18,000 expected for No Bull BBQ

18,000 expected for No Bull BBQ

Food vendors? Doubled. Drink stations? Doubled. Expanded
location? Yes. More meat? You betcha.
Food vendors? Doubled. Drink stations? Doubled. Expanded location? Yes. More meat? You betcha.

This isn’t your typical backyard weenie roast.

The second annual No Bull BBQ Cook-Off – a fiercely competitive state barbecuing competition – will hunker down at the Community and Cultural Center parking lot Friday night in great anticipation of Saturday’s 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. hog heaven.

Chicken, brisket, tri-tip, sausages, pork shoulder and ribs will run rampant and this year more barbecuers have joined the party. Up from 52 at the first go-around last May, 66 competitors will try their hand at the Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned contest; 2010 marked the first KCBS competition in the Bay Area.

The Chamber of Commerce is organizing the event again after a wildly successful first No Bull BBQ when the expected crowd nearly tripled to 12,000 and restaurants were packed by early afternoon because most barbecuers ran out of meat to grill.

“This is the largest sanctioned barbecue competition in California history,” said Ben Lobenstein, the barbecue coordinator for the Chamber. “Staff on this has quadrupled since last year after the huge crowd. They certainly didn’t RSVP,” Lobenstein said laughing.

Free parking is available in the Caltrain parking lot off Butterfield Boulevard, but limited, though parking fees along Dunne and Church avenues go to charity. The cook-off is expanded to Depot and Fifth streets from the Community and Cultural Center’s parking lot near Monterey Road and Dunne Avenue; Lobenstein said it won’t interfere with the first Saturday of the farmers’ market next to the Caltrain station.

Last year’s grand champion Harry Soo of Slap Yo Daddy is back again from Diamond Bar in Los Angeles County. The prize money isn’t too shabby – $13,000 in all for the best of chicken, ribs, pork and beef brisket in appearance, taste and tenderness.

Four local barbecuers will defend their homecourt: O.G. BBQ of Morgan Hill, Royal Smokin’ Hot BBQ of Morgan Hill, Pig Pimpin’ BBQ of San Martin and Huminie’s Hogalicious BBQ of Gilroy.

“For me it’s just something I love to do. I’m a backyard barbecue enthusiast, been barbecuing for years. Friends and family always loved my cooking, so I said, ‘I think I’m good enough to give this a try,'” Huminie’s Hogalicious BBQ leader Adam Hollman said. The team’s nickname plays on Hollman’s high school nickname of “Huminie,” and “Hogalicious” just sounds delicious, Hollman said.

After 12 months of studying, practicing and honing their craft, the Gilroy resident and his crew – Hollman’s wife, two daughters and a buddy from Antioch – are out-competing seasoned grillers. No Bull BBQ Cook-Off will be their second contest. Three weeks ago Huminie’s Hogalicious BBQ placed 11th among a field of 29. “We took home third place in brisket and ninth in pork. It was our first time out and we actually won a trophy,” Hollman said. “For us, it’s a hobby. No Bull is a rare opportunity for us to make some money – we’re not catering company or a restaurant, just people who love barbecue.

“We are excited about the local event and have 10 to 15 friends volunteering. It’s so close to home, so we have a lot of great support.”

With 200 pounds of tri-tip ready to barbecue and sell on sandwiches Saturday, Hollman is raring to grill.

Admission is free to the event and new this year is a Friday night kickoff, where antsy and thirsty visitors can listen to live music, drink wine and meet the competitors before noshing overpowers talking Saturday.

For $2 a taste, samples of some competition meat will be available along with a vote toward the People’s Choice Award, though it’s more common for competitors to sell non-competition meals like tri-tip sandwiches or drumsticks. This year, the Chamber will combine food and drink sales into a single ticket purchase.

The No Bull BBQ Cook-Off will open its tents at 10 a.m. until awards at 6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit the website www.mhnobullbbq.com.

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