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Kosher barbecue competitors ready to fire up their smokers

Kosher barbecue competitors are ready to fire up their smokers Sunday in Kansas City.

Kosher barbecue competitors are ready to fire up their smokers Sunday in Kansas City.

Kansas City, MO (KCTV) — Barbecue competitions in Kansas City are nothing new, but the one this weekend is a bit out of the ordinary. All of the competitors will be cooking kosher at the third annual KC Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival.

Most barbecue competitions take place on Fridays and Saturdays, but since Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, this kosher smoking will happen on Sunday.

The contest is the brainchild of Mendel Segal, leader of the RabbiQ barbecue team, and a man who loves barbecue, keeps kosher, and makes them both work.

“This all started when the Rabbi in charge of the organization I work for, the Vaad, urged me to organize a Kansas City Kosher BBQ Competition. I really ran with the idea, and with the help of one of our board members, Dr. Jason Sokol, and BBQ expert Andy Groneman of Smoke on Wheels BBQ, we launched a very successful first event. Simultaneously, I was bitten by the BBQ bug,” Segal said.

Segal has cooked in two competitions sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society since that first Kosher competition, including one in Liberty last month. That event featured pork ribs and pork butt or shoulder, which required Segal to team up with a second, non-Kosher, smoker to handle the pork.

Sunday’s contest will require no such arrangement as the smoked meat categories will be void of pork. Competitors will be serving up beef brisket, chicken, beef ribs, and turkey breasts.

The event is free and open to the public. Segal does point out that there will be an optional door fee. Proceeds from that will go to local food charities.

The Kansas City Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival takes place on the grounds of the Ritz-Charles, 9000 West 137th Street, Overland Park.

In addition to the KCBS BBQ competition, the festival features musical entertainment, plenty of food other than barbecue, a kosher hot dog eating contest, a pickle eating contest, live cooking demonstrations, and a celebrity judging panel hosted by the Food Network’s Simon Majumdar.

There’s also “Kids’ Zone” with activities ranging from bounce houses and slides to face painting, games and more.

The KC Kosher BBQ Competition is the only Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned kosher event in the country. Segal said he’s expected up to 30-teams. Trophies will be awarded in all categories, and, of course, the naming of a Grand Champion. As a kosher event, each team will be provided their meats as well as smokers and utensils.

Gates open at 11:00 a.m. The festival runs until 4:30 p.m.



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