Cooks have fun in Hill City for competition

By Jeff Smith

A lot of meat — Steve Goodro of the Smokin’ Firefighters serves some meat to a People’s Choice tasting participant on Aug. 25.

Plumes of  smoke might not always be a good thing. But in Hill City they are a  part of one of the biggest events of the year.

Scrumptious barbecue  stretching two blocks was available on Aug. 25. Many rolled into Hill City during the afternoon to enjoy all of the food and alcohol.

It was a beautiful day  and a lot of people had a great experience.

“It’s beer, wine and barbecue. How can you go wrong?” stated Bailee Ellsworth, graphic designer with Sick-N-Twisted Brewery.

She was there for the Wine and Brew Fest which was by the Twisted Pine Winery.

Organizer Shane Alexander said the event went well, but there was just some confusion with cups and different aspects of the event.

Dan Balisco with Sick-N-Twisted Brewery said the Wine and Brew Fest went well, although he heard that foot traffic was down from last year.

“As far everyone’s personal experience, they are having a great time,” Balisco said.

Naked Winery/Sick-N-Twisted brought seven different wine selections and four different beer selections. One of the beers they brought won the Gillette Brewfest a month ago.

Casey Nordine with Miner Brewing Company said it was fun seeing everybody out enjoying food and beer. Last year Miner Brewing couldn’t participate because of the Miner Music Festival.

They offered the West River Pale Ale and the Stamp Mill Stout. The West River Pale Ale was nice and refreshing. The Stamp Mill Stout had some notes of coffee and cocoa and was a Belgian stout beer.

Dennis Rice and Steve Goodro were at their first Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctioned event.

Steve Goodro said he’s been wanting to do some type of an event with KCBS.

At the Custer County Fair they placed fifth overall and first in beef.

“Smoked meatloaf, that was the winner,” Goodro said.

He stated that since they are just local guys it was a little bit unnerving being at the event because a lot of other contestants have done it for a long time.

“It all comes down to what the judges want to eat, their taste buds,” Goodro said.

This year they got a better idea of how everything works. Their method of cooking was to take it slow and they were working on getting their timing right. They had a drum smoker, a pellet style grill and another type of smoker.

Brad Mueller with American Heroes BBQ out of Glerock, Wyo., said the event went well. It was his second year at the Wine, Brew and BBQ. Mueller said he came back because of the scenery and the people.

“Most of these teams are my friends,” Mueller said.

Mueller’s cooking style is hot and fast.

“The meat is cooked quicker and it keeps more moisture in the meat in the long run,” Mueller said.

He mentioned that there is not really a stall period when someone is cooking hot and fast.

He can cook brisket in five hours with only a two hour rest period. His fuel for a wood burning smoker is pecan split wood pellets.

Nick Holman of Des Lacs, N.D., came to the event for the first time. It was also his rookie year with KCBS. He stated that on 3:30 a.m. he put the first meet in the smoker. Then the last turn-in time was at 1:30 p.m. A lot of barbecue teams cook and perfect their meat for around 10 hours.

His team name is Burnt Trees BBQ. On Aug. 25 they tried a new recipe for their pork.

About four years ago Holman received second place in another barbecue event.

“I was hooked,” Holman said.

Since then he has cooked at a lot of other contests. Burnt Trees BBQ also spends a lot of time going to community events.

“It’s a lot of charity-type contests or raising money for a local park or a health issue,” Holman said.

One of their events coming up will raise money for EMTs.

There are six people on Holman’s team. Altogether, Holman and his team have been together for four years.

Holman was another hot and fast pellet smoker. Through the use of hickory pellets the meat is given a sweet, woodsy flavor.

For chicken, they use cherry pellets. It is sweeter and not as strong as the hickory. Holman is hoping to improve and maybe one day get a grand championship at a contest.

In total, there were 27 teams represented at the Wine, Brew and BBQ this year.

At the event, there were 36 judges and table captains. Table captains are the ones who bring food to tables for the judges.

Gene Goycochea, a KCBS representative, has been at the Wine, Brew and BBQ every year and a part of KCBS for 19 years.

“It goes well every year,”  Goycochea said.

Each competition is different.

“The size doesn’t matter all that much. It’s still a good time,”  Goycochea said.

There are around 500 KCBS contests in a year.

He said the event has a nice venue and there are always great people there.

At the KidsQue last Friday night there was a chance for children to be creative and make what they would want to eat. Some were simple yet still flavorful.

There were 14 children in two divisions. One was 10 and under and the other was kids 11-16. Alexander said the event went well.

“All the kids were happy,” Alexander said.

The children had charcaol grills to cook with and the Hill City Fire Department helped fill the grills with charcaol. 

“It went pretty good. I was scared but I got used to it,” said Cecelia Murphy, a 9-year-old from Rapid City.

She made a bacon cheeseburger with pepperjack cheese and called it the Murphy Burger. Her mom jumped in and said that she will be making them for the whole family.

Eight-year-old Cory Ronish of Hill City had a lot of different items in and on his meatballs. Inside, there was cheese, a pepper and an onion and there was bacon and barbecue sauce drizzled on top.

To prepare for the event Ronish helped grill burgers and stuffed peppers at home.

James Schmoll of Hill City made jalapeno popper burgers with chipotle ranch sauce. He never grills at home but wanted to try it out for fun. He definitely plans on coming back next year. He ended up receiving first place in his age division.