On Oct. 21, teams from across New York and beyond gathered at Nassau Community College to compete in New York’s first-ever Kansas City Barbecue Society’s sanctioned kosher barbecue competition. The Holy Cow Barbecue and Competition, hosted by the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) and regulated by the Orthodox Union, was a proud celebration of kosher food, enthusiastically emceed by the Kosher Guru, whose mission is bringing kosher to the masses in a fun way.
The barbecue teams showed off their grilling skills in four categories: chicken, turkey, brisket and ribs. These teams included Honorable Menschen, the official BBQ team of BBYO; RaBBi-Q; and Q Biz. Another team, Breaking BBQ, had a unique theme, they used science to cook their meat, including the Maillard reaction, which is a chemical reaction between proteins and sugars that cause browning and caramelization. The winning team, Shiva-Que, was led by Doug Keiles, who has appeared on the show “Chopped.” Additionally, the Wandering Que, a barbecue stand, sold delicious barbecue for everyone to enjoy.
At the event, NCSY also offered a wonderful opportunity called Over The Edge. Participants rappelled down a thirteen-story building to raise money for NCSY, which runs several Jewish youth programs, such as Shabbaton weekends, summer programs and local events. Some of the rappellers were even wearing costumes! “When they say over the edge, they really mean it. Stepping off a 13-story building is an amazing experience. Scary but liberating. The building is the tallest in the area and you can see across Long Island, which is incredible.” said Sarah and David Gross, two of the participants. “The best part was we were able to do this with a great group of friends from Young Israel of Plainview (shul) and raise money for NCSY.”
Many amazing community organizations were represented at the event. One of these organizations was Gift of Life, a bone marrow registry that helps patients find compatible bone marrow donors. Another was the Woodmere branch of Tomchei Shabbos, which helps provide Shabbat meals for just under 100 families each week by raising funds to buy food and collecting leftovers from catered events.
The barbecue team competitors were forced to battle fierce, chilly October winds as they prepared their dishes. The night before, they had to struggle to hold down their tents, and one tent even flew into a nearby construction area. In fact, by the time the event opened to the public in the morning, none of the pop-up tents remained standing. However, despite the cold weather, there was a warm sense of camaraderie all around. People worked together to hold down the tents and were friendly to one another. It was a truly beautiful display of unity as everyone came together to donate to inspiring organizations, eat amazing food and celebrate being Jewish.
Rena Max is a sophomore at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.