An Absarokee tradition returned with the 19th Montana BBQ on Saturday.
The event was canceled in 2020 due to COVID and returned this year to the downtown street.
Texas Smoke Whisperer has beaten 27 teams for the Grand Champion title and has the chance to compete nationally with the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS).
Buchmaster BBQ is the reserve champion.
Full results are on the company website.
Montana Outlaw BBQ led the teams in a pre-judgment toast.
“All the teams come together,” said Rick Hamilton of Montana Outlaw. “We wish you all the best of luck. We are competing against the perfect sample. It’s competitive, but it’s not competitive against another team. It’s competitive on your own.”
Montana Outlaw BBQ multiple titles, including the 2016 Grand Reserve Champion for the Open American Run of the World Series BBQ in Kansas City.
“Chicken thighs with bone in, cut them off so they can all get that uniform size,” Montana Outlaw BBQ’s Tyler Hamilton and Rick’s son said of the first entry. “Brine them out. Take out of the brine. Then rest. Season them for a few hours. Put them back in. Cooking process. The sauce process. Everything takes this time. In my opinion, barbecue chicken’s competition is the toughest meat to cook. “
After that, they move on to the presentation, preparing the chicken for the judges.
“The ultimate word is that I always take a photo,” Tyler said. “Because a photo is going to show me imperfections that I just can’t see with the naked eye.
Rick and another contestant wished each other good luck after bringing their boxes of chicken to the judges.
“They have to judge the appearance first,” said Forrest Bruce, representative of the KCBS competition. “Then they’ll get a sample, then they’ll judge their taste and tenderness. But that’s very fair. It’s a double-blind competition, we’ve got 27 teams here today competing against each other, and we’ve got us. have about 30 judges who don’t know what product they’re going to buy. And the cooks don’t know who their food goes to the judges. “
They repeat this three times with half an hour between the ribs, pork and brisket.
And for Hamiltonians and the rest, it’s time to enjoy the festivities at Absarokee.