Rod Gray of Leawood, Kan., earned Grand Champion honors June 10 in the Pork Checkoff’s 19th annual Great Pork BarbeQlossa contest. Gray, of Pellet Envy, was awarded cash and prizes including the grand prize of $10,000 and a Horizon Grill valued at $5,000 donated by Horizon Grill and TNT landscaping.

“The Great Pork BarbeQlossal contest shows pork’s versatility,” says Danita Rodibaugh, National Pork Board president. “This is another way to reinforce to consumers that pork is spirited, creative, engaging and energetic.”

The grand champion must cook in all four categories – whole hog, loin, ribs and shoulder. The 2006 grand champion team placed third in the loin category and fifth in the whole-hog category.

BarbeQlossal is unique. It is one of the only contests in the country that allows competitors to cook four cuts of meat,” says Gray. “This allows us to showcase to consumers how easy it is to cook great tasting pork.”

Seventy-six teams from 15 states competed in the competition held during World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Of those, 12 were competing in the Great Pork BarbeQlossal for the first time. Teams compete in one or more of the four categories. Monetary prizes in the Great Pork BarbeQlossal are awarded for first through tenth places in each category, as well as the top five overall scores.

Reserve Grand Champion honors and $3,000 went to Mike and Beth Wozniak of Bar-B-Quau in Brimfield, Ill.The team placed fifth in the loin category, and first in whole hog.

Each year, the top score from a single state also is honored. Special recognition was awarded to the top team from Iowa—Darren and Sherry Warth of Smokin’ Clones BBQ from Des Moines.

New this year was the Big Green Egg Scramble. Six teams were selected to participate in the Big Green Egg Scramble. The teams were provided a new pork cut-- the pocket roast. The pork was prepared on a Big Green Egg grill for a chance to walk away as Big Green Egg Scramble champion. Pete Amys, Omaha Blowin’ Smoke, from Omaha, Neb., received a Big Green Egg grill as the grand prize winner.

The barbecue contest highlights techniques from across America, and it is  sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. 

BarbeQlossal is a classic BBQ event,” says Gray. “It has an absolutely amazing atmosphere, and was a memorable experience for all of us.”

National Pork Board