Competition is as essential to American capitalism as fire and smoke to tasty pulled pork.
Until recently, competition wasn't as ingrained in grilling as fire and smoke seems in American capitalism.
Sure, baking has a long-standing and well established history of competition from the days of blue ribbon pies at county fairs to Pillsbury's Bake-Off (which is special enough that it gets a registered trademark logo). Likewise TV shows like "Iron Chef," "Master Chef" and "The American Baking Competition" are set, mostly, in kitchens using ovens and stove tops, not grills or wood or charcoal.
What I find odd, is that cooking done in a kitchen is more established in the world of competition than grilling, which when you think about it, must have been around long before ovens and stove tops.
Admittedly, the competitive barbecue crowd is doing a fair job of playing catch-up with huge events such as Memphis In May and of course reality shows such as "BBQ Pitmasters" - in case you don't have enough "reality" shows in your life.
Maybe in an attempt to make up for lost time, but more likely by coincidence, the Green Bay area hosted two new barbecue competitions last year: Bay Beach BBQ Bash and Bikes & Bar-B-Q.
The Bay Beach BBQ Bash moved from a fall event to the first weekend in June this year and drew additional competitors. This year's Bikes & Bar-B-Q event is scheduled for July 20 at Leicht Memorial Park.
Admittedly, there is more to both events than just the competition.
The Bikes & Bar-B-Q event includes a motorcycle poker run, picnic, silent auctions, raffles, kids activities and live music. Events are scheduled from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., to raise money for Golden House.
Also, there is a VIP event 5-8 p.m. Friday with barbecue prepared by master barbecue chefs and downtown Green Bay restaurants, a Q&A session with former Green Bay Packers players Frank Winters, Tony Fisher, Paul Coffman and Jerry Kramer, live music from Anthony Ngyuen, and chef Craig Bell of Big Hatt Gourmet will offer small-group demonstrations on how to bring backyard barbecue to the next level. (I'd be happy if he could teach me how to keep a rack of ribs from drying out.)
If you're interested in competing, being a VIP, judging, riding your motorcycle or just filling up on barbecue for a good cause you can find more information at bikes-n-bbq.com.
A CREPE BAR - OUTSIDE
If you can't wait to get your outdoor eating fix, check out Bastille Days in De Pere this weekend, which includes not just a crepe bar, but an outdoor crepe bar.
Festivities kick off at noon Saturday and include live music at Chateau De Pere and Cafe Chanson, 201 James St., De Pere. On Sunday there will be Segway races and waiter/waitress races. It would be doubly cool if they made the crepes while on the Segway. Maybe next year.
Saturday events are scheduled noon-9 p.m., and Sunday's activities run 10 a.m.-3 p.m. More info at chateaudepere.com; click on the Bastille Days text at the bottom of the page.