HURON – It’s called Backyard BBQ for a reason.
One of the hidden gems at the Original South Dakota BBQ Championships, held in conjunction with Wheel Jam on the state fairgrounds, it’s a contest any weekend amateur griller should consider giving a try.
“The fun and unique things about our contest in Huron is that you don’t have to have a high dollar setup to compete,” said Ron Hines, who with his wife, Christi, compete each year.
“With the Backyard BBQ a person can show up Friday with a canopy, grill, cooler, table, spices and $20 and you are in,” he said.
Organizers have a goal of increasing the number of teams that compete in the Backyard BBQ. It’s open to all skill levels and with the $20 entry fee all of the meat is provided to the teams, said Candi Briley, assistant State Fair manager.
There are four meat divisions: pork butt donated by the South Dakota Pork Council, turkey breast donated by Dakota Provisions, brisket donated by the South Dakota Beef Council and boneless leg of lamb roast donated by the American Lamb Board, South Dakota Sheep Growers, De Smet Farm Mutual Insurance, Lynn and Diane Perry, Kingsbury Sheep Auxiliary and Kepp’s Chislic.
The payout per meat division for the People’s Choice judging is $125 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place. The payout per meat division for the blind judging is $150 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place.
“The Backyard contest is held on Saturday, June 1 and is a great way to get your feet wet in competitive cooking,” Hines said.
The Chili Challenge is yet another competition alongside the Backyard BBQ and Original South Dakota BBQ Championships.
It has two divisions: individual and group. The registration fee is $20 and offers increased payouts in the people’s choice competition.
The payout in each division for people’s choice is $210 and a trophy for first place, $100 for second place and $75 for third place. There will not be an overall judged competition this year.
Each year, the Hines’ compete in at least one of the conests.
“We try to do at least two competition cooking contests a year with Huron being a given,” he said.
They have competed in KCBS-sanctioned contests in South Dakota and Minnesota over the years.
The F.A.T. Friday Chili Challenge is on Friday, May 31 and it also has a $20 entry fee. Participants are required to make a minimum of five gallons of chili
“Each team is responsible for providing the ingredients and a way to serve their chili to the public for people’s choice judging,” Hines said.
The Huron couple encourage others to try their hand at competitive cooking.
“BBQ contests like the Original South Dakota BBQ Championships are a great time to see old friends and meet new ones,” he said.
“We look forward to the people’s choice contest every year just to see some of those familiar faces,” Hines said. “I would encourage someone who has ever thought about it to come on out and give it a shot.
“Each team has the same shot at the money. The meat all starts out raw,” he said, “it is the magic of the rub and the cooker.”
For more information on how to enter, visit www.sdbbqchampionships.com or call 353-7354.