Friday Foodstuffs 7.8.11: A Really Big Backyard Barbecue (aka The NJ State BBQ Championship)

Ah, the backyard barbecue. Enjoying the sun and company of friends while grilling up some burgers and dogs. What fun.

But let’s say your happy little cookout was suddenly invaded by several teams of ‘que-crazed zealots who think you don’t know anything about real barbecue. And you respond with an “Oh yeah?” And they come right back at you with a “Yeah!” And then you bust out the “Then it’s ON!” – and the battle commences.

News of this glorious competition travels quickly, and all the activity has now spilled out from your backyard to the street. Your block has been blocked off. People far and wide are pouring in to see what all the noise is about…and the smell of brisket, ribs and chicken being cooked low and slow intoxicates them. The wonderous scent also brings traveling groups of blues players to your block, and they are so overcome that they feel compelled to break out into song…all day and night.

And that, my friends, is how the NJ State BBQ Championship and the Anglesea Blues Festival got started.

OR, if you want to only believe the facts – from one parking lot in 1999 to six blocks this year, the NJ State BBQ Championship and Anglesea Blues Festival have grown into a huge weekend event. They are expecting a crowd of over 70,000 this weekend, and the number of competing ‘que crews is up to 70 now – and they evidently had it cut it off at that number simply due to lack of space. And while you can’t sample the goodness from all 70 competing teams, there are enough BBQ vendors there for you to enjoy, just like this young lady did a few years ago:

The food and blues fun down in North Wildwood begins today, when the festivities are opened to the public at 4PM. Admission to the festival is free, by the way.

So what else is going on this weekend?

The Cumberland County Fair is still going on right now and will be open through tomorrow.

If you haven’t gotten enough Jersey blueberries, Mood’s Farm in Mullica Hill is having its annual Blueberry Festival tomorrow from 10AM to 3PM. On Sunday, it’s a Blueberry Tasting at Historic Whitesbog Village at 1PM. The tasting is $5 per person, and you must call ahead to reserve a spot.

Saturday is also the day for the annual South Jersey Caribbean Festival at Wiggins Park on Riverside Drive in Camden. The festival runs from 12PM to 8PM. And at the Cape May Court House Library, it’s allez cuisine…for kids! It’s the Teen Iron Chef competition for kids ages 12 to 18.

Renualt Winery in Egg Harbor City is having a New Orleans Carnivale Festival & Craft Show on Sunday from 12PM to 4PM.

For your dining pleasure, High Street Grill in Mount Holly is having a Fresh Off The Farm Prix Fixe Menu this weekend for $30 a person. In Collingswood, Nunzio’s Ristorante Rustico is having a week-long celebration of local goodness starting Sunday. The Field to Nunzio’s Table event will offer 4 courses for $35.

Peeking ahead to next week, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Italian Festival in Hammonton, the 136th Feast to be exact, begins on Monday. And on Tuesday, it’s the start of the Ocean County Fair at Robert J Miller Air Park in Berkeley Twp.

Here’s your farmers’ market report for the week…

You can still get Jersey blueberries, and now Jersey corn is making its way to market!

The Ferry Fresh Farmers’ Market opened last weekend at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal. The market will be open on Saturdays until September.

Finally finally finally – the farmers’ market here in Lacey Twp opens today! Also opening today is the Lower Twp Farm Market.

See a chef demo today at the Hammonton farmers’ market, and maybe win a free dinner cooked by that same chef!

If you can take the heat, get into the kitchen and enjoy one of these cooking classes this weekend:

Tonight: Date Night: A Night to Remember at Viking Cooking School in Atlantic City, Date Night – From the Farm at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, and Date Night: Havana Summer Nights at Sur La Table in Marlton.

Tomorrow: Pizza Making Class at Tony Boloney’s in Atlantic City, SAVEUR Cooks: Carolina-Style Barbecue at Sur La Table, Best of Class: Grilling Seafood and Italian Alfresco Dinner Party at Viking Cooking School, and a Sushi Workshop at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown.

Sunday: Thai Taste Explosions and Summer Cocktail Party at Viking Cooking School.

Blogging Out Hunger

The Delaware River Port Authority pledges $2 million to the Food Bank of South Jersey back in 2009…and they’re still waiting for it.

Speaking of 2009, Philabundance has been running its Fresh for All program since 2009 in Penns Grove, and it has been a great success.

Gloucester County food banks are feeling the strain of increased demand and need help with donations.

And in the news this week…

Despite their license expiring on July 1st, New Jersey wineries are being allowed to continue sales of wine at their locations. The legislation to resolve the issue over how wine can be sold in this state will not be discussed again until November, and so you have this uneasy status quo in effect right now.

Here’s an odd case of pranking/harassment: a woman in Vineland gets sent Chinese food and pizza orders from 10 different pizza places.

Brice Phillips, the founder of Phillips Seafood, passed away at the age of 90.

And if you thought working a summer job at a boardwalk stand doesn’t amount to much, talk to Laura Idell, the new owner of T&M Monkey Bread in Ocean City.

Enjoy your weekend!

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2 thoughts on “Friday Foodstuffs 7.8.11: A Really Big Backyard Barbecue (aka The NJ State BBQ Championship)

  1. I stopped by the BBQ Championship after work last night and got a very tasty 1/2 rack of ribs cooked in some kind of sweet bbq sauce from the booth of the Bensalem, PA team. And let me just say, if you want to avoid the lines, go in the midst of a torrential downpour. With lightning!

    I got soaked, but it was worth it.

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