<Completed. See Contest Blog>


1ST Annual Harry Soo Groovin Backyard Cook-off 2013 benefiting Michelle’s Place, a Breast Cancer Resource Center. 24 teams compete to dazzle panels of Certified Barbecue Judges (CBJs) with chicken, ribs, and tri-tip entries served in contest-style Styrofoam boxes and garnish. Volunteers from Michelle’s Place will be handing out BBQ samples to the public at the winery restaurant and sharing the Michelle Watson story. Donations received during the barbecue sampling will be given to Michelle’s Place.


Sat, December 14, 2013


Maurice Car’rie Winery 34225 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA 92591 This is a private facility, and while the owners of the winery are as excited as we are about having the event, they’ve reminded us that since this is a winery, there is to be NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOL allowed on premises at any time.

The cook site is the crushed gravel lot behind the white water tower sign. The warehouse runs the border of the cook site

The cook site is the crushed gravel lot behind the white water tower sign. The warehouse runs the border of the cook site


View of the cook site standing at one corner of the warehouse looking East

  Entry fee

Sorry we full as all 24 available contestant spots are taken.  $75.00 per team (most teams are 2-3 persons); more than that, it’s difficult for the team to focus on the contest cooking timeline. Friends and family are welcome to visit you as it’s a public winery. Please refrain from being distracted by trying to cook and entertain your friends and family as you’re there to gain experience as a competitor. The goal is not to prove that you can pull off a successful barbecue party for the masses. If you bring little ones, be mindful of the hot pits, hot coals, and sharp cooking knives as safety is paramount.  We will have several veteran teams who have volunteered to mentor the new teams.  Harry will assign mentor(s) to your team on the morning of the cook. NOTE: The cost does NOT include any meat. Each team is responsible for bringing their own contest meat and cooking supplies. You will need a mandatory fire extinguisher. See Contest Check List and Sources. We will have some costs in this event – trash dumpster rental, gift bag items, napkins, boxes, water, trophies, prizes, etc. We’d like to be able to cover these as part of doing this event and not have to look elsewhere for funding. Remaining funds will be donated to Michelle’s Place, a breast cancer-related non-profit in Temecula.

There will be some cool trophies and some prizes…. TBA at the time of the event.

Trophines are being hand-made by Donna of Butchers Daughter BBQ

Trophies are being hand-made by Donna of Butchers Daughter BBQ


Fun, practice and learning about competition BBQ whole day on Saturday where you cook and submit chicken, ribs, and tri tip for judging by Certified BBQ Judges (CBJs) What is a “Backyard Event?” It is a very informal competition where the main purpose is for novices to get a chance to get the feeling of what a “real” competition would be like without the expense/entry fee or pressure of a “real” competition. In a normal KCBS, PNWBA or IBCA event, a team would arrive at the event on a Friday afternoon, set up, start prepping their meats and start cooking the brisket and pork butt sometime on Friday night/early Saturday morning. To make this cookoff more newbie friendly, we’ve eliminated the overnight cook so new pitmasters can focus on three meats that can be cooked within a Saturday morning window. In the backyard event, more experienced teams also have the chance to help less experienced teams and offer some advice (only if requested!!). Harry will show how to prep a box (SYD Lazyman Box Technique) and other presentation issues which may be something of a puzzle to anyone who has never entered a contest before. Novices also get a chance to practice timing, get a feel for the “pressure” of having to turn in product during a specific time frame, and get a feel for the type of equipment and additional food items (i.e. apple juice, brown sugar, honey) that they might need to bring to a “real” competition. Unlike double-blind silent judging at a sanctioned contest, our CBJs will be openly discussing your entries aloud with you and the other teams, which allows the judges to offer comments about the product judged (i.e. too salty, too spicy, over/undercooked, etc…) as well as numeric scores. This helps the judges clarify and articulate their standards while providing valuable feedback to the cooks. Don’t attend if you have thin skin – you come to this to hear other’s opinions and that’s what you will get. We do use KCBS-style scoring, so again, novices can get a good idea of what a competition would be like — especially with so many CBJ’s showing up to judge! Finally, one of the main purposes of the gathering is friendship and fun and sharing some Q with others who enjoy doing what we do. Each team is asked to cook a bit more than what is necessary for the 6 piece turn-in box. After the competition is over, we all share our BBQ and get to taste and compare and joke with each other about how the cook went! Kidding aside, this is an invaluable aspect of learning as you’ll get a good idea of what flavor profiles judges are looking for in contests.

THE DETAILS What are we cooking?

You may pick as few as one, two, or three meats – chicken, pork ribs, and/or tri tip. You arrive to set up early on Saturday around 5:30 am.  Electricity will NOT be provided but you are encouraged to use your own generators and/or batteries. All meat must not be seasoned, marinated, rubbed, injected, etc. You can trim your meat at home or have your butcher do it before you arrive.  All meat will be inspected like in a real contest and all cooking MUST be done on site! Your meat must be properly refrigerated and safely handled. Gas grills or electric smokers are not allowed. You can use pellet smokers like the Green Mountain, Traeger, and such. Remember that you need a portable generator to run a pellet smoker.  Be mindful that so long as the fuel is not gas or heat is by electric, you are OK. How will this work? It is STRONGLY recommended that ALL team members stay in the judging area as long as possible to gain the most insight as to what the judges think, not just during your teams turn in. Turn in times will be assigned so as to maximize this exposure. The thing that’s most important at this contest is the feedback the judges provide to the cooks. This comes at a sacrifice of maintaining any semblance of standard turn-in times; it’s just not possible to do both at the same time. Once you have your taste and tenderness formulas down, you can practice your timing at home, with your own clock, even for all the 4 meats in a regular contest. That said, we still want to impress upon the cooks that timing IS very important, and given this, we’ve come up with a turn-in schedule that provides 7-8 minutes per team to be judged (which we’ve seen is a good number). Since not all teams will be cooking all meats, the judges will get some breaks and will have the option to get up and have someone take over nearly anytime.   Overall-Site-Plan-v1_web   Event Schedule

  • 5:30 am – Team Check-in
  • 7:00 am – Cooks Meeting in Judging Barn
  • 7:45 am – Harry’s Lazyman Box Class
  • 10:00 am – Judges Check-in 
  • 10:15 am – Judges Meeting
  • 11 am -11:50 am – Tri Tip (You’ll be assigned an exact turn-in time within these parameters)
  • 12:15 – 1:05 pm – Chicken (You’ll be assigned an exact turn-in time within these parameters)
  • 1:30 – 2:20 pm – Pork Ribs (You’ll be assigned an exact turn-in time within these parameters)
  • 4:30 ish – Awards (Sunset is at 4:42 pm)

The turn in times listed above are NOT turn-in “windows”, but should be considered your assigned turn-in time. Again – you’ll be assigned an exact turn-in time within these time frames. Please do your best to be there 2 minutes before this time (entry in hand) to get the maximum exposure with the judges. Judges will begin on the next entry as soon as it arrives as long as they are done with the previous entry. This way, no entries are sitting for long periods while others get stuck in a traffic jam. We have also found that this has been a good place for even experienced teams to experiment – i.e. want to try cherry cola ribs out on judges or another creative recipe that you wouldn’t risk in a real contest……this is the place to give it a try. Saturday Breakfast Snack Harry and his helpers will put some breakfast snacks out (coffee, donuts, bagels, fruit, etc.).  If you would like to contribute, please let the Harry know what you’ll be bringing. Judges Meeting @ 10:15 am Judges, please feel free to come early and socialize. Judges official check in time is 10:00 am and Judges Meeting is at 10:15 am. We aren’t strict like a sanctioned KCBS contest and do encourage mixing.  The judging window is 10 mins per team and judging goes from 11:00am to about 2:30 pm Free 2 oz BBQ samples for the public We will be providing free 2 oz BBQ samples, while supplies last, to the public at the Winery Restaurant to raise funds for Michelle’s Place.  Please treat the many curious visitors who will be coming with kindness and hospitality.  You are not allowed to serve the public due to Health Department rules but the Winery Restaurant can do so.  Please direct the public to the restaurant called Maurice’s Kitchen if they would like to try some free samples (while samples last). There is plenty of seating and grassy areas to relax.

Winery restaurant is called Maurice's Kitchen

Winery restaurant is called Maurice’s Kitchen – free 2 oz BBQ samples while they last

Event Contacts

Steve Aguilar (VIP liaison, team loading, mentor, fire marshal, BBQ ambassador, People’s Choice)
(619) 368-6678

Ira Pupko (Organizer, site host, site logistics, BBQ ambassador, Peoples Choice Lead, mentor) 619 453 5330 Donna Fong (Organizer, judging, judges, scoring, meat inspection, team loading, fire marshal) 510-390-7447 Harry Soo (Organizer, communications, planning, mentor, team loading, BBQ ambassador, People’s Choice) 909-973-0334 Ben Lobenstein (Organizer Yoda, judging, scoring, team loading, fire marshal, meat inspection, Master of Ceremony) Mimi Castillo (Web Admin) Team Mentors/Coaches (assigned to teams to advise but not cook; ambassadors to general public)

1 Peter Graves Big Fire BBQ, AZ
2 Dale Ginos, When Pigs Fly, CA
3 Steve Aguilar, Vicious Smoke, CA
4 Harry Soo, Slap Yo Daddy BBQ, CA
5 Kevin Davis <>
6 Christine Davis <>
7 Shuji Sakai, Professor Salt
8 Neil Strawder, Big Mista BBQ, CA


1 Golden State Smoke
2 BC Smokers
3 The Boozers BBQ
4 Smokin’ Outlaws
5 Pork of L.A.
6 Team Smokey
7 Smoke Hound BBQ
8 Cool Grilling
9 Cowboy BBQ
10 IL Prosciuito Violento
11 Back Alley BBQ
12 Woody’s Bar-B-Que
13 Desperado
14 RooserQue
15 NailBag BBQ
16 Big Vinny BBQ
17 BarBQS2Go
18 Come & Take It BBQ
20 Up in Smoke BBQ
21 Deja Q Master
23 Cooking Canucks
24 Grill of His Dreams

Team turn-in schedule (10 mins per team X 4 tables of judges)

      Tri-Tip Chicken Ribs
Team 100 Casey Tharp Golden State Smoke 11:00AM Table A 12:15PM Table B 1:30PM Table C
Team 101 Dan Ronchetti BC Smokers 11:00AM Table B 12:15PM Table C 1:30PM Table D
Team 102 Kevin Crook The Boozers BBQ 11:00AM Table C 12:15PM Table D 1:30PM Table A
Team 103 Lou Ann Cunningham Smokin’ Outlaws 11:00AM Table D 12:15PM Table A 1:30PM Table B
Team 104 Marco Sanchez Pork of L.A. 11:10AM Table A 12:25PM Table B 1:40PM Table C
Team 105 Michael Grismer Team Smokey 11:10AM Table B 12:25PM Table C 1:40PM Table D
Team 106 Mike Brady Smoke Hound BBQ 11:10AM Table C 12:25PM Table D 1:40PM Table A
Team 107 Mike Pagel Cool Grilling 11:10AM Table D 12:25PM Table A 1:40PM Table B
Team 108 Mike Swan Cowboy BBQ 11:20AM Table A 12:35PM Table B 1:50PM Table C
Team 109 Noah Roenstein IL Prosciuito Violento 11:20AM Table B 12:35PM Table C 1:50PM Table D
Team 110 Rick Rogers Back Alley BBQ 11:20AM Table C 12:35PM Table D 1:50PM Table A
Team 111 Scott Tasem Woody’s Bar-B-Que 11:20AM Table D 12:35PM Table A 1:50PM Table B
Team 112 Steve Botkin Desperado 11:30AM Table A 12:45PM Table B 2:00PM Table C
Team 113 Taylor Jonason RoosterQue 11:30AM Table B 12:45PM Table C 2:00PM Table D
Team 114 Thomas Gruenbeck NailBag BBQ 11:30AM Table C 12:45PM Table D 2:00PM Table A
Team 115 Vincent Soriano Big Vinny BBQ 11:30AM Table D 12:45PM Table A 2:00PM Table B
Team 116 Paul Murray BarBQS2Go 11:40AM Table A 12:55PM Table B 2:10PM Table C
Team 117 Dennis Cook Come & Take It BBQ 11:40AM Table B 12:55PM Table C 2:10PM Table D
Team 118 Ramon Rivera Up in Smoke BBQ 11:40AM Table C 12:55PM Table D 2:10PM Table A
Team 119 Robert Bill Deja Q Master 11:40AM Table D 12:55PM Table A 2:10PM Table B
Team 120 Robert Cruz 1 N DONE BBQ 11:50AM Table A 1:05PM Table B 2:20PM Table C
Team 121 Steve Lee Cooking Canucks 11:50AM Table B 1:05PM Table C 2:20PM Table D
Team 122 John Ketron Grill of His Dreams 11:50AM Table C 1:05PM Table D 2:20PM Table A
Team 123     11:50AM Table D 12:15PM Table A 2:20PM Table B

Judges (All Certified BBQ Judges minus Guest Judges) (20131103_Judge Application v3)

1 Gary Tackett, West Best BBQ, CA
2 Tim Lockwood
3 Steve Aguilar team member
4 Frank Smith
5 Ken Goldenberg
6 Jeff Hutcherson
7 Chris Hansen
8 Todd Carpenter
9 Beverly Carpenter
10 Lili Pupko
11 Kay Spencer
12 Robert Bass
13 Mark Kato
14 Sherry Berry
15 Elvin Jiles
16 Guest Judge – Owner, Maurice Van Roekel
17 Guest Judge – Sylvia Cervantes from Maurice Winery
18 Tim McDonald
19 Diane McDonald
20 Dennis McDonald
21 Guest Judge – Bill Watson, Michelle’s Place
22 Guest Judge – Harry Finch, Michelle’s Place
23 Jason Levine

Michelle’s Place Representatives Kim Goodnough, Director Amy Watson, Social Media Manager and Webmaster Pam Moe, Executive Board Member Dina Duran, Volunteer Diane Martin, Volunteer Space sizes We are estimating a 20 X 20 spot for each team. We have very limited RV parking capability so you’re best off coming in your vehicle, SUV, or minivan. Ash Removal Teams will bring their own ash cans. Teams can also arrange to share their ash cans. Remember that you must allow ash to cool before you take it home for disposal in your vehicle. We know of at least one story of a team who was on fire on the freeway home due to mishandling their ash can! You can purchase an ash can for $25 at Home Depot Water Source Our host will provide potable water for the teams. Teams will bring water containers to fetch the water from a hose spigot.  There are two hose spigots on each end of the long winery warehouse bordering the cook site. Grease removal We don’t have grease removal services so teams will bring their grease home with them. A good way is to cool it down and bag them in gallon Ziploc bags before taking them home. Grey water removal Grey water from washing your dishes and barbecue utensils can be disposed of in the tub sink in the public restrooms.  Remember there should be no excessive oil or grease in your grey water.  Else, please treat it as grease and take it home.  Under no circumstance can you dump your grey water anywhere on the site. This is a winery and you will damage the grounds which might become a vineyard in the future. Trash removal Teams bring their own trash bins and liners. We will arrange for a dumpster to be brought on site.  Details pending. Teams will bring their own trash to the dumpster as we don’t have manpower to collect trash from your site. Don’t forget your trash liners also. It’s vitally important we keep the place the same when we leave the winery Here is an example of a collapsible trash bin that Harry uses: Source of Ice and last minute groceries 24-hour Walmart is 5 minutes away. 32225 Temecula Pkwy, Temecula, CA 92592;  (951) 506-7613 Restroom & Handwashing We have access to the winery restrooms. Judging Area  Our host will allow us to use the barn for judging.  See the site map above. Chairs and Tables TBD – 2 tables for scoring, 4 tables for receiving and sorting, 4 tables for judging Memorial Site Please note that there is a memorial site of Mr. Budd Van Roekel on the edge of the crushed gravel lot where our event is being held. The memorial site is at the end of a row of growing vines. Budd is the late husband of Mrs. Maurice Roekel who has graciously allowed us to use her winery for our event. Please be respectful and keep curious children from playing around the memorial site. I’ve invited Mrs. Roekel to be a guest judge as she’s originally from Arkansas and is a BBQ aficionado who’s partial to Memphis-style wet ribs.

Memorial Site

Memorial Site – Mr. Budd Van Roekel

Misc (to be discussed in more detail)

  1. Scoring laptop, printer, paper to print results for teams
  2. Styrofoam boxes, judging plates & scoring cards
  3. Napkins, Pens, Crackers, Drinking Water
  4. PC cups, napkins, forks, Sterno, chafing, tongs
  5. Event tees
  6. Badges for Organizers, Mentors/Ambassadors, Volunteers
  7. Portable PA System
  8. Portable Lighting


1 Desperado 521.7142
2 RoosterQue 519.4286
3 Grill of His Dreams 501.1424
4 Smoke Hound BBQ 500.5714
5 Cowboy BBQ 494.8570
6 Big Vinny BBQ 494.2856
7 1 N DONE BBQ 493.1432
8 BarBQS2Go 493.1428
9 Cooking Canucks 485.1428
10 Smokin’ Outlaws 485.1426
11 Up in Smoke BBQ 480.0004
12 IL Prosciuito Violento 478.8572
13 Golden State Smoke 478.2864
14 Cool Grilling 477.7138
15 BC Smokers 477.1424
16 NailBag BBQ 468.5712
17 The Boozers BBQ 465.1428
18 Woody’s Bar-B-Que 463.4278
19 Deja Q Master 462.2858
20 Back Alley BBQ 457.1428
21 Pork of L.A. 454.2862
22 Come & Take It BBQ 453.1426
23 Team Smokey 306.2858


1 IL Prosciuito Violento 173.7146
2 Desperado 170.8568
3 BC Smokers 170.2856
4 1 N DONE BBQ 169.7144
5 Grill of His Dreams 169.1426
6 Cooking Canucks 166.8570
7 BarBQS2Go 164.5716
8 RoosterQue 162.8572
9 Cowboy BBQ 162.8570
10 Team Smokey 162.2858
11 Golden State Smoke 161.7146
12 Cool Grilling 161.1428
13 NailBag BBQ 159.4286
14 Smoke Hound BBQ 157.1430
15 The Boozers BBQ 156.0002
16 Come & Take It BBQ 155.9996
17 Up in Smoke BBQ 155.4288
18 Back Alley BBQ 153.1428
19 Smokin’ Outlaws 152.5714
20 Woody’s Bar-B-Que 150.8568
21 Big Vinny BBQ 146.2856
22 Deja Q Master 144.0000
23 Pork of L.A. 141.7146


1 RoosterQue 180.0000
2 Desperado 177.7144
3 Smoke Hound BBQ 171.4284
4 Big Vinny BBQ 171.4284
5 Smokin’ Outlaws 167.4284
6 Cowboy BBQ 166.2858
7 IL Prosciuito Violento 166.2856
8 Back Alley BBQ 164.5714
9 1 N DONE BBQ 161.7144
10 BarBQS2Go 160.5714
11 Pork of L.A. 160.0002
12 Grill of His Dreams 160.0000
13 Golden State Smoke 158.8572
14 Come & Take It BBQ 157.1430
15 Up in Smoke BBQ 153.1428
16 NailBag BBQ 152.0000
17 BC Smokers 151.9998
18 Cooking Canucks 150.8570
19 Deja Q Master 150.2858
20 Woody’s Bar-B-Que 147.9996
21 Cool Grilling 147.4282
22 The Boozers BBQ 145.7142
23 Team Smokey 0.0000


1 Big Vinny BBQ 176.5716
2 RoosterQue 176.5714
3 Desperado 173.1430
4 Smoke Hound BBQ 172.0000
5 Grill of His Dreams 171.9998
6 Up in Smoke BBQ 171.4288
7 Cool Grilling 169.1428
8 Deja Q Master 168.0000
9 BarBQS2Go 167.9998
10 Cooking Canucks 167.4288
11 Cowboy BBQ 165.7142
12 Smokin’ Outlaws 165.1428
13 Woody’s Bar-B-Que 164.5714
14 The Boozers BBQ 163.4284
15 1 N DONE BBQ 161.7144
16 Golden State Smoke 157.7146
17 NailBag BBQ 157.1426
18 BC Smokers 154.8570
19 Pork of L.A. 152.5714
20 Team Smokey 144.0000
21 Come & Take It BBQ 140.0000
22 Back Alley BBQ 139.4286
23 IL Prosciuito Violento 138.8570



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