On Saturday, June 16th, The McKenzie’s Nights on Broadway BBQ Competition was held on the square in downtown McKenzie, Tennessee. The square was surrounded on three sides the teams with plenty of room for everyone. Water was easily accessible from several points around the square and each spot had power.
The organizers really made a good effort to make sure the teams had what they needed and felt welcome. This wasn’t the first year for this comp but it was a year of change, with some mixed results.
While most competitions have turn-ins in early afternoon, McKenzie opted to mix things up a little bit and push the turn in times back to the 5:00 to 6:30 range. This was to get the barbecuers to hang out a little longer and sell some grub to the general public. The story goes that in years past, only a crew or two stayed around to vend and this left some folks going hungry.
I can certainly understand the organizers wanting to make sure the public gets to enjoy the phenomenal food that was produced but it had the unintended side effect of keeping the competitors working over a hot pit during the hottest part of the day. The National Weather Service may say it was only 92 degrees but the DBQ thermometer under the canopy was pegging triple digits.
Time for the first turn-in and another snag in the plan revealed itself – the people looking for barbecue were filtering in and looking for food while teams were shuttling boxes to the judges.
To my knowledge, no one was seriously hampered by this oversight but every competition cook knows that little anxious feeling during the walk – what if the box gets dropped, what if things get jostled? Dodging people looking for a rack of ribs while trying to turn in does little to relieve that stress.
After the turn-ins were done and the crowds fed, people started packing up. Results were supposed to be at 8 but, due to more than a few ties and other issues, results were posted two days later. By way of an apology, the organizers offered free entry to this year’s competitors for the 2013 contest.
Congratulations to Splitwood Cookers on the GC. Draper’s took 5th overall with 4th place in Ribs, 5th place in Pork and 10th place in Chicken.
We had a great time and look forward to seeing folks back there next year!