And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for with hopeful, sticky hands: The Indy proudly announces the finalists, culled from more than two dozen entrants who submitted nearly 50 recipes, for the Sizzling Summer BBQ Contest. Chris Lilly, world champion pitmaster, Kingsford spokesperson, and guest judge of the contest said, “As a regular competitor on the barbecue circuit, it was fun to be on the judging side—but this wasn’t easy! The recipes submitted blew me away with their creativity and enthusiasm for local ingredients and intense flavor combinations. Nothing brings people together like a charcoal grill, so it is exciting to see people share their love for grilling through this competition.”

All 16 cooking nominees will dish up their recipes at our round of judging on Thursday, May 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Whole Foods, 3761 State Street. Everyone’s invited to see the judging panel of John Jurey from Whole Foods, Elizabeth Poett from Rancho San Julian Beef, Julie Ramos from KTYD, and me, under the guidance of emcee Restaurant Guy John Dickson, declare who’s got the best BBQ goods in town.

So without further adieu, the finalists in the professional entrée category are wild salmon with Italian caviar by Anthony Carroccio of the Organic Soup Kitchen; grilled filet mignon with corn-cilantro slaw and mole butter sauce by caterer Danny Douglas; Creole sugar-rum-rubbed short ribs by caterer Edie Robertson; and ribs and sauce by James Sly of Sly’s. For the professional side dish category, the finalists are Yukon Gold potato salad with Greek olives, radishes, Sriracha, and scallions by Douglas; bacon-cheddar grits by Aaron Robertson of Union Ale Brewing Company; and grilled asparagus with vodka Meyer lemon dressing by Edie Robertson.

In the amateur category, the finalists for entrées are crab-and-sausage-stuffed halibut by Jeremy Van Kralingen; Santa Barbara Southwest turkey burgers by George Levinthal; grilled pizza with prosciutto, melon, arugula, and crème fraiche by Marina Delio; and special barbecue sauce with cheddar burgers by Theresa Piacentini Smith. The amateur side dish finalists are chili by Mark De la Cruz; chili by Liana Campon; flame-grilled artichokes with lemon-garlic dipping sauce by Bonnie Kearns; and chipotle sweet potato gratin by Lucas Bird.

Lastly, for our pro-am cocktail category, the judging will happen on Saturday, May 22, 5-6 p.m., at Harry’s Plaza Café, 3313-B State Street. Again, the public is invited to attend, and this time, taste along with the other judges. The five finalists are Senorita Susie by Branden Bidwell; Hot to Quat by Guy Cumberbatch; Cool Hand Cuc by Jennifer Disney; 10 Cane Caliente Cooler by Mandy Huffaker of Sly’s; and S.B. Kate-tini by Kate Schwab.


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