Tery Blatt only had about a quarter of the space that her fellow barbecue competitors had to work on. But she still took home the trophy.
At the Daily News/Fairway “BBQ in the Boroughs” cook-off, Blatt, 41, faced off against 24 contestants – and their favorite barbecue recipes – from around New York City.
Each contestant was given a gift certificate to buy ingredients at Fairway, where Blatt, a Brooklyn resident, was able to pick up kosher meat. But then she had to make sure she had something to grill on. “I asked my Rabbi how to make it kosher,” said Blatt, “and he said the only way is either if you have a new grill top or if you have a torch.” Since the grills being used in the competition were being rented from a large company, and Blatt didn’t want to take the time to use a blow torch, she brought the grates from her own grill, and used them for her “Marinated Steak and Veggie Kabobs.” “[My grill] was only very small, maybe a foot long,” said Blatt, “teeny compared with what everybody else had. But it still worked!”
When they arrived at the showdown two weeks ago, at the Fairway Supermarket branch in Harlem, Blatt and her 13-year-old daughter, Gabriella, set to work marinating the meat and chopping the vegetables.
Blatt, a nurse who works night shifts, says she would read the Daily News and other newspapers at the hospital, “where you have to try and keep yourself awake during down time.” Though she’s never entered a cooking competition before, when she repeatedly saw ads asking for submissions, she figured she would give it a shot.
She chose her kabob recipe, which she “has only made a few times before,” but was very popular with her family. The steak cubes are marinated in a sauce that included soy sauce, honey and Worcestershire sauce, before being grilled on skewers with peppers, onions, tomatoes and zucchini. While Blatt couldn’t use the pork chops, shrimp or bacon that many of the competitors brought, her simple dish wowed the judges. “They thought it was the perfect marinade and perfect taste.” Daily News writer and judge Amanda Sidman, said Blatt’s dish “unanimously wowed the judges table.”
The 25 finalists at the cook-off were narrowed down from a field of over 100 submissions, by online vote. Five competitors from each borough advanced. Blatt’s first prize win landed her a $2,000 gift certificate to Fairway and a brand new Weber Genesis Gas Grill.
Now, Blatt’s husband, Daniel, is ready to turn over the family barbecue tongs to his wife. “He said OK, I’m done, you’re the professional,” she said. “Now you have to barbecue.”