Barbecue Judges May Have the Best Job 4

Certified Judges On Hand for Parker’s 2015 Smokin’ Brew BBQ


If you like barbecue, you probably envy the judges who get to taste some of the finest available at the hundreds of competitions across the country.

At the annual Smokin’ Brew BBQ in Parker this Labor Day weekend, 60 certified judges and 10 “table captains,” who present and serve the entries, will put their taste buds to the test as some of the nation’s top barbecue contenders vie for $8,500 in prize money.

“I absolutely love it. It’s an addiction – eating world class barbecue,” says Jim Chincholl, a Parker resident who has been judging since 2010. “The barbecue will blow your mind.”

Now a member of the Cherry Creek Valley Rotary Club of Parker, Chincholl is among the club members who help put on the competition each year to benefit a variety of local, national and international causes, including Project Sanctuary, Douglas County Support Center, Parker Task Force and Trick or Treat on Mainstreet, as well as the Rotary’s educational and international programs.

Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the Seventh Annual Smokin’ Brew BBQ will be held at the PACE Center this year, beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, and running through Sunday evening.

Chincholl, a certified master judge who has judged more than 75 contests over the last five years and plans to open a barbecue restaurant in Parker by next summer, says judges rate six entries in each of four categories – chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, so they are tasting 24 entries at each outing.

While he may be full at the end of a judging day, Chinchilla isn’t deterred. “By Thursday, I’m ready to go to a contest and eat again.”

The judges rate the entries on their appearance, taste and tenderness. Chincholl, who has judged as many as 36 competitions in a year, says he likes to start by smelling the entry before taking his first bite. He also looks for great flavor and a finished product that is not mushy or dry.

“We’re looking for the excellent barbecue – not perfect barbecue,” Chincholl says, noting the contestants are rated on a scale of 2 to 9, with 9 being excellent and 8 being very good.

The competition is fierce. At last year’s Smokin’ Brew, four barbecue teams received straight 9s in all four categories by five different judges, a pretty incredible feat, according to Chinchilla.

Some of those competitors will be returning this year to improve their records, take hold of bragging rights and earn a little bit of prize money, including Boyd Abts and Tim Grant of Truebud BBQ and Johnny Trigg of the Texas-based Smokin’ Triggers.

The Truebud team, which is from the Kansas City, Kansas, area, is appearing on this season’s BBQ Pitmasters competition on TLC and will try for a three-peat after winning Grand Champion in Parker the last two years, Chincholl says.

Trigg is considered the godfather of barbecue, and has  appeared on BBQ Pitmasters four times and was the winner of the Jack Daniels’ World Championship BBQ Invitation in 2000 and 2003. He and his wife, Trish, will be returning for their second appearance in Parker after winning Reserve Grand Champion last year.

Other top competitors include Travis Clark of Clark Crew BBQ, who currently is #1 in the nation; America Dream Team and Big Poppa Smokers, currently #3 and #4 in the country, respectively; the Colorado-based Backdraft BBQ, 28th in the country; and Burnin’ Bob’s Butts and Bones, a team that has won the Rocky Mountain BBQ Team of the Year four times, Chincholl says.

And if watching competitors slave over their grills and smokers while munching on some of your very own plate of barbecue isn’t up your alley, you can always enjoy the line up of entertainment planned for all three days of the event, including the Bluzinators, the Rick Lewis Project and Blackjack Canyon.

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