Several competitors wheeled out their smokers, grills and hot plates Saturday for a chance to win the coveted first-place award in Canaan Valley Resort's annual BBQ & Chili Cook-Off.
Categories of competition were for red chili, green chili, barbecued chicken or pork and the best barbecue sauce. All teams at the cook-off furnished samples of either their red or green chili, pulled pork or barbecued ribs or chicken, and barbecue sauce.
Tom Ferrera and Brad Dierkes of Wheeling composed the Bare Bonz Guy Team and relied on two smokers to handle their chicken and ribs. Last year, the Bare Bonz Guy Team won for best barbecue sauce.
Right, Bubba of Baby Kenna’s BBQ sauces up the chicken wings, which Bubba will submit as an entry in the BBQ Cook-off competition.
"My son gave away all of the sauce last year with the samples," Ferrera said. "I didn't even have any for the judges. This year, Ferrera carefully kept some barbecue sauce on reserve.
Kirkwood Winery, based in Summersville, offered wine samples including blush, mountain blueberry, red currants and golden peach.
"The red currant is my favorite. We have won awards for that wine," Brenda Morris of Kirkwood Winery said. "The red currant wine goes well with turkey. One of the chefs here at Canaan Valley used to use our golden peach wine as a marinade for his chicken."
Tickets to sample the barbecues and the chili were sold for 25 cents each.
Team Garden Fresh presented an onion-based red chili.
"There are a lot of garden vegetables in this chili. I used onions, peppers, sugar, brown sugar and Manwich sauce," said Tammy Smith, who is from Ohio but owns a home with her husband, Matthew, in Red Creek.
Canaan Valley Resort General Manager Dave Bostic and his wife, Amy, pleased the crowd with their version of chili verde. As Team Hot Tamale, the Bostics scored first place for the chili verde competition and won best barbecue pork.
"The green chili contains pork, a mix of peppers and chicken stock," Amy Bostic said.
Rondo's Chili took first place for best red chili and won the People's Choice Award for its chili rich with kidney beans, beef burger, tomatoes and chili spices.
"This was my first time competing. I went online and looked up contests to enter. This one was only four hours away," said Ronnie Reese, of Westminster, Maryland, who made up Team Rondo's Chili. "One lady came back seven times. The last time she came back, I just gave her a big bowl of chili, so she wouldn't have to come back anymore. She gave me all her tickets."
Chris Lambruno of Thomas consisted of The Lucky Strike Team and prepared chicken and ribs in a smoker, which he built himself from oak. On the back of the smoker, a fire smoldered in a cast iron-like square box, while the meats rotate around inside on shelves.
"It cost me $1,000 to build this smoker. The engine alone was $300. It will hold 300 pounds of meat," Lambruno said.
Ed Evans of Sugarlands, who offers barbecue in the area through his business, Baby Kenna's BBQ, received first place in the barbecue chicken division, second place in the pork division and best sauce.