garnishes,” Drejewski said about the appearance portion of judging.
Judging also is more so on the tenderness and taste of the meats. The categories were chicken, pork, ribs and brisket and also for side dish and people’s choice.
First-time competitor, Steve Ridge of Danville, with the North Street Que for U team, said other competitors were offering him tips and direction.
“It’s a lot more to it,” Ridge said, adding that he’s also gotten very little sleep the last couple of days.
He said he’s had a “lot of glitches,” such as having to make baked potato salad as his side dish entry.
But he had high hopes for his brisket.
Elsewhere, lined up along Vermilion Street downtown, 22-year-old Jesse Street of Wood River said this was also his first competition at the urging of his girlfriend.
It was a last-minute decision and some other people provided him with grills.
“I’m the youngest competitor,” he said.
He too said he was learning along the way and was getting tips from people. He estimated he’d only slept an hour and a half in the last night or so.
“I’m honestly trying to win it,” Street said, adding that it’s a fun competition.
Though the barbecue competition ended Saturday, the Taste of Downtown Danville still continues today, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a community church service, food and other vendors, live music and children’s and other activities.
Jasen Adam of Danville, with 82’s BBQ, said he is happy to see how the event has grown in its second year to include more food and other vendors, music and other activities.
He also was pleased to see 25 teams because that meant this competition was now a qualifier for other KCBS competitions.
This is the sixth barbecue competition Adam has competed in this year. He’s traveled around Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.
“It’s a fun kind of stress,” he said about the competitions.
Alan Brouilette with the Chicago team of Beer and Smoking in Las Vegas said they have a better idea what they are doing now at these competitions. This is their fourth one.
“We had a ball out of this last year,” he said.
Taste of Downtown Danville festival-goers J. and Sue Johnson said they were looking forward to trying some of the barbecue samplings.
They also bought some items for their grandchildren, including a Halloween bow.
They said the event is a great idea to bring people downtown.
“This is nice,” Sue said, adding that it’s nice to stay in Danville for a great weekend festival like this.
They said Danville should have weekend events like this, whether there are car or other shows, throughout the year.