Sunday, September 15, 2013

Poultry Dry Rub and Decatur Jaycees Riverfest 2013

I arrived in the beautiful town of Decatur, AL on Saturday morning just a few hours after the first cool front of the Fall passed through and was it ever glorious!  The crisp dry morning air was a refreshing relief from humid summer days and the skies were so brilliantly blue that it almost hurt my eyes.  It was such a beautiful day that someone should have scheduled a BBQ festival...

...and that is just what Ken Hess of Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue did.  I was there to judge BBQ at the annual Decatur Jaycees Riverfest.

But first, speaking of Big Bob Gibson's, here's a quick poultry dry rub that is a part of my upcoming turkey post.   It was created by world champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly, on behalf of Kingsford and the recipe was included in our media packets at the 2012 Kingsford Invitational.  

Poultry dry rub, bbq rub

Poultry Dry Rub
Source:  reprinted with permission from Kingsford 
Makes:  1/2 cup
Prep Time:  what prep time?  If it was any faster you'd go back in time.

  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, dried
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram leaves, dried
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Add all ingredients in a small bowl and blend well.
  2. Season chicken or poultry liberally, prior to grilling over Kingsford charcoal.  Store the remaining dry rub in an GLAD food storage container at room temperature.   

Okay,  back to the contest.

The Event
The 19th Annual Decatur Jaycees Riverfest includes a KCBS barbecue competition.  With some 80 pro teams this is already a bigger than average contest but it also boasts another 48 teams in the "backyard" division.  The Jaycees utilize the proceeds for charities in the surrounding areas, like many, if not most, BBQ contests (I'm just sayin' your local bbq contests).   From my standpoint, everything seemed to run smoothly.  I asked Ken Hess, the organizer, about it and he credited all of the success to the Jaycees and volunteers.

Ingalls Harbor, Decatur, AL had the nicest contest HQ/judging facility I have enjoyed. 
The contest site is accessible by water.  With the smoke stacks I thought this was some kind of new "water smoker" ;)
The Sheriff had a pair of Humvees parked up front, putting troublemakers on notice.  I mean, I noticed (and might have been accused once or twice of being an instigator/troublemaker). 

The Teams
The majority of the teams seemed to come from the surrounding area.   The vast majority were also Alabama fans since I have NEVER seen so many televisions and TV signal dishes at a BBQ contest in my life.  They weren't about to miss the Alabama vs Texas A&M football game that started shortly after turn ins!  

The Cookers (pits)
As always, there was a good mix of cookers - ceramics, insulated box cookers, trailers and back yard rigs.

Smoke On This representing East TN, most of the rest were at the Hendersonville, TN contest on the same day.

Eggs in da house!

I could get used to a rig like this.  House of Q

Nice offset smoker.

Insulated box cooker and an Egg.  Doesn't that Egg look like Pac-Man? wakka wakka wakka

A box cooker and a Weber Smokey Mountain are a formidable pair.

A nice trans-axial mounted smoker, I like these because they take up less length in storage.

Sweet outfitted rig, looks like a Pit-Maker. 
 My favorite rig of the contest.  I mentioned that my wife has a thing for Jambo's and one of the team members told me it wasn't a Jambo.  One of their team members made it!  The firebox door, fancy paint job, and general shape fooled me. 

The Weather
See opening paragraph, it was "Chamber of Commerce" weather. 

I am definitely coming back next year but if I am competing, I want a spot on THIS row, gorgeous view while you're smoking!

The Entertainment
Because of conflicting travel schedules, I was only able to come for the judging portion of Riverfest but next year will be sure to stay in town for the whole weekend.  They had a solid line up of country and southern rock artists for both Friday and Saturday night.  Riverfest also had a kids section with bounce houses, bungee hops, and other activities that kept the kids engaged.

This was early in the morning but there were lots of vendors to feed the crowds.

The kids area.

Tony Chacere's supporting the BBQ community.

The Competition
I was judging the "Backyard" division this year.  I use quotation marks because several of the samples that I were definitely pro quality.  Plus it was hard to pick the pro vs backyard teams just based on team size, equipment used, or team banners.  It looked like one big contest division and everyone has having a good time.  Backyard teams only submitted chicken, rib, dessert, and sauce categories.  Pro teams submit the standard 4 (chicken, ribs, pork, brisket) and ancillary categories. 

Brave Tennessee Vol fans at an Alabama BBQ event.

Time to make turn in boxes....#*$& parsley!

The Results
You can find the FULL RESULTS at the KCBS website but the Grand Champion of the Pro division was...

For more grilling and BBQ recipes, check out
For info about BBQ contests around you, check out the KCBS website.

Up next for me:
9/28  National Pork Board/Kroger Tailgate - I'll be doing a special tailgate celebrating pork at the University of Tennessee vs Southern Alabama football game.  Still working on the final menu and more details to come.  If you are interested in coming by email me and I'll let you know the exact location, but it is near the stadium.   

10/12  Smoke-n-Thunder BBQ Classic and Air show, Rome, GA - I'm proud to be doing cooking demonstrations with Rolf B of Craycort to show off the functionality and flexibility of their modular cast iron grate systems and accessories.  Craycort is the first sponsor my blog ever had and are the only grates to grace our Big Green Eggs.  Come on down and taste what Rolf and I have cooking.