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'Bar-b-Que from the Heart' ribs cook-off seeking teams

Barbecue enthusiasts are called to participate in the second annual "Bar-b-Que from the Heart" ribs cookoff in Dickinson.

The cookoff is Friday and Saturday, Sept. 4-5, at the Dickinson Recreation Center.

There is no admission for the public to attend any of the events.

"If you enjoy cooking for your family, you can do it. It's a fun atmosphere. We start with the raw product on Saturday and cook on site," he said.

Billed as the North Dakota State Barbecue Championship, the promotors wish to involve more local and state teams this year, said Mort Krieg, executive coordinator.

It can be a individual or multi-person team. The entry fee is $50 per team.

"Last year, we had more national teams. Now, we're making it a more local event to take away some of the intimidation," he said. "We want to make people feel comfortable cooking and decided on one category -- ribs."

Teams may barbecue any way they wish. Last year, they were limited to wood and charcoal. This year, they may use gas and propane, which makes it easier for the local teams, he said.

"Most people cook ribs in their backyard every single weekend. It's a very familiar meat to cook," he said.

The cookoff also features a beer garden and music. However, the biggest difference is that the teams are allowed to sell samples, said Krieg.

He estimates the sampling can start as early as noon and continue until 3 p.m. or until the food is gone.

The teams may set up on Friday on the grounds of the recreation center. The rib competition starts at 6 a.m. Saturday with the ribs being submitted to judges at 1 p.m. The grading is according to Kansas City Barbecue Society criteria.

"We're still using 24 certified judges trained last year. When the teams come, they are graded very, very fairly," he said.

A total of $4,000 in prize money is being awarded in three categories -- adult, fire department and kids (ages 18 years and younger.)

"We've gotten some strong interest from the 18 and younger division. Kids are watching the Food Network and seeing the cooking challenges. They want to be part of this," he said.

The top category winners qualify to compete for an additional $500 cash prize.

Krieg said the secret to preparing award-winning ribs is patience.

"The best ribs are cooked low and slow -- low heat and for a long time," he said, adding that judges still want to taste the natural part of the meat.

In making the event changes, Krieg said, "We listened to what the public had to say for us to have a better and better event."

Meals and music

On Friday, the Firefighter's Women's Auxiliary is serving farmers hats. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program -- this year's charitable partner --is serving pulled pork sandwiches from 5-9 p.m.

On Saturday, a rib luncheon is being served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The luncheon features ribs, cole slaw, baked beans and salad, served to the first 300 people -- or until the food runs out.

Pie baking contest

"One more twist, on Friday, Sept. 4, we're having the first-ever pie baking contest," said Krieg.

The contest stipulates it has to be a fruit pie. The pies are delivered to the recreation center from 5-7 p.m. on Friday. The winner is announced on Saturday and the extra pies are sold per slice during the luncheon. The grand prize winner receives a $250 cash prize.

How it started

The Bar-b-Que from the Heart is the brainchild of Krieg who attended in a national barbecue competition and wanted to share the idea with southwestern North Dakota.

"I put this thing together with the help of Lee and Bobbie McWright. They were instrumental in getting this off the ground for us," he said.

It became a signature event when the Dickinson Convention and Visitor's Bureau awarded the event a three-year grant.

For more information on forming a cooking team, E-mail Krieg at, or call 260-8113.

Details also are available on the Web site: