Ribs, Pigs and Watermelon Summer Festival, Huntington Beach CA 2015

This was the best location I’ve ever judged in, right on the sand and water. Ok, more like in the parking lot at the beach rather than in the water.

What a difference after the oppressive 95 degree heat of Vista just two weeks before. We had lovely ocean breezes all day and beautiful views that couldn’t be beat.

Over 40 teams rolled out to participate for $10,000 in prize money and over 30 KCBS judges volunteered their time to judge some great ‘Que. Even my boyfriend, who was attending his very first comp, got roped (gladly!) into helping volunteer in the judging tent. He gave a rare compliment for him. He said, “That’s incredible,” referring to some of the food he got to try whilst helping out. The volunteers are well fed, that’s for sure.

Two of the competitors at this event, were Harry Soo of Slap ‘Yo Daddy and Donna Fong of Butcher’s Daughter. Between the two of them, they have won a lot of awards. They combined their teams on this day and called it, Slap ‘Yo Butcher’s Daughter! And of course, this interview was conducted AFTER I finished judging!

Kelly and Kathleen McIntosh were the KCBS reps, as they have been for every contest I’ve judged at in southern California, and as always, they make it fun and professional. Mrs. McIntosh (the one who roped the BF into volunteering) has her hands full trying to keep us chatty judges from talking during the event. She had her loud chime she hits with a tiny mallet, but boy does it make an ear piercing sound!

We stayed overnight in a hotel there, so as not to be starting out too early from San Diego. That is normally an hour and a half drive and we thought it would be fun to check out some of Huntington Beach the day before. We had a delicious meal at Ritters Steam Kettle Cooking in a touristy, but fun area across from the beach. I highly recommend their pan roast.

Pan Roast

Pan Roast

That is a seafood concoction usually involving one, or a combo of shrimp, crab, lobster and oysters served in a very creamy tomato based soup with a big scoop of rice in the middle. I’ve had a bit better at the Oyster Bar in Las Vegas, but this was pretty darn good too. Here is a recipe for pan roast

Recipe for Pan Roast