***With the cooler weather (finally) arriving, I thought it’d be a nice warm day flashback to publish a previously unpublished article from earlier this year. Please enjoy our review of the BBQ competition we attended at Cambridge Square in Ooltewah, TN!***
Saturday, April 15th,2017 the best of the best BBQ’ers in Chattanooga and surrounding areas gathered together at Cambridge Square in Ooltewah, TN to share their fine food and vie for the Best BBQ Title! We headed that way to give the contestants the opportunity to tantalize our taste buds.
The First Contender: Deep South BBQ – Cummings, GA
This was a first sample of the event and they set a high standard as far as sample size went. They were very generous with the helping, especially as samples were free. They offered either pulled pork or Brisket, which we all chose. The Brisket was moist and tender. You didn’t have to battle this meat at all. My slice had quite a bit of fat on it which I did not eat but no complaints about the fat as the meat was absolutely bursting with flavor! Deep South got one of our three votes.
Next up we sampled: B&B BBQ
Remember those high standards Deep South BBQ set with their generous sample? I was disappointed immediately by the sample size. It really wasn’t enough to give them a fair opinion but here goes. The pulled pork was really tasty. It was juicy, not dry at all and the flavor was phenomenal. We wished we had had a few more bites to be sure though.
We traveled on to….The Owl’s Nest who, unfortunately, did not have any free samples. They were cooking up some food for purchase and it smelled great!
Next to the Nest though was some good old fashioned Kettle Korn! Anytime we are lucky enough to encounter a Kettle Korn Stand we make sure to get a couple bags. It is definitely a guilty pleasure to blog about these events! It’s not even 8 P.M. and one of the bags we bought may or may not be almost completely gone. No judgement!
Next up was a Chattanooga Staple: Choo Choo BBQ
Choo-Choo offered another meager pulled pork sample. Whenever somebody locally talks about great BBQ, Choo Choo generally comes up in the conversation. The sample fell short of that reputation for me. The pork was super moist and not dry at all but was really bland with hardly any flavor at all.
After the Choo-Choo we made a pit stop at the Twins Bakery stand.
I completely regret passing on the brownies they also had available for purchase. The fudge absolutely melts in your mouth and is so creamy and delicious! I also realized that Twins Bakery is where we purchased some absolutely amazing chocolate chip cookies in December at the Christmas Market. So yum! You should totally hit them up for some sweet decadent happiness!
Our next pit stop….get it, pit…like Barbacue pit…pit…errr…nevermind…
Next up was; Shane’s Rib Shack…who…had no samples. This was silly because Shane’s Rib Shack is literally like 20 feet from where their stand was. We have eaten there before and I did enjoy the burger I had at the time but the ambiance and seating are lacking something. But, this isn’t about seating or comfort, it’s about food! I enjoyed the burger. My co-diners, did not enjoy their barbecue plates.
Full Throttle (no photo available)
Full Throttle offered an original recipe Strawberry Barbecue Sauce that on it’s own was delicious. The pulled pork however was a little dry. The sample itself was meager so didn’t allow for us to see if the dryness of the meat was an age/warmer tray issue and not a cooking issue.
Two Twins BBQ
We were actually a little excited about this sample from Two Twins. It was one of the last we tried and after cup after cup of mainly pulled pork, it was nice to see the addition of a hot dog. It was also a good sized sample cup, filled to the brim. Unfortunately, the hot dog was just a hot dog and the pulled pork was extremely fatty. I actually had a really hard time finishing it. I’m just not a fan of the jello like texture of fats. The flavor itself was okay but nothing that would stand out. Basically, I could make this at home. We weren’t impressed with it.
And….I’ve saved the best for last! : Chef’s BBQ
Chef’s BBQ ended up with 2 of our 3 votes. The meat was a succulent mixture of different types and included the absolutely delicious crunch of the burnt/smoked parts. The sauce had a spicy but not too overpowering kick to it that lingered on your tongue for a moment. This was so wonderful that I am extremely disappointed I can’t find where to get more!
And that is one thing that I felt was seriously lacking at this event. It seemed unorganized. The event advertised eleven BBQ competitors. We counted 8 and 2 of those weren’t offering samples. Tents did not have signs so we had to ask for business names and ask what the samples were. Perhaps I’m an old fashioned kind of business person but if you are trying to drum up business, shouldn’t one of your main goals be to get your name out there? While writing I’ve also been searching for each business online and in Facebook to offer you more information about these wonderful BBQ joints. Information is linked where I had it but that was extremely sparse and I am surprised by the lack of online presence these establishments have.
But, overall, it was a great day, with great company, with mostly great food.
After voting, we headed to Sonic for cool refreshing drinks as drink vendors were limited at the brawl.
For dinner, still needing our BBQ desires to be satisfied, we headed to our own personal favorite BBQ joint Bones Smokehouse! No one compares to the crew at Bones – from friendliness to the flavors, we never leave without full bellies and happy hearts.
Next up should be The Taste of Ooltewah! We really enjoyed this last year and will be sure to bring you a roundup of all the best restaurants!
And the winners are:
King of the Cul de Sac Steak Cookoff
- Joe Gora
- Roger Burrows
- Ray Ivey
BBQ Brawl – Judges Choice
- Deep South Smokers BBQ
- Owls Nest BBQ
- Choo Choo BBQ
- Two Twins BBQ
BBQ Brawl – People’s Choice
- Deep South Smokers BBQ
- Owls Nest BBQ
- Full Throttle BBQ
- Chef’s BBQ
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