Hog Hammer BBQ, a team of four friends from Omaha, Nebraska, walked away Saturday with top honors at the South Dakota BBQ Championship held as part of the Ribs, Rods and Rock ‘n Roll celebration in Vermillion.

Along with the first place trophy, the team of Chris Baumgart, Tom Chappelle, Brian Czyz and Ryan Brott received a check for $2,000.

The four friends have be barbecuing for about four years, Baumgart said.

“We just loved to cook,” he said, describing how he and his friends got started in competitive barbecue.

Saturday’s rain didn’t dampen their efforts, Baumgart said.

“It was beautiful,” he said. “It was perfect – it wasn’t hot out at all.”

The weekend’s weather didn’t force Hog Hammer BBQ to change its cooking methods for the state competition.

“It cooks relatively the same as long as you don’t have a lot of wind going up and messing with your fire,” Baumgart said. “Today was perfect.”

“We’ve been friends for about four or five years,” Brott said. “We just like to cook in our backyards. We thought we had good food so we started competing.”

Hog Hammer BBQ doesn’t compete with the intensity of some of the teams that travel to Vermillion. Brott said they rarely travel more than a couple hundred miles from Omaha.

“This is our second contest this year,” he said. “It’s just fun.”

Hog Hammer BBQ’s success isn’t the product of doesn’t any special techniques or rubs or sauces with secret recipes.

“It’s just a lot of practice and a lot of luck,” Brott said.

Look for a more detailed report about last weekend’s Ribs, Rods and Rock ‘n Roll in next week’s Plain Talk.


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