And two South Dakotans, John Nilges of Dakota Dunes and Tony Balay of Rapid City are on their way to the 25th Annual Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue.
As they left Wednesday, we followed the two competitors on their journey to bring a trophy called the "The Jack" back to the Midwest.Only the best of the best will compete in the global barbeque competition in Lynchburg Tennessee, home to the Jack Daniel's Distillery, for the coveted prize.
Siouxland's competitors will be among at least 60 others who will season, smoke and sear for the win. "You start out because you love barbeque and you're cooking it all the time and you think it's good and friends tell you its good and you go out, throw your money down and compete," said national award winner John Nilges. "It kind of started with my dad and my grandpa. We we're just--we use to-- they we're welders and we just started building pits and doing some things with that and you start doing some church socials, start doing some different things that--you're doing some barbeque for some family and on a lark you do a competition, you win it and you're addicted," echoed Tony Balay, also an acclaimed Trial and error and a lot of taste testing has made them barbeque kings, but their sweet and tangy obsession isn't as easy as it sounds. The variety of barbeque sauces you'll find throughout grocery stores are nothing compared to the classic homegrown recipes that these competitors must make in order to win 'the Jack.' "It's everything, the cooker that you use, the fuel that you use, the wood that use, the freshness of your spices, the sauce, the quality of meat, you got to cook well and then you just got to get lucky," said Nilges. Once you nail down the basic techniques, these two guys say it's all in your special recipe.
What's their own secret ingredient?
Well if we tell you, then we'd have to... you know the rest.
The grand champion will walk away with a $10,000 dollar prize and the prestigious "Jack" trophy.Best of luck to our hometown competitors.
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