Mouths will water as barbecue masters from Canada and beyond take to their grills for the Cloverdale Cowboy Cook-Off BBQ Competition during this weekend's Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair.
Cloverdale's own Brian Misko of House of Q, an award-winning barbecue team that includes his wife and cooking partner, Corinne, will be among more than 25 teams competing for $10,000 in cash prizes.
Misko, who made the leap into the world of professional barbecuing from a career in sales and marketing, said he'll be bringing his 'A' game to the Cowboy Cook-Off.
Misko said he first got bit by the thrill of the grill while travelling in the southern U.S. for work, which is where he attended a championship event in Texas.
"I thought it was amazing," he said. "But unfortunately, I never had a chance to eat, I just took in all the smells."
Then in 2004, he attended the Canadian National BBQ Championships in Whistler - and this time he got to sample the goods.
"We ate our weight in meat," he said with a chuckle. And on the drive home, he decided he was going to jump in.
He started practising his cooking techniques under the guidance of "Rockin Ronnie" Shewchuk, who believes, "You're not really serious about barbecue until you've slept next to your cooker and used a bag of charcoal as a pillow."
And now, in addition to competing, House of Q makes a line of barbecue sauces, including its flagship award-winning "Apple Butter" barbecue sauce. New this year is a "Rock'n Red" sauce. And Misko is often in the news, such as on Global TV BC and in magazines, providing grilling tips to viewers and sharing his enthusiasm.
While the sauce business takes up most of his time, he sure loves competing, he said.
"I'm always bringing something new, something unique. It's a creative outlet," Misko said, adding he takes the competitions very seriously.
Before he gears up for the rodeo, Misko was busy preparing food for Premier Christy Clark and MLAs from around B.C. On Wednesday, Misko hopped on the ferry to fire up the grill at the legislature, as part of a day in celebration of beef production in the province.
The competition will begin the afternoon of Saturday, May 19 with a pie and chili contest at 1 and 2 p.m. respectively.
Next up at 4 p.m. will be an Iron Chef style contest, touted as Battle Bacon.
Each team will be given five pounds of Johnston's BC Bacon and the teams can make anything they want using bacon as the feature ingredient. At 5 p.m. on Saturday, those dishes will be submitted to the judges for evaluation.
After that, Battle Bacon teams will start to cook their meat for the Sunday, May 20 competition.
Beef brisket and pork shoulder can take up to 15 hours to prepare, so the cooks will have to stay up all night to tend to the meat.
The main competition starts Sunday at 11 a.m., and every hour on the hour teams will turn in different meat entries to the judges.
Judges will be evaluating the food based on appearance, texture, taste and flavour. The food is rated on a scale of one to 10 by the six judges.
Pork shoulder is up at 11 a.m., followed by beef brisket at noon, chicken at 1 p.m. and ribs at 2 p.m.
Once the teams have submitted their food to the judges, they will pass out samples to the public. Finally, the awards will be handed out at 5 p.m.
For more, visit www.cloverdalerodeo.com.
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