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SAVOR THE SEASON: U.S., Canada to brawl at 2018 I Love BBQ Festival

June 22, 2018
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - It will be just like a hockey game, with the national anthems of the United States and Canada being playing before the competition.

U.S. and Canadian teams will meet in the middle of the Olympic Speedskating Oval - where half the hockey games were played during the 1932 Winter Olympics - but this time, they'll be wielding tongs and basting brushes, not hockey sticks.

The first-ever North American BBQ Brawl will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 7 as part of the 13th annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival. Canadian teams have been a mainstay at the festival, but last year 10 of the 41 teams came from north of the border. That was a record.

Article Photos

Andrew Hogan and Amanda Lalone of Syracuse help choose the Best Ribs in the East during the 2016 I Love BBQ and Music Festival.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

"We were thinking about how to encourage Canadians to come even more," said festival organizer Dmitry Feld. "Actually, one Canadian told me it would be nice if we played the Canadian [national] anthem."

Who will come out on top? Will it be a repeat from 1932, when the Canadians, represented by the Winnipeg Hockey Club, took home the gold, leaving the U.S. players with a silver medal? Or will it be like the 1980 Winter Olympics, when the U.S. team won gold?

Time will tell.

For the North American BBQ Brawl, three teams from each country will get the honor of competing.

"They will each cook as an individual team, but the points will be combined together," Feld said.

After the team registration deadline on June 25, Feld will write down the names of the teams, put them in a hat, "and we will draw from each country three teams."

Each team will be cooking the same type of food, creating a three-course meal for the celebrity judges. It will be a blind judging competition, meaning the judges will not know who cooked the food they are tasting.

It will be similar to the Food Network TV program "Chopped." Cooks will open a box with secret ingredients and have a time limit to create their masterpieces. Teams will have two hours to cook a meat, starch and dessert. Judges will tally up the points from each course and create a point total for each team. Whichever country has the most amount of points will become the North American BBQ Brawl champion. There will be a perpetual trophy with the names of the winners placed on it.

"The Stanley Cup of barbecue," Feld said.

The team with the most amount of points will also get a trophy.

Hannaford supermarket will donate the food.

The I Love BBQ and Music Festival will run from July 6 to 8.

The Best Ribs in the East contest will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. People pay $3 for two ribs and vote for their favorites. The top vote-getter each day will receive the People's Choice Award.

On Friday, teams will compete in the New England Barbecue Society's Grilling & BBQ Bash contest, cooking New York strip steak, pizza, sausage fatty and chicken.

On Saturday, teams will compete in the annual Quinn Family Barbecue Hot Sauce Contest.

On Sunday, teams will compete in the Kansas City Barbeque Society contest, cooking chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket. There are winners for each category, and the grand champion is the team with the most amount of points for all four categories.

The I Love BBQ and Music Festival is the primary annual fundraiser for the Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid, located just down the street from the Oval. About $250,000 has been raised thus far for youth programs since the inception of the festival.

In addition to the music tent and adult barbecue competitions, there will be children's culinary competitions, Price Chopper Top Chef Pit Master public tasting events, family activities, barbecue vendors and freestyle BMX bike performances from the Krusher Stunt Team.

Daily admission is $6, with youngsters under 10 admitted free of charge.

There is a complete schedule of events online at



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