NEWPORT BEACH BBQ COMPETITION “Family Appreciation Day” Competition, Community, and Camaraderie


Special Olympics “Family Appreciation Day”

‪Kansas City Barbeque‪ Society (KCBS)

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort



By Kay Schroeder


New Port Beach (Perfect Meal Today) 2/2/17/– Originally launched in 2015 by Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club members to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics and other charities, The Third Annual Newport Beach BBQ Competition offered something for everyone from the professional to the neophyte barbecue enthusiasts.

Given their choice of hamburger or steak to cook, children from ages 5 to 15 plied their skills in a quest to win the Kids Q Competition. Prizes in each age category were awarded to First, Second, and Third Place winners.

Future BBQ Pitmaster

Fifty very seasoned prize-winning adult BBQ teams from across the region competed to win a share of $10,000 in cash, prizes, and the coveted title of Grand Champion. Even though the work was grilling, the sense of anticipation, satisfaction, and great fun seemed to permeate each participant – these people really love to barbecue! Throughout the day, the camaraderie was evident as contestants eagerly shared their in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of barbecuing, such as choosing the right cut of meat, the optimum cooking temperature(s), and that all-important selection of the wood to produce the exact flavor the grill master was seeking.

The Green Egg Dome Cooker

Just as every hobby and sport requires specialized equipment, barbecuing is no exception. The choices of grills, smokers, and pits are numerous. Equipment used in this competition ranged from the tiny Weber grills used by the Kids Q Competition to the huge, Big Green Egg Cookers, and the knock out impressive orange grill/smoker shown below. This rig is built on its own trailer.

Sharpe Woods Grill Master


The Big Orange Grill Master’s BBQ Smoker

As visitors strolled from booth to booth, friendly grill masters graciously answered questions on how their particular BBQ was prepared, cooked and seasoned. Generous samples of beef brisket, ribs, pulled pork, savory chicken nibs, candied bacon, chicken wings, rib tips, smoked peach cobbler, Uncle Pee Wee’s Pecan Pie, Patrick’s Famous Sweet Potato Pie, and numerous other treats to satisfy the most ardent carnivore’s cravings were offered.

Patrick’s Sweet Potato Pie



For those of you who may be feeling pangs of BBQ-envy right now, check out the list of reasonably priced BBQ classes being offered at:

Big Thick Slab of Brisket

Alert, alert! We are under attack from dinosaurs! Photographer/writer for, Tom Wright is seen here wrestling the menacing dinosaur to the ground. Thankfully, photographer/writer and dinosaur both survived the attack.

BBQ  The Beast

One common denominator among all of the teams vying for the coveted title of Grand Champion was their emphasis on the importance of the wood. Team members said they had been experimenting for years with mixing and matching different types of woods for different types of meats. They became acutely aware that some woods complement one type of meat but overpower others. Surprisingly (to the uninitiated), cooking/smoking woods come in an impressive number of types/species. Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue! Bible recommends the following (



Grand Champion was their emphasis on the importance of the wood


Alder – Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.

Almond – A sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.

Apple – Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.

Ash – Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor. Good with fish and red meats.

Birch – Medium-hard wood with a flavor similar to maple. Good with pork and poultry.

Cherry – Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Some believe the cherry wood is the best wood for smoking. Wood from chokecherry trees may produce a bitter flavor.

Cottonwood – It is a softer wood than alder and very subtle in flavor. Use it for fuel but use some chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor. Don’t use green cottonwood for smoking.

Crabapple – Similar to apple wood.

Grapevines – Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.

Hickory – Most commonly used wood for smoking–the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.

Lilac – Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.

Maple – Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.

Mesquite – Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning woods.

Mulberry – The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.

Oak – Heavy smoke flavor–the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.

Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit – Produces a nice mild smoky flavor. Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.

Pear – A nice subtle smoke flavor. Much like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.

Pecan – Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is an all-around superior smoking wood.

Sweet Fruit Woods – Apricot, Plum, Peach, Nectarine – Great on most white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.

Walnut – English and Black – Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.


The Barbecue! Bible also provides helpful information on what woods to avoid as some are unsuitable and others are even poisonous.

Jennifer, Patty Sisters Sharpe Woods Patty LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) Woman of the Year

A veteran of many BBQ competitions, Cooking Wood Specialist, Patty Sharpe is owner of The Woodshed. Located in Orange, CA, The Woodshed specializes in Premium Firewood & Gourmet Cooking Wood. Tom and I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Patty and her sister, Jennifer Fisher. These beautiful young ladies’ Hawaiian backgrounds heavily influenced their barbecue. They not only know a lot about cooking woods and barbecuing, they also have a heart for others. In 2013, Patty became LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) Woman of the Year in recognition of her involvement in the Light the Night Walk at Angel Stadium. Patty’s husband, Mike succumbed to LLS in 2012. Read the amazing story of the Sharpe family and how they and others were able to raise over $100,000 to fight blood cancers.,

At Newport Dunes, ample table seating was provided in the 14,000 sq. ft. building for visitors to sit back, sip their beverage of choice, and watch live barbecue preparation/cooking demonstrations. Menus offered food-pairing suggestions for sixteen wines and eleven beers. One booth inside this area was that of Menyama (, ). Menyama is in the Morobe Province of Papua, New Guinea. This company uses ethically sourced animal skulls to carve exquisite, one-of-a-kind creations, as shown below.

To view the barbecue food menus, click on: Here you will find BBQ teams listed by name, detailed menu items and prices, all accompanied by awesome pictures of unusual, diverse, and sensory overload, mouthwatering BBQ.

For a complete list of BBQ teams/partners click on: Love all of the teams’ colorful, whimsical logos!

My husband Lee Lowrey and I (Sarah Lowrey), helped Steve Bender feed the Special Olympic Athletes and there families.

This is the third annual Special Olympics “Family Appreciation Day” where the family members of the Special Olympic Athletes are honored. My husband Lee Lowrey and I (Sarah Lowrey), helped Steve Bender feed the Special Olympic Athletes and there families. Special Olympics athletes and their families were honored with complimentary admission and a special lunch prepared by the top BBQ teams in observance of the Special Olympics Family (SOF) Appreciation Day. Rotary Club President Steve Bender and other members sponsor special SOF events throughout the year. Just a few of the events are listed below.

Sarah Lowrey’s baby Vincent was a big hit with the athletes. 🙂

Meals-in-a-Box: The Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club will be collecting canned goods for their Meals-in-a-Box Program that benefits 3,500 homeless veterans in Orange County.


Dental and Vision Clinics: Food and beverage sales from the BBQ Competition will help fund The Free Dental and Vision Clinics’ programs in partnership with AYUDA International providing over $1 Million in free dental and vision services in Orange County and around the globe.


End Polio Now: The Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club will host a Bike/Jog for the Humanity Program in which Rotarians will bike or jog to the event to raise money for polio vaccinations around the world.

BBQ Newport Beach 2017  THE WINNERS:


The Third Annual Newport Beach BBQ competition was a huge success with competitors coming from as far away as Canada to compete for $10,000 in cash, prizes, and points. This year’s competition had three perfect scores; that’s like bowling a 300 game! The team from Fountain Valley, CA, Smoking Harts received a perfect score of 180 for their Beef Brisket. They also scored 180 in the dessert category. Competition organizer, Steve Bender received a perfect score as “Kansas City Barbecue Society Organizer” for the third year in a row making him one of the top organizers in the world. The Overall Champion for the event was Big Poppas Smokers, followed closely by Simply Marvelous BBQ, and Lady of Q.


Winners by Category  




  1. Lady Of Q
  2. 2zzyzx Bar B Q
  3. Blazes BBQ


Pork Ribs


  1. Big Poppas Smokers
  2. Fu Man Que Crew
  3. Meat Candy Q




  1. Big Poppas Smokers
  2. Lady Of Q
  3. Smokin It Up BBQ




  1. Smoking Harts
  2. Smokin Money
  3. Porkchop And Bubbas




  1. Smoking Harts
  2. Jolley’s Bad To The Bone Barbeque
  3. Bob’s Morning Wood Barbeque


Kid’s Que–Old 5-11 Year’s Old


  1. Zach McCune
  2. Travis Peterson
  3. Smokin Jayden


Kids Que-Young 12-15 Year’s Old


  1. Trent Paterson
  2. Matthew Diamond
  3. Ethan Lin


To view the video interviews with Mark Masters of KTLA TV and several of the grill masters, click on: Scroll down to the videos.


At the end of the day, we left feeling that we knew a whole lot more about barbecuing. However, we also took with us the joy of having learned a little bit more about the dedicated and caring people who devote so much of their heart to their art, and to the people who enjoy their barbecue.


Photography: Tom Wright