Meat&Poultry - June 2013 - (Page 8)

Commentary by joel crews Now, we’re cookin’ T aste, tenderness and appearance the richest contests in the US. Smoke on t he Water event s are the attributes we aspire to per- In the late 1990s, Ron Cates was nowadays draw more than 200 teams fect. A 180 has nothing to do with a quietly operating his Pine Bluff, Ark.- per contest and prize money that change of heart; a good bark makes based ad agency, Cates & Company tops $400,000 per year. And Cates’ for the best bite and an even better Creative, and doing quite well. Hav- contests draw household names of the rub is something we will talk openly ing successfully spearheaded a num- barbecue circuit, including Myron about in public. It’s easy to identify ber of outdoor festivals on behalf of Mixon, Ray Lampe and Johnny us: first by the smoky aroma that per- clients over the years, Cates decided Trigg. Meanwhile, popular T V meates our clothes, reddens our eyes to host a little barbecue contest and series like TLC’s “BBQ Pitmasters” and billows from our backyards on festival of his own, pitting a hand- spotlight competitive cooking and most weekends. For better or worse, ful of competitive cooks in the region the personalities of competitors and against one another. Initially known as judges. “A lot of the cooks are multi- “Smoke on the Water,” the riverfront- millionaires now,” Cates says, with based festival and contest was all the guys like Mixon publishing a series rage in south-central Arkansas, which of best-selling cookbooks, opening got the opportunistic Cates thinking restaurants and making lucrative of what could be. personal appearances to teach and “We just held one event a year for talk barbecue. the first four years,” he says, “then the “You have to hire security for thing just kind of blew up.” Fourteen these guys now,” Cates says, because years later, Cates’ little contest has spectators want to come up and get spawned an offshoot company, Smoke their autographs and ask questions on the Water Productions, which hosts while they’re trying to get their entries a growing number of barbecue-based ready to turn in for judging. cook-offs and festivals, some with In September, Smoke on the Water purses topping $100,000 in cash and is hosting the Smokin’ Aces Festival prizes. By organizing and promoting and BBQ Championship with $40,000 I am a longtime and proud part of events that coincide with NASCAR in prize money at Harrah’s Casino in the growing bretheren that regular- races and at high-profile casinos Tunica, Miss. Then in November, a ly competes for bragging rights at a throughout the country, sponsorship contest in Laughlin, Nev., will include handful of the hundreds of barbecue- opportunities have been snapped up a purse of $100,000 in cash and prizes. cooking contests now held all around by companies that include Walmart, Most recently, Cates signed a deal to the country. Over the past 15 years of Sam’s Club, Tyson Foods, Coca- organize an annual competition on the my unimpressive, but passionate, par- Cola, Johnsonville, Sara Lee and Jersey Shore Boardwalk to coincide ticipation, I’ve marveled at the mete- many more. with an annual Professional Bull Riders oric rise in the popularity of outdoor event in the Atlantic City area this fall. cooking and how the mere mention Issue documents, the popularity of This contest will increase in prize of the word “barbecue” triggers con- barbecue is much more than a regional money by $50,000 each year for the versations and interest in almost any fad or a niche category. Often, sauces, next five, culminating in a $250,000 part of the country. Imagine my ela- rubs and cooking techniques used at purse in 2017. If the next five years are tion when I was recently able to bend today’s events are adopted tomorrow anything like the previous five, look for the ear of one of the most successful by new product developers for this segment’s growth to be anything promoters and organizers of some of 8 As Meat&Poultry’s Annual BBQ foodservice and retailers. but “low and slow.” ■ • Meat&Poultry • June 2013 •

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat&Poultry - June 2013

Meat&Poultry - June 2013
Table of Contents
Commentary - Now, we're cookin'
Business Notes - China’s Shuanghui makes bid for Smithfield
JBS posts $112.8M in Q1 earnings
COOL opponents vow to press on
Triumph Foods to expand pork facility
Hormel income dips on Jennie-O results, acquisitions
Washington - What’s in a name?
BBQ Report - Low & slow is red hot
BBQ Report - Carnivorous curriculum
Packaging Solutions - Consistency counts
Meat Processing Operations & Engineering - Small but savvy
Rooted in meat
Pushing pests out
Sanitation Tips - Usual suspects
CEO Series - Fit to lead
Ingredient Solutions - Meat makeover
Meat Perspectives - HAACP and more
From the Corral - STUNNING evidence
Names in the News
New Product Showcase
Classified Advertising
The Insider

Meat&Poultry - June 2013