Aiken-area barbecue joints came out on top this past weekend at the South Carolina Barbeque Association competition in Port Royal.
Four teams from the Aiken County area all finished in the top four slots out of 31 teams.
It’s a win that Russ Padget of Buckwheat BBQ calls “pretty rare.”
“It’s definitely something I haven’t seen before,” Padget said. “It is the first tournament out of many that last throughout the year, but these were all good teams from all over the state. I’ve been helping Dwayne Jones, the head cook, for probably three years now, and it’s just the first time I’ve seen this.”
Like the show “BBQ Pitmasters” on TV, each team competes in different categories.
This competition’s categories includes one for butts, ribs, wings and an all around grand champion. Each competition is based on a points system, which at the end of the year, will be added up to select the winning team.
Chris Fulmer and wife Kathy of Ultimate Tailgaters BBQ took home first in the standings with 15.82 points, Smokin’ Stacks took home second with 15.807 points, Backwoods Bar-B-Que with 15.80 and Buckwheat BBQ with 15.74.
Ultimate Tailgaters BBQ not only came out first in the entire competition, which qualifies them for the World BBQ Championship again, but the pair also placed first in butts and wings, as well as second in ribs.
The power team also took home grand champion. They took home fourth place for ribs in the world and finished 14th overall during the World BBQ Championship in Las Vegas back in November.
“I can’t recall being in a competition where all Aiken teams win the top slots,” Fulmer said. “I don’t know if it’s because all four of us were there or the situation. I don’t even know if we’ve ever had a top three. It’s pretty unusual.”
In two weeks, teams will meet once again at the next SCBA competition in Bamberg. But for now, Aiken can relish sitting in the top four standing slots.
“This is great because it definitely raises awareness of how good the competition barbecue teams are that we have right here on our doorstep,” Padget said. “We have great teams in Aiken, and obviously a lot of good barbecue.”
For more information, visit www.scbarbeque.com.
Maayan Schechter is the City reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.