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The Kingsford® $40K Challenge

The $40k Insider

They are the champions
Jul 28, 2011

New Jersey-based Fat Angel BBQ is likely humming right along to Queen’s “We are the Champions” after taking home an armful of awards at the New Jersey State Barbecue Championship. They were named Grand Champion and took home the Kingsford Points Chase check. The team also took home first place in chicken and brisket and fourth in ribs and pork.

Eric Keating and Steve and Loren Raab are the masterminds behind Fat Angel BBQ. They have been competing together since 2007. Fat Angel BBQ is named after a brew that was once produced by their sponsor, Magic Hat Brewing Company. The brew, Fat Angel Ale, has been discontinued, but will be available again for a limited time soon. 

The team actually entered the world of competitive BBQ in 2003 when they apprenticed with Loren’s uncle Rich Decker of Lost Nation Smoke Company. After four years, the group struck out on their own. In 2008, Fat Angel BBQ launched a BBQ catering company, and has since opened two restaurants.

Despite some outsider misgivings about New Jersey brisket (one team member from Texas, surprised that a team from New Jersey won first place in brisket at the 2008 Best of the Best, National BBQ Festival, announced that he “didn’t even know they had brisket in New Jersey”), the category has proven to be a successful one for Fat Angel BBQ. They took home first place in the category at their very first competition in Salisbury, Md.

The team competes in 6-8 competitions each year. Their most memorable win came in 2009 at the legendary American Royal World Series of Barbecue, where the team beat out 488 teams for first place in ribs.

When grilling at home, the team likes to keep things simple. Steve’s favorite marinade for steak is his mother’s – equal parts olive oil, ketchup and vinegar along with chopped garlic. He also stressed the importance of seasoning the meat, “I never cook meat without a dry rub.”

Also racking up points last weekend was Lotta Bull BBQ. The team was named Grand Champion at the South Carolina Festival of Discovery in Greenwood, S.C. They also took home to Kingsford Points Chase check and first place in brisket. Their win moved them up to third place overall in the Kingsford Points Chase.

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