You can’t have summer in America without good old-fashioned barbecue competitions. Just as the leaders in kosher cuisine are keeping up with other aspects of food evolution, they are also creating new and exciting events in the kosher culinary world. Kosher barbecue competitions are being held all over the country, in places like Atlanta and Memphis—and now right in our own backyard.
This past Sunday was the second annual Long Island Kosher BBQ Championship. Over 20 teams from across the U.S. came to Westbury for this BBQ competition. The event was sponsored by Fairway Market, among many other sponsors, and raised money for five local charities that help feed the hungry, including Hatzilu and M’Yad L’Yad. The judges came from all types of culinary backgrounds, including Shifra Klein, editor-in-chief of Joy of Kosher Magazine; Dani Klein, founder of yeahthatskosher.com; Elan Kornblum, publisher of Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine; professional chefs; and KCBS-certified barbecue judges. It was an exciting and entertaining day of competition and fun.
The competition was under strict supervision of the Chof‑K and Mehadrin Kashrus, allowing competitors to bring a match and nothing else to compete. All ingredients and equipment were provided for them. For those that came near and far to compete in the second annual LI BBQ Championship, there were four categories of competition: chicken, beans, ribs, and brisket. The competitors were also judged for booth decoration and original team name. Creative team names included OU Gotta Taste This Q, HaKadosh BBQ, Jew-nited States of BBQ, 4 Moyals and a BrisKit, and Macher Meats—to name a few. A booth that drew you in for creativity included Sacrificial Brisket, which had competitors dressed as Egyptians, a life-sized cardboard sheep, and a whole turkey roasting over a fire pit. Another was the Pirates of the Ribs-N-Beans, with “pirates” working hard to serve up their buried barbecued treasures.
The event featured a children’s play zone with inflatable bounce houses, slides, and face-painting, live music, and a Cowsher Café to purchase food like smoked turkey legs and barbecued brisket sandwiches. A kosher food pavilion offering samples from kosher vendors was also on display, including one of the best new products on the market from Jack’s Gourmet sausages. Besides the barbecue competitions, there were also basketball skills competitions and a hot-dog-eating and pickle-eating contest for kids and adults to get in on the action.
Shloimy’s Smoke House took first place for chicken. Uncle Mordy and the Meatzva Girlz had the winning beans. Hakadosh BBQ won for best brisket. The biggest winner of the day, however, was Grillin’ Tefillin, winning for best team name, best booth, and overall grand champion. Overall it was a finger-lickin’ good time had by all. v
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ red onion, chopped
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
1 pinch salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 lb. chicken drumsticks
olive oil, for basting
In saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, sautéing 3–5 minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients, except the blueberries, stirring while bringing to a simmer. Add blueberries and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and purée in food processor or with immersion blender. Set aside.
Combine dry rub ingredients in medium bowl. Rub mixture into chicken, coating liberally. Place in Ziploc bag and refrigerate to marinade for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat grill to medium and let chicken come to room temperature, 20 minutes. Place chicken on grill over indirect heat, 20–25 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes, basting with olive oil.
When chicken reaches 150°F, turn grill to high and baste with blueberry barbecue sauce. Grill 5–10 minutes while basting until sauce caramelizes. Remove once chicken is cooked through, at 160°F. Baste with another coating of sauce and let rest under a tent of foil on top for 3–5 minutes before serving.
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