Before I get to the “dish” on the Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship, don’t forget to enter our giveaway for the new cookbook Perfect Flavors: Creative, easy-to-prepare recipes inspired by my family and travels by Naomi Nachman!
The Dish on Dallas
Debbie didn’t do Dallas. At least not this year. 🙂 Debbie IS one of our beloved teammates on the Kosher BBQ competition circuit, but alas, I couldn’t avoid that joke… #sorrynotsorry.
Let’s travel back to 2 weeks ago, Friday October 26th. Our BBQ team “5 Dudes and a Vegetarian” (only 2 dudes this time), hopped on a 5 AM flight (gross, I know) and made our way to the Lone Star state! Tired, hungry, but full of adrenaline, we made it to the shul in time for prep. And let me say, as someone who is very organized, I was thrilled to be part of the most organized BBQ prep I’ve ever seen! The table of ingredients had rows of spices, herbs and sauces lined up oh-so perfectly. It made finding our spices to make the base rub so much easier! This Dallas Kosher BBQ competition is shaping up to be pretty great!
2 hours later, the brisket has been trimmed, the rubs and sauce are made, the turkey spatchcocked, injected and rubbed and we’re finished for now. The ribs weren’t available until Saturday night and chicken? Well, we can wait on that too.
Next, we headed to the semi-new Kosher market and take-out BBQ place, Kosher Palate. We ordered ahead and picked up food for Shabbat, including chicken, green bean salad, cucumber salad, & chicken fingers (we did an Airbnb for Shabbat, and the one and only Mendel Segal of RaBBi-Q joined us)! And we had JUST enough time to fit in a “Beer Before Shabbos” video! Check it out here!
Shabbat was restful and relaxing – even in our tiny garage home for the night. It was the perfect set-up for a BBQ competition weekend. Nothing fancy needed here – just good food and good company.
Let the Battle Begin
Saturday night the fun begins! Tents, tables, equipment are being set up. Proteins arrive. Our station is organized (you’re welcome). Of course, the moment I turned on my phone, I heard about the horrible tragedy in Pittsburgh. The atmosphere became a bit more somber. Just remember to hug and kiss your loved ones and keep them safe. Ultimately, I cannot thank the police enough for being at the event all night and all day and for keeping us safe! Thank you Blue!
Midnight rolls around and I’m up! It’s time for me to prep the chicken! I honestly don’t know why I volunteer to do the least-appealing (pretty gross) job in this competition. I mean, chopping off knuckles, pulling out tendons, and thinning skin is not exactly a vegetarian’s paradise, but those chicken thighs looked mighty adorable when they were all done if I say so myself.
A long night ahead. I probably fell asleep for about 10 minutes, but as usual, I caught a second wind.
The sun has risen and the men are davening Shacharit. That’s my cue to make breakfast! As always, bfast consists of shakshuka on the grill. This time we added French Toast, made with a leftover challah from Shabbat! #breakfastFTW
And now the REAL fun begins. Countdown to turn-in times.
Feeding BBQ Aficionados
But first – let’s introduce the celebrity panel! This is just pure fun, bringing some meat selections from each team to this very talented group of chefs and foodies! They ate, chatted with the crowd and ultimately gave out judges’ favorites awards!
Let me introduce you to…
- Vicki Nivens – owner of Hard Eight BBQ for over 15 years and has overseen the growth to over 4 locations across North Texas with a 5th on its way!
- Jody Dean – longtime host of 98.7 FM KLUV morning drive and BBQ aficionado (returned to the event for his 4th year in a row!)
- Jill Grobowsky Bergus – born into BBQ royalty and owner of Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas (where NO forks and NO sauce are apparently the norm)
- Daniel Vaughn – one of, if not THE most well-known and recognizable BBQ aficionados throughout Texas, he recently won a national magazine award for Texas Monthly’s 2017 Top 50 BBQ issue and published his first book The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue in 2013
- John Tesar – executive chef and partner of the renowned Knife Dallas (named “Best Steakhouse” by Dallas Magazine in 2015 AND 2016), 4-time James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” semifinalist and contestant on the hit Bravo show “Top Chef”
- Gabriel Boxer – known as the “Kosher Guru”, is a leading expert in the kosher food industry and restaurant consultant and runs one of the largest kosher foodie Facebook groups “Kosher Guru’s Kosher Nation”
Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to chat with the celeb panel, but it looked like they were having a great time! And how could they NOT? Free BBQ!
Time For Turn-Ins
All the while the crowd was enjoying the fantastic event (lots of kids activities and local vendors), the teams were getting their turn-in boxes prepped perfectly for the judges. Chicken, ribs, turkey and brisket. Each turn-in a half hour apart. Meat sliced to perfection (or so we thought, fingers crossed). 7 portions laid out on the folded piece of foil inside a white Styrofoam container – very fancy here. Spills wiped up and time checked. All 4 proteins submitted to the judges successfully!
Before I get into HOW we placed in each category, I personally want to thank Brian Rubenstein and Sandy Dorf for their hard work on running this amazing event. I have never seen such incredible organization. Even though little glitches popped up (it happens in any event, right) I can speak for our entire that team that we were so overwhelmed by the love and support and for you and Sandy truly going above and beyond to help us, especially as we traveled for the event. Brian – I know you REALLY wanted us to be there and we are so thrilled that we got the chance to come! It’s been so much fun getting to know you over the years and we would LOVE to come back next year.
Ready for the Results
So how did we place? Well, we won 4th place in chicken, 4th place in turkey, 5th place in ribs and 5th overall! Not bad considering we competed against some serious BBQ veterans! And the 2nd, 3rd and 4th places were only separated by less than 1 point! So I’d say we did pretty well!
Well, we’ve already marked our calendars for next year’s event – October 27th, 2019!
Check out some pix from the big event!
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