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BBQ Tour Stop #14: West Allis, WI

August 18, 2010

Chris and I headed towards Wisconsin and the Wisconsin State Fair which is an eleven-day fair but we only participated on the first four days. On the way, we stopped in Fontana, Wisconsin at the Abbey Resort on the shores of Lake Geneva. Our good friend Matt is the Pitmaster of the Waterfront Restaurant and Bar and smokes up BBQ on his ABS smoker there on the weekends while growing his sauce and seasoning business. Since it was Chris’ birthday, Matt arranged for Chris and me to stay at the Abbey, which has hosted numerous Presidents, politicians, and dignitaries, and is working on hosting a KCBS competition in 2011.

As we loaded onto the fairgrounds, it reminded us of the Kansas State Fair which I worked at during my Kansas Cellular days with the familiar sounds and smells of the show animals as we drove through the streets and exhibits. Our booth was close to the Creampuff Pavilion which is a Wisconsin State Fair staple. Our neighbors were the Chuckwagon Coffee guy, cookie-dough-on-a-stick fondue, Mastercraft Cookware, Leaf Guard, Flag pole guys and the paintball shooting arcade. This was much different than our normal KCBS event and the first State Fair that the BBQ Tour has attended.

Since we have been to Milwaukee each of the past two years, we already had some good contacts for helpers and Marjorie who organizes the Milwaukee Labor Day KCBS contest didn’t let us down and sent out an email to her teams and judges that the Tour was looking for help over the four long days at the fair. There was a great outpouring of support as we had numerous CBJs come out including Tom, his daughter, Christine, and a friend, Maggie, Frank and Diane, Jim and Bev, Chip, Mike and Bob who we later found out had seen the Tour at Summer Fest two years ago and joined after seeing how much fun it is to be a part of KCBS!

Since we were onsite from 9 am to 10 pm every day and due to the high temperatures, Chris and I decided to break up our demonstrations into two shorter demonstrations and show folks what competition BBQ was really like. During our first demo, we would show people how to trim up a rack of spare ribs, throw them on the smoker and then sample them out during the second demo. Since there was no space for chairs, it was standing room only with fantastic crowds and lots of questions on how people could sharpen their grilling and smoking skills.

-Mike (and Chris) Peters

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