As the sound of horses running mingled with the aroma of great barbecue wafting in from the infield at Santa Anita Park, the Santa Anita Winner’s Circle 4th Annual BBQ Championship on Satuday, March 21st proved to be a day where not only BBQ teams and horse racers were winners, but also the record-setting crowd who got to taste excellent BBQ from many great teams and vendors. When the smoke had settled, Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ were christened the Grand Champions with a sterling performance. Even kids had their own Kid’s Que event, officially sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, who worked along with the California BBQ Association to provide top-notch judging for the event.
Photo gallery after the jump
The whole day was fun for the fans of BBQ, with cooking demos from TV Chefs Rahm Fama and Bev Lazo. Chef Bev did a Hawaiian Asian BBQ Sauce for topping sliders made with the Twisted Brisket BBQ Team’s fine beef. “It’s all about fun food, it’s barbecue, there’s no knives and forks! We want it to be messy—we want it all over our face!”, Chef Lazo said. Live music on stage filled the air, while many Q fans took the opportunity to walk over to the grandstands and watch some high-caliber horse racing. Meanwhile, the guests were able to taste BBQ sauces from several vendors. The taste highlights were plenty as many teams also sampled their ribs, chicken, brisket and pulled pork. Some teams even got creative, with homemade BBQ beans, BBQ chicken tacos, pig candy (bacon coated with maple, brown sugar and cayenne and then smoked)and moink (Moo-Oink) balls. The lines were long but the tastes were worth it.
One of the new teams was Parrain’s Soul Food from Paramount. This was only their second cookoff and they did amazingly well. Apparently the BBQ fans thought so too, because their samples which included dirty rice and collard greens netted David and Brian a finish in People’s Choice, a crowded category with many fine competitors such as Twisted Brisket, who finished second. Smoqued California BBQ from Orange took a First Place for their succulent chicken. The big finish went to Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ Team from Yucca Valley, who placed high in several categories leading up to their winning the top award in the contest, the Grand Championship. Ben Lobenstein, who produced the event, was full of smiles as he handed the award to the members of Smokin’ Mo’s team.
Several teams traveled great distances to compete. Major Woody’s BBQ Team traveled from Phoenix, while other teams came from as far away as New York and New Jersey. Lots of local teams joined the fun such as Berdoo Barbecue from Los Angeles and Barrels and Ashes, making their team debut and bringing their flavors from their new restaurant in Studio City to the BBQ circuit. Scott and Pam Harris with their Too Ashamed to Name BBQ Team, veterans of the American Royal and the Jack Daniels Invitational, came from San Jose to pick up an award. Santa Anita’s Winner’s Circle BBQ Championship has certainly earned a fine reputation for not only attracting over 100 of the best teams in barbecue, but creating an event that serious competitors are willing to travel across country for. It was a record setting day, making it the largest barbecue event in California history.
As the final announcements were made, the crowded walked; some with really full stomaches slower than others, but everyone having had a tremendous day of barbe3cue and horse racing. It made a great combination for the day!
Santa Anita Winner’s Circle 4th Annual BBQ Championship Santa Anita Park 285 W Huntington Dr. Arcadia, CA 91007
PH: (626) 574-7223