Horsetown, USA was filled not with the sound of horses but instead the sweet aroma of barbeque as the city of Norco hosted the inaugural Brew n’ Que Festival. The three day festival was bookended with a ‘Meat and Greet’ with the ‘Winningest Man in Barbeque’, Myron Mixon and champion ‘que master Big Moe Cason. Both men participated in the competition on Saturday. On Sunday, several classes were held including a Certified Barbeque Judge Class and a Brewing 101 course. The event, sanctioned and judged by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, had an excellent turnout.
Of course, it was all about the barbeque on Saturday, May 30 and the teams put their best ‘que forward. Raymond Porter’s Porterhouse Barbeque won the Grand Championship, while Smoked Hound BBQ followed up with the Reserve Championship. In the Chicken category, Porketeers won with a perfect ‘180’ score. Hickory and Spice took the top honors for pork ribs, while Santa Ana’s Master of Disaster team headed by Andy Soto won the Pork award for the best pork shoulder. In the Beef Brisket category, there were actually three ‘180’ scores at the top, with Smoke Hound BBQ taking the top honor. See the complete results here.
Photo essay at end of article
Annella Kelso from Snake River Farms was at the Brew n’ Que to represent her company, which supplies many of the BBQ team’s meats of choice and also present some of the day’s special prizes and awards. For the young up and coming barbeque cooks, the Kid’s Que categories of burgers and steaks were both won by junior members of the Smokin’ Harts BBQ Team. Brendan Hart won for his burger, while Jayden Hart took the kid’s steak category. Burnin’ and Lootin’, one of the most popular local teams at the event, was represented well as the ‘Jerry’s Daughter Team’ by Alyssa Aguilar.
While the BBQ competition was going on, guests could purchase food samples from teams such as Corona’s Burnin’ and Lootin’ and Badlands Barbeque. Parrain’s Soul Food from Paramount had a popular booth, cranking out delicious ribs, pork and of course the Soul Food staples dirty rice and greens. The Woodshed in Orange again had a hit with their Hawaiian-style beef and pork combos.
If guests (and there were a lot of them) were thirsty, several local craft breweries were doing a steady business providing excellent beer to the guests. Oak Hills Brewing and Hangar 24 both were extremely popular with the beer fans. Norco’s very own micro-brewery, the Sons of Liberty, had not just one but two locations within the event where guest could get their beer.
One of the nice parts of the event was a nice variety of live music at the Brew n’ Que. Local favorites the Blue Henry’s played a great set with special guest star Redbone. The 60 Grit Blues Band featured some excellent hard-driving blues with excellent harmonica work, while the Muddy Hooker Kings played excellent covers from artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan. Tuba Force provided an old time brass band to open the day, while Tessie and the Calico Cats played straight ahead country that had people two-stepping to their music.
The energy was high and the day was great. Local teams such as Jet Coatings Monkey Style and Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ visited with Northern CA teams such as Big Big BBQ and with Myron Mixon’s Jack’s Old South team from Georgia as well as Moe Cason representing Iowa. When it was all over, several teams were already planning to attend next year’s Brew n’ Que. Only a year to go!