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.


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.


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…


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

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)…


and Jim with just part of his team…


and Ally.


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.

first bbq cookoff

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


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.


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.


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.


Our SERIOUS scoring sheets…


And then…THEN…the ribs!


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.


Judges’ #3 I FORGOT!     #2  Amy

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


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.


And Chris and Lola on Saturday.


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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