We’ll its been a couple weeks, and I’m still in shock about the weekend we had in Vegas at the World Food Championships.
It started off when we got a call that we had an invite into the World Food Championships back in the middle of October. The Contest requires teams to be in Vegas ready to set up on a Wednesday so it took a little bit of work figuring out the logistics of how to get their. Unfortunately Joe, my Dad and myself (Andy) were the only ones that could get the time off work to make it there.
The competition was set up a little different with later turn in times and no chicken, which made the time there really relaxing. We had time to walk the grounds of Fremont Street and take in the sights and smells of over 450 different competitors cooking everything from deserts to chili and everything in between. BBQ was just one of the many categories and over 75 of the Top BBQ teams in the nation including teams from Europe, Africa and South America were there Thursday preying for their meats and lighting their fires for the cook that night.
When it was said and done we felt good about our turn ins, but of course those are the days the judges never seem to agree. Watching the awards was quite the experience, being as it was taped for a TV show the awards went really slow with multiple takes of the hosts announcing the winners. The hosts were only calling the top 5 in the BBQ categories. One by one we never heard our name for Ribs, Pork or Brisket. We had given up on making the Top 10 overall and competing the next day in the finals. Just as we were heading over to pick up our score sheets, we heard the host say “and representing California”, this perked our ears and then came “Rooftop Barbeque”. We couldn’t believe, being on stage along side some really prestigious teams was a real honor.
The excitement quickly turned to panic, for a few reasons. First I had signed up to teach a class the next morning and had planned on leaving that night. Not really thinking when I ran up on stage, that the producers were filming me and now needed me to stay for the finals. Quickly I made some calls and Steve Wilson agreed to cover for me (thanks to him and Abel for covering my butt). The second panic was we also didn’t have a place to stay (again we never thought we had a chance so only booked the hotel up until Friday). Luckly I have an Aunt who lives in Vegas and gave us a place to stay. And finally there was the cook. The rules had all the competitors confused on what was legal to turn in. We had some awesome prime tri tips with us from Brandt Beef, and there was no question that was what we wanted to turn in. The rules required us to turn in a single protein, we had to turn in on two silver plates with 5 samples on each and a beauty shot on each one.
That night trying to sleep was filled with thoughts and possibilities of what we could do to our plate to showcase the meat. The next morning we decided to go simple and let the meat shine. We went with 5 slices of tri tip on each plate fanned out with a whole tri tip on each plate as our “beauty shot”.
It was an interesting cook, we moved our camps down to a different part of Fremont St. we were fortunate enough to be set up next to Joe from Tippy Canoe BBQ. The day was filled with interviews and paying close attention to details of the tri tip, 10,000 dollars was on the line and we were doing everything we could to get a piece of it, after trying Tippy’s pork belly we knew it would be a challenge.
We were proud of our turn ins and waited for awards. In the end we finished 8th overall but we had a great time, met some more BBQ friends and had an awesome experience.
The show should air sometime around Feb or Mar on A&E.
Andy Allen, Rooftop Barbeque