Woodward, Okla. —
What makes good barbecue better? The Woodward Elks believe it's a little competition.
That's why the Woodward Elks Lodge will be hosting its new Master Bar-B-Q Competition on May 3-4.
"Everybody likes to get around and try to out-cook everybody else," said R. J. Hollon, one of the event organizers.
Hollon said the contest will give local and area barbecue chefs the opportunity to show off their grilling skills by preparing 4 different kinds of meat: ribs, brisket, pork butt and chicken.
And for those who want an additional challenge, he said they have the option of preparing barbecue beans.
There will be one entry fee for those competing in the meat portion early, and a small additional fee for those cooking beans as well, Hollon said.
However, he said that all the entry fees are "100 percent payback," meaning the fees will go toward the cash prizes awarded to the competition winners.
Hollon said the atmosphere of the event will be like a backyard cookout.
"Everybody likes to barbecue in the backyard, this is just a little bigger deal," he said.
In fact, he said he "hope(s) to have 10 teams or more" participate.
"We'd love to have anybody come out to cook who wants to," Hollon said.
The competition is open to barbecuers from all over the region.
"I'm sure we'll have some from all around the area. There's one from Fargo coming that I know of and one or 2 coming from Freedom," he said. "We'd love to have them from wherever they're from."
To register for the contest, Hollon said, "they can stop by the Elks Lodge to pick up an entry form or they can call me and I'll mail them one."
The Woodward Elks Lodge, which is located on the northwest side of Woodward just off Highway 270, opens Tuesday through Saturday at 4 p.m. Or you can contact Hollon by calling (580) 256-2060.
A list of contest rules will be provided with the entry form.
"Everybody has to have a fire extinguisher, that's in the rules," Hollon said. "And you can't cook on propane, that's in the rules too. About everything they'll need to know is in the rules. But if they have questions, they can sure call me and I'll try to explain it to them."
While encouraged, advanced registration is not required and Hollon said that barbecuers can still sign up at the start of the event.
But all those wishing to participate in the competition "need to be out there (at the Elks Lodge) by noon on May 3 to sign in and check their meat in and everything," he said.
After signing in, he said the cooks will have the opportunity to test out some recipes to share as part of a "Chef's Super Sampler" tasting event that will be open to the public at 6:30 p.m. on May 3. Those wanting to taste the different dishes are encouraged to make a donation to benefit the Elks Lodge charities.
Following the sampling event, the chefs can "start cooking on their ribs and brisket anytime they want to, although most will probably wait until early Saturday (May 4) morning," Hollon said.
After smoking meats all morning, he said the chefs will start turning their meat dishes in to the judges on the afternoon of May 4. Then an awards presentation will be held at 7:30 p.m. on May 4 to recognize the contest winners.
Hollon said the Elks are holding the contest to give local barbecuers a chance to show off their skills.
"For local people around here, if they want to go to a barbecue contest, most are a long way off," he said, noting "this just gives people a chance to compete locally."
In addition, he said the contest will offer barbecue novices the opportunity to put their talents to the test.
"Some people won't go to the big contests, so this gives them a chance to get in and see how they compare," Hollon said.
But more than a chance to compete, he said the event is actually intended "just for the fellowship and fun of it all."
"It's just to give people the chance to get together and enjoy cooking out," Hollon said.