The sound of sizzling meat and the smell of barbecue filled Broken Arrow Park Saturday as nearly 50 cooking teams, mainly from the Midwest, competed in this year's Sertoma 48 BBQ Cookoff contest.
Early in the afternoon Don Weber worked to finish up his barbecue chicken, a process he began about 20 hours earlier.
"There's not much of a secret to it," said Weber, of Overland Park, one of the cooks on the Del Fuegos barbecue team. "We marinate it and let it soak overnight. You make sure it marinates under the skin. Then we cook it and put our own barbecue sauce on it."
Meanwhile other members of the Del Fuegos took time to relax in lawn chairs while drinking beer or bottled water.
The annual contest, organized by the Lawrence Sertoma Club, raises funds to assist children and adults in Douglas County with communication disorders. The club works in partnership with the Lawrence school district and the Schiefelbusch Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Kansas University.
The contest is limited to 48 cooking teams and is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society as a state championship. The winner of the contest competes later this year in the American Royal barbecue contest in Kansas City, Mo. The teams also were competing for a total of $4,800 in prize money.
The Sertoma barbecue contest was open to the public, and food and drinks were available. Visitors also took part in judging barbecue entries in the "People's Choice" category.
Alan Nichelson, of Lawrence,was one of those sampling the food. He started with a barbecued pork sandwich and said he expected to try some of the other dishes as well.
"It's pretty good," he said.
Nichelson's friend, Kim Sutheimer, sat and watched.
"I'm a vegetarian," she said. "I can enjoy the smells."
A short distance away, Bill Frenzel, of Eudora, put the finishing touches to a plate of pork baby back ribs before sending it to the judges' tent. Frenzel was assisted by his wife, Pam, and other family members. They called their team the Barbecue Bill Express.
"This is really fun," Frenzel said. "It's low-keyed. You can go and cook and still have a good time."
|The top winners in the Sertoma 48 BBQ Cookoff:Grand champion: BS SmokersGrand champion runner-up: Parrot Head SmokersOther category winners:Chicken: Parrot Head SmokersPork ribs: Sweet Old BuzzardPork: PDTBrisket: Blowin' Smoke|