What annual event brings the entire Memphis Jewish community and families from all over the world together for one fun and sizzlin’ afternoon? That’s right, it’s ASBEE’s 29th Annual World Kosher BBQ Championship next Sunday October 22nd from 11am to 3pm. ASBEE’s yearly affair is the first of it’s kind, the largest, and the best! Bring the whole family to catch live music, play games, and even join in the BBQ competition– it’s not too late!
While it’s open to the public at 11am, competing teams will have already spent many early hours preparing their briskets, ribs, beans, chicken wings, creating booth designs, sauces, and rubs in their quest for the crown and bragging rights for the year.
“The ASBEE BBQ Contest has become one of the most anticipated events in the Memphis Jewish community,” says Julie Levy, ASBEE’s past president. “In a city where BBQ is royalty, the idea of kosher BBQ was somewhat of a rarity. So our ingenious ASBEE members decided to offer our community the chance to participate in a contest of our own. What started out as a friendly, just-for-fun social activity for the local Jewish community has become the premier fundraiser for our congregation and a major event for the entire Memphis Jewish community!”
This year, as in previous years, about 50 teams will cook, grill, sear, and smoke their hearts out in hopes of winning one of the many trophies, including Best Chicken, Best Brisket, Best Ribs, and Best Beans.
While the food contests are usually the biggest draws, check out all the creative booth designs. “The names and designs are always brilliant and these are tough categories to win,” Mrs. Levy boasts. Best Team Name and Best Booth Design will be awarded, as teams are challenged to come up with a clever team name and matching booth design. In previous contests, teams have creatively called themselves Garden of Eat’n, BaRACK O’Ribs vs. Meat Romney, Wikimeats, Motley Jew, Minions, Here Comes Honey Moo Moo, Café Aujew, and Chazarei Hashatz.
Judges include local community leaders, celebrities, and chefs who have the opportunity to exercise their palates during the fierce competition, with teams coming to Memphis from Nashville, Atlanta, New York, and even Israel. The winners will not only receive a trophy, but also well-deserved bragging rights.
Although a Jewish congregation organizes the event, anyone can participate in the competition or come to enjoy the exciting festivities. High kosher standards, however, are strongly enforced and taken very seriously. Teams are provided two certified kosher grills from ASBEE and newly added this year, they are offering smokers. Teams supply their ‘grocery lists’ for meat, spices, and other items and the synagogue then buys all the food. ASBEE’s Rabbi Joel Finkelstein supervises, checks all the food items, and starts each team’s cooking process by igniting the grills. All general competition rules, as well as kosher requirements, are addressed in the Team Registration Manual, which teams receive when they sign up.
“All cooking occurs on site in either ASBEE’s kitchens or outside on the grills,” adds Eric Mogy, ASBEE’s President and BBQ Committee Co-Chairman. “We also have volunteer kosher monitors who observe the cooking throughout the competition.” Kosher food, including barbecue brisket, hamburgers, hotdogs, and fixins, prepared by the dedicated ASBEE Sisterhood is sold at the Cowsher Cafe throughout the day.
If the amazingly delicious food isn’t enough to entice people to come out, the event also offers a variety of family, kid, and even pet friendly activities. Children can enjoy the thrills of playing video games with GameTruck Memphis, bouncing on inflatables, hopping a ride on the train, getting their face painted with Fairys and Frogs, or enjoying animals at the petting zoo. The fun definitely doesn’t stop with the kiddies though. The TapBox Mobile Beer Garden will be on site, there will be live music by Jack Rowell Royals Blues Band, and a heated 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament with appearances expected from U of M and Grizzlies basketball players. Vendors of artists, jewelry makers, and craftsmen are a recent addition to this sensational event.
“Our kosher BBQ contest has inspired congregations in other cities to follow suit; there are even kosher BBQ websites dedicated to covering these events. It is invigorating to see all the local Jewish congregations, schools, and organizations coming together to compete, eat, and just enjoy being together. The support from ASBEE’s own congregation and the greater Jewish community has been amazing and we are looking forward to another fun and successful contest and fundraiser.”
To the competitors, we say: Go big or go home.
To everyone coming to enjoy the festivities: bring sunscreen and your appetite!
The Lifeblood Bloodmobile will be on site to accept blood donations.
Contact Melvin Orlansky at 901.496.2270 to reserve your slot. Registration is open to everyone to register as a cooking team, for the 3-on-3-basketball tournament, become an event sponsor or request a vendor space call ASBEE 901.682.1611 or email Cohen.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit ASBEE’s Facebook page.