Barbecue provides fun for all
Hillsboro’s first Prairie Smokin’ Barbecue on Saturday was a barbecue competition, but it was also a celebration of Hillsboro said Marion grandmother Jane George.
“There’s a lot of festival stuff in the fall,” she said. “It’s nice to have this in the spring.”
One benefit of having a smaller competition was that the public ate the same food as the judges, champion Erik Burk said.
“Getting into a community thing like this gets our name out there,” the McPherson resident said. “Everything I turned in to the judges I also turned in to the public.”
Burk, who runs Smokin’ on the Prairie, is enjoying his second year of competition.
“I got hooked,” he said. “After that, I keep getting further into it.”
It wasn’t a sanctioned barbecue, but the price of meat was included, Burk said.
“These competitions aren’t bad because your meat is included,” he said. “You go to the big ones and you can spend $800 to $1,000.”
In addition to being a grand champion, Burk took first in the brisket and ribs classifications, and second for rope sausage.
An advantage for visitors was that it was more than a cook-off, George said.
In addition to the dinner, which started at 5 p.m. with live music, there was rope making and a tractor exhibit at the Hillsboro Museum, as well as a ninja warrior obstacle course at the Marion County Fair Grounds’ main building. There was also a drawing for a smoker, with proceeds helping provide meals for area children in need.
“Kids have such a variety of interests,” she said. “When we were little, if we played a baseball game, that’s what we did. The kids now have so many interests that this covers all the bases.”