HolySmokes! announces winners of 3.0 competition

Special to Gannett
A crowd of approximately 200 enjoyed the meat, the music and the fun.

Locals, neighbors, family and friends gathered, tasted and voted for their favorites at the third annual HolySmokes! Amateur BBQ Cookoff Nov. 7 on Immanuel Anglican Church’s sprawling back lawn.

Eleven amateur barbecue teams’ offerings included slow-smoked seasoned brisket, pulled pork tacos, smoked bacon-wrapped jalepeño-stuffed meatballs, Grilluminati’s Wings of Glory, and much more. Duchess added to the fun with their classic rock tunes while Andre Raymond concessions offered free fresh funnel cakes.

People's Choice winning teams Grillin' Guerillas and Island Vibes accept their award. From left are Michael Dowling, Greg Hotaling, Aria (holding award), Baldie Waugh, Dane Watts, Kierra Moore, Sabrina Watts, Donna Gray, and Kristina Patton.

Third-time competitors Island Vibes, representing Southern Association Management, served their Jamaican jerk chicken with a piece of spice cake and tied for First Place Peoples’ Choice alongside new contenders Grillin’ Guerrillas, who served tenderloin, flank steak and pulled pork with three different sauces. Returning-champions team from 2019, Sola Barbacoa took second place People’s Choice this year with their pulled pork tacos.

C&C Meat Factory with CJ and Cliff Atwell took third place People's Choice with their pulled pork sliders with homemade sauce and beef brisket.

Third place was awarded to C&C Meat Factory with their pulled pork sliders with homemade sauce and beef brisket. Most Creative Station Award, also chosen by participants, was awarded to Tacos Among Us.

Attendees were asked to bring a non-perishable food item or other item to benefit Harvest House of Destin, which gratefully took back a vanload for their clients.

“We were so grateful for being the recipient," said Harvest House Executive Director Lori Joyner. "We received a large amount of food, diapers, baby wipes and more than $880 in donations. Our food pantry is still in need of non-perishable food for the holidays. HolySmokes! 3.0 was an awesome amazing event. I suggest that everybody attend next year!”

First-time contender team leader, Chuck Mitchell, director of sales at CRC Data Technologies and pit master of Redneck Riviera Smokers said, “We had a great time and are looking forward to next year. I thought the event was well planned and the venue was great, and I’ve been in lots of cook-off events.”

New and returning amateur competitors are welcome next year. Local businesses are invited as long as they are not in the food industry.