Location: Kansas City, Kansas
I met Mendel of Rabbi-Q through Twitter. I found the idea of kosher BBQ fascinating because when I think of BBQ I think pork. I know beef and chicken and other meats can be BBQed but it isn't everyday you hear of kosher BBQ in KCBS. Through talking with Mendel I have discovered kosher BBQ and kosher BBQ competitions. I think this is great. I love a good brisket and beef ribs along with smoked turkey and chicken. Read the interview to find out how he cooks pork for KCBS competitions and to find out more about kosher BBQ competitions.
Q4F: How did you get started doing BBQ?
RaBBi-Q: We were looking to do a fundraiser for the organization I work for and someone brought up doing a kosher bbq contest, I ran with the idea and started learning all about BBQ as I was organizing it and quickly realized I was hooked!!
|Mendel of Rabbi-Q.
RaBBi-Q: When I started getting into BBQ I got the nickname the BBQ Rabbi (it may have been self proclaimed I can't remember) and one morning I was playing around writing Rabbi and BBQ and then it hit me, rabbi has 2 Bs and I thought a Q at the end; I called a graphic designer I worked with and that's how RaBBi-Q was born. Yes I am an ordained Rabbi. (Q4F: that is really cool.)
Q4F: What was your first competition and how did you fare?
RaBBi-Q: My first as a competitor was the Long Island Kosher BBQ Championship and I got 3rd brisket, 3rd Chicken, 6th ribs and 3rd overall.
RaBBi-Q: I am still trying to figure it out, NY is the furthest I have gone, I did one in Chicago this year and 3 in the KC area, I would like to do more but I can't do Saturday cooks because that is my sabbath and to quote a great movie "I Don't Roll On Shabbos" but I was able to find 3 KCBS events this year that were not Saturday turn ins.
Q4F: What is your favorite style of competition? KCBS, MBN, other? Why?
RaBBi-Q: I am a KCBS guy, I can't eat pork so I have chicken and brisket, I also love how in general they are very fair and have high standards.
Q4F: I know your a kosher BBQ team, how does that work especially with pork butts and pork ribs? Do you cook them for competitions? Do you have separate cookers?
RaBBi-Q: In those competitions I have a pork cook, he brings his own smoker and anything else that would touch the pork.
|Prepping the meat.
Q4F: For the KCBS competitions do you have separate kitchen areas too?RaBBi-Q: We do our prep totally separate, it could be under the same roof just separate tables etc.
Q4F: Are there specific competitions for kosher BBQ?
RaBBi-Q: Yes there are, a few years ago there were only 3, in the next year I think there will be 6-8 of them.
|Ready to cook.
RaBBi-Q: Kosher competitions will all have Chicken, beef ribs (some back some short) and brisket and we in KC have turkey as our 4th protein; others will do beans.
Q4F: How do they differ from other competitions? On site judging? Turn in boxes? Judging?
RaBBi-Q: They try to be as close to the standard KCBS format as possible.
|Chicken ready for turn in.
RaBBi-Q: Nope but our KC comp gets lots of traffic www.kckosherbbq.com
Q4F: Do you have any advice for those wanting to start competing in BBQ?
RaBBi-Q: Read allot about the different methods, you never know when you will have to pull from that knowledge, and write yourself a timeline and game-plan!! And don't let anyone get in your head and make you second guess yourself.
Q4F: Can you give one piece of advice for those who want to cook BBQ?
RaBBi-Q: Have fun! Try everything! If you don't like one style don't think you don't like BBQ, try something else.
Q4F: What is your favorite meat to cook? What is your favorite to eat?
RaBBi-Q: I really like the challenge of cooking brisket, to eat.... Really good beef ribs.
|Brisket ready for turn in.
RaBBi-Q: Not so strange, more like different. I smoked a lamb roast with a Mediterranean style rub I made, then "pulled" it and treated it like shwarma, smokey lamb shwarma, was awesome! (Q4F: Yum! I love a good shwarma and lamb.)
Thanks again to Mendel of Rabbi-Q for taking the time to answer a few questions and share his BBQ experience. If you see the Rabbi of BBQ out cooking stop by and say "Shalom," but not during turn in time.