What are you doing this weekend?
I won't be blogging. Sorry, but I'll be at the Fourth Annual Grill Kings contest cooking with The BBQ-Brethen/Brothers in Smoke. Talk to you next week. Or better yet, why don't you come out to Belmont Park and join us?
BY ERICA MARCUS
Newsday Staff Writer
July 13, 2006, 9:43 PM EDT
In four years, the annual Grill Kings Long Island BBQ Cook-Off has grown from a humble local cooking competition into two-day extravaganza drawing barbecue teams from all over the country.
Last year's event, held at Heckscher State Park in East Islip, attracted 15,000 people, said Grill Kings co-founder Dean Camastro. This year, the contest moves to Belmont Park Racetrack in Elmont, and Camastro expects attendance to double.
"The Belmont location allows us to turn it into more of a family festival," Camastro said. "There will be thoroughbred races all day, two rock bands -- The Mystic and Mystery Play -- and midway games for the kids." For adults, there also will be the chance to win a Ford F-150 Lariat truck.
While the 45-odd (WTBBQ Edit - 43) barbecue teams concentrate on tending their entries, local restaurants -- Big Daddy's of Massapequa, The Hog House of Huntington, Big Boy's Grill of Uniondale, Laura's BBQ Roadhouse of Bellmore and Buddy's Bar-B-Q of Floral Park -- will offer barbecue, burgers and sides for sale.
Of course, the heart of the matter is the competition. Last year, Grill Kings became the first New York State contest to be sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, whose rules govern the country's most prestigious barbecue events. (WTBBQ Edit - the first LONG ISLAND KCBS sanctioned event.)
Grill Kings' grand champion, to be named about 5 p.m. Sunday, will (WTBBQ Edit - possibly) represent New York at the 27th Annual American Royal Barbecue contest in Kansas City. The winner also will be put in a pool with two other New York State champions for a chance to compete in the 15th Annual Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, Tenn.
The 2006 field is wide open because last year's grand champion, Ray Lampe of Florida, is out of commission. According to Camastro, "Ray is finishing up his third barbecue cookbook, and the deadline is on Monday."
This year, the total prize money has nearly doubled to $11,000. In addition to donning the Grill Kings title belt, the grand champion will receive $5,000, a trophy and prizes from various manufacturers. Prizes will also be awarded to a reserve Grand Champion and to a winner and four runners-up in each of the four Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned categories: ribs, pulled pork, (WTBBQ Edit - pork does not have to be pulled.) brisket and chicken.
On Saturday, the teams also will compete to see who makes the best pork chops, chicken wings and BBQ sauce. The winner of the PureFire Grilling Challenge will be announced at about 4 p.m. (WTBBQ Edit - The grilling contest results do not effect who becomes Grand Champion of the KCBS sanctioned area of the contest. The PureFire Grilling Challenge is just for fun and only occurs at the Grill Kings event.)