Sunday, June 28, 2009

The 28th Annual Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle ~ State Championship

Wow! It is hard for me to believe that this weekend marks the 28th anniversary of the prestigious Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle. I have competed in every contest put on by Lenexa. Hell, I am the Grand Pubah of this event as I won the very first Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle! There were 16 contestants in the very first contest, and the Grand Champion was decided by the number of number of high placing ribbons you won. The first year I had 6 blue ribbons (first place ribbons) and 1 red ribbon (second place ribbon). I won hands down! The second year I had 6 blue ribbons and 1 red ribbon. Though I had more high placing ribbons than anyone else, I did not win! The Grand Champion, Gene McKee, came over to me after the awards ceremony and said “Paul, there’s something wrong. You won this contest”. POLITICS! They make strange bedfellows.

I really had mixed emotions about the contest this year. Though I look forward to this contest every year, I was somewhat disappointed by a few changes that have been made.

· Contestant spaces were shifted and somehow I ended up with a space that was five feet wider in the front with an extreme taper in the back. I am grateful to have a neighbor like Jeff that exemplified the spirit of barbeque. Jeff shared his space and helping hands without hesitation. Thank you Jeff.

· A decision was made not to give the teams the traditional 1x4 with your teams name engraved on it (I was looking forward to this as I wanted to reveal my new team name to the public, “Chef Use-ta-wuz”).

· We went from receiving as many as 14 complementary bags of charcoal in the beginning years to just 4 bags of charcoal and a bottle of barbeque sauce.

· As much as I hate to say it, I was put off by the KCBS judging system at this contest for not allowing me to enter my “Bacon Bomb” in the sausage category (sausage stuffed into pork belly, the pork belly acts as the casing). I was told that it was not allowed as the bacon is a pre-seasoned meat. Well what is sausage then?! POLITICS!

The one consistent thing that you can count on every year at the Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle is the weather! It was 93 degrees and humid. I am truly grateful for the person that forgot to order the rain for this years contest.

I really enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new people this year. Thanks to all that stopped by for an autograph or just to say hi.

I feel that we turned in decent products though everything was cooked 25 to 30 degrees hotter due to me misplacing my pit thermometers. Lesson to everyone; check, check, and check again to make sure that you have everything you need to be successful when cooking. It does make a difference.

Our chicken was juicy, tender, and flavorful. On the other hand, you could have soaked up the Missouri river with our brisket. The judges saw things differently. It turns out that the judges really enjoyed our Smoked Pork Tenderloin glazed with a Blueberry – Pomegranate sauce. This is how our score sheet reads:

Chicken: 163 of 188
Ribs: 151 of 188
Pork: 38 of 188
Brisket: 32 of 188
Sausage: 128 of 176
Miscellaneous: 7 of 151
Overall: 94 of 188

Let's get down to business!

This is my secret to winning so many brisket titles. Quality control!

The view from my site.

The making of my "Bacon Bomb"!

The Bacon Bomb is set to explode with flavor when cooked!

What ya' doin Jeff?

Beef, it's what's for dinner!

Sirloin steak, garlic bread, and peaches & cream corn.

I love the smell of barbeque in the morning.

The Baron's buffet being prepared. Is that Parkay?

Turn the camera off and get back to work!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It’s Finger-lickin’ Good

This month I am featured in the new edition of the American Way magazine. The article is written by Michael Slenske and it features two recipes that will blow your guests away at your next BBQ!

It’s Finger-lickin’ Good
by Michael Slenske

Seven-time world barbecue champion Paul Kirk ( is to grilling what Elvis was to rock and roll -- the king. So we asked him for a stick-to-your-ribs recipe (one used in competition) that’ll blow away the judges at your Fourth of July cookout. “Recipes to me are a plaything,” says Kirk, whose new book (coauthored along with Ardie A. Davis), America’s Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $20), hit shelves last month. In other words, have some fun with this one.

Barbecue Ribs


1/4 cup garlic salt
1/4 cup onion salt
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup annatto powder (or more paprika)
1/4 cup restaurant-grind black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 teaspoons ground celery seeds
3 slabs St. Louis–style spareribs

Combine all of the ingredients and blend well. Trim the ribs of any excess fat and remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Season the ribs all over with the barbecue seasoning. Place bone side down in a covered smoker preheated to 230 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the ribs and baste with apple juice every hour for four to five hours or until you can take two side-by-side ribs and tear them apart easily.

During the last 30 minutes, glaze the ribs on both sides with barbecue sauce and cook for 10 minutes, repeating the process two or three times. Remove the ribs from the smoker and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes, covered. Cut into individual ribs and serve hot.


2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon horseradish (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Add all the ingredients in small saucepan and heat on medium heat until bubbly (about five to eight minutes), or combine in microwave-safe container and heat on high for five minutes.