The sweet scent of meat, the sound of infectious live music and the sight of carnival rides lured droves of festivalgoers to the Delaware State Fair's first Triple Threat Barbecue, Beer & Music Festival.
The sweet scent of meat, the sound of infectious live music and the sight of carnival rides lured droves of festivalgoers to the Delaware State Fair’s first Triple Threat Barbecue, Beer & Music Festival.
Held in Harrington on the State Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday, the inaugural event has been such a success that it’ll likely have an encore next year.
“Right now we’re looking forward to planning a 2015 [Triple Threat],” said Delaware State Fair Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar.
It appeared at least a couple thousand people attended the event this weekend, but Aguilar says he and his team haven’t finished tallying up how many guests the festival attracted yet.
The Triple Threat festival lived up to its name this weekend as it made good on its promise of offering great music, beer and finger-licking barbecue.
But the king of the festival undoubtedly came from the grill, an intoxicating smell that drowned out all of the other delicious non-meaty treats (including peach and apple crisp) in the food court.
Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, the Triple Threat festival featured more than 120 professional teams and a dozen amateur teams from throughout country, with the farthest team hailing from California.
The festival has been recognized as the largest first-time event sanctioned by the KCBS. That’s high praise considering the KCBS is billed as the world's largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts, boasting more than 15,000 members worldwide.
Professional teams duked it out across four meat categories (beef brisket, chicken, pork and ribs) for a chance to be named the Grand Champion, a distinguished honor that earns the winning group a chance to compete against world-class cooks in the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational, held in Tennessee in late October.
The cooking team Aporkalypse Now, based in Springfield, Va., was crowned the inaugural Grand Champion of Triple Threat on Saturday evening. The team won a cool $3,600 in prize money.
“This is a tremendous event. It’s a large event,” said Michael Fay, chief cook for Aporkalypse Now.
Foods in KCBS-sanctioned competitions are judged based on three qualities: appearance (or presentation), tenderness and taste. Judges award a score of one to nine (nine being the highest) in the three areas of appearance, taste and tenderness. The Grand Champion is selected based on the team with the highest score from all three of the aforementioned areas. At Triple Threat, Aporkalypse Now ranked 31st in chicken, 11th in ribs, fifth in pork and first in beef brisket.
Fay said the key to winning the festival was “just a matter of flavor, finding that sweet spot that more people enjoy than others. Then you have to cook [your meat] correctly.”
Heading into the Jack Daniel’s World Championship, Fay thinks his team has a good of a chance as any to win it. His main strategy is to make sure his team performs well in all four meat categories.
“You just have to be really consistent, do your best and hope for the best,” he said. “It’s anybody’s game.”
List of winners
Reserve Grand Champion and the Delaware State Champion of Triple Threat: Finn’s Finest BBQ (Middletown). Finn’s also won the Mid-Atlantic Barbeque Association Cup.
Pork Ribs: Little Creek Barb-B-Cue (Pennsylvania)
Chicken: Lo’-N-Slo’ BBQ (Pennsylvania)
Pork: Smokin’ Aces (Massachusetts)
Beef Brisket: Aporkalypse Now (Virginia)
People’s Choice for Wings: M&E BBQ North (Milford)
People’s Choice for Pork: Pork-Checkered Flag 500 BBQ (Pennsylvania)
Amateur Chicken: Overall BBQ (Middletown)
Anything Butt: Good Smoke BBQ (New York)
Desserts: Good Smoke BBQ (New York)