Barlow Artisanal Bar

There is another Barlow in town, not to be confused with Barlow Tavern. This is Barlow Artisanal Bar, located at 737 SW Salmon St.right next to the very stylish and already loved by me Picnic House that I have written about several times before.

The exterior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The exterior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The exterior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The exterior of Barlow Artisanal Bar

I have been peeking at the space under construction for months. I was drawn especially in when the beautiful chandelier in the back got installed over the larger group table.

The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar

With 5 taps and a dozen exquisite options on their cocktail menu, this classy bar is a welcome addition to this area. In walking distance are several hotels and museums such as the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Historical Museum. And Barlow is just blocks from the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to kick off or wrap up a sophisticated date night.

The stunning lights of Barlow Artisanal Bar

Once you have stepped inside, you feel like you’ve stepped into a glamorous art deco bar. There is a long L shaped bar in the front, then small cocktail tables to lounge and drink as you are heading towards the back.

The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar

After walking past the stunning lit Barlow sign across from their other stairway, the back wall of an alluring flapper girl welcomes you. The back opens up slightly for a few small tables including a larger group table. Restrooms are separated off by the hanging silver beaded curtains.

The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar

I stopped by “accidentally” when they were still doing their soft opening where it was bustling during their early happy hour 3-6pm. They also have a late happy hour 10pm-close. On later visits on a few other weekday evenings after happy hour, it had noticeably mellowed out. This yielded that some of these photos that look like it was almost empty, but let me assure you I was not the only one there each visit.

 The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar

As if this all wasn’t already so cool enough, when they need a chilled martini glass, it is very dramatic with dry ice.

The oh so casual cooling of your martini glass with dry ice bar the bartenders of Barlow Artisanal Bar The oh so casual cooling of your martini glass with dry ice bar the bartenders of Barlow Artisanal Bar The oh so casual cooling of your martini glass with dry ice bar the bartenders of Barlow Artisanal Bar

Some cocktails of Barlow Artisanal Bar

  • Clover Club with gin, lemon, creme yvette, maraschino luxardo, raspberry simple, egg white
    Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail of the Clover Club with gin, lemon, creme yvette, maraschino luxardo, raspberry simple, egg white Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail of the Clover Club with gin, lemon, creme yvette, maraschino luxardo, raspberry simple, egg white
  • The Knickerbocker with 8 year rum, 10 k rum, orange liqueur, lemon, raspberry pineapple simple, demerara simple, and all served over shaved ice with a silver straw to give it a tiki twist. I found the ice in mine to be really too large where I was trying to punch through the ice to get to my drink, but it was probably a one off mistake.
    Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Knickerbocker with 8 year rum, 10 k rum, orange liqueur, lemon, raspberry pineapple simple, demerara simple, and all served over shaved ice Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Knickerbocker with 8 year rum, 10 k rum, orange liqueur, lemon, raspberry pineapple simple, demerara simple, and all served over shaved ice Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Knickerbocker with 8 year rum, 10 k rum, orange liqueur, lemon, raspberry pineapple simple, demerara simple, and all served over shaved ice
  • Rattlesnake with rittenhouse rye, lemon, egg white, gomme syrup, fernet braca, and ginger liqueur. My favorite of the two egg white drinks.
    Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Rattlesnake with rittenhouse rye, lemon, egg white, gomme syrup, fernet braca, and ginger liqueur Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Rattlesnake with rittenhouse rye, lemon, egg white, gomme syrup, fernet braca, and ginger liqueur
  • Blood and Beach Sand cocktail with scotch whisky, cherry heering, sweet vermouth, and pineapple
    Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Blood and Beach Sand with scotch whisky, cherry heering, sweet vermouth, and pineapple Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Blood and Beach Sand with scotch whisky, cherry heering, sweet vermouth, and pineapple
  • Cocktail of the Sidecar Au Poire with brandy, lemon, pear liqueur. This was one of my personal favorites.
    Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Sidecar Au Poire with brandy, lemon, pear liqueur Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Sidecar Au Poire with brandy, lemon, pear liqueur Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, the Sidecar Au Poire with brandy, lemon, pear liqueur
  • I also loved their cocktail Derby with bonded bourbon, lime, orange liquor, sweet vermouth, and cardamom. They use a special round ice for this drink. Usually there is a sprinkle of cardamom on top but they were out during my visit.
    Barlow Artisonal Bar cocktail Derby with bonded bourbon, lime, organge liquor, sweet vermouth, and cardamom Barlow Artisonal Bar cocktail Derby with bonded bourbon, lime, organge liquor, sweet vermouth, and cardamom Barlow Artisonal Bar uses this special round ice cube for their cocktail Derby with bonded bourbon, lime, orange liquor, sweet vermouth, and cardamom
  • An Open Drink the bartender made for me and the reason you should try to sit at the bar if you can
    An Open Drink the bartender made for me at Barlow Artisanal Bar An Open Drink the bartender made for me at Barlow Artisanal Bar
  • Pours of beer
    Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, beer Barlow Artisanal Bar Cocktail, beer
  • From the dessert menu, finish with something sweet such as the MonMarte Float with root beer, absinthe, and creme anglaise or the Jamaican Coffee with dark rum, coffee liqueor, sherry, demerara simple, and cream
    MonMarte Float with root beer, absinthe, and creme anglaise Jamaican Coffee with dark rum, coffee liqueor, sherry, demerara simple, and cream

Nosh

The food at Barlow are just small plates meant to accompany your cocktail as a snack – don’t expect to eat a full meal here.

  • Cheese and Charcuterie selection of the chef from a happy hour, $8, included 2 cheeses, a pate, and warm pretzel bread
    Barlow Artisanal Bar Cheese and Charcuterie selection of the chef from a happy hour, $8, included 2 cheeses, a pate, and warm pretzel bread Barlow Artisanal Bar Cheese and Charcuterie selection of the chef from a happy hour, $8, included 2 cheeses, a pate, and warm pretzel bread Barlow Artisanal Bar Cheese and Charcuterie selection of the chef from a happy hour, $8, included 2 cheeses, a pate, and warm pretzel bread Barlow Artisanal Bar Cheese and Charcuterie selection of the chef from a happy hour, $8, included 2 cheeses, a pate, and warm pretzel bread Barlow Artisanal Bar Cheese and Charcuterie selection of the chef from a happy hour, $8, included 2 cheeses, a pate, and warm pretzel bread
  • Also from Happy Hour, the Caramelized Onion Dip is $6 and comes with potato chips and crudite
    From Barlow Artisanal Bar's Happy Hour menu, the Caramelized Onion Dip is $6 and comes with potato chips and crudite From Barlow Artisanal Bar's Happy Hour menu, the Caramelized Onion Dip is $6 and comes with potato chips and crudite From Barlow Artisanal Bar's Happy Hour menu, the Caramelized Onion Dip is $6 and comes with potato chips and crudite
  • Lobster Roll with roasted lobster, celery tarragon, chives, aioli, and lemon served on a primo roll with chips. During one of my more recent visits this was off the menu already, so maybe it was just a brief seasonal item. It was probably the most substantial dish there.
    Food at the Barlow Artisanal Bar for noshing, such as the Lobster Roll with roasted lobster, celery tarragon, dchives, aioli, and lemon served on a primo roll with chips Food at the Barlow Artisanal Bar for noshing, such as the Lobster Roll with roasted lobster, celery tarragon, dchives, aioli, and lemon served on a primo roll with chips Food at the Barlow Artisanal Bar for noshing, such as the Lobster Roll with roasted lobster, celery tarragon, dchives, aioli, and lemon served on a primo roll with chips
  • Leave off the carbs and go directly to meat with these Lamb Lollipops that are seared and served with housemade mint jelly
    Barlow Artisanal Bar's Lamb Lollipops that are seared and served with housemade mint jelly Barlow Artisanal Bar's Lamb Lollipops that are seared and served with housemade mint jelly
  • My favorite of what I tasted was Barlow Artisanal Bar’s take on a classic Russian dish, a Vegetable and Lardon Terrine with potatoes, beets, carrots, egg, lardons, chives, aioli vinaigrette. As delicious as it looks.
    My favorite of what I tasted was Barlow Artisanal Bar's take on a classic Russian dish, a Vegetable and Lardon Terrine with potatoes, beets, carrots, egg, lardons, chives, aioli vinaigrette. As delicious as it looks. My favorite of what I tasted was Barlow Artisanal Bar's take on a classic Russian dish, a Vegetable and Lardon Terrine with potatoes, beets, carrots, egg, lardons, chives, aioli vinaigrette. As delicious as it looks. My favorite of what I tasted was Barlow Artisanal Bar's take on a classic Russian dish, a Vegetable and Lardon Terrine with potatoes, beets, carrots, egg, lardons, chives, aioli vinaigrette. As delicious as it looks. My favorite of what I tasted was Barlow Artisanal Bar's take on a classic Russian dish, a Vegetable and Lardon Terrine with potatoes, beets, carrots, egg, lardons, chives, aioli vinaigrette. As delicious as it looks.

Here’s a look at their menus: Cocktail Menu, Happy Hour Menu, Food Menu, Dessert Menu.
Menu of the cocktails at Barlow Artisanal Bar Menu of the Food at the Barlow Artisanal Bar for noshing

 

They plan to change up their food and cocktails seasonally, so I’m expecting that there may be an update soon from what I’ve shared. They have only been open a month and still under everyone’s radar so I wanted to share this discovery with you!

Barlow on Urbanspoon

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Tips for Attending Feast Portland

GAH! Where did the summer go soooo fast? Can you believe Feast Portland, the best, most delicious, food festival in Portland, the all holidays rolled into one long weekend of September 18 – 21, is only 1 week away! EEEEEeee!!!

I have shared before an overview of Feast PDX 2014 in a previous Countdown to Feast post. This time, assuming you have a ticket to at least one event or have signed up for volunteering for Feast, I wanted to share tips for attending Feast Portland.

Tip 1: Carry a tote bag

You will be picking up business cards and pamphlets for instance if you are attending the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting on either Friday or on Saturday. Tickets are still available for these two events BTW! Anyway, I have a tote bag that has a small little mesh pocket on the side which I actually use to carry my drink glass sometimes. That way I had someplace to put my glass when I wanted to get both hands on my mini sandwiches when I was at the Sandwich Invitational last year (I also plan to attend the Sandwich Invitational this year also. And there are still tickets available for this event if you are interested).

The glass for beer at the Widmer Sandwich Invitational at Feast 2013 Supporting local, thanks to Whole Foods at Feast 2013

I also use the tote bag to carry extra napkins (including wetnaps!) and to carry the same knife/fork/spoon all night so I don’t have to use additional ones because I threw it away. I also have a bottle of water in there!

My tote bag also has a little notebook where I might jot down notes of things I might hear, be it stories from the vendors or one of the chef demonstrations at the Grand Tasting, or from talking to various people I may meet as we are simultaneously tasting wine together.

Who knows, you may even find something you’d like to buy and carry back with you… like I got these awesome T-shirts from Flavour Gallery that are super soft and comfortable and proudly proclaim my love of deliciousness. Only a week after Feast 2013 last year, I was excited to pack that shirt and wear in when I was traveling looking at waterfalls in Ithaca NY. I remember seeing them at the Sandwich Invitational and at the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting
Shirt from Flavour Gallery at Feast Portland 2013. I love this shirt. Me wearing my Feast Portland 2013 shirt from Flavour Gallery just a week later after Feast while posing with Buttermilk Falls in New York

The biggest secret in my bag? I have little ziploc bags in there. You don’t have to sample everything, but believe me, even so you can only eat so many of those Sandwich Invitational sandwiches without feeling overly full. One thing I learned from being a certified PNWBA barbecue judge is that there is no reason to take more than a few bites. Since I don’t want to waste the food, I then put the rest in the ziploc bag in my tote and move on to another taste. And then I eat those leftovers the whole next week after Feast…

Tip 2: Talk to Strangers

Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, Friday, Kyra's Bake Shop Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, Friday, Ben Jacobs3n himself of Jacobs3n Salt

I give my personal business card out freely as anyone I meet whether it be in line or while trying to balance samples is a food lover like me, and we can surely be friends. Something as simple as “Oooo, what are you having? Where did you get that?” or “Did you have a favorite sandwich/sample/wine/etc” is a great conversation opener. Everyone here is HAPPY to talk about food and drink while eating food and drink, believe me!

At events like the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, take this opportunity to find out the story about the various artisan vendors and to explore new things you have never tried before. This is a serious tip- Urban Bliss also included it on her tips list, and you should also check out her Top 10 Tips for Feast Portland Newbies post!

Tip 3: Make a Game Plan

When I first go to an event, before I even attend I take a look to see if their are any names that initially jump out at me as ones I want to visit right away. Then, when I actually arrive at the event, based on how busy it is, I will decide how I am going to order my visits. I personally like to be there when the event first opens. Then I walk around the entire event space, seeing who is where and what everyone is offering. Based on that, I then plan my visit order!
The layout of the High Comfort event at Feast 2013 Grilled Cheese Please! From Tillamook  Widmer Sandwich Invitational at Feast PDX 2013

An example might be at the Sandwich Invitational and when I attended High Comfort last year (there are tickets still available to High Comfort for 2014!), I picked out certain chefs who I knew were from out of town and likely to be in high demand and figured out where their booths were and looked to see what they were serving as their sample tastes. Then based on that,  I picked out what I wanted to eat most and went from there. Pretty much I’ll be making a beeline for Hugh Acheson at Sandwich Invitational and for Aaron Franklin at the Tillamook Brunch Village (tickets already sold out!) for instance. <3 <3 <3

At an event like the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, check the schedule of the day to see who and when the chef demonstrations are occurring at the KitchenAid Main Demo Stage!
The Lee Brothers charm the audience during their Kitchenaid Demo, regaling with many stories while making oyster peanut stew on the KitchenAid Main Demo Stage at Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, Feast 2013 Naomi advise to squeeze butter w your hands to help warm it up as she prepares corn souffle on the KitchenAid Main Demo Stage at Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, Feast 2013

Tip 4: Wear Comfy Shoes and have Pockets

For events in which are will be visiting a lot of different booths in a food market style – namely the Sandwich Invitational Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting, High Comfort, and Brunch Village, you will be on your feet a lot. If you are attending the dinners or tasting panels you will be seated so relax.

Be prepared accordingly. These events are also rain or shine, so check the weather and bring a rainjacket hoodie if necessary. Don’t do an umbrella – you don’t want to waste your hands that could be holding food and drink!

I also highly recommend wearing something with easy accessible pockets. Even if you have your tote bag, you don’t want to go scrounging around in there each time you want to get your camera to grab a photo.

Tip 5: Use your Phone! Take Photos and follow Social Media

One of the best tricks for remembering delicious things is to take a photo of them. I take photos of signs describing the dish as I’m going up to the booth, and if I really like a particular beer or wine or anything, I take a photo. The visual cue of seeing the descriptions (particularly wine bottle labels) when I look on my phone is so helpful later!

In order to see what is happening and hot, be sure to check the hashtag #feastpdx on Twitter #feastpdx  or the handle Twitter FeastPDX and follow on Instagram Feast Portland to also see what everyone is talking about – maybe that’s how you’ll know to hurry and get into a particular line for a food dish before it runs out. If you do share, make sure you tag #FeastPDX too.

I know I’m sorry to be missing the Night Market, but I’ll be following the pictures online to live vicariously through all the social sharers out there.

Given that you may be taking photos and twittering… don’t you think of leaving home without your phone charger with you. Who knows how long the evening might extend to and you don’t want to run out of battery.

Make sure you also program a taxi number in your phone. You may not need it, but it’s so useful to have just in case you get invited to party on with new friends that you meet…

I’ll be on Twitter and Instagram myself covering Feast, so I hope we are already friends on Twitter @pechluck and on Instagram @pechluck .

If you don’t have tickets yet, the recommendation I would give (and apparently so would Carrie Welch, one of the co-founder of Feasts – she noted this in an interview Bakery Bingo recently posted. Also check out some interesting tidbits about her at an interview of Carrie at love, rachel with her post Coffee Conversations: Carrie Welch Co-Founder of Feast Portland is to strongly consider either the Sandwich Invitational on Thursday evening, or Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting on either Friday or on Saturday.

I hope these tips are helpful to you, and maybe I’ll see you at Feast? Don’t be shy about coming to say hi!

Disclaimer: I was granted a Blogger Pass for Feast Portland 2014 for blog post and social media coverage but I am not otherwise being compensated. Even before I was given the Blogger Pass I already had tickets for some Feast events – so it just means I will have more to recap for you now!

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Phat Cart

Phat Cart is a cute little food cart that has two locations, one by PSU at SW 4th and College, and also a location in Hillsdale at SW Capital Highway and Sunset Boulevard. So there, you readers who don’t want to navigate trying to find parking during the lunch rush and being downtown, the Hillsdale location is part of cart pod that is easier perhaps for you. Though honestly, parking by that pod at SW 4th and College isn’t too bad either.
Phat Cart is a cute little food cart that has two locations, one by PSU at SW 4th and College, and also a location in Hillsdale at SW Capital Highway and Sunset Boulevard. This is the cart at the PSU pod

And, one of the things that made me want to highlight this cart are their longer hours than many, as they are open from lunch until dinner, 11-7 Monday – Friday and 11-4 on Saturday. If you visit at lunchtime, they offer free dumplings (they have teriyaki glazed dumplings on their regular menu) from 11-2 every weekday. What a deal!

Also, I think I gobbled down Phat Cart’s dish of Crispy Chicken, a fried chicken breast, zucchini, with lime aioli and all served over rice in a bento bowl style in like 10 minutes or less, it was so tasty!
Phat Cart's dish of Crispy Chicken, a fried chicken breast, zucchini, with lime aioli and all served over rice in a bento bowl style

You see, although Phat Cart is a Thai cart, their menu is more original in their offerings, which include bento bowls which have rice topped with various types of protein. The choices include
Phat Cart Menu. Phat Cart is a cute little food cart that has two locations, one by PSU at SW 4th and College, and also a location in Hillsdale at SW Capital Highway and Sunset Boulevard. This is the cart at the PSU pod.

  • Crispy Chicken, a fried chicken breast, zucchini, with lime aioli
  • Stewed Pork, cooked in pineapple gravy with zucchini, kewpie mayo and scallions
  • Oven Roasted Chicken with zucchini and choice of either teriyaki or sweet chili sauce
  • Orange Chicken that is the fried chicken breast and zucchini drizzled with orange peel sauce
  • Larb Gai Tod, a Thai Style crispy chicken salad that includes crushed roasted rice, shallots, scallions, and spicy lime vinaigrette dressing

Phat Cart's dish of Crispy Chicken, a fried chicken breast, zucchini, with lime aioli and all served over rice in a bento bowl style Phat Cart's dish of Crispy Chicken, a fried chicken breast, zucchini, with lime aioli and all served over rice in a bento bowl style

They also have a few Americanized adaptions of their ingredients but still using a Thai flavor palate, just served in a more Western vehicle to your mouth besides with rice:

  • Mr Miyagi Sandwich: their crispy chicken with romaine, avocado, fresh tomatoes and lime aioli with potato chip side
  • Samurai Sandwich: stewed pork, sauteed zucchini, fresh tomato, kewpie mayo with potato chip side
  • Avocado Chicken Salad: fried chicken breast, tomato, romaine, avocado and lime aioli dressing

If you are vegetarian, they also have veggie spring rolls and fried tofu that you can substitute instead.

I was tempted to get their special desert, but didn’t have enough room- they have a Roti, a pan fried Indian dough with pandan vanilla custard and condensed milk. Although this is an adaption of Indian food, this is very common street food in Thailand, and my sisters and I often specifically go looking for it when we’re in the markets to have at least one time whenever we visit Thailand. The taste is a little bit similar to a combination of elephant ear and doughnut but in an Asian sweetened way thanks to the condensed milk.

If you can’t, don’t miss out on this hard to find Thai dessert here in Portland!

A look at the thoughtful touch of their sticker logo on the to go bowl of Phat Cart, a food cart at the PSU pod Phat Cart's dish of Crispy Chicken, a fried chicken breast, zucchini, with lime aioli and all served over rice in a bento bowl style

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Ippai PDX at the Hollywood Farmers Market

Maybe these photos might encourage you to visit the Hollywood Farmers Market. Besides it being less crazy crowded and easier to find parking I think then the Portland Farmers Market at PSU, they also have one unique offering:  Ippai PDX. This little pop-up is a regular stop for me. I love their variations of onigiri.

Pine Mountain + Deeproots bacon green bean onigiri
Pine Mountain + Deeproots bacon green bean onigiri at the Hollywood location of the Portland Farmers Market Pine Mountain + Deeproots bacon green bean onigiri at the Hollywood location of the Portland Farmers Market Pine Mountain + Deeproots bacon green bean onigiri at the Hollywood location of the Portland Farmers Market

Tuna Salad with Corn Onigiri

If you want more than a snack, try their rice bowls- either hot (with warm curry on top) or cold (with various veggies). I added an egg for an extra dollar, so worth it.

Ippai Japanese Veggie Curry Rice bowl, I added an egg for an extra $1 at the Hollywood Farmers Market in Portland on Saturdays Ippai Japanese Veggie Curry Rice bowl, I added an egg for an extra $1 at the Hollywood Farmers Market in Portland on Saturdays
Ippai Japanese Veggie Curry Rice bowl, I added an egg for an extra $1 at the Hollywood Farmers Market in Portland on Saturdays

You should definitely visit their website- besides popping up at the market, they also have pop-up dinners once in a while!

Have you ever had onigiri before?

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Tree Top Skewered Apple BBQ Championship

Some of you may know that I am a certified BBQ judge for the PNWBA (Pacific Northwest BBQ Association). I don’t usually post very much about BBQ judging because it takes a little commitment to get certified first, and I don’t want to tease you with BBQ you probably can’t have. Though, really, you can.
PNWBA Pacific Northwest BBQ Association PNWBA Judging, Turn in Area for the BBQ I'm a BBQ Judge for the PNWBA I'm a Certified BBQ Judge! Here at 2013 Skewered Apple BBQ Championship at Tree Top, with some of what was in my judging goodie bag (a special treat at Skewered Apple!)

All you need do is to take a class by the PNWBA for a day to learn how to judge using the same standards as everyone else who is a certified judge. Then, once you are certified, you must visit the PNWBA forums to sign up for the various BBQ competitions to judge whenever there is a judging call. Most of these are not in the Portland area, so may require a drive of an hour or so. You don’t have to be in Portland to be a judge- the competitions the PNWBA helps judge are all over Oregon, Washington, Idaho, even British Columbia!
Pictures of some of the sights at the Tree Top Skewered Apple BBQ Championship 2013 - Barbecue Forever and a dinner triangle at one of the bbq team booths Pictures of some of the sights at the Tree Top Skewered Apple BBQ Championship 2013

The reward though is that you get to eat incredible BBQ. It’s BBQ that is better than any restaurant since it is competition-level and has been loved low and slow for the past 24 hours by a dedicated BBQ team who has put thousands of dollars into this to compete. It’s a very special tender loving care the meat you get to taste and judge has gone through, not produced in larger quantities for an every day restaurant.
Barbecue Ribs, glistening in the sun with deliciousness Sausage and pork for sampling at one BBQ team's booth BBQ Sausage

You can go to one of these events and hope to taste samples of this competition BBQ. Just be aware that when it’s getting close to turn-in time you can expect the teams to be focused on putting their turn-in box together for their category. Not all teams sample if they don’t have enough people to help them out to balance between competing and keeping a close eye on their meats and serving the public.

But the other option is of course to be a BBQ Judge. And it’s FREE for you to judge. Your payment is your service and your willingness to provide constructive feedback in your notes when judging. The three main scores we look at are Appearance, Texture, and Taste. You need to leave your personal preference on sauces behind and focus on balance of meat and smoke and team flavorings,  be it Texan or Carolina or Memphis style,  be it Spicy or Sweet or Citrusy or Tomato based or whatever. It’s only about balance.
"PNWBA My judging station for BBQ judging by the PNWBA of Pork Butt

It is a multiple hour commitment each time you judge, 10-3ish pm each time. You have to judge all the categories, so you will be judging the 4 categories of pork butt, brisket, chicken, and ribs, over the next 5 hours, with each category being turned in 1 hour apart (with turn-ins at 11, 12, 1, 2). Sometimes there may be multi-day events that include special categories, such as sausage, Dutch Oven, dessert, etc.

During each hour, you may be sampling 5-7 pieces of that kind of meat or whatever was turned in for that category. You don’t have to finish your entire sample – in fact, you shouldn’t because just a few bites of everything is going to get you pretty full already. Instead, you are given Ziploc bags to keep the leftovers of each category, and you just need to bring your own cooler and ice packs to keep everything cold for leftovers later (I like to use mine in mac and cheese or on rice).
Essential Judging Supplies: Baby wipes and towels for wiping sauce off hands, paper plates for our tastings, zip loc bags for our leftovers, unsalted crackers for cleansing our palates, tongs for selecting our tasting samples. Pizza boxes for keeping the BBQ Boxes still warm after turn-in until they are judged
Essential Judging Supplies: Baby wipes and towels for wiping sauce off hands, paper plates for our tastings, zip loc bags for our leftovers, unsalted crackers for cleansing our palates, tongs for selecting our tasting samples. Pizza boxes for keeping the BBQ Boxes still warm after turn-in until they are judged

This weekend September 6th and 7th is probably the last BBQ competition I will be judging for this year, and it’s a big one. It’s a 2 day event called the Tree Top Skewered Apple BBQ Championship that offers a huge prize for winners, has lots of competitors, and even if you are not a judge, you can come out and purchase samples of this high level of BBQ!

Besides the BBQ there’s more going on at this Tree Top event: an apple pie eating contest, hog calling contest, live music entertainment, beer and wine vendors, kids activities and more. And, all event proceeds benefit the Yakima Valley Children’s Underground Museum.

This is the 5th year for the Tree Top Skewered Apple Barbeque Championship, on the Tree Top Campus in Selah. The BBQ teams here are competing for prizes worth $25,000, including being crowned a $10,000 Grand Champion winner and thus earning the chance to participate in The World Food Cup. So there are some pretty serious teams participating.

Here are a few pictures from last year. The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth that they will be camping out at as they are cooking for the 24 hours until turn-in. Don’t be surprised that you see RVs and campers often behind them.
The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth that they will be camping out at as they are cooking low and slow for the 24 hours until turn-in. The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth that they will be camping out at as they are cooking low and slow for the 24 hours until turn-in. The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth that they will be camping out at as they are cooking low and slow for the 24 hours until turn-in. The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth  The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth The BBQ teams usually put some love not only into what they are cooking, but even in decorating their booth

They also invest in some serious equipment and wood, as you can see.

The BBQ teams invest in some serious equipment and wood The BBQ teams invest in some serious equipment and wood The BBQ teams invest in some serious equipment and wood The BBQ teams invest in some serious equipment and wood The BBQ teams invest in some serious equipment and wood The BBQ teams invest in some serious equipment and wood

With 2 years now under my belt, these are still all the pictures I have from when I have judged! Usually when I am in actual judge mode, I am too focused on judging then taking photos, and I don’t want sauce all over my phone. It’s hard enough trying to remember not to lick my fingers so I don’t infect the table tongs we will be using that day.

Still, I hope this post encourages you to think of visiting a BBQ competition if you see one, and perhaps consider taking a PNWBA Judging Class next year!

If you are in the area, I definitely recommend checking out the Tree Top Skewered Apple BBQ! This is a fun family affair (both in the audience  and with family teams), and this is a big BBQ event with 60-65 barbecue teams competing!

What are you doing this weekend? What is your favorite barbecue category – ribs? brisket? chicken? pulled pork? sausage? Let me tell you for me, it used to be ribs, but that was before I bit into my first money muscle in a pulled pork / Pork Butt category turn in box. From then on, that has been my personal favorite category. Though, I think it was always a top one for me, since I still remember years later this particular North Caroline pulled pork and still reminisce upon it fondly…

Jimmy's BBQ chopped pork, including the

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