HANSON, KY (9/16/2012) – Downtown Historic Hanson, KY played host to the Hanson BBQ Blast-Off yesterday, setting area pit masters against each other for prizes in multiple categories. The true winners of the day, perhaps, were the event’s visitors, who had the opportunity to sample some of western Kentucky’s finest smoked pork, chicken, and ribs as well as the homemade sauces.
Event Chairman Scott Wells of the Hanson Lion’s Club said that organizers hope to hold annual follow-ups to the BBQ Blast-Off, making them sanctioned, pro events through the Kansas City Barbeque Society.
“If we make it a sanctioned deal, the cooks will get national points and we should be able to triple the number of cooks competing next year,” Wells said. He went on to explain that proceeds from the event will benefit Hanson School and Hanson Fire Department’s Fire Safety Training Program. Sparky the Fire Dog was on-hand to entertain children, and Hanson firefighters manned the Kids’ Fire Safety House.
Wells added that an oversight in scheduling put the BBQ Blast-Off on the same day as Christ the King Church’s barbeque festival and that organizers would be sure to not repeat the conflict with future events. “We will definitely adjust the schedule next year to accommodate Christ the King,” he said.
The cooks situated their rigs and lit their fires in Saturday’s perfect weather, anticipating the hungry throng. Early in the day, they competed for the favor of the crowd in the first competition, the Community Choice Award. Guests paid $3 for a ticket that allowed them to not only sample pulled pork from each of the competitors but also to vote on their first and second favorites.
As the smoke billowed and mouths watered in anticipation, local entertainers Ray Ligon of Madisonville and 15-year-old Savana Poole of Nortonville filled the air with music, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Later in the afternoon, the formal judging began. At the end of the day, it was Patterson’s Tru Blu BBQ of Madisonville stealing the show. Tru Blu walked away with an armload of trophies, including First Place awards in pulled pork, ribs, sauce, and meat tenderness; second place in chicken and Community Choice Award; and an overall victory, becoming the BBQ Blast-Off Grand Champion.
Tru Blu’s team includes owner Robert Patterson, his girlfriend Katelyn Howard, partner Daniel Kirkwood, Angela Stewart, and Mahra Myers. Tru Blu has been racking-up accolades for several years, earning awards in various competitions throughout the region. In addition, he has submitted a video to be considered for the upcoming season of The Learning Channel’s BBQ Pitmasters, a reality show/barbeque competition sponsored by Kingsford Charcoal (click here to watch the video entry).
When asked what he thought set Tru Blu apart from the field yesterday, Patterson cited his retooled sauce recipe as a likely factor. “We’ve been developing four new sauces that are branched-off of my original sauce. I think that had to do with not only the sauce award but with the ribs and first place pork too. And, I cook with—I guess u could call it an old-school stick-burner. I feel like my smokers put a lot more smoke on the meat. I cook with big logs throughout the whole cook. The potent smoke flavor set me apart from everyone today.”
The other talented cooks participating in the event included:
-Rob Crisp and Rocky Northern of Slow Smokin’ BBQ out of Owensboro. They have only been competing for one year but placed well in a barbeque cook-off in McMinnville, TN earlier this year. Slow Smokin’ took First Place yesterday in Hanson in the Community Choice Award for pulled pork.
-Johnny Speight and Jim Herrenbruck of Son Seekers BBQ Team out of Hanson. Competition veterans of seven years, Son Seekers has won, among others, Reserve Grand Champion in a 2010 Kuttawa, KY competition; Grand Champion in a 2011 Kiwanis BBQ cook-off in Benton, KY; and Grand Champion in the Rods and Ribs competition in Central City, KY earlier this year.
-Robert, Nathan, and Sharon Crick of Morton’s Gap, KY. This was the first serious competition for the Cricks. Sharon said that her son Nathan entered an Earlington, KY contest last year for fun.
-Terry Lindsey of Rerun’s BBQ out of Hanson. Terry has 14 years of experience in competing and catering for groups of 100-plus. Rerun’s was awarded third-place in chicken at the Rods and Ribs contest this year in Central City.
-Alan Vanderveer of Smokey’s A&M BBQ out of Evansville, IN.
-Larry Jordan of Ole Man Larry’s BBQ out of Evansville, IN.
Click on the Flickr slideshow below to view more images from the Hanson BBQ Blast-Off.
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