Judging Estel’s 6th Annual Rib Cook-Off: The Biggest and Baddest in Belize

Saturday morning I woke up early for one of my favorite days of the year – the Annual Rib Cook-Off at Estel’s Dine by the Sea.

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Estel’s is one of my very favorite spots in San Pedro.  It’s an absolute MUST VISIT for breakfast – you are going to want to add a side order of fry jacks to anything you try – AND an absolute must for the weekend BBQ by Charles.

The view, as you eat with your feet in the sand, isn’t half bad either.

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But I’m already talking too much.  Let me be brief.  Saturday was the SIXTH Annual International BBQ Cook-off.  I got there early since I WAS ASKED TO JUDGE!!!! and I didn’t miss my chance.  This event is so much fun.  And to convey just how much fun, I put together some very low tech animation.  Get ready to be WOWed.

There were 8 grillers – 5 locals chefs from VERY popular spots: Charles of Estel’s…

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Jennie of Elvi’s Kitchen, Amy of Wild Mango’s…

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Chris of Blue Water Grill and Kevin from Crazy Canuck’s…

IMG_0839-01 and 3 imports:  Rick, Jim (tearing up in front of this huge smoker)…

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and Jim with just part of his team…

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and Ally.

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Some quick Estel’s BBQ Trivia:  The very first cook-off was a last minute thing…the ribs were only served to the judges…and the winner won $800 that had been collected between the four grillers – Jim, Charles, Rick and Kevin.  Jim won and Charles came in second place.  Here’s the photo from 2012.

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Barrington striking a pose as he readies to emcee the event.

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220+ tickets were sold.  And there were three categories.  Peoples’ Choice.  Cooks’ Choice (the 8 contestants would blindly choose a winner) and the highest honor:  Judges’ Choice.

I’ve never seen Estel’s so PACKED.

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The smells of BBQ and charity were in the air.  Good times, live music, GREAT FOOD and money raised for a great cause, the Sunshine Scholarship Foundation.  The crew sold 50/50 tickets and, along with the help of Estel’s, raised a TON OF MONEY to send kids to school.

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I went to visit the judges table.  There were 7 of us.  Here’s the crew sitting across the way from me.   Kelly McGuire, Kendall of Ecologic Divers and Macarena Rose.

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Our SERIOUS scoring sheets…

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And then…THEN…the ribs!

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We received the very first plates.  And for the ticket price ($35bzd), everyone received 4 ribs, the tastiest beans, slaw and a big tortilla.  If you bought two tickets – you and your friend could try all eight.

And vote.

I will agree that the plate looks SO tasty, this job seems SO desirable but by the time you taste each one once…and then go around again and then again…

I realized that you need some real skills for this.  And an INSANELY huge appetite.

We handed in our scores and all were tallied.

THE CHEFS’ #1:  Kevin!

Peoples’ #3 Ally   #2  Jennie (last year’s Grand Champion)   #1 JIM!

Proudly accepting the award with his team.

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Judges’ #3 I FORGOT!     #2  Amy

AND THE PRIZE OF ALL PRIZES!  Judges’ #1 Grill Master:  Charles of Estel’s!

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Very lucky for all of us, Charles appears each and every weekend at Estel’s serving up BBQ.

And just two more quick pictures.  The photo I took of Chris of Blue Water Grill at the 2015 Cook-off with his new pup Lola.

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And Chris and Lola on Saturday.

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LOLA!  How you’ve changed.

And if you’d like to read about the FIRST cook-off (2012), the THIRD (2014), FOURTH (2015)…I miss a few.

If I’m lucky, I’ll get asked back again.







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