The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 19, 2013

Kids Q cook-off

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Winners of the first-ever Pelagic Tank Kids Q cook-off will be announced at 3:30 p.m. today in the Grand Ballroom of Convention Hall.

Thirteen teams signed up to compete Friday in this year’s Kids Q cook-off, with the competition split between two age groups, 10 and under and 11-15 years old.

The younger kids were given two pounds of ground beef, and the older kids given a family pack of chicken thighs to prepare.

Karen Williams, representative of Kansas City Barbecue Society, explained during a pre-cook off meeting the purpose of the contest was to teach the kids how to barbecue.

“You all are the special group. You all are the first,” she told the teams of kids and their parents. “We’re excited you want to be a part of this.”

Williams told everyone at the meeting the importance of the rules.

“We take this very seriously,” she said, noting each team needed to turn in six pieces, just like an adult KCBS event.

Eagle Marketing Marketing Coordinator Lynn Benkendorf further explained the rules, especially about kids doing as much as possible. “We want them to do as much as possible,” she said. “It’s all about learning food safety, safety around the grill.”

She said the rules were as similar to KCBS rules as possible, with a few slight exceptions. She said kids could use whatever garnishes they wanted, and there would be no rules against the pooling of sauces, but she warned: presentation counts.

Each team received T-shirts, their meat and a white Styrofoam box before the competition started. Their 14-inch Weber grills were lined up along Independence, and Enid Fire Department personnel were there to light the charcoal bags.

Williams said each team’s entry would be judged on three criteria: appearance, taste and tenderness.

“You young cooks are in charge of carrying all your food,” she said. “Parents, open the door for them but they are the ones responsible for carrying their entries. Just like the big people.”

Williams said other KCBS representatives would be in the cooking area and would keep an eye on parents. She encouraged them to help with only tasks that could be dangerous for the kids, such as adjusting a hot grill or using a knife to cut an entry.

“We don’t want the children to do anything that may not be safe for them,” Williams said. “It’s supposed to be a fun learning experience.”

Outside Convention Hall, small hands formed hamburger patties and chicken thighs were marinating in plastic bags.

Beau Blankenship, competing under the team name Smokin’ Beau’s, said he felt he had a pretty good shot in the competition.

“It’s going pretty good so far,” he said.

The 8-year-old from Andover, Kan., said his dad, Ryan Blankenship, is competing in the Roberts Ranch Smokin’ Red Dirt BBQ. Both were wearing shirts for dad’s team, the Smokaholics.

Beau wasn’t ready to share any secret recipes, but he would say he was making guacamole salsa sliders for the competition.

“We practiced yesterday,” he said, noting he was even helping dad today. “My main job today is cleaning.”

If he wins, Beau says he’s going to buy some Lego sets with his prize money. When dad asked if he was going to share with his little brother, Beau vigorously shook his head no, making sure it was clear he had no plans to share.

First-place winners get a $100 prize and trophy, second-place winners a $75 prize and trophy, third-place winners a $50 prize and trophy, and fourth-place winners take home a $25 prize and a ribbon.

The winners will be announced prior to the winners of the People’s Choice Contest and Roberts Ranch Smokin’ Red Dirt BBQ.