Smoked, cooked and grilled brisket, ribs, chicken and pork were on judges’ minds and taste buds Saturday in downtown Minden.
Barbecue teams came from across the region came to compete in the second Grilling on Main, a Barbecue Competitors Alliance-sanctioned barbecue cook-off organized by the Minden Main Street Board. The festival brought hundred’s of revelers of all ages to the festival.
“This year’s turnout was great,” Main Street Board Chairman Terry Gardner said. “This year, we spread the festival out over two days and had a huge turnout both nights.”
This year’s title sponsor was MBL Bank and co-sponsors were Minden Medical Center, Minden’s Finest Storage and Elm Street Dental, along with entertainment sponsors James and Lyda Madden.
Barbecued meats weren’t the only focus of the weekend’s activities.
The two-day event kicked off Friday with a first-time cornhole tournament, sponsored by Gibsland Bank and Trust.
As 35 teams competed for the first place spot in the tournament, which was taken by Chad Gloer and Joe Payne, spectators shopped with vendors set up downtown, enjoyed the tunes of the Dorcheat Bottom Band and cooled off in the beer garden.
Day one ended as revelers gathered to watch the fireworks show, sponsored by Horseshoe Dental, to light up the night sky.
“I had many tell me the fireworks show was one of the best they have watched,” Gardner said.
The scent of barbecue filled the air in downtown Saturday as day two of the barbecue competition began.
Teams cooked chicken, ribs and brisket all night to have their masterpieces ready by the deadlines Saturday for the judges. Pulled pork was also cooked and judged by the public for the people’s choice award.
Oley Willis traveled from Jacksonville, Texas to fire up his grill in the competition. As a participant in 25 to 30 grilling competitions each year, this was his first trip to Minden and said he plans on returning next year.
“I had some buddies that are cooking too and I decided to come on over with them,” he said. “This festival ranks pretty high, in regards to the attendance, the promotion of the event and the fireworks show- it was second to none. The attention to detail from the organizers will really make this grow and I really like this.”
While grilling was the highlight of the day, Main Street business owners said the extra foot traffic helped attract customers.
“We have had a great day and a steady stream of customers,” Debra Lowery owner of La French Gypsy said. “I believe we will have an above average day with sales.”
Winners in the chicken grilling competition were fifth place, Mike Steele of Pigs and Cows Gone Wild; fourth place, Ted Bryson of Couchon Fou; third place, Sean Miller of Longneck Sippers; second place, Sean Hebert of Big Bear BBQ and first place, Jerry Vallee of Vallee A/C Cold Smoke.
In the rib competition, the winners were fifth place, Jerry Vallee of Vallee A/C Cold Smoke; fourth place, Sean Miller of Longneck Sippers; third place, Tony Chancellor of Four Shadows BBQ; second place, Mike Steele of Pigs and Cows Gone Wild and first place, Barry Smith of Bayou Boogies BBQ.
In the brisket competition, winners were fifth place, Shereaz Henderson of Bones BBQ; fourth place, Perry Dunn of Pickin and Grillin; third place, Jerry Vallee of Vallee A/C Cold Smoke; second place, Gray Cartwright of Smoke Kings and first place, Sean Hebert of Big Bear BBQ.
Winner of the People’s Choice Award was David Holliday Jr. of Smokin’ Buddies in Minden.
The Main Street Board includes chairman Terry Garder, Thomas and Alicia Adams, Larry Gipson, Betsy Mathews, Cathy Copeland and Debra Cooksey, along with Main Street Director Becky White.
“When you surround yourself with amazing men and women, amazing things happen,” Gardner said.
The third annual Grilling on Main is set for Friday, June 8, 2018, and Saturday, June 9, 2018.