Where there's smoke, there's good eatin' at Champions of the Grill

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:50

    AUGUSTA-The second annual Champion of the Grill trophy was up for grabs this weekend at the Sussex County Fair Grounds as 45 grillers in three different categories competed for the title. The grillers in the three categories, amateur, professional and children, had the option of entering in six categories, grilled beef, chicken, pork spare ribs, pork shoulder, seafood and vegetables. One of the event's main sponsors, Valley National Bank, was entered in three of the categories. "We have Jamaican jerk beef, grilled salmon and shrimp pesto and are very proud to be the sponsors of this event," said Debra Meister, regional vice president for Sussex and Warren Counties. This year there were 25 judges, each assigned to a particular category. "I was one of the judges last year, and we had to judge each of the entries. Towards the end it became a little hard because I was just getting too full," said Brad Gottfried, president of Sussex County Community College. "This year I am just judging the ribs, so it will be a lot easier on my stomach," he added. Last year's Champion of the Grill, David Schumacher of Highland Lakes in Vernon, was there again to defend his title. "Last year I won for my pork spare ribs and that's the category I'm entered in again," he said. Schumacher has been perfecting his grilling technique for more than thirty years. "I come from Memphis, which is the grilling capitol of the world, so I have been grilling all my life," he added. While he was not prepared to give away his recipe he was willing to share a couple of secrets to his success. "I never marinate my ribs, because it often causes the ribs to burn. It's really all about when to apply the sauce and the texture of the ribs after the proper cooking time." Among the other entrants were culinary students from Sussex County Community College who entered the beef and spare rib categories. "We spent three days getting our sauces ready, all of the ingredients are homemade and we are using all natural charcoal," said Aaron Brewer, a senior at SCCC. The first prize for the Master of the Grill was $750. Also taking place during the day was a classic car show and the Sussex County Idol, which had a prize of $200 and four hours in a recording studio.