There was plenty of finger-licking and lip-smacking as judges sampled the fare put before them by 11 competitive teams who came from across Missouri and out-of-state.
At the end of the day, top honors went to Two Little Pigs.
But long before the judges reached their decisions, the cooking began at the Sikeston Jaycee Rodeo Grounds. Teams began arriving Friday afternoon, setting up tents, tables and most, importantly, an array of cookers.
While most had the traditional large metal cookers, Daryl Tilford of West Paducah, Ky., arrived with one made of plywood. Tilford, who has competed in barbecue competitions for several years, had hand-crafted the cooker, modifying it to meet his needs for competitive cooking. Back home, he said, he has even larger plywood cookers for occasions calling for more grill space.
Revis Reisenbichler of Pocahontas was pulling a selection of ribs, brisket, chicken and pork butt from his more traditional grill. According to Reisenbichler it isn't the grill that makes the difference, the difference is made by the cook.
"The secret to good barbecue is a lot of attention and love," he said.
Johnny Weber and Jason Wheeler of the Frohna Backyard B. B-quers had their own formula for success: "Paying off the judges," quipped Wheeler, who added, really he just hoped the judges like the food they prepared.
Several of the teams were getting preliminary judgment calls from family, friends and passers-by as they offered samples of their cooking.
Savannah Watson, 8, offered a broad barbecue-splattered smile and a pronouncement that her dad, Scott Watson, was the best cook, as she sampled his chicken. She added, his ribs are even better.
While the teams were having fun as they cooked, inside the Jaycee Barn the judges were serious as they tasted and marked their ratings on the various meats presented before them.
Kim Stokes, a certified table captain for the Saturday competition, explained judges consider appearance, taste, texture and tenderness for each of the entries. Although it appeared all business, Stokes said judging is fun, too.
Prompting Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce Director Missy Marshall to offer: "They just have to be eat up with it."
Marshall and this year's barbecue chairman Robin Pace, agreed the event with its new location and new date was overall a success.
"It is a gorgeous day. We have good participation from the crafters and for the kids' events," said Pace. "With this as our first sanctioned event, it is kind of a trial run. We want to see what works and what we can do to make it better."
This year's competition awarded $3,800 in prize money along with trophies and plaques, thanks to the 34 sponsors, Marshall said.
Other overall prize winners were: second, Hardwood Gang; third place, Bid D's BBQ and fourth place, Caney Misfits.