WELCOME - If you plan to go to the Welcome Summer Festival on July 21, bring your appetite for barbecue.
Matt Risk of Matt's Welcome Hardware has teamed up with Korte's Bar and Grill and Welcome Meats for what he hopes will become an annual tradition for the Welcome Summer Festival: a BBQ Cook-Off.
"I've only been working on the idea for three or four months," Risk said. "I took over the hardware store in October, and we sell these wood pellet grills. I've become kind of obsessed with them."
While looking for a chance to show off the grills, Risk came up with the idea of a BBQ cook-off.
"I thought it'd be a nice add on to the festival, because I don't think anyone else does a cook-off around here," he said.
While there is a pork cook-off at the Martin County Fair, and a few chili cook-offs, the BBQ cook-off will likely be a first for the Welcome Summer Festival.
"It's open to everyone," Risk said. "People can bring their charcoal or gas grills up to Korte's, and they'll have six hours to complete, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m."
The sign-up deadline for the cook-off is July 17.
"Once everyone is signed up, I will get the names to Welcome Meats, and each team will be provided their set of baby back ribs," Risk said. "They can pick them up after the 17th and do whatever marinade or rub they want to prepare them."
Risk said a professional competition team - including a certified official - will be on hand to judge the competition.
While the contest is going on, there will be grilling done for spectators on the wood pellet grills.
"We'll have all sorts of stuff - pork tenderloin, pork patties, beer, soda - and we'll have the pellet grills on display for sale and demonstration," Risk said. "We just thought it'd be a cool thing to start, and if it works, we hope to make it into an annual event."
For more information or to register, contact Risk or Jerry Freier at Matt's Welcome Hardware at (507) 728-8330.