Barbecue Cook-off in full swing

Published 7:38 pm Friday, November 30, 2012

For those looking for the Alabama State Championship Barbecue Cook-off Friday night, they just needed to follow their noses.

Smoke filled the air as grills were fired up for the event, which welcomed families, friends and those who traveled from afar to George Franks Ball Field.

Though Marx and Angela Ford didn’t have to travel far being from Kickin’ Butts BBQ in Linden, Marx said he wouldn’t miss his sixth year competing in the annual event.

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Marx, the reigning champion in the backyard division for ribs, said he enjoys the time to come out and get behind the grill.

“I have seen the crowd grow throughout years, but there are a lot of regulars who compete and have been doing this for years,” Marx said.

Cars lined the roads surrounding the field, where the event was held drawing a crowd looking to enjoy the music as well as variety of dishes.

People mixed and mingled at the event, as though it was a family reunion, for the Fords it was a family affair as they were joined by Angela’s parents.

“We love to share our food with people and see them satisfied,” Angela said.

The Fords recalled their first time competing in the event back in 2006, where Marx won third place for his ribs.

“That was a great experience,” he said. “It was our first time doing this together and we won.”

Some may attribute the unique taste of Kickin’ Butts ribs’ to the fact they make their own charcoal or the indirect heat used to cooks the ribs, but Angela feels its something a little more special than that.

“I think what’s special about our food is the love we put behind it,” she said.

A host of booths lined the field in a fair like atmosphere. The Fords offered potato salad, baked beans, ribs, chicken and a host of other things, but one booth offered something a little different.

Those craving a little taste of New Orleans didn’t have to travel far Friday.

Eddie Tucker of Dozier Hardware offered a little taste of that here with his Jambalaya.

Seasoned and cooked in his own special way, Eddie said his dish is special because, “It’s a Tucker thing,” he said with a smile.

“Everyone loves it, we do it every year,” he said.

Another booth joined the event this year as a way for their church’s men to dive in to the COTR spirit and events.

Trinity Episcopal Church’s Holy Smoke team started setting up shop early Friday to grill for the event.

Church member Russ Gaddy was there to help with the event.

“The women of the church are very involved with the Episcopal Church Women group so this gives the men a way to get together,” Gaddy said. “Our rector’s wife came up with the name ‘Holy Smoke’ so we decided to get involved.”

The church had a lot of things donated for the event and they welcomed anyone to come and enjoy with them.

In addition to Gaddy, a lot of men in the church were involved such as Michael Casper, Mark Bedsole, Sam Bozeman, Matthew Black and church rector J.D. Barnes.

In addition to the booths offering various dishes, some of those who had booths used the time to host private gatherings.

The judging for the Barbecue Cook-off will take place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at George Franks Field.