The dirt grit and grime is spread in every corner.
By RENEE KELLY
Amongst the smoke of cherry, apple, hickory and mesquite, there is the unmistakable nose-gasm of pulled pork, brisket flats, ribs and chicken.
Everything the entire country holds synonymous with Kansas City is packaged on the American Royal grounds, during the Annual American Royal World series of Barbeque.
This is not a familiar playing field for professional chefs. We are used to our kitchens and sautéing, braising and other methods, which tend to take shorter amounts of time than 12 hours.
Let’s be honest, we are a finicky, intense species but we are also competitive. This is where we just may make the game ours.
A group of Kansas City chefs have been pulled together for the second year to wage in the battle of the best barbeque team. One can’t deny the egos of thousands are thick as the smoke filled air, all competing for different reasons.
The chefs were pulled together by a Kansas City couple Joe and Misty Fridkin to compete and throw down some great food while raising funds for beHeadStrong.
All of us have been there when a family member or a friend gets devastating news about their health.
Seven years ago, Joe and Misty Fridkin had a friend receive bad news. In addition to the emotional support, the Fridkins decided to do something a bit more. Upon hearing a dear friend, Bob Willson, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Misty and Joe pulled up their bootstraps and started raising funds for awareness of ALS.
This year is no different. Once again, they have a friend who has been diagnosed with brain tumors. The fundraising event Pork-n-Boots at the American Royal has changed foundations, to beHeadStrong, but the intent to raise awareness and funds that stay in Kansas City has remained the same.
As a chef, when Misty and Joe ask you to participate, it’s like being asked to throw an opening pitch. The answer is yes, always. Even if chefs are a competitive race of humans, we enjoy giving, especially to a local foundation to help local people, even if it means, we don’t come in first place.
So at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4 near the VIP entrance, Pork-n-Boots will be at the American Royal Barbeque. Top chefs from Kansas City will offer tasting stations and there is music starting at 8 p.m. All donations go to local Kansas Citians in need of help associated with the treatment of brain tumors.
The chefs: Michael Foust of The Farmhouse in Kansas City, Charles d’Ablaing of The Raphael Hotel in Kansas City, Renee Kelly of Harvest farm-to-table restaurant, Jason Wiggin of InterContinental Hotel in Kansas City, Carter Holton of The River Club, Marshall Roth of Siena Tuscan Steakhouse at The Ambassador Hotel Wichita, Shaun Brady of The Reserve at The Ambassador Hotel Kansas City, Derek Boone of Swagger and Shane Gross of The Anchor in Wichita.
The chefs will compete Oct. 5 in all categories — Brisket, Pork Ribs, Pork shoulder/Boston Butt, Chicken, Sausage, Baked Beans, Vegetables, potatoes and dessert.
If you haven’t been to the American Royal BBQ and experienced the smoke and that tell tale aroma of briskets cooking over night, this year you should go. Be a part of Pork-n-Boots, and support your local chefs helping local people.
The cost if $50 for VIP tickets and $25 for Smoke Out tickets.
For information about tickets, go to Pork-N-Boot’s event page. Tickets are limited.
Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.