A school teacher from just outside Athens and a 15-year-old from Euharlee were two of the eight winners in Saturday’s Backyard BBQ Bash sponsored by Courtesy Ford at Ridge Ferry Park. The competition kicked off Friday night at approximately 7 with 15 teams bringing smokers and grills in all shapes and sizes.
Roughly 18 hours later, eight teams in three categories took home trophies for their offerings in chicken and pork, and two teams even had to go into a tiebreaker to crown the overall champion before the team named Porkeytown emerged victorious.
Brad Maffett wore an ear-to-ear smile after his team won the overall title, holding onto the championship belt firmly with both hands.
“I’ve never won anything like that before (nodding his head to indicate the championship belt),” he said. “I’m a school teacher so I’m going to bring it to school on Monday and wear it around and show all the kids.”
Porkeytown took first place in the pork category in the Backyard division. While his chicken entry didn’t finish in the top two in the division, the combined points from his pork and chicken entries vaulted him to the top in the overall standings.
As for his strategy, it’s all combined with his love for cooking.
“I just like making good food and making people happy. That’s what started all of this for me,” he said. “I love cooking on my back porch and inviting friends over and having a party. We love eating. That’s what barbecue is all about to me - having fun with friends.”
As for having fun, the overall runner-up, Sydney’s Piggies, had that in spades over the two-day event as Sydney Groves, the aforementioned 15-year-old from Euharlee, saw her pork and chicken entries finish in second place in the Backyard Division.
Although she is only 15, Groves said she has been cooking and grilling from a young age.
“I got my first grill when I was three, and I went on Food Network when I was 10,” she said. “Grilling is something that my dad and I have always done. It’s like a bonding thing for us. It’s my favorite thing to do now.”
Groves competed on the Food Network Show Kid’s BBQ Competition when she was 10, advancing to the second round of the show. Although she’s already been in the spotlight, she couldn’t contain her excitement when hearing the results.
“I was so excited,” she said. “I wanted to jump and down when I heard the results.”
The teams competed in three categories with both their chicken and pork entries being judged individually before the combined points from both entries were added together to determine the overall champion.
All in all, eight different teams took home trophies for their efforts. In the Backyard Division, Mr. BBQ claimed first in chicken while Sydney’s Piggies grabbed second. In the Business Division, Smoking Gun took the first-place trophy, while Sauce on the Side took second. In the Non-Profit Government Agency Division, the Floyd County Sherriff’s Office took first for chicken and B-2-B finished second.
In the pork category, Porkeytown took first place in the Backyard Division with Sydney’s Piggies finishing second. Sauce on the Side won the Business Division with Smoking gun placing second. Buckwild BBQ grabbed first place in the Non-Profit Government Agency Division with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office placing second.
Awards were also given for best team name which went to the U.S. Army Team named Smoke’em Sarge and for best tent and cooking area set up and decorations which went to Up in Smoke.
The event is the first of two cook-offs planned for Ridge Ferry Park this year. The Chili Cook-off also sponsored by Courtesy Ford is set for Saturday, Oct. 16