Fun barbecue contest rules will be serious in Williamsport

October 13, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

Bill Gangloff is working on his "Ph.B." - that's a doctorate in philosophy of barbecue.

No diploma or certificate is awarded. The reward comes after you've been making it for a while and you hear somebody say, "That is good barbecue," Gangloff said.

He hopes to hear those words Saturday, Oct. 16, at the Williamsport Rotary's first Barbecue Cook-off.

There are professional and amateur categories. The judges know their stuff: Betty McDonald, director of food services for Canteen Corp.; James Kercheval, owner of Kerch's Southern BBQ; and Donald Hoffman, owner of Hoffman's Quality Meats.

Contest rules are serious. Saucing, injecting, marinating or curing the meat in any way prior to the official meat inspection will result in disqualification.


Gangloff described himself as a "very serious amateur."

The retired Washington, D.C., firefighter has been making barbecue - from beef and pork butts and ribs - in a smoker for about a year. He's been cooking all his life and, along with his wife, the Hancock resident traveled to Memphis, Tenn., last year just to eat barbecue.

Barbecuing requires indirect heat - low heat, between 225 and 250 degrees - to break down the collagen in the muscle tissues, Gangloff said.

The cuts of meat used - butts, ribs - were considered the least desirable cuts - those given to slaves in an earlier time. In order for them to be tender, they had to be cooked long and slow - about an hour per pound - to an internal temperature of 195 degrees.

Carolina barbecue is made with vinegar or mustard. In Kansas City, the meat is basted with sweet tomato-based sauces. Memphis barbecue - the type Gangloff will be making - is not sauced, Gangloff said. It is made by applying a dry rub before cooking. A black crust called bark develops.

Gangloff understandably won't share the ingredients of his paprika-based rub. The secret mix includes brown sugar and other spices and herbs.

The cook-off will benefit Williamsport Rotary projects, which include buying playground equipment for the town's Byron Memorial Park and annual scholarships, which send Williamsport High School students to a leadership program at University of Wisconsin.

A Purple Cow Patty Bingo also will raise funds for Rotary. For a $5 donation, people will get a chance to win $250, $750, or $1,500. All they have to do is buy a ticket and let nature take its course.

Yes, cow-patty bingo is exactly what it sounds like. A grid - about a quarter of the size of a football field - will be marked into 1,500 squares. Three bovine competitors, Cow No. 1, Cow No. 2 and Cow No. 3 - they don't have names - will enter the field and do what comes naturally.

The holder of the ticket with the number that matches the grid on which the first cow does her business wins $250, said Rotary member Michael Guessford. The No. 2 prize of $750 goes to the holder of the ticket of the second grid patty, and the $1,500 grand-patty prize goes to the third.

Guessford cautioned that it's the largest piles - not a little bit deposited while moving to the winning square - that win.

"The odds are better than the lottery," he added.

But it might take awhile - five to 45 minutes.

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