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October 13, 2012

BBQ cook off begins today

CULLMAN — The second annual Oktoberfest BBQ Cook off may have three less teams than the inaugural event last year, but organizers hope an expanded line-up of vendors and entertainment can draw an even bigger crowd of attendees today.

“We have a lot more entertainment and a free kid’s area, so we think this year can be even bigger than last year,” organizer Katie Free said.

Hosted at the Cullman County Fairgrounds, the Kansas City BBQ-sanctioned competition has 59 teams signed on to compete in the professional and backyard categories today. That amount is slightly down from last year’s 62 teams.

Gates open at 9 a.m. this morning and the event is set to run until 5 p.m., with live music and a large slate of food vendors on-hand. It costs $5 to attend, which provides access to a kid’s play area and music provided by Chad Bradford, Microwave Dave and the Nukes, the Blake Scott band and the Barflys.

If there was one complaint by attendees last year it was a lack of actual food to eat — as opposed to judge — though Free said that won’t be a problem this time around.

“We have Williams BBQ, Backyard Burger, Bates BBQ, Racks and Stacks, Little Red Lunch Box, Chick-fil-A and a few others,” she laughed. “We’ll definitely have plenty of food this year.”

With prep work underway Friday, culinary students from the Cullman Area Career Center got out of the classroom to go behind-the-scenes of the event to see the professional cookers in action.

“We’re getting to see how they cook pork, smoke it and all those things,” Hanceville senior Danielle Nickens said.

Family consumer science teacher Karen Hill said the field trip was a great way to show students how to apply some of the skills they’ve learned on a large scale.

“It’s something a little different and a lot of our kids are interested in barbecue,” she said.

The cook off is co-sponsored by the Cullman Bama Club and Cullman’s Womens League, with all proceeds split 50/50 between the two groups to fund scholarships and local aid agencies.

* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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