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.