Rachel’s Recap: 2017 Kansas City Kosher BBQ competition

3rd place in brisket! And yes, those are my parents! (Avi was MIA in this photo b/c she was taking it)

It’s been a little over a month since our team “Five Dudes and a Vegetarian” competed once again in this year’s (6th annual) Kansas City Kosher BBQ competition!  This year was a little bit different as the competition was part of the Kansas City Jewish Arts Festival at the Jewish Community Center, so the PR for the event was a little bit different.  So granted there were LOTS of people that came by the event, but since the BBQ event was sort of tucked away on the side, we didn’t get as many passersby asking to try our food (which, may have been a good thing, since we only had some tasting samples – the priority is for the judges and the rest, well, we take home for family). 🙂

The BBQ event itself was smaller – only 12 teams this year, instead of the usual 20-25, so our team kept thinking positively that it’ll give us better odds at winning big this year.  We competed against some of the best.  Some regulars, like Sephardic-Q, DWF Kosher Q Crew (shoutout to my buddy Brian!!) and Dukes of Chazzer (and they won Grand Champ, 2 years in a row now, SUPER impressive – congrats to Andy and the team). We also had the opportunity to have our booth right next to some legit professional BBQers and when I say legit, I mean, they’ve competed in the MASSIVE, “American Royal” BBQ competition (let’s just say, over 400 teams at that one – cue jaw drop).  Dan from Chop’s BBQ basically just swept the entire competition, so much so, that he was having a hard time juggling all of his trophies, while carrying them to his car. #sorrynotsorry.  But so well deserved.  On the other side of Dan was Andy from Smoke on Wheels, who also won big that day.  I felt a huge honor just to be competing in the same space as these dudes and wanting to learn from the best.

Same shpiel here – we did prep Thursday night (I made the rubs, cooked the sauces and helped pack up and keep us organized), and the rest we tackled Saturday night, motzei Shabbat.  We had 2 new members of our team, Joyce (from KC!!) and my other sister, Avi!  It’s become such a family affair and I love it!  Saturday night turned out to be great weather, no major hiccups for us and… I quite possibly slept on top of a piece of cardboard underneath a table, and there may or may not have been spooning with my husband involved (it was COLD, okay?!).

Homemade shakshuka for breakfast – my permanent role in the morning hours.  It was delish.  Added some beef fry on the grill and breakfast sausage (I heard it was delish, but what do I know?).  All of our proteins looks pretty darn good if I must say so, and we all felt REALLY good about it.

12 o’clock NOON – time for the first turn-in.  Boxes are complete with perfectly folded tin foil on the bottom and drips have been wiped up (yes, I’m a bit of a stickler for the perfect-looking turn-in box, but believe me, that’s a good thing).  Chicken, ribs, turkey and brisket.  All the work pays off, everything is turned in to the judges and now we start cleaning up and it’s time to wait.

Judging time is here.  Fingers are crossed, waiting for our team name to be called for something…anything!  And lo and behold, we placed the EXACT same as last year – THIRD place in BRISKET!  I know we all want to do better (looking at you, Daniel)! And though I agree, I’m still happy we won, especially a trophy.  But there are always things to learn from our experiences and ways to improve so we can get a second or FIRST place trophy maybe next year.

A couple takeaways – one thing we have to work on is our timing, though I think we have the cooking timing down, we just have to be more careful about the resting of the meat and plating and so forth.  Always a work in progress but we’re getting there, and learning from mistakes.

And the biggest takeaway from this year’s event, was how much we (and by “we”, I mean everyone competing) miss Mendel Segal – who singlehandedly organized this event with the Va’ad 6 years ago and made it the incredible event it is today. Though since he moved to South Florida, it just didn’t have that “Mendel-esque” touch as it could have.  Those of you who were there, you know what I mean.  It was a great event, don’t get me wrong, just was missing that something extra – those details that Mendel can control in his sleep, he’s such a master.  So, yes, Mendel, we all miss you. But we’re excited to check out your restaurant in Miami, and maybe…a BBQ competition there soon??

Check out some picts from the event!

Brisket and the rub!


Chicken prep!






Making breakfast and running on an hour of sleep!


Shakshuka for bfast




Morning selfie


Final touches for the chicken


Honey, baby!


Ellie, with Dave Rogers, from KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society – the competition is sanctioned by them)!


Smokin’ it up


Basting those ribs


Final product!


3rd place-winning brisket!




Mendel in his element


Team spirit!!

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