Aspiring pit-masters get a PHD in BBQ inside Elks Lodge

The Kansas City Barbecue Society hosted dozens of citizens from across the Midwest for multiple seminars regarding all aspects of a barbecue competition. 

Attendees came from as far as Minnesota to participate in the program, which offered courses in competition barbecue judging, as well as, all aspects of preparing, cooking and plating competition barbecue during the two-day event at the Cameron Elks Lodge. 

“I’ve done judging classes before. That’s normal around winter time. But this winter Josh and Ashton, who are friends of mine, wanted to do a cooking class. We were looking at a place in Kansas City, but that didn’t work out, so we decided to come up here and do it all in Cameron. We decided to do it all in one weekend,” KCBS Volunteer Carl McBee said.

Soon after learning to judge, attendees had their newly acquired knowledge put to the test with a handful of competition pit-masters hot off the circuit looking for feedback on some newly created recipes. Although top tier in their own right, those same pit-masters stuck around for the next 24 hours as part of a competition demonstration by Josh Farley and Ashton Smith of Piggin’ Whiskey O.G. 

“What those two taught here (free of charge), a lot of people would pay $600 to see somewhere else ... It’s important to new teams because that brisket Josh did was $250,” McBee said. “How many of those $250 briskets do you want to mess up? Or, do you want someone to show you how to do it and how to do it right. There was a new guy here that had never done a contest. He’s getting started on the right foot.”

Smith, who quipped Josh’s brisket is what made her fall in love with him, said teaching the 24-hour course was her way of giving back to a community that gave her so much. During the demonstration, Smith and Farley prepared the four most common competition categories - brisket, ribs, chicken and burnt ends. 

“[Josh] and I have always talked about paying it forward to KCBS and barbecue because barbecue is a community, a family that has given us so much joy the past two years. We wanted to give back, so our way of giving back is helping people get into barbecue or learn more about barbecue so they can make memories with their families ... We were lucky enough to have Carl and the Elks Lodge let that happen for free,” Smith said.

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