The fourth annual Smokin’ in Mesquite BBQ Championship will invade the grounds of the CasaBlanca Resort on Labor Day weekend Sept. 1-2 and you can bet that many chasing the $40,000 purse will be in town early to get started.
In fact, everyone from the backyard BBQ experts to the pros are expected to attend Kelly Wertz’s cooking class that will run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.
For $150, Wertz – considered one of the most recognized BBQ experts in the country – will provide the latest tips in the fascinating world of BBQ competition.
From chicken to ribs, pork and brisket and everything related to the science of BBQ competition, Wertz will cover the entire gamut.
“They only need to bring a pencil or pen and paper,” said the 49 year-old Wertz, a resident of Great Bend, Kansas who also heads the 4 Legs Up entry in the prestigious competition. “This will appeal to everyone. There is a real science to this. I can tell if the ribs are done just by looking at them.”
While the class will be interesting for the “rookies” of the BBQ world, it will also prove important to the established cook looking for the latest secrets in the complex competition.
Wertz is making the 1,100-mile trek by himself. The fact that he plans his trips; competes in the events; and wraps up everything before returning home is evidence that he knows every possible aspect of the business.
Wertz also loves coming too Mesquite.
“For flatlanders like us, it’s a different experience,” Wertz said. “It’s beautiful there and I really enjoy it. This is great competition and the CasaBlanca does a great job of putting on the competition. We didn’t go without anything last year. Whatever we needed was there.”
Mesquite Gaming Director of Food Operations Bruce Landvik has been to BBQ classes all over the country and he rates Wertz among the best.
“This will really give those in attendance a chance to learn the ins and outs of BBQ,” said Landvik, a five-year resident of Mesquite. “Kelly really knows the tricks of the trade. He helps everyone and especially helps the pros fine-tune their work.”
Landvik also said the event this year at the CasaBlanca is expected to be bigger than ever.
“We are hearing that this year’s Mesquite BBQ Championship could be double the size of previous events,” said Landvik. “What’s really interesting is the fact that we’re seeing a lot more local teams this year.”
The 2011 Smokin in Mesquite BBQ Championship was won by Kim and Andy Groneman of Kansas City, Mo. The couple flew to Las Vegas to celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary before taking home the top money of $10,000.
The Groneman’s “Smoke on Wheels BBQ Team” won the event with a third in chicken; sixth in pork ribs; eighth in pork and fourth in brisket.
Further information regarding this year’s event can be found by visiting www.mesquitebbqchampionship.com; or by calling Christian Adderson at 888-711-4653; or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those interested in signing up for the cooking class can do so by visiting the website and clicking the “info” link.