Nothing speaks better of hospitality and good food than an old-fashioned Southern barbecue. The Creek Mill BBQ team of North recently demonstrated its BBQ expertise by being named the 2016 Grand Champions of the Commissioner’s Cup BBQ Cook-off and Festival.
The team also won second place in the contest sponsored each March by the S.C. Department of Agriculture.
“This is the first time we won and we got two in one,” team member Barney Zeigler said. The whole team “cooked up” the winning recipe that’s a little hot and a little spicy with just a touch of sweet.
“That seems to be what the judges want,” Zeigler said.
The team doesn’t give out the recipe and they don’t change it very much, he said. “We might tweak it a little bit, but we feel good with what we’ve got so we go with that.”
He and Ryan Livingston, also of North, started the team when the cook-off began five years ago, Zeigler said.
“We’d always cooked together,” he said. “We watched television shows about it and thought it would be fun to get involved.”
Zeigler cooks the ribs while Livingston is noted for his skill in barbecuing Boston butts.
“We have some rubs that we make and use on our barbecue,” Livingston said.
The Creek Mill team competed against more than 45 other teams, he said. “They totaled the scores from the ribs and the butts, and our scores were highest,” he said. “We cooked 10 butts and turned in one to be judged.” The rest went to the people coming in to taste, Livingston added.
Zeigler’s and Livingston’s barbecuing doesn’t stop with the cook-off. They continue to barbecue at home, but they don’t use their special recipe, Zeigler said.
“We don’t make it that spicy,” he said. “We’ve all got little kids, and they don’t like that.”
The cook-off wasn’t just about fun, coordinator Elizabeth Shuler said. People attending the event donated 350 pounds of food, or enough for 258 meals, to be donated to Harvest Hope Food Bank, she said.
Shuler said the event is designed to raise awareness about the state Farmers Market and to recognize the S.C. Pork Board, which donated the meat for the cook-off.