have rib sauce in their blood
brothers help run
Madison Ribberfest contest
MADISON, Ind. (August 2003) From succulent pork
spare ribs to tender beef brisket, barbecue cooking is more of an art
form than a chore to Shawn Auxier of Hanover, Ind., and others who will
take part in the professional cooking contest Aug. 15-16 at the second
annual Madison Ribberfest.
and Shawn Auxier
In a little more than a year, Auxier has gone from being
a backyard barbecue enthusiast to a Kansas City Barbeque Society connoisseur.
Last June, he attended a KCBS school in Madison to learn all about judging.
Yes, Auxier wanted to judge a few contests. But it was an ulterior motive
that had Auxier leaning on every word the instructor uttered.
I wanted to learn to judge first so I knew what the judges were
looking for (when I started to compete), he said.
At barbecue school, Auxier said he learned to judge appearance, tenderness,
texture and tastes of various meats, and to disregard personal preferences
in favor of the best results. You have to put your own tastes
aside, he said. Just because you dont like a vinegar-based
sauce, for example, doesnt mean that it isnt good.
Last year, Auxier judged at a few contests, including
the first annual Madison Ribberfest. This year, he became the chief
cook of the Hog Wild and Pig Crazy team.
Schedule of Events
Hours: 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., Aug. 15-16, on
the Madison riverfront.
Tickets: $15 for a 2-day pass through Aug. 1 (includes
$10 food tickets); $15 for 2-day pass Aug. 2-15 (no food tickets);
$10 per day Aug. 15-16.
Band Schedule: Friday: Jimmy D (6 p.m.); Lee McBee Band
(8 p.m.); Debbie Davies Band (10 p.m). Saturday: Johnny Reed
& the House Rockers (noon); The Doctors Band (2 p.m.);
The Blues Devils (4 p.m.); Mike Morgan (6 p.m.); Rod Piazza
& the Mighty Flyers (8 p.m.); Duke Tumatoe (10 p.m.).
Information: (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-559-2956
The team has competed in four competitions so far: Clarksville,
Tenn., Winchester, Tenn., Mt. Vernon, Ill., and Cairo, Ill. Auxier was
accompanied by his brother, David Auxier, in Clarksville where the team
took fifth place in the pork category. In Winchester, Auxier was assisted
by Burk Jones, placing ninth overall out of 48 teams. In Cairo, where
he cooked on his own, Auxier took fourth place in pork.
Flipping burgers and hot dogs on a gas grill is tantamount to blasphemy
to true barbecue experts those who spend hours upon hours coaxing
superior taste and premium texture from the finest cuts of meat. Just
attend a KCBS sanctioned event, like Ribberfest, and it becomes obvious.
Slow cooking at just the right temperature with just the right seasonings
is just part of the skill it takes to become grand champion. Appearance
counts, too. No mushy clumps of pork floating in sauce will do. No kale,
endive or red tipped lettuce garnishes either. Rules and regulations
are very specific and when it comes time for judging, perfection is
Judging is done by meat categories, which include chicken, pork ribs
(loin or spare), pork (shoulder-butt-picnic) and brisket (beef). KCBS
representatives carefully monitor all participants strict adherence
and Shawn Auxier with award.
KCBS started in Kansas, but the society actually represents
various North American barbecue interests and sanctions more than 100
contests each year from Florida to British Columbia. Barbecue sauces
and meats reflect regional tastes. For example, North Carolina barbecue
typically has a tangy vinegar-based sauce, while Kansas City is known
for a sweeter, thicker sauce.
Auxier said in addition to a love of competition and barbecue cooking,
traveling to contests has provided him with the opportunity to promote
Madisons Ribberfest. As coordinator of this years barbecue
cook-off event, Auxier said he hopes that the public will turn out to
see some of the best barbecue cookers around. Just make sure you dont
disturb the contestants between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, what
Auxier called the crunch time when participants are scrambling
to prepare for judging.
The best time to talk to contestants and pick up hints for your next
barbecue venture is after judging. You might even get to taste some
of their treats. After 2:30, theres usually lots of handouts,
by Don Ward
Jones displays samples
at the fall 2002 Judging School.
So far, 28 teams from Indiana, Kentucky and many of the
surrounding states have registered for this years Ribberfest,
with more expected before the final count. Im expecting
well have somewhere between 40-50 teams, said Auxier. In
addition to the KCBS-sanctioned categories will be judging of Anything
But, which includes any meat not included in the four main categories,
and dessert. Competitors tents will be set up along Vaughn Drive
between Poplar and Vine streets and along Broadway. An amateur cooking
contest will be held Friday evening.
There will also be great music to enjoy, with blues bands playing on
stage Friday evening and all Saturday afternoon and evening. On Friday,
there will be a hot balloon glow on the Milton, Ky. riverbank and visible
from the Madison festival site. Balloon races are scheduled for Saturday.
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