Top barbecue cooks from across the country competed in Lambs Farm's third annual Barn Burner BBQ fundraiser on Saturday in Green Oaks.
Scottie Johnson, crowned Grand Champion of the prestigious Jack Daniels World Championship Barbecue Contest in 2006, was one of 32 competitors participating in the smoked meat cook-off sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. His team, Cancersuckschicago.com, earned the Grand Champion title Saturday.
"I've always enjoyed cooking and started Cajun-style. I used to grill and then discovered barbecue ten years ago," said Johnson, of Westmont.
Johnson's wife, Corliss Johnson, died of cancer in 2003 and he created a foundation in her honor five years ago. The foundation has contributed nearly $100,000 to Wellness House, which offers support, education and information to cancer patients, their families and friends, as a complement to medical treatment.
Thanks to his win, Johnson earned an invitation to take part in the Great American Barbecue and the American Royal Invitational. He also will be entered into a drawing for a chance to again compete at the Jack Daniels World Championship.
The Smokin' Scotsmen from Ada, Mich., took the Reserve Champion title.
Cooks competed in four meat categories: chicken, pork, ribs and beef brisket. There also was a dessert category. They earn points at competitions across the country.
"Judges rate appearance, taste and tenderness," said Paul St. Clair, of Westmont, who served as a judge. "It's been challenging. There are so many things you can do with barbecue."
First-time competitor Scott Kac of Lake Villa competed for the challenge. "I love competition and going up against the pros," Kac said. "Cooking is something I love to do."
People enjoyed the spicy barbecue for sale.
"The food's outstanding. It's a great family event," said Mike Nimietz of Chicago.
In addition to barbecue, the fest featured carnival games, music, contests, demonstrations and raffles.