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Published September 10, 2012, 11:40 PM

Blues, brews and BBQs: North Dakota BBQ Championships to be held this week

FARGO – When former Missouri resident and BBQ expert David Newman moved to North Dakota, he was excited to try whatever barbecue his friends were offering for dinner.

By: Wendy Reuer, INFORUM

FARGO – When former Missouri resident and barbecue expert David Newman moved to North Dakota, he was excited to try whatever barbecue his friends were offering for dinner.

He wondered if it would be a spicy Memphis-inspired rub or maybe a Kansas City lip-licking sauce.

It was neither.

When his friends said barbecue, they meant what is otherwise known in this area as sloppy Joes.

Newman recalls the story with a laugh, but Saturday, North Dakotans will have a chance to show him they can be serious about their barbecue. Local enthusiasts can flaunt their grilling masterpieces at the North Dakota BBQ Championship, which will be held during the Blues, Brews and BBQ event outside Sickies Garage at The Hub.

The contest will have three categories: pork rib, pork shoulder and chicken. Teams enter their own recipe of each. Each recipe must be charcoal or wood cooked; there will be no electric or gas smoking allowed at the event.

It’s set up similar to national contests. David Newman and co-organizers Eric Berg and Chris Newman are hoping to see the local talent that they are sure this area holds.

“It’s more of a hometown event with professional rules. We want to encourage people from North Dakota to come and enter,” David Newman said. “Everybody has their own secret when it comes to their best ribs or pork shoulder.”

Along with bragging rights, $5,000 in cash is up for grabs.

Judges will base on taste, texture and tenderness. They are looking for good palatability, nice flavor, and juicy tastes, Newman said.

Newman and Berg are directors of the North Dakota State University BBQ Bootcamp, where they’ve taught thousands of students the ins and outs of barbecue from smoking and grilling to determining spices, rubs and marinades, and finding the proper cooking temperatures for best taste.

Sauces and marinades are more often associated with the Kansas City-inspired barbecues.

A rub or dry spices encasing the meat is usually compared or called Memphis style.

It is the preferred style of Austen Germolus, who plans to compete at Blues, Brews and BBQs.

“I’m not a huge fan of barbecue sauce. I think you get more flavor from the meat; you’re not disguising it as much,” Germolus said. “It’s a little more fun to play around with the dry spices.”

For Newman, he says ribs are probably his meat of choice. When it comes to sauce, he likes a little kick.

“I like something that has something that is sweet and has some spice. I probably prefer a rub. I don’t like when things are drowned in barbecue sauce,” Newman said.

Newman and Germolus both like a little spice but agree spicy is not a popular flavor in this area.

“In North Dakota, people typically do not like spicy. That’s their Scandinavian heritage. They like things with lots of salt, though,” Newman said. “They say they can’t eat spicy but anybody that can eat lutefisk can do spicy.”

Saturday’s competition will be Germolus’ first. The NDSU staffer is no stranger to the grill: He is a presenter at the BBQ boot camp.

Teams can begin setting up Friday evening, and registration to enter the contest will remain open until Thursday. More information can be found on the contest site at www.ndbbq.com.

“It’s probably one of your last chances of the season to fire up the grill,” Newman said.

If you go

What: Blues, Brews & BBQs ND BBQ Championship

When: Thursday through Saturday; gates open each day at 11 a.m.

Where: Sickies Garage, The Hub, 2525 9th Ave. S, Fargo

Bands include: The Johnny Holm Band, The Lamont Cranston Blue Band, and Popa Chubby

Info: Registration for the North Dakota BBQ Championship closes Thursday.

Online: www.ndbbq.com