Dillard GA Bluegrass and Barbecue 2006 KCBS State BBQ Championship

On August 4th and 5th we returned to Dillard, GA…nestled in the NE corner of the state and near Highlands, NC. The significance of Dillard is that it is the site of the GA KCBS BBQ State Championship and it is run by an excellent promoter, Jane Tomlin. TLW and I won this event in 1999! The contest actually started in a small Farmer’s Market and it has grown substantially (this year 57 teams attended)….some of the best in the Southeast.

We thought we would share the recipes we used.

There are four major categories in the Kansas City Barbecue Society contests. They start with chicken, then ribs, pork and finally beef brisket.


We always use thighs in competition because they are the juiciest. We bought some thighs at WalMart and some from Sam’s Club.

TG believes in ‘hedging my bet.’ So I used three different marinades: Champagne Dressing, MoJo, and a combination of Italian Dressing and 8 oz. of Dijon mustard. Those little guys marinated overnight in the different mixtures.

After removing the chicken from the marinade, I gently washed the messy mixtures off. Using Happy Holla rub, I made sure that all of the chicken including under the skin was covered to penetrate all surfaces.

The chicken went into the Southern Pride cooking at 225* and cooked to an internal temperature of 170*.

We started doing well in this chicken category after we got a tip from our BBQ buddy “Jumpin’ Jim” many years ago. Remove the chicken from the smoker and let it “waller” in a pan of sauce for 1 hour.

Our Weber was set up for indirect grilling with some pecan and hickory chips to give it that final smokey flavor. Let the chicken remain on indirect heat for about 20 minutes…making sure the thighs don’t burn with all the sauce on them.

All three of us decided that we liked the flavor of the MoJo marinade and those were the ones we entered.

In chicken we placed 7th out of 57 teams!



First I rinsed the ribs off with water after removing them from the package. It seems to make removing the membrane easier. After removing the membrane, I used yellow mustard and Happy Holla rub along with some Garlic Pepper and I slathered the ribs on both sides with the mixture. I put the ribs in a plastic bag and let them rest overnight in an iced cooler. At 7:00 am the morning of the contest the ribs went into the Southern Pride. They ran for 4 hours between 220* – 240*. We were showing “good bone” after the 4 hours. The only real way one can tell if the ribs are finished is to pick them up on the ends and they start breaking in the middle they are done.

We put one slab on the Weber for about 20 minutes saucing it repeatedly after removing it from the Southern Pride. Much to our surprise the fire was hot enough to caramelize the sauce. TLW and our helper Buckhead Janet liked the flavor of that one and that is the one we entered. The jury is still out on that one??? We probably shouldn’t have entered that one, because some of the coating (sauce) turned too dark and got chewy like peanut I brittle… Our rib score was our lowest.


Pork Butt

I rinsed the butts off with water and used Happy Holla’ seasoning along with garlic pepper, yellow mustard and a good coating of brown sugar. I slathered the mixture well on all sides of all butts.

The pork butts ran in the Southern Pride at 220* – 240* from midnight to noon the next day. I took the butts off when they reached an internal temperature of 190*. I wrapped them in aluminum foil and let them rest until time for turn in.



We use CAB (certified angus beef) for our brisket entries…always. After removing from the wrapper, trim the fat off leaving about 25% of the fat. TLW is quite handy with her knives and likes to do this. She thinks TG take too much fat off. Leaving a good amount of fat on will flavor the meat as the brisket cooks since we always cook brisket with the fat side up…

I used Happy Holla rub, garlic pepper and olive oil to coat all sides of the brisket.


The briskets went on with the pork at midnight at 220* -240* and ran all night until I achieved the internal temperature of 190*. ( TG wrapped with aluminum foil one of the four briskets after it reached an internal temperature of 160*…in order to collect some of the juices.) After hitting the perfect internal temperature, the briskets were removed from the smoker and loosely wrapped with foil.

TLW sliced it across the grain and made each slice about the width of a Number 2 pencil. She sauced each piece front and back with some of our sauce mixed with some of the brisket juice left on the foil wrappers.



We used Head Country Sauce and Buckhead Janet mixed up in a half pan a concoction of mostly regular with a dash of the hot. In the half pan she squeezed two lines of honey and added 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

Going to a cookoff when you haven’t been cooking can be somewhat of a gutsy thing. The teams you are competing against are generally out there every weekend. We try to take a more social attitude toward going now, but the competitor is deeply engrained in us. When it was all over, we felt both emotions of joy and a little sadness. In the side categories, we took 1st in the grits and a 3rd in cabbage. For the main contest we took 7th in chicken and 2nd in brisket. There were 57 teams participating and on our finish we tied for 2nd place…only less than two points shy of bringing the title of the GA State KCBS Championship home to Savannah! We were thrilled with our victory, but wondering where we could have picked up those two points….surely with a better rib selection???

Next stop…Douglas, GA on November 4 and 5..


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