A Rib BBQ Cook-Off at Estel’s Dine By the Sea: First Annual?

Yesterday, my friend Kevin invited me to an impromptu BBQ rib cook-off being held at Estel’s.  The prize?  $800!  He was competing with three other participants (one from the island, one from Kansas City and one from Oregon) to name the best ribs on the island.  An idea the four of them cooked up over many beers earlier in the week.  Sounds like fun to me…I headed out.

But before I get started let me paint a picture for you, possibly a frame-work for the 2013 Ambergris Caye BBQ Cook-Off/Beach Party/Live Music Week-End bash that this small event (and one of the competitors) got me thinking about.  BBQs lining the front street, the air thick with the smell of smoke and good sauce, people out sampling, drinking beers, buying cute t-shirts and enjoying a fierce competition with locals and enthusiasts from around the world in ribs, chicken, best sauce, whatever else can be BBQed…maybe side dishes.  Crown the BBQ King or Queen of San Pedro.  This could be as big as LobsterFest!

Maybe…2013 Smokin’ San Pedro International BBQ Competition or 2013 Belize Grill & Chill International BBQ Competition or let’s keep it simple – the 2013 San Pedro Scoop International BBQ Competition…

I think it could be huge.  What do you think?  We can always work on the name later though I do lean towards the last choice.

Let’s get back to yesterday’s contest and some pictures of Estel’s, one of the most beloved restaurants on the island and everyone’s favorite breakfast joint.

I can’t take enough pictures of this colorful menu board.  It should be made into wallpaper.

And the view from inside…

And the live music.  The place was packed for lunch.

And now let me introduce the competitors.  Everyone knows Charles from Estel’s and his fantastic grilling skills.  He was actually grilling for the restaurant as well.

And his ribs.
My buddy Kevin showing off his racks.

And the two international competitors – first Rick from Oregon and then Kansas City Jim – now that’s a town that knows BBQ.

Kansas City giving a speech before the competition started to try to sway our votes.

Have I already mentioned that I got a chance to judge???  Five of us got that lucky tap on the shoulder.

We waiting patiently at the judges table as Charles doled out our HEFTY portions.

Good thing I didn’t eat lunch beforehand.

Some more lucky judges who were in the right place at the right time.  Rob on the right and his brother.

This judge took his job extremely seriously.  Making sure to savor each bite.

The decision was actually really tough.  All were delicious and the vote was in no way unanimous.  First and second place were declared!

Look at those happy faces.  Kansas City Jim won first place and Charles was a very close second.  Congratulations!  What a super fun competition.  Particularly for me with my huge plate of ribs and for the dogs of San Pedro who enjoyed all of my scraps.  GOOD TIMES.  This MUST be repeated on an even bigger scale.  Often.

Who ever said that there is no such thing as a free lunch?  And I know what you are thinking…yes, it is very tough being me.

And I’ll keep saying it.  Make sure to become a Facebook fan of San Pedro Scoop to keep up on even more photos and information around town.






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  • You really do have the best job on the island! The town we used to live near, Hillsborough, NC, had an annual “Hillsborough Hog Day”, which had a bbq contest, events for the kiddies, and much more. I am sure it started small and grew into something huge. It could happen here too…

  • Me

    I totally agree. But I want to be the “idea guy” only!

  • Leisa

    Glad to see my home town of Kansas City took 1st place. We do have amazing BBQ here. I love ribs the best. My now favorite place for ribs is a tiny little place called Smokin Guns that was featured on The Food Networks “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”. They got so much business from it that they’re building a huge building next door to the old one. They definitely started small. Hopefully your BBQ competition takes off. We have several of them here and its always fun to go taste test it all. And its a good way for the competitor’s to recoop some of the money they spend on the food.

  • Harumph Harumph Harumph! I assume that this must have been an amateur cooking contest.I mean there isn’t an offering from Maplewood MN, another Kansas City entry, one from Persal Texas, Warrington PA or even a team from Memphis TN.

    I guess we will have to have another contest one of these days.

  • Me

    Puh leeze. You guys are already on my list for the San Pedro Scoop 2013 Invitational. I just need to fine tune some details.

    It’s GONNA BE BIG!

    But John, I won’t lie to you…Kansas City Jim’s ribs were awesome.