BBQ Tour Stop #11: Wildwood, NJJuly 13, 2011
Christine and I drove back halfway across the country after Naperville and pulled into North Wildwood, NJ on the Thursday prior to the three day event. As we dropped our trailer on the street, the stage was already set up at one end of the street while the judges tent complete with air conditioning was at the other end.
There are few hotels in the area so at this event; we try to book ahead of time into one of the local resorts. It is about a 7-8 block walk from the trailer which is much easier in the morning than after a long day in the Jersey sun. The weatherman called for a chance of rain on Friday morning and then clearing off. Once again, he was wrong as the weather stayed beautiful until about 6:30 when it started raining and the rain turned into a street clearing downpour. Normally this would not be a big deal but being right on the ocean, at high tide, the streets did not drain and were knee deep in places.
Saturday turned out really nice and the crowds turned out for the jazz music and BBQ. This was another wine stop where Redwood Creek Wine came out and poured wine samples and they were quite the hit. Christine and I were also pleased with all the folks who came out requesting the Weber seasonings and directed them to the great coupon in the BBQ Tour book along with sending them home with samples of the Gourmet Burger, Kick’n Chicken and Chicago Steak.
Saturday night after we put everything away, Christine and I walked down to the team area and verified the competitors for the Kingsford Points Chase. Almost half of the cooking teams used at least 20 lbs of Kingsford which made for a nice night of meeting teams. One team that surprised us was the Whole Hog Café which we have seen before in Memphis along with our hometown of Springfield. In asking the guys, they are local and involved with the Whole Hog Café group. Funny how small our world of BBQ can be at times!
Sunday was turn-in day and the judges arrived early to walk the street down to the judging tent. We are always surprised at how many judges still wear the blue KCBS shirt at the Wildwood event which means that there are a lot of experienced judges that love the New Jersey State Barbecue Championship!
One interesting thing that North Wildwood does is an Iron Chef contest where the secret ingredient is introduced on Friday night for Saturday turn-in and this year’s item was a frozen turkey. At awards on Sunday, Wilbur’s Revenge won with a nice turkey breast dish! David gave me all the ingredients and process and the judges agreed that it was fantastic! This year in honor of Butch Lupinetti who has competed and vended at North Wildwood for many years, the event awarded the Butch Lupinetti award to the top NJ Rib cook which went to Smokopolis BBQ and was presented by Butch’s wife Lynne and daughter Aly. This year the award was underwritten by the Philly Pigs BBQ team.
The event announces the top 5 teams in each category and Fat Angel BBQ won the chicken category while last year’s Grand Champion Lo’ – N – Slo’ BBQ won Ribs. Shady Crew BBQ won the pork division and along with a 4th place Ribs and Pork call, Fat Angel BBQ added a first place Brisket to win their second New Jersey State Barbecue Championship along with the Kingsford contest!