Friday, June 11, 2010

Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival - Tryon, North Carolina

The Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival is June 11 - 12, 2010 at Harmon Field in Tryon, North Carolina.

The first day was today and had great attendance so you only have one more day to take advantage of all the incredible food, especially your choice of some of the best BBQ in the South!  Along with the food, there is opportunity to view regional artists' efforts offering beautiful works of art, photos, jewelry, pottery, etc.  The unique pieces are wonderful to examine and you are sure to discover something special just for you.  There is
fun for everyone with rides and activities for kids and the young at heart as well as a variety of music for all to enjoy.

This year I had the honor of being a judge for the 'Anything but BBQ' and 'Dessert' categories.  This judging takes place on the first day of the Festival, while the BBQ judging takes place on the second day.  This was my first experience as a judge at the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival (though I have attended many times in the past to eat BBQ to my hearts' content).  I had the privilege of meeting new friends and even ran into an old friend of mine among the judges.  There are a variety of people that judge, some have even taken the official course by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) which sanctions the competition.  A double blind system is used to judge the food to guarantee a fair competition with KCBS judges to oversee every aspect.

I can't give details about the food that I judged since the winners will be announced tomorrow, June 12.  But I will say that there was a wide variety of very creative dishes that were created.  The winners certainly deserve all the recognition that they will receive and all the contestants deserve kudos for sticking their necks out and showing off their favorite recipes.  Below is a table of judges about to receive their selections from the 'Anything but BBQ' category.

Another fascinating aspect of the Festival are the array of styles to cook the BBQ, following are just a few of what I found.  This one seems fairly traditional if not a little on the large side.

This smoker looked more like a bank vault to me, but that's why I attend to eat and not to cook!

Now, when I saw this one I thought I was looking at an ice chest!  Once again I learned more about the diversity of cooking methods that matches the range of BBQ styles.  Everyone has their favorite, do you know what style you like?  Sounds like I may do a future post to break down the differences.

Take some time out of your summer schedule to drive over to Tryon and taste the excellent BBQ and food that awaits you at the Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival.  You will be glad you did!

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