The Star-Herald

Backyard chefs take note: PI slates contest

Editor’s note: An article in last week’s Star-Herald inadvertently reported incorrect details about this event. The cook-off will take place at the Northern Maine Fairgrounds, and not Riverside Park, and is, in fact, planned in conjunction with the Fair.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The City of Presque Isle, in partnership with the Northern Maine Fair, will hold the first-ever Star City Backyard BBQ Cook-Off during Fair week.  

The event, slated for Saturday, July 28, will include team competitions in the categories of chicken, ribs, brisket and Boston Butt (pork). Teams will begin cooking on the evening of Friday, July 27, with the actual competitions on Saturday. All types of “smoking pits” are allowed.

Judging will take place on Saturday afternoon, with chicken judged at 12 p.m., ribs at 12:45 p.m., pork at 1:30 p.m. and brisket at 2:30 p.m.  

Chris Perkins, public works director for the City of Presque Isle, first brought the idea to city officials, inspired by his experiences as a team member in barbecue cookoffs in Washburn, Rockland and other areas downstate.

“We have the most fun the night before the competition, cooking and tasting each other’s barbecue,” Perkins told Star-Herald reporter Melissa Lizotte. “It’s always fun to see others in the community the next day trying out your food and enjoying themselves.”

Each team will pay an entry fee based on the number of categories entered ($15 per team for each category entered).  Adjudicators will then “blind judge” each category based on taste, tenderness and appearance, awarding cash prizes for first ($400), second ($300) and third prize ($100) in each category.  

In addition, a “Feed ‘Em Your Finest” Challenge will give fans a chance to choose their favorites based on a taste test.  The winner in this category will receive a trophy and a cash prize of $500.

Those who would like to participate in the taste test must purchase a $20 ticket in advance, which will include admission to the Northern Maine Fair.  No tickets for the challenge will be sold during the event. The tasting will begin around 3:00 pm following the turn-ins of the teams’ cooking efforts for the judges.    Awards will be announced at 4:00 pm.

Organizers hope the event catches on and grows each year.  The proceeds from the fan favorite challenge will go to a local charitable endeavor.

For more information or to purchase a “fan favorite” taste test ticket, contact Craig Green at 768-1033 or craignyl@maine.rr.com.  Interested teams can print off registration forms and rules from the City’s website at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/a6zc5rfovpla29n/BBQ%20Registration%20%26%20Rules%20Forms.pdf?dl=0.  

The deadline for team registration is July 13.

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