A win for the rookie
He has grilled good stuff for years, and done some barbeque judging, but Chuck Erickson finally jumped into the Festival in the Park Rib Cook-O fray – and won. The Kasson man placed first in the chicken category, second in pulled pork, and third in ribs on Saturday, earning the title of Grand Champion.
“I tried a new sauce this year I’d never tried on any of these, and they seemed to like it,” Erickson said. “Everything went good. A few things I could change for next year, but it’s good information to have.”
He led a field of four teams in the event, spondored by Erdman's Supermarket. Bob Sellers Jr., Kasson, placed first in ribs and pulled pork, and third in chicken.
He leads the Kilted Swine team, so named partly because of Sellers’ Scotch ancestry and because he owns bagpipes and a kilt.
He originally wanted to go with The Kilted Pig.
“But that was taken,” Sellers said, “so I went with Kilted Swine, guring, if you’re competing against me, I’m that Kilted Swine. If you like what I’m cooking, I’m the Kilted Swine.”
Veteran barbeque man Sam Spaid, leader of Rochester-based Apple Pie BBQ, placed second in ribs and chicken, and third in pulled pork.
He was seen working earlier in the day on his hot grill.
“Pulled pork, bacon-wrapped chicken thighs ... should be tasty,” he said.
Spaid is a true chef. Asked the secret to his success – he’s won several grand champion titles over six years – he refused to give it up, though he did acknowledge that he uses all home-made ingredients.
“I can’t stand going to a barbeque joint,” he said. “I make it myself.”
Spaid said he got the urge to compete from his father, Bill Quandt.
“I decided to take over one day and it was better,” he said. “We just kept going.” He did share one deep, dark barbeque secret. “Have fun,” Spaid said. “Have fun and leave full.”
Chuck Erickson said he’s excited about the future after the success of this first Festival competition.
“It was great. Awesome,” he said. “I’ll be back again next year.”