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Kids, youth compete for their own 2018 BBQ titles

July 12, 2018
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Scott Abrutyn has been competing in barbecue competitions for the past five years with his Hokie Pokie Q team from Stow, Massachusetts, but this was the first year attending the I Love BBQ and Music Festival, which was held July 6-8 at the Olympic Speedskating Oval.

Abrutyn, the recording secretary for the Northeast Barbecue Society, came with his wife Shana and three children: 8-year-old Brandon, 11-year-old Rachel and 14-year-old Drew. They made a vacation out of it, spending a week at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort and doing touristy things like visit Ausable Chasm before competing all three days.

It's a family affair.

Article Photos

Members of the Hokie Pokie Q Jr. barbecue team, of Stow, Massachusetts, prepare their hot dog entry for the kids’ cooking competition. From left are 8-year-old Brandon Abrutyn and 11-year-old sister Rachel. Their brother, 14-year-old Drew, cooked for the youth competition.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

"Not all the competitions have a kids' competition, so we take the opportunities where they are," Scott said.

The Kids in the Kitchen competition is open to children up to 11 years old, so Brandon and Rachel combined talents to make a hot dog dish and salad. They were the Hokie Pokie Q Jr. team. The Youth World Championships is open to 12- to 16-year-olds, so Drew competed on the Hokie Pokie Q Jr. Next Generation team, cooking chicken, pork ribs and dessert.

"So the kids are moving up," Scott said. "The Next Generation is Drew. ... The idea is Next Generation, they take over the team. ... We want then to learn more about barbecue and cooking outside."

Scott is a software architect, not a professional cook, and he's happy about his modest setup. It works just fine.

"This is just a hobby," Scott said. "A lot of these guys, they vendor, they cater, they're restaurants, professional chefs with big, expensive camper rigs. But we've gotten grand champion with a simple $200 Weber smoker."

Drew came in third place overall and in all categories, behind Little Smoke BBQ (first) and Steve's Prime BBQ (second) for the Youth World Championships. Brandon and Rachel came in second overall, taking first place in hot dogs and second place in salad. Extreme BBQ took first in the Kids in the Kitchen contest while Steve's Prime BBQ took third.


Judging the kids

Brenda Heller is the communications and community relations manager for Norton Saint-Gobain in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her company is a major sponsor of USA Luge, the organizing force behind the I Love BBQ and Music Festival. This was her first time at the festival and helped judge the Youth World Championships and Kids in the Kitchen contest.

Yet this was not her first time in Lake Placid.

"This will be our fourth year coming up doing the employee engagement World Cup event where we bring employees up to see the World Cup," Heller said. "For the past two years, I've organized that event."

Heller decided to take her daughter Rose and sons J.P. and Benny to Lake Placid for a summer vacation this year.

"My kids have been dying to take me up here because I tell them how wonderful Lake Placid is, so this is our first family up."

They took the gondola ride up Whiteface Mountain, hiked High Falls Gorge, "walked the towns and shopped way too much."

As for the judging, she said she enjoyed it. Dessert was her favorite. There was an apple pie she liked most of all, but then there were the s'mores.

"That was a cool rendition on how to build a s'more," she said. "It was like a cupcake with almost like a brownie texture with marshmallows and then the chocolate I thought I tasted a little bit of peanut butter in there, too. ... It was actually surprisingly very filling, even though it was small bites of everything. It was delicious, though."

In all, there were six judges for the kids and youth contests: Heller; Ed Basso of Worcester, New York; Andrea Celis of Burbank, California and Saranac Lake; Peter Crowley of Buffalo, New York; Alan Swentusky of Saranac Lake; and Stephen Moniz of Lakeville, Massachusetts.



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