The 4th Annual Watermelon Festival is quickly approaching and Alamo residents are gearing up for a big fiesta on Saturday, May 21st. The festivities will be located at Central Park between Business 83 and 7th Street. While the big attractions will be the activities, games, live acts and the watermelon contest, barbeque aficionados will have else something to celebrate.
There’s Nothing Like a Barbeque
There’s really nothing quite like a good ol’ barbeque cook-off to signal the arrival of spring. Cooking barbeque is quite a sensory experience if you ask us; the smell of fragrant fingers, garlic, pepper and chili powder will addict anyone on the first sniff. The sensuous aroma will also make people with the most severe cases of hyposmia (those who have a hard time smelling strong odors) go barbeque wild.
Headlining the BBQ Cook-Off will be Tejano superstar David Lee Garza, followed by country artists Curtis Grimes and Matt & The Herdsmen. There will be rides for children, arts and crafts, and food vendors. The fun starts at noon and ends at 10:00 PM. Don’t miss the chance to win up to $6,000 in the BBQ Cook-Off Contest! Plus, admission is free!
A Quick Trip Down Barbeque Lane
Contrary to popular belief, barbeque is not an American invention despite us being some of the most passionate individuals when it comes to pastime outdoor cooking. Ask anyone from Alamo about barbequing and be prepared to delve into a deep conversation. The honor of barbeque invention dates back 200,000 years. A fascinating discovery was made back in 2007 about the origins of barbequing.
According to Israeli scientists at the University of Haifa, evidence was uncovered (burn marks on joints and bones) of early humans having barbequed. While, these early humans had very limited access to wooden tools, there were paintings on cave walls. There is tangible evidence of people barbequing in said paintings.
How Do I Prepare?
You wouldn’t take a test or quiz without studying first, would you? Well, for the Alamo BBQ Cook-Off Contest, the premise is the same. Leading up to the competition, try doing some practice runs at home. Make the setting as realistic as possible; you can also have someone take notes on what you’re doing. This will help you decide on what works and what doesn’t.
Remember, during a competition, you won’t have the luxury of running into the house to get extra materials. Try to limit those trips inside as much as possible. Don’t forget that time is valuable during a competition; make every minute count when competing.
What Are the Categories?
The categories include brisket, pork spare ribs, chicken and pan de campo. Below are some quick tips before you throw meat on the grill. Remember, these apply to the competition as pre-cooking and pre-seasoning beforehand is not allowed.
- Brisket – In order to cook the best brisket, make sure the meat is the right size to fit on the pit for the competition. You can also trim excess fat and leave some on the meat to keep it moist during the cooking process.
- Pork Spare Ribs – According to barbeque expert Rick Browne, pork ribs are easier to grill. Browne says spareribs and baby back ribs are not only the most popular, but also easier to cook. One of the biggest decisions is whether to remove or keep the membrane on the back slab. Browne recommends keeping it for moisture.
- Chicken – Barbeque chicken, the staple of summer grilling. Good chicken, according to aficionados, is cooked low and slow followed by fast and hot. 300 degrees is recommended until it’s done. Be sure to check the temperature every hour. Also, remember to resist the temptation of opening the lid unless, of course, you need to add more wood or charcoal.
- Pan De Campo – The official bread of Texas. Yep, Pan De Campo, also known as cowboy bread, is Texas’s official state bread. The main ingredient is flour, while most people still use the all-purpose wheat flour. It might have a better flavor depending on who you ask. This size of the pan is also something you might want to take into consideration as the lard usually makes it moister while keeping the flavor.
Why You Should Get Involved as a Vendor
One of the biggest reasons to be a vendor at a community event like Alamo’s Watermelon Festival is the low cost and the major brand exposure you can bring to your business. Follow the tips below to make the most of what Alamo’s events have to offer:
- The Alamo entrepreneurial and small-business community is as diverse as our culture. The Watermelon Festival is a great opportunity to meet other small business owners. Who knows? You might meet a potential business partner who can offer a product or service that complements yours. Two is always better than one!
- Get instant feedback on a product or service you’re thinking of launching. By being a vendor at the Watermelon Festival, you’ll have the chance to gain instant feedback. Conducting on-site qualitative research (the values and perceptions customers feel toward your brand) will give your business the heads-up if something needs to be tweaked before delivering your product.
- Community events give you the opportunity to maximize your marketing budget to its fullest extent, especially if the event is done annually (this is the 4th Watermelon Festival). Small business owners can put their creative thinking caps on and have marketing material that’s cross-branded with a watermelon theme. Customers love businesses that show community involvement.
Hope to See You There!
A mandatory meeting for Chief Cook will be held the day of the competition on Saturday at 8:00 AM. Teams will consist of a Chief Cook and assistants if they are needed. It is the Chief Cook’s responsibility on how his/her team behaves at the cook-off. For a full list of the rules and regulations, please click here. Also, remember to fill out the entry form for the cook-off.