Driving out of town Saturday morning, James Meneely and Rebecca Moss saw a sign promoting the Jackson County History Center’s porkburger sales.
When they arrived back in Brownstown, they walked a couple of blocks with their dog, Jackson, to pick up some of the popular porkburgers.
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While there, they realized the Smokin’ Up the Town amateur barbecue competition was going on, so they paid $5 for samples of pulled pork cooked by the competitors and cast their vote for their favorite.
“He likes 2, and I like 3. I’m a sweet person. I like anything that tastes sweet and has a barbecue undertone, and that’s what I liked about that,” Moss said.
“I like the sweet and tangy,” Meneely said.
Even though their favorites differed, Moss and Meneely agreed it was well worth the walk to the history center that morning. They got to try some good pulled pork and take home a bag of porkburgers.
“It’s really, truly hard to find good barbecue. We would drive 50 miles for good barbecue,” Meneely said.
“We have been known to do that more than once,” Moss said.
Fortunately, on Saturday, they didn’t have to go far for good barbecue.
“They are good. I like any porkburgers,” Meneely said while sitting outside the livery barn eating one of the sandwiches.
Moss said her favorite thing was the samples of pulled pork.
“That was terrific,” she said. “I loved that.”
The inaugural competition was part of the Kentuckiana Backyard BBQ Series, which is run by Greg Lane with Kentuckiana BBQ Pitmasters. The first competition was March 23 in Loogootee, and Lane said there are a couple of events each month throughout the summer.
The Bedford man was one of six competitors Saturday in Brownstown. Others were from Bloomington, Mitchell, Ellettsville and Sellersburg.
All of them are trying to rack up points in the series. The categories are brisket, chicken, ribs and pork, and points are earned for the top three places in each. Plus, points are earned by winning the one-bite challenge, reserve grand champion and grand champion.
At the end of the series in mid-October, a cash prize, donated by sponsors, will be awarded.
On Saturday, Lane placed first in chicken and ribs and was named grand champion.
“You like the competition, but also, everybody turns into a big family,” he said. “If I’ve got something I need, I can go to any one of these guys and they will give it to me, and I’m the same way. Yeah, you’re in competition, but you’re here with your friends.”
As a bonus, each organization hosting a series event benefits from the proceeds. On Saturday, the history center also received proceeds from its porkburger sales.
“The history center needs a lot of help … so it draws awareness to them, ‘Hey, they are down here, they are selling porkburgers today,’” Lane said. “Hopefully, it builds up into something and they make a lot of money off of this. It has to start small, and they can grow and grow and grow.”
Margo Brewer, a history center volunteer, said it was a successful fundraiser for the nonprofit organization.
“The Jackson County History Center seems to be the best-kept secret in Jackson County, and we want people to know where we are and what we’re doing because we do a lot of stuff,” she said.
Brewer said Darlage Custom Meats sponsored the pork butts for the people’s choice award, the competitors cooked them and people voted for their favorite.
There also was a raffle for a stainless steel Broil King 320 grill donated by Luecke Audio Video Appliances and Steve Silver from RE/MAX. The history center benefited from ticket sales for that, too.
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Smokin’ Up the Town results
Chicken: Huey’s BBQ, first; Wink’s BBQ, second, Great White Smoke, third
Ribs: Huey’s BBQ, first; Q-Pine, second; Smoking Pickles, third
Pork: Great White Smoke, first; Wink’s BBQ, second; Smoking Pickles, third
Brisket: Great White Smoke first; Wink’s BBQ, second; Biggin’s Smokey BBQ, third
Reserve grand champion: Great White Smoke
Grand champion: Huey’s BBQ
One-bite challenge: Wink’s BBQ
People’s choice award: Q-Pine
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For information about the Kentuckiana BBQ Pitmasters and the Kentuckiana Backyard BBQ Series, visit facebook.com/kyanabbq.
For information about the Jackson County History Center, search for Jackson County History Center of Indiana on Facebook.