CANBY - While kids bounced madly on jumpy castles in Canby's Central Park, and classic car fans gathered to show off their fancy rides, something deadly serious was going on five blocks down the road at Jim's Market, the second annual grilling contest.
Organized by Brian McKeen, assistant manager of Jim's, the contest featured three categories: beef, pork, and chicken, with a $200 gift certificate from Jim's for the winner in each category, and other prizes such as charcoal grills and barbecue equipment.
Grilling is more art than science, and sometimes it's just magic. Some people have definite opinions on how to grill, and some play it by ear.
Photo by Steve Browne
Barry Morris entered in all three categories at the Canby Hat Daze grilling contest: beef, pork ribs, and chicken. Morris said the secret is even heat, a little bit of smoke and the right rub. For more photos from Hat Daze, see Page 7A and go to cu.marshallindependent.com
"most people use charcoal," McKeen said. "It's fun to see how everybody does stuff. Everybody has a different way of doing things."
Barry Morris entered in all three categories.
Asked about his method, Morris replied, "That's a trade secret. I will say, even heat, a little bit of smoke, and the right rub."
Kirsten Ufkin came with her sons Andy and Alex, and entered in all three categories.
"I came for fun, and the bragging rights," Ufkin said, "I never have a secret, I just wing it. Last year I won a grill."
Jessica Coil and her husband John came from Marshall to join John's father Doug, and brothers Dustin and Devon in the contest, making it a family affair.
"I go from the top of my head," Dustin Coil said, "I don't really go from any recipe. I marinated the beef and pork in butter and garlic, with a lot of different stuff, and put beer in an hour before grilling. I marinated the chicken in brine and bourbon."
Jesscia and John Coil used a butter, lemon, and lemon pepper recipe. Father Doug Coil used a different recipe for each entry.
"I used an Asian recipe for the pork ribs, a dry rub on the roast, and brine and beer marinade with the chicken."
Aside from rubs and marinades, equipment is important. Local farmer Brian Mamer built his own smoker to cook entries in the ribs and chicken categories.
"This is the first time I've smoked," Mamer said. I made this from an old jalapeno barrel. I just put charcoal in and control the heat with a valve on the bottom here. I was looking for a different grill on the Internet and I saw somebody had one of these, and thought it was the right way to go."
And then there are non-traditionalists like the Verschelde brothers Dan and Don. They barbecued their entries on a propane grill.
"This is what's going to win," Dan Verschelde said, it's marinated and ready to go. It's the heat, whether it comes from charcoal or propane."
But in the end it was tradition that won the day. According to McKeen the first prize for pork went to Doug Coil, and to Justin and Jared Hanson of Canby for beef and chicken.