Sunday, October 21, 2007

Desperately Seeking Stacey

There's really no other way to recover from a night of giraffe hunting than to be a judge at the Anshei Sphard Kosher BBQ Contest.

You heard me.

Thursday I got an email from my editor at the Flyer that was titled "Your help is desperately needed." It read:

The Kosher BBQ contest needs a judge and they specifically asked for you.
The event is Sunday.

Yes, my head grew just a little bit upon reading that. However, my first reaction was, "I don't know anything about food! I'm just a writer who likes to eat."

My second thought was, "I wonder if I can somehow get Warren to help me."

Not knowing anything about this contest or the synagogue itself, I really wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I couldn't not do it. Thanks to the interweb, I was able to determine some information and Warren and the monkeys agreed to come along for moral support.

It didn't take long for us to realize that the Kosher BBQ contest is a VERY BIG DEAL. We followed a trail of cars to the Shul and what we saw was a mini version of Memphis in May's BBQ fest. There was live music, BBQ tents with themes and complicated decorations, a food tent, and so on. They also had a Grizzlies 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a rock climbing wall, a moon bounce, playground, etc. This is the 19th year it's been going on!

I asked around and quickly found my spot in the judges' tent. There was a long line of judges, which was good. (I certainly didn't want the winner's fate to rest solely with my taste buds.) I was instructed to read the rules right away which included "do not get too cozy with your fellow judges before judging begins."

It wasn't until they did the introductions that I realized I was part of a rather illustrious group. Some of my fellow judges were John Willingham (the guy who fared worse than Herman in the mayoral election), Jim Strickland (the man who beat BOB!), the husband and wife team that owns Jarrett's (ooh, fancy!), and Jerry "The King" Lawler (the world's best wrestler)!

OK, I made that last one up.

I was sitting next to Barbara, one of the owners of Jarrett's, and Bill, who used to own a meat company. We had a great time tasting the many pieces of brisket that were placed before us. It was pretty amazing how much variation there was among entries (over 30!) and a couple of them were extra special yummy. (Several were extra special dry and chewy and not nearly as good as Warren's.)

The whole tasting only took about 20 minutes. I'm not sure what the exact system was, but I'm pretty sure me, Bill, and Barbara only tasted about 15 of the 30+ entries. Had I known ahead of time that I didn't have to try them all, I might have been a little less delicate with my sample bites. I actually left my station hungry!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

The monkeys were having a great time so we spent an hour or so just hanging out and enjoying ourselves. I tried to find the team that had impressed me so much to see if maybe I could score some more brisket and when I did, I had to make a mental note to check the rules when I got home.

Here they are. In a nutshell, anyone can enter as long as they use kosher ingredients, utensils from the Shul, have a Jewish person light their grill, and allow the Rabbi to come by and check things out.

Memphis in May always seemed a little daunting to Iron Chef Miki Moto (a.k.a. Warren), but I have high hopes for Team Oster at next year's Kosher contest...especially if I am asked to judge again!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Your weekend was most impressive. They asked for you by name! I hang out with a big shot!

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