Another weekend of rain and cold weather but it is becoming the norm for this years Alabama spring. Why else would we hold weekend outdoor festivals unless to endure the elements and show our passion for the arts, music and food. This weekend we mixed BBQ, rain and mud and if the truth were known … a few libations together at the 13th Annual Whistle Stop BBQ Festival at the Historic Huntsville Depot.


It is mostly considered a southern tradition but there is No Doubt that all those that cook and compete in BBQ competitions approach it with a feverish spiritual nature. Competitions are as much about the camaraderie and the mutual consumption of shared social libations as it is about the final product. The team names are as well thought out as the quality and spices that go into the final grilled meat submitted for judging. Teams have names like; Southern Stiles BBQ, Why You Grillin Me Dawg, OOPS BBQ, Bush League, Uncle Jay’s Dat-Da1-BBQ, Fat Drunk and Stupid, Swine and Dine, Jiggy Piggy and Squeal Appeal. You may ask yourself just how many different sauces and marinades are secretly prepared for these selected precious meats? Well I would guess as many as there are teams. And how great is it, you would think, to be one of the judges tasting 62 different entries in each of the different meat categories which include professional, amateur and the kids competition. Can your taste buds really discern from 62 different sauces times well, that many?

What I inevitably find most interesting, while walking around in the competitors area, is not what is being cooked for competition but that rare food item doused in BBQ sauce that you just might find while meandering through the camps. You do have to display the look of, “I might just be able to sample one more rib!” while making eye contact. My selection for “Peoples Choice” was not any of the ribs, pork or chicken but to my newfound favorite … a smoked and grilled Corn Dog topped with a secret barbeque sauce. Trust me, do not knock it until you have tried it!!!!! I must say, it was mighty tasty!!!

All in all, in spite of Mother Nature, it was another exceptional event hosted by Early Works and the city of Huntsville. And where else, but in the south, could you go to watch a group of adult men and women vying for the grand poopaa of titles, the “Alabama Corn Hole Champion?” In my day you would have stood close to a wall.

For those that can remember, Happy Day After – Cinco de Mayo!!!! I hate to admit it, I do remember and it was a fabulous evening. Enjoy!!!!!!!


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Best Regards …..
~ dennis keim ~