St. Louis' Premier Amateur BBQ Competition

2012 Backyard BBQ Bash

There was so much to do to make the event happen. So much to prepare. So much to collect. So much to buy. So much to coordinate. All for a single day of grilling, chilling, and competing.We needed sponsors, a location, judges, stuff for judging, stuff for raffles, stuff to feed the volunteers, a PA and DJ, a PA and band, bouncy house, signage, trophies, beer (lots of beer), and money to pay for all of it. So before I get into the particulars of the day, I want to give our heartfelt thanks to a whole lot of people.

First of all, Ken and Ron for throwing themselves and their business, Arnold Stove and Fireplace, behind the event. This event does not happen without them. They did more than the competitors and event participants will ever know. If you need a grill (gas or charcoal), grill accessories, a fireplace (indoor or out), stove, or outdoor patio furniture, please go to Arnold Stove and Fireplace to get them. Without your support of them, they can’t support us and this event.

Without Fireside, the event doesn’t happen

These two fellas next to the funny looking bald dude were key to the success of the event

I also want to thank the Mike Emerson otherwise known as Pappy. Yes that Pappy of Pappy’s Smokehouse. His financial backing was invaluable to making this happen. If you haven’t been, you have to go. This guy does it right on so many levels and I’m not just talking his amazing BBQ. He is truly one of the good guys who believes in giving back and helping others succeed:

Mike Lonero of Ferguson Brewery helped us raise a ton of cash for Wounded Warrior Project. I hope that all of you who were able to sample some of his amazing brews are now converts like I am. That guy makes some seriously good beer. I might be imbibing in a growler of Pumpkin Ale as I write this.

And if you haven’t seen what Mike and his family have done in Ferguson, you need to make the trip whether to Ferguson Brewery or to Cork Wine Bar across the street as well as all kinds of cool little places in walking distance. They have planted a seed there that will blossom and spread for miles. You will want to be able to say you were going there from the beginning.

And we wouldn’t have been able to serve that fantastic Ferguson beer without the assistance of the two Shelly’s from Havana Cigar Room who graced us with their liquor license for a day as well as their presence:

The Shelly’s from Havana Cigar Room

Can’t make it to Arnold to the Havana Cigar Room? Have them come to you. Next time you’re having an event, have the ladies come out and make it all the more exciting by having the Rolling Divas in attendance doling out their wares and dolling up the place:

Make sure you have them at your next party

I also want to thank Kenrick’s for hooking us up with the tri-tips for the mystery ingredient. I hope all of you are now enlightened as to how great that cut of meat is and will be serving it up a lot. The grocery chains carry them from time to time, but not all the time. What Kenrick’s does all the time is carry them and sell them cheaper than the chains. Buy them early and often so Kenrick’s can continue to support us and what we do:

And we can’t forget Andria’s for providing sauce for every team and raffle prizes. We have been using Andria’s for years before we started the website and are giddy that they are part of what we do on both the site and with this contest. If you haven’t checked out their salad dressing, you need to:

Click the pic to see where you can get Andria’s products

Some say judging a BBQ contest is a treat that everyone should enjoy, but it’s also a hassle and time consuming on an awesome fall Saturday afternoon. Thank you to all the judges that let us inconvenience you to make this contest a reality. We really appreciate it.

I also want to thank Erik Hemmann who was gracious enough to do the scoring and doing it professionally. His spreadsheet is a thing of beauty. Anyone who would like a copy of the full spreadsheet with all scores of all teams, email me by clicking this link.

He was not the only volunteer that was amazing. Kevin, Emily, my Mother in Law (Maureen), my Mom (Linda), Katherine, Tami, Amy (even if she is a Cubs fan), Sarah, Sharon and Mike, and of course my amazing wife. I couldn’t believe she was sporting this shirt as she is not really into smoky stuff from the grill:

My beautiful wife Colleen

Anyone who knows Colleen is cracking up right now. They could see Maureen wearing one, but not Coll:

The old Battle Axe!

Let’s not forget the music. We had both a live band and a DJ. The was band: Last Gnome Standing. Love these guys. Any band that can go from the Beatles to Michael Jackson in back to back songs has some serious talent and fantastic range:

Last Gnome Standing – Click the link to get to their Facebook page so you can find out where they are playing next or book them for your next event.

Last Gnome Standing – Click the link to get to their Facebook page so you can find out where they are playing next or book them for your next event.

Don’t forget Birk Tinker as the DJ and more importantly king of working the crowd, letting everyone know when turn in times were, raffles, and the like. He did such an amazing job. I’m proud that the guy is my neighbor as well as a friend. He was integral to the success of the event, and yet I have no picture of him. Sorry, Birk!

And one more big thank you goes to Ken Lowe out at St. Louis Trophy and Engraving. He’s been responsible for the rock star trophies the last three years. He does such an amazing job:

Awesome trophies as usual, but we expect nothing less from Ken
Click the pic to find out how to reach Ken

He can do anything from plaques to magnets to name tags to ribbons as well as amazing trophies. Give him a shout for your next event.

Now to the actual event. We were blessed with absolutely fantastic weather and an amazing venue. It truly was the best Backyard BBQ Bash to date. It started early with half the teams onsite before I strolled in a little after 7:00 a.m.:

Setting Up

Setting Up

Caught what might be the first and only violation for the day. This is not a contest for professional with custom trailered rigs. Well this one isn’t trailered, it is custom but it’s just plain cool. This is the grill from Big Dick’s BBQ and they only cooked samples on the grill rather than competition food so we gave them a pass on it:

Rev up this bad boy!

I walked around and got some pics of some of the teams sporting some sweet signage:

Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Rub

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – Although he only had a single smoking barrel, proving once again there is no truth in advertising!

Arthur Aguirre of Major League Grilling – Click the pic to see his amazing grilling blog

Alan Bowman and his team: Canadian Bakin’ – Winners of Best in Smoke and other hardware at last year’s bash

Easy Grilling Products – They have some sweet rotisserie products. Click the pic to see where you can get their great wares

And while not a team sign, it was a sponsor sign for Phatso’s BBQ of Hot Shots Bar and Grill. And the Grillin’ Fools love us some Hot Shots:

No better place to watch the game and have a beer than at Hot Shots – Click the pic to find one near you

Pig Bandits

Who’s got sign envy?
Somebody needs to head to Kinko’s before next year’s event!

And we had some amazing beer at the event, including this Ferguson Pumpkin Ale:

This stuff is out of this world good – Click the link to check out their brewery and restaurant

We also had some folks drinking their own beer and starting pretty darn early. First beer of the day was popped before 8:00 by these guys:

It’s 5:00 pm, I mean, it’s 12:00 pm, I mean it’s 9:00 am somewhere right?

Mmmmmm Beeeeer

But he wasn’t going it alone. These two guys are a team!

They call that teamwork!

But those weren’t the only characters that made the event. We had plenty more. How about Chris from Pit Squad:

Chris is smiling on the inside

But after a few adult beverages Chris was showing off his dance moves:

Chris was second runner up on last season’s So You Think You Can Dance!

And here is Chris after his buddy there told him that I love to take pictures of this kind of stuff for this post!


There were countless more with 25 teams and so many people who showed up to check the place out:

Dan Devereaux and Erin Devereaux Rickman of Infamous BBQ – They pulled in some serious hardware this year!

Officer Michael Radosevich from Smoke N’ Sirens

Funky Butt BBQ

Bad to the Bone BBQ

These vagabonds are none other than the Kenrick’s crew. From the left, Steve, Mike and Tim.

Alan Bowman and all his hardware from 2011 including the trophy for Best in Smoke.
Is that a really tall trophy or a short competition BBQer? What Alan lacks in size, he makes up in BBQ ability. He’s got Mad Skills!

And is that a beer sighting at the tapper?

First Beer from the Keg of Hefe

And who’s drinking that beer so early?

Mr. Stanton from The Firm sporting the t-shirt from the original event back in 2010!

Time to get the grills going and the smoke rolling:

What an amazing sight and smell!


And of course time to prep the food:

Pig Nectar Injector prepping some Spares

Pig Bandits prepping the turn in boxes at 9:25 but she wasn’t the earliest. Some people prepped their boxes the night before!

Erin Devereaux Rickman of Infamous BBQ slicing some onions

Big Dick’s BBQ saucing some Ribs

Average Joe’s BBQ rubbing some ribs – Love the black latex gloves

And love what else they brought to the event – the flags:

Pride in the country and the local football team while grillin’ and chillin’ all day? That’s what it’s all about!

Too bad these guys couldn’t have done better against South Carolina that day
At least my Irish took the Wolverines behind the Woodshed!

Last Minute BBQ brought some things to the event too. Their hardware from last year:

1st place in appetizer and 3rd place in ribs in 2011!
The teams on either side of them brought a whole lot of trash talking when these guys brought out the brass…

And here’s a little of what could’ve been sampled the day of the event by event goers:

Chicken Thighs

Chicken Skewers

Bacon Wrapped Peppers


Wicked Hot Wings!

Bacon Wrapped, Cream Cheese Stuffed, Pork Tenderloin from Bad to the Bone BBQ

Grilled Bacon from Easy Grilling Products – Not a single flare up!

The folks from Easy Grilling Products weren’t done there. They were doing a whole ham too!

That’s one powerful rotisserie!

These thighs earned 4th place for Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. They are getting a mid cook treatment while Arthur Aguirre from Major League Grilling looks on…

I’m seeing a gender bias here at the event. Lots of men and very few women. That just wasn’t the case. There were plenty of the fairer sex at the event:

Getting some samples from Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Rub

Can that child be any more excited?!?

And how could she not be excited? We had a bouncy house for the kids:

Am I too old to do that, because it looks like a blast!

This little Grillin’ Fool loved the bouncy house:

Gratuitous shot of my youngest sporting his Grillin’ Fool in Training shirt his mother made for him

We also had raffles all day:

The first raffle winner sporting the sweet Laurinaitis jersey he just won as I congratulate him!

And here are a few shots of the crowd. Here are a couple pics from above in the early afternoon before we really got cranking:

From the roof

The right side

Here are my friends and family who were kind enough to help out who are also suggesting for me to jump!

Enjoying the Event

Nice crowd now

The last boxes are turned in and judged and Erik is tabulating the scores while the teams start to pack up. One of the coolest things I saw all day were the guys from Average Joe BBQ stowing their American flag properly:

Folding of the flag

Showing the proper respect

Not sure what’s going on here. They just really love a good flag folding ceremony I guess!

Some start stowing their gear after a long day of grillin’ and chillin’

Some settle in under the long shadows of the setting sun

Some burn off some energy they still have somehow

And others are doing exactly what I wanted to do at that point in the day…

In what is now a yearly occurrence, and one both of my children now participate in, the singing of the Thomas boys:

Brennan first while Finnegan pines for his brother to share

Finnegan’s turn. Gotta love him singing both sides of a duet!

How do you keep two boys who are desperate to keep singing on the microphone occupied? iPhones:

Backyard BBQ Bash? What Backyard BBQ Bash? We’re busy!

And now it’s time for the trophies 50/50 and the Big Green Egg raffles:

As you can see, Dad wanted to do the same thing I did

Of course we had to make fun of him for it!

Winner of the 50/50 was Colleen who graciously gave it back for the charity

And the winner of the Big Green Egg?

She wins again! Karma is for real!

You can’t make this stuff up. 60 seconds after giving back he 50/50, she wins the Big Green Egg! Wow!

Now for the trophies… Actually, I think I will push that on to another post. As soon as I am done with it, you can click here and see the trophies and all the final scores… This thread is long enough!

But before we go, a little about why we were here and what we raised $3000 for:

Wounded Warrior Project

We support those with the honor to defend us and come back missing parts of themselves in performing that task.

Wounded Warrior Project helps those coming back from defending our freedom that lost their lives doing so. While they survived, they did lose a limb and thus we are doing what we can to help them. They didn’t pay the ultimate price but they came close and will have to live without a part of themselves for the rest of their lives. For that we honor them as much as we can with our time, effort, and money. The first year we raised $1000, the second year $1500 and this year $3000! I like that progression!

By these words we live:

If you’re not giving, your not living. The greatest thing we can do on this earth is help others.