10,000 descend on No Bull BBQ in Morgan Hill

Attendees join the music festivities outside Community &

Just three hours into the first-ever No Bull BBQ – the food tickets ran out and many of the $10 tasting ticket offerings were long gone.

I think they underestimated how many people would turn out,

Danette Beall of San Jose said.
Just three hours into the first-ever No Bull BBQ – the food tickets ran out and many of the $10 tasting ticket offerings were long gone.

“I think they underestimated how many people would turn out,” Danette Beall of San Jose said.

Other than a few customers getting burned – from getting their People’s Choice fill – people enjoyed the live music and camaraderie on the pleasant 70-degree Saturday afternoon.

Slap Yo’ Daddy took home the top prize as the California champion. The two-part team – Harry Soo and Benny Adauto – represented the Golden State on TLC’s television show “BBQ Pitmasters.”

Split among about 23 winners in five categories was $5,000 – but the highest hoots and hollers came from the fans of Big Bad BBQ from Scott’s Valley, who in their first competition won first place in the chicken competition.

Donn Silacci, a regular “hometown boy” from Gilroy, was out Saturday with his family and the Just Blowin’ Smoke booth cooking chicken for the People’s Choice competition and best chicken contest. Silacci’s booth was one of more than 50 that filled the parking lot at the Community & Cultural Center.

“I didn’t expect it to be like this. I’ve been working my butt off all day,” Silacci said. The Gilroy family said they love cooking in the backyard and after hearing about it on the radio decided to enter the contest.

Just Blowin’ Smoke was still going strong around 2 p.m. and a line of at least 30 people stood waiting, licking their lips.

The sweet smell of barbecue sauce, beer and snow cones formed a tangible smoky cloud in the parking lot as thousands in sunglasses and sandals walked up and down the lines of tents. Fourteen booths were open for the People’s Choice contest. For $10 you could taste five samples from the booths of your choice.

After those booths sold out, those barbecuers who still had food were selling items for cash. Before calling out the winners at the outdoor stage near Morgan Hill Playhouse – organizers thanked everyone for coming and called the event a “huge success.” The coveted People’s Choice award went to the Rednecks-N-Barbecuties team.

“There’s a lot of great food, it’s all really good,” said Danyelle Horrillo an SJSU advertisement student who came out with college friends. Horrillo and classmate Nichole Parker snacked on hot links while waiting in line for a taste of brisket.

“A lot of people here but it’s fun,” Parker said.

More than 50 meat-grilling specialists from throughout the state converged on Morgan Hill for the fiercely competitive state championship barbecue competition.

Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, the cook-off is the first of its kind in Morgan Hill, and organizer Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce hopes to make it an annual event.

Brian Sullivan, president of the Chamber of Commerce, was busy exchanging patrons People’s Choice tickets for cash. Every People’s Choice booth ran out of food before 2 p.m. – only the halfway mark of the barbecue.

“This is better than anybody thought,” Sullivan said.

Ric’s Righteous Ribs from San Jose were depleted after an hour of opening their booth. They gave out free samples of the leftover pulled pork to salivating patrons.

But while the event is designed to offer fun and good food for the public, the competitors take it seriously. The KCBS is the largest barbecue judging organization in the world, according to Ben Lobenstein, treasurer of the California Barbecue Association.

The rules for the No-Bull cook-off are strict and thorough, and the event website cautions spectators not to bother the cooks, especially around the afternoon meat-submission deadline.

Winners of the Morgan Hill cook-off, and about a dozen other KCBS-sanctioned California state championships throughout the year, will qualify for the national cook-off in Kansas City. Plus, the winners will have a chance to compete in The Jack Daniel’s Invitational, another prestigious nationwide event.

No Bull BBQ winners

Chicken – Big Bad BBQ, Scotts Valley

Brisket – Pirates, pigs and poultry – Shingle Springs

Ribs – 155 South – San Jose

Pork – Slap Yo’ Daddy – San Jose

People’s Choice – Rednecks-N-Barbecuties

Overall best – Big B’s Down and Dirty BBQ – Pacifica

State champion – Slap Yo’ Daddy – San Jose