Professional barbecue teams from around the country have entered the 7th Annual Death’s Door BBQ (DDBBQ) contest scheduled for Saturday, August 25, 2018. The event, held at the Washington Island Airport, is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. A total of $19,000 in prize money plus various awards will be distributed among the DDBBQ winners this year.
The DDBBQ executive director, Dick Jepsen, said some of the best barbecue teams in the country have signed entries for the 7th Annual, two day event, to be held at the Washington Island Airport.
The Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctions the event, which follows the society’s strict rules of operation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has issued a Governor’s Proclamation for the event, making Death’s Door BBQ a Wisconsin State Championship. As a result, DDBBQ winners will receive an automatic entry in the American Royal Invitational in Kansas City, MO and are eligible for a lottery drawing to potentially compete in the Jack Daniels BBQ contest in Lynchburg, TN. Teams hope to win the title of Grand Champion and thus take home much of the $19,000 in prize money and awards. Many of the 36 competing teams enter similar events around the U.S. in hopes of winning KCBS Team of the Year honors.
Currently four of the top ten teams in the country are entered. Heading the list is current KCBS point leader Brad Leighninger and his Gettin’ Basted team. Brad is from Springfield, Missouri and was last year’s DDBBQ Day One Grand Champion. Another Missouri team is Shake-N Bake BBQ, which has the number three spot in the rankings. Tim and Terri Scheer from Washington, Missouri were last year’s DDBBQ Day Two winner.
Seventh in points is Des Moines, Iowa’s Darren and Sherry Warth, whose Smokey D’s team ranks consistently in the top ten in the U.S.. Last year, the Smokey D’s were the DDBBQ’s Reserve Grand Champions. Tenth in points is Jeff Vanderlinde’s Shiggin and Grinnin team from Delano, Minnesota, who will be making their second DDBBQ appearance. Other top teams include two teams from Illinois, Brian Neale of Smoke Freaks from Chicago and Elton Cummings and his Chocolate City BBQ team from Wooddale. Justin Harding and his Big City BBQ team from Minnetrista, Minnesota will also be a top competitor.
Larry Baer’s Purple Shadow BBQ team is coming from Topeka, Kansas, and traveling from Florida is the Pig In or Pig Out Team, featuring Tim Reynolds as chief cook, making his third appearance at DDBBQ. Another Illinois team is Steve Dragin and Hot Ash BBQ from Antioch, which has been reliably moving up in the field each year.
Several new teams will be seeking to claim this year’s Championship, including Terry West with the 270 Smokers team from Lexington Virginia, which also ranks consistently high in KCBS points. Another Florida team is Tim Malloy’s Backyard Bros, from Trinity. Andrew Davis, of Pleasant Plains, Arkansas is bringing his Razorracks team, which finished seventh in the U.S. last year in the chicken category. Finally, Chris Zaves of Evansville, Indiana is coming with Z Smoke, for whom he is the chief cook.
Wisconsin will be well represented at the 7th Annual DDBBQ: Tim Schopp’s team, Tim’s Full Belli Deli, is coming from Oshkosh and Mark Pikturna’s Crash Test Smokers will attend from Wrightstown, plus Aubrey Freeman and his Freeman Brothers BBQ (Verona), Adam Schopp’s Plastered Pork (Greenville), Jeffrey Stout’s Wicked Smoke (Fort Atkinson), Jermaine Little’s Turnin’ Up the Heat (Brown Deer), Paul Perpich of Smoke Infusion (Hortonville) and Chef Jeff Igel of Chef’s Gone Grillin’ (Appleton).
Two teams will try and keep the bragging rights in Door County, T-Mac Smokin’ of Sturgeon Bay and Casey’s BBQ and Smokehouse of Egg Harbor. Tom and Becky MacIntosh of T-Mac Smokin’ won the first Death’s Door BBQ contest in 2012 and repeated the feat in 2015. Matthew Peterson of Casey’s BBQ always brings his A game to the Island and vends some great food.
Besides being able to watch and talk to some of the best teams in the country, attendees can enjoy some great entertainment. Genevieve Heyward will perform at 10 am, followed by the Alex Wilson Band. There will also be both Island and non-Island vendors, children’s games, arts and crafts and other great food and beverages. The August 25 event runs from 10 am until 5 pm. Admission and parking are free. Awards and raffle prizes will be handed out at 4:30 pm. This year’s raffle prizes include a Traeger Smoker valued at $1,100, donated by Traeger Grills, an F4 Yamaha outboard motor valued at $1,565, courtesy of Shipyard Island Marina, plus a Grizzly Cooler valued at $400, donated by Grizzly Coolers. Tickets will be sold all day up until the awards ceremony, and are available at Nicolet National Bank and The Red Cup, both on Washington Island.
New this year is a Kid’s Que sponsored by Smithfield and Lamperts of Sister Bay. Two age groups will be competing, 7-12 and 13-18. Come out and watch these future cooks prepare their best burgers and pork chops. They will be cooking between 8 am and 10:30 am and will turn in their entries at 10:30 am. The Kid’s Que awards ceremony will precede the pro team awards.
For more information, visit www.deathsdoorbbq.comor Facebook (Deaths Door BBQ). For more information on other Island events go to the Washington Island Chamber of Commerce website (www.washingtonisland.com) or the Washington Island Ferry Line website (wisferry.com). All proceeds from the 2018 DDBBQ go to support HELP of Door County and the Washington Island Community Health Program and Washington Island Food Pantry.