August 30, 2013

The Windy City BBQ Classic will host 30 teams will who compete for more than $14,000 in prizes in categories including Best Ribs, Best Brisket, Best Pork Shoulder and Best Chicken. Teams can use any type and make of smoker as long as they do not use gas or electricity in the cooking process. Each team will present their barbecue anonymously to the judges who will score the meat based on appearance, tenderness and taste. No garnish or sauce will be considered in the judging process.

And since Gov. Pat Quinn declared the Windy City BBQ Classic the official Illinois state championship, the overall Grand Champion is automatically qualified to compete in the invitation-only Jack Daniel's World Championship held in Tennessee later this year.

Co-Founder of the event, Chef Jared Leonard from Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse, is here to showcase the delicious world of authentic, slow smoked BBQ and talk about Chicago's only BBQ Pitmaster competition. Also, learn the right way to slow smoke your next beef brisket.

Windy City BBQ Classic
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Noon – 9 PM
South Parking lot of Soldier Field
General admission tickets start at $49
Visit for all ticket options.

Tips for Smoking Beef Brisket

  • Cook low and slow, until the center reaches a temperature of 185 degrees (tip: use a remote thermometer).
  • Buy a full brisket, can be 8 to 20 pounds.
  • Prep - Trim fat but leave a ¼ to one inch layer of fat
  • Dry rub - less is more. Jared recommends salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, onion powder and garlic powder.
  • Cook meat from room temperature.
  • Cook meat fat side up.
  • Don't open the smoker door until six hours into smoking – no matter how bad you want to peak.
  • The meat should develop a bark on the outside…don't worry it's not burnt.
  • Cut brisket against the meat grain and at an angle.


Smoked Brisket
Jared Leonard, Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse

The night before, trim the extra fat from the brisket (don't over trim; 1/4" of fat is necessary for flavor and moisture). Score the fat cap every 2" or so just down to the meat. This allows the rub/mop to penetrate the brisket for maximum flavor. Rub generously with dry rub (below), refrigerator covered overnight. Fire up the smoker to about 225 degrees. Load the brisket, fat side up, into the cooker. After about 6 hours (or internal temperature of 135), start mopping every hour. Coat the fatty side (top) using a baster. Continue mopping through the 10th hour (internal temperature of 170). Stop mopping after the brisket reaches internal temperature of 170 degrees, continue to cook until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 185 degrees. Let rest 1 hour in an empty cooler, slice against the grain to serve.

Brisket Rub:
1 Cup Onion Powder
1/2 Cup Garlic Powder
1/2 Cup Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Paprika
1/2 Cup Kosher Salt

Brisket Mop:
2 light beers (any brand)
1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar
2 T Hot Sauce
2 T Paprika
1 T minced Garlic
1 T Cayenne
1 T Kosher Salt
1 T Black Pepper
1 T Onion Powder 1/2 Cup oil

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