The Burning of Regrets
Each year, guests of The Jack write their regrets onto scraps of paper, toss the scraps into an iron cast hog, and roll that hog into the fireplace to kick off opening night. Say goodbye to your guilt about pigging out!
The Party on Barbecue Hill
In warm weather, Jack Daniel's holds barbecue dinners in a beautiful open-air lodge overlooking the Distillery grounds. A southern cooked banquet fills Barbecue Hill with old friends, new competitors and the warmth of the barbecue community.
Myron Mixon (left) and John Markus (right) play prominent roles in The Learning Channel's "BBQ Pit Masters." The former is the owner of Jack's Old South barbecue restaurant and competition team. The latter is the executive producer of the barbecue competition docu-reality program.
The Calm Before the Storm
Unlike the rip-roaring southern party that is Memphis in May, the Jack Daniels Invitational is a cool, collected affair. On the eve of the contest, teams huddled for warmth within their tents and trailers, quietly preparing for heat of competition.
The Polish BBQ Kings check the grill on the morning of judging.
Chicken on the Grill
Barbecue chicken, too often a lifeless piece of baked bird slathered with factory-made barbecue sauce, has a real chance to spring to life at KCBS competitions. Of all four meats judged, chicken was surely my favorite in terms of absolute quality.
The "Cook's Choice" and "Home Cookin' From the Homeland" competitions, served to judges in one volley, offered teams a chance to shine entirely on their own culinary terms. Entries on my table included a delicate grilled weisswurst, a spicy crawfish étouffée, and a bacon-wrapped pepper filled with melted cheese.
Before KCBS judges are allowed to sample any entry, they must judge its presentation in the blind box.
Ribs in the Blind Box
Waiting for a Taste
Most judges take one bite of their entries, then pass the rest to their table captains, who are all too happy to pass on these scraps to spectators on the other side of the fence.
Most desserts at the Jack go straight for the intersection of sugar and fat, and most of them succeed quite heartily in their aims.
This Year's Grand Champions
Quau, hailing from Brimfield, Illinois, took home $5,000, an immediate bye for competition in 2011, and one big pair of smiles for all their hard work. In addition to winning the overall competition, Quau finished first in ribs and third in brisket.