Vegan Chicharron with Smoked Orange by Aqua Crisps
Team Aqua Crisps developed a fantastically crispy tapioca-based chicharron dusted with smoked orange that was served with a delicate red salsa.
Porklandia by Rage Against the Cuisine
Rage Against the Cuisine won over the judges' panel with a dish christened "Porklandia." Described as a "deconstructed Applewood bacon," it included smoked pork belly, apple terrine, and red wine cabbage, over a bed of olive oil "ashes."
This highlight of this chowder (one of two in the competition) was the smoky-sweets scallops that seemingly dissolved on your tongue complemented by the candied bacon garnish.
Bourbon Cherry 'Smores by Mary Makes Dinner
Team Mary Makes Dinner won the Nick & Theo Award for Experimentation for the second year in a row! These deconstructed s'mores were made of bourbon-soaked cherries, chocolate ice cream, and homemade marshmallows toasted over an open flame of 151 proof alcohol. The warm marshmallow melted beautifully into the cold ice cream.
Smoked Lightnin' by the Holy Smokers
The Holy Smokers served up my favorite pulled pork dish of the afternoon, served on toast and garnished with a pineapple slaw. They even handed out sample bottles of their barbecue sauce to take home, and their gregarious nature earned them the Congeniality Award.
Balcones Brimstone Candy Bars by Misohungry
Team Misohungry submitted the second dessert entry. I definitely had more than one serving of these chocolate and caramel layer bars made with a smoked whiskey from a local distillery.
3 Wood by Don't Make Me Smoke You
I have a soft spot in my heart for corn chowder, so I was partial to this soup of smoked corn. The garnish of cilantro and jalapeno crostini added a subtle hint of spice.