1 This is the official logo of the festival.
2 The Psycho Grillers team must submit to all four categories to be eligible for the Grand Champion. Categories are spaced 30 minutes apart to allow time to prepare the boxes for each category.
3 After getting the coals lit, Scott and Gregg waited for the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) representatives to inspect their meat so they could start prepping and cooking.
4 The team had a lot of competition—23 teams entered, with all of the proceeds going to charity.
5 Gregg prepared the pork ribs with mustard and a dry rub of spices. At home, the teams usually put the rub on the night before, but KCBS rules don’t allow for rubs, injections, or marinades before inspection.
6 Gregg put the ribs onto the smoker. While teams only need to turn in 6 pieces, they usually cook more so they can pick the best of the batch. This smoker has another wire rack with more ribs inside.
7 The team rigged a thermometer to keep their eye on temperatures. For ribs, the rule of thumb is ‘low and slow’, about 225 degrees for 5 hours, with some apple wood chunks thrown in for flavor.
8 Time to switch the ribs on the top rack with the bottom rack and spritz them with some apple juice. See how the meat is starting to pull back from the bone? That’s a good thing!
9 About 30 minutes before the ribs had finished cooking, Gregg applied the sauce and put them back into the smoker for finish.
10 Preparing the box is a science for BBQ competitions. Judges look for uniformity, color and bark (the exterior finish). It can’t just taste good, it has to look like it tastes good!
11 About 30 minutes before the chicken had finished cooking, Scott gave each chicken thigh a bath in their top-secret sauce.
12 Once the sauce had been applied, the thighs went back on the smoker to give the sauce time to firm up on each piece.
13 The finished chicken box - One piece for each of the six judges who will grade the entry. Each judge will sample four to six teams’ entries for all four categories. That’s a lot of barbecue!
14 The team was hard at work as Lynn spied on the neighbors to see what they were making. On the front table, they displayed their awards from prior years, including their Grand Champion trophy. The team logo sits in the upper left corner of the tent.
15 For the Chef’s Choice category, the team had decided to prepare smoked oysters with a crab meat stuffing.
16 Making the crab meat stuffing - They chose a lump crab, since it provides bigger, meatier pieces, even after the rigors of mixing with other ingredients.
17 The smoked oysters were presented on a bed of coral-colored sea salt for contrast. Chef’s Choice and Dessert categories don’t have the same Styrofoam box requirements as ribs and chicken.
18 Gregg and Ruta walked the Chef’s Choice entry, smoked oysters with crab meat stuffing, up the hill to the judge’s tent.
19 Lynn prepared a white chocolate custard filling for the Dessert entry.
20 Lynn and Ruta in the ‘kitchen’, while Gregg and Ruta’s kids, Evan and Eric, helped out in the background.
21 For the Dessert entry, Lynn prepared banana bread pudding with a chocolate custard filling and a bourbon caramel sauce on top.
22 The banana bread was cut and crumbled into smaller pieces.
23 After the banana bread pieces were placed in ramekins, Lynn poured in the chocolate custard she prepared.
24 The chocolate custard recipe originally called for white chocolate only, but in a practice run, the team agreed that semi-sweet chips would be a good addition.
25 After a practice bake, they came out scorched around the sides. Lynn solved that by putting the ramekins in a larger paella pan with a water bath.
26 Lynn encouraged that chocolate custard to soak in while she waited for her coals on the grill to reach 350-degrees.
27 The chicken had been turned in to the judges, so Scott shifted his attention to help Lynn with the banana bread pudding.
28 Lynn’s bourbon caramel topping. The next day, Lynn and Scott dipped apple slices into the leftover caramel. Yum!!!
29 In the end, the grill was running too cool (around 325), so the team removed the ramekins from the water bath to speed the cooking process.
30 Lynn ladled on the caramel topping, trying to not spill any, as just minutes remain to the turn-in deadline.
31 The finished product - so gooey and wonderful!
32 Lynn tested a bite—amazeballs—as good as it looks!
33 Lynn carried the entry up to the judges’ tent. Scott shadowed her in case a hungry festival-goer maked a grab for the food.
34 One of the best parts of cooking for the festival is inviting friends and family to share in the leftovers. Not surprisingly, there were lots of friends who stopped by.
35 Lynn shared a group hug with Suzie and Angus, friends from MSLO, who came out to cheer her on.
36 The Psycho Grillers—Gregg and Ruta Leonard with Scott and Lynn Goodwin
37 The teams gathered for the results. Psycho Grillers didn’t receive any awards this year, but scored consistently highly, coming in 3rd overall. Plus, they had an amazing day with friends and BBQ.
38 After the cleanup, the team spent a few minutes relaxing before heading over to the Levitt Pavilion to enjoy the evening’s music lineup.
39 There were plenty of activities for kids. Here a kid tried to stay on the mock bull. He fell off a couple seconds after this photo was taken.
40 This was a game similar to the Joust event from the American Gladiators show, where competitors tried to knock each other of their platforms with weighted sticks.
41 The festival had two full days of musical acts. What a great lineup!
42 New Orleans based urban funk band Big Sam's Funky Nation performing - Its leader is trombonist Big Sam Williams.