Well, we didn't waste any time in reserving a couple of tickets for that Saturday. Boy, we were ready to taste some good BBQ! With lips smacking, we bundled up (it was colder than heck that day) and off we went to the American Royal Center where it was being held. Map in hand, we decided to check out the "vendor hall" first. We entered, expecting it to be full to the brim (like the ones at the fair)...hmm...not so much. There were about 1/50th the vendors that the space could hold. First off, tho, we saw that a cooking demo was going on, so we grabbed a couple of chairs and sat down to watch. It was a chef from the Midwest Barbeque Institute talking about sauces. They actually have a school for BBQing! What a hoot! We saw on the agenda that later that day Guy Fieri from the Food Network was going to host a segment, so we would come back for that later. On to the vendors...the only ones that were aimed at the "general public" (vs professional cooks wanting huge grills) were those promoting their special sauces and rubs. The first one I walked up to, I shared with him that we weren't from here, so were novices, and what made KC style of cooking different than say, Memphis TN? He and the other customers there, explained that KC's is typically a sweeter sauce - but that "good BBQ" was cooked with a rub, served with the meat falling off the bone, then the sauce is added (or, it's OK to add it as the last thing before taking it off the grill). I asked everyone to suggest the best BBQ place in town, and they all agreed that Winslow's BBQ was the tops, along with a couple of others. With a "thank you" to the group, we moved on. Around the last corner was a small set up with several (lovely) black women handing out samples of their sauce. Their set up intrigued me, so I stopped to listen to them and taste. Wow! What a different flavor of sauce! They named it Freddie Lee's "Ghetto Sauce". Love the name. They shared that it was an all purpose gourmet sauce to use when you grilled, smoked, baked and even in chili. Yum, we agreed and bought a bottle.
Well, enough of that, it was time to go outside and try some of the 545 competitors' BBQ! We walked up and down rows and rows of the different team set-ups, all elaborate, some fancy & some funny, but no people? We finally found a couple of folks gathered around a fire that they invited us to join them, in trying to keep warm. We asked where all the food samples were, and they shared that there wasn't any, it all was going to the judges. What, NO FOOD? You mean we paid $18 each to allow vendors to sell us something and smell the BBQ? Damn. So, with hungry tummies, we conceded and went back inside to buy a BBQ sandwich from a concession stand. NOT the fare we had in mind.
After the sandwich, we headed for Guy's demo. He was a hoot! He made several different things, one a "hot" Margarita! Fun. It almost made up for the disappointment, almost...
They were having a band and some other activities later that evening, but it was to dang cold to just hang around until then, and without the food, it wasn't worth it. We would just have to find our BBQ fix at Winslow's...later.
If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/
...kicking back in KC, Marie