The aromas floating down the street of course are wonderful. The actual competition goes for two hours, with samples of four different entries--chicken, pork, ribs, and brisket--being delivered to the judges every half hour. Each sample is carefully prepared by the contestant and a specified number of pieces arranged in a carry-out container, often on a bed of parsley or similar garnish. Judges are sequestered but they sit at tables of six and sample and rate different contestant's entries every round.
While the judging is going on and our traveling companions were thus occupied, we explored the quaint shops and galleries of Valley Junction. Butch asked how much the 12-foot fiberglass chicken was at The Atomic Garage and was told "Fifty-nine cents a pound." I think she's been asked before.
Of particular interest to us is that the judges and table captains can take their samples with them after the contest, so at night after one of these contests, we feast on excellent barbecue. Sometimes, pieces have a bite out of them, but hey, we're all family, right?