BBQ Tour Stop #13 - New Jersey State Barbecue ChampionshipJuly 13, 2009 Chris, Spencer and I headed toward North Wildwood, NJ and the New Jersey State Barbecue Championship anxious to dip our toes in the ocean and walk on the white sandy beaches. After spending a day at the Atlantic City boardwalk, we traveled south to North Wildwood. We pulled into town and parked on our familiar corner of Chestnut and Olde New Jersey Ave.
This year was a bit different than last year because the team competition area had moved. Last year, there were 30 teams squeezed in a lot about half the size of a basketball court surrounded by a six-foot tall chain link fence. This year the teams were moved to the north end of the event, which is really only six or seven blocks long, to a parking lot along the edge of the sea wall. The much larger team location brought in over sixty teams. For many of the teams, this was their first time at this event that still holds a lottery for entry.
The weather was nice for the most part, with the evenings requiring a light jacket for the cool ocean breeze. Most teams show up on Friday and the judging is on Sunday. Sunday’s weather brought back memories of last year with not a cloud in the sky to block out the wicked hot sun.
Last year, we had to drive back to a hotel in Atlantic City the first couple of nights. We learned our lesson and made reservations on the Island at the Harbor Light Motel this year, which was good because our truck was blocked in Friday night. We decided to walk to the hotel. It was great until we remembered that we had to walk back in the morning. There is nothing like some good exercise to help wear off the good BBQ.
We were invited to eat on Saturday night by a team we met last year, Mike Casey and Big Don Wooten with Mason Dixon Smokers. Well to be honest, we were invited by a couple of teams but when Don was talking about his sausage and crab fattie, we had to stop by. We ran into the Philly Pigs who were nice enough to do a demonstration from the stage with us last year. A new team from last year, Stewed, Qued and Tattooed was there again and we met the guys from Off the Hoof among others.
On Sunday morning, we also had a visit from the Mayor of North Wildwood thanking us for attending their fine event. Chris and I have to agree that Eric and his crew run a great event, which raises money for the local Anglesea Fire Department.
Since this is a KCBS sanctioned event, we saw many judges on Saturday and Sunday. It was nice to see the new maroon CBJ shirts, as well as, a few blue and white ones and even a couple of old blue CBJ shirts with the pink printing. Jack and Patty, a couple who judges together, visited with us Sunday as we were tearing down. They shared some of the same experiences that we heard from other judges over the weekend. They said there was not a bad entry for the day, which shows the level of competition in the area.
After awards on Sunday, it was nice to pack up and relax for a bit. The team of Fat Angel BBQ was the Grand Champion of the event and one of the members’ mother and grandmother stopped by to introduce themselves. It was great to see how proud they were of the showing and to see the young man walking back to his booth holding the Grand Champion plaque high above his head, beaming with pride.
Mike (Chris & Spencer) Peters