2013 Hilo Bay BBQ Cook-off, Hawaii State BBQ Championship, Hilo, HI

Hilo Bay BBQ Cook-off, Hawaii State BBQ Championship, Hilo, HI

2013 Hilo Bay BBQ Championship

2013 Hilo Bay BBQ Championship

Independence Day July 4th, 2013 was my third trip to the Big Island of Hawaii the previous 12 months. I had won the Hilo Bay Hawaii State BBQ Championship last year and was invited back in November 2012 to teach a class for my new Hawaiian friends.

Harry's Nov 2012 Hawaii class

Harry’s Nov 2012 Hawaii class

That 2012 win was my 7th GC for 2012 and it gave SYD a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cook the October 2012 Jack Daniels Invitational.  The third annual Hilo Bay Cook-off is also the sole sanctioned contest in Hawaii so the winner would get an automatic invite to the 2013 Jack. For 2013, it was Tim Lemon’s turn to win the Grand Championship and to secure a seat to the Jack 2013. Tim, a top IBCA cook from Texas, was also Reserve Champion last year. Tim and his 2 Broke Ass Texans team had a near perfect cook winning three 1st places in chicken, ribs, and brisket.

Tim is second from the R

Tim is second from the R

I spoke to Tim and learned that this was an especially sweet win for him because it would be his first opportunity to be invited to the Jack despite trying very hard for many years. There are just too many Grand Champions in Texas vying for the solo invite in the annual Jack lottery draw. Alternatively, trying to win 7 GCs necessary to land a Jack automatic would be extremely challenging. Kudos to Tim and his crew for trying hard and doing well.

David Yamamoto of Hilo was Reserve Champion

David Yamamoto of Hilo was Reserve Champion

Congrats to Reserve Champion David Yamamoto of Smoke Out BBQ, a local Hilo cook.  I felt I cooked very well that day but Slap Yo Daddy came in 4th overall as my chicken faltered in the scoring and pulled down my overall scores (10th chicken, 2nds ribs, 4th pork, 4th brisket).

SYD IBCA chicken entry

SYD IBCA chicken entry

I’m so very proud that five SYD alumni from my November 2012 Hilo class finished in the top 10 overall.

  • 3rd – Jake Newlon of Big Jake’s Island BBQ
  • 5th – Harvey Hashimoto of Plant It Hawaii
  • 7th – John Penner of 1-2-Bar-B-Que
  • 8th  -David Davenport of Big I BBQ
  • 9th – Paul Kealoha of Kahaleluah BBQ

I had a lot of fun cooking chili for the public and for the side-dish contest (7th place) and Poke, a Hawaiian raw seafood salad (4th place).  I made a Calif inspired poke of sashimi grade Ahi tuna with Hilo octopus and Los Angeles dressing with basil chiffonade topped with scallions and fresh chopped Maui onions.

Harry's Hawaiian Poke - Seafood Salad

Harry’s Hawaiian Poke – Seafood Salad

A Big Mahalo goes out to Rick Frederick and his wife Peggy from Hawaiian Arts Hilo for hosting this third year Hilo Bay BBQ event in the beautiful Hilo Bay Park. Rick also arranged to get me a table, an igloo, and other needed equipment items. A big thank you to the Hilo Air Gaspro for providing a WSM-22 for me to use. Thanks to the City of Hilo for hosting this event, Judy and Walker for being the IBCA officials, IBCA judges, and volunteers.

Hilo Cook-Off Poster 2013

Hilo Cook-Off Poster 2013


Epilogue Musings by Harry

Whenever I venture out on the 5-hour flight from California to the Hawaiian archipelago I am amazed how these series of islands appear out of nowhere in the middle of the remote Pacific Ocean. Volcanic eruptions on the ocean floor created these Hawaiian land masses which are monuments to Earth’s origin, showcasing the primordial forces still at work today 4.8 billion years after Earth was formed from a ball of gas and rock in space circling our sun 93 million miles in the center of our solar system.

Satellite picture of Hawaiian Islands

Satellite picture of Hawaiian Islands

Some rise 56,000 feet like the Mauna Loa Volcano above the ocean floor, higher than Mount Everest, as the Pacific plate slowly slides in a North Westerly direction over a stationary hot spot in the earth’s crust where the Big Island of Hawaii is currently situated. Fiery fountains and rivers of molten lava continue to flow out of two of the most active volcanoes in the world, Kilauea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island.


Kilauea volcano


As these land masses move in a Northwest direction, the volcanoes gradually become dormant as they move further from the hot spot and the landmass slowly submerges. Don’t wait for it as it took 5 million years for Kauai to travel and sink to its present location!  


A few million years ago, a spore lifted by the wind in Southeast Asia rode the air currents into the jet stream eastward until it was deposited into a barren lava field in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Insects, spiders, and seeds also rode air currents to arrive at the islands.


Ocean currents carried floating debris that contained stowaway seeds, insects, plants, and snails. Migrating and storm-driven birds carried seeds in their bellies and in their feathers.

Hawaii plant

Over the course of 32 million years, plants and animals slowly drifted to the Hawaiian Islands at the rate of one insect every 70,000 years, one plant every 100,000 years, and one bird every 1,000,000 years. The diversity of plant and animal life that came to flourish on these isolated lava land masses today shows the tenacity of life and the force of evolution. I am always humbled and in awe of Earth’s beginnings and Hawaii reminds me of the power of natural processes that shaped and formed our planet.

Kiluea volcano on the Big Island

Kilauea volcano on the Big Island