‘99 Percent Kosher’ wins chicken, beef, overall reserve titles at kosher championship
By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP
The team may have been called “99 Percent Kosher,” but they were 100 percent winners at the Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship on Sunday, Oct. 29.
The team consisting of Ilan Fehler, Jason Wise, Ellis Shwarts, Ajay Patel, and Ralph Landau was judged to have the best chicken and beef ribs, while they finished second in the brisket category and third in turkey.
That combination crowned 99 Percent Kosher as the Overall Reserve Champion by the panel of judges.
“We were confident in some of the things, but there were a couple where we were surprised they won,” the team members said while celebrating. “Last year it was just two of us; this year it was five of us. So I guess the more of us the better.”
Having five team members made it easier to take the team picture with all their winnings. With four individual categories and the reserve champion plaque, they needed all five team winners to hoist their hardware for official photos.
“It’s exciting,” the group said, while holding their trophies. “We had a great time and being able to head home with this makes it even better.”
Wholesalekosherwines.com, a team based out of New York that wasn’t around for the award ceremony since they had to catch a flight, was the grand champion. That team was chosen as the brisket winner, while it also placed second in turkey and chicken, while claiming third in ribs.
The event was supervised by Dallas Kosher and was sanctioned and officially judged by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, which shared scorecards and comments with each of the teams after the results were announced.
Celebrity judges were Jody Dean, KLUV 98.7 FM morning radio host; Jon Tesar, chef/partner of Knife; Tim Byres, chef/owner of Smoke; Kent Ratbun, chef/owner of Abacus and Jaspers; and Jill Grobowsky Bergus, co-owner of Lockhart Smokehouse.
The team named Rubbed and Ready won the turkey competition and took third in brisket. E&J Carolina was also on the winners’ stand with second-place finish in ribs and a third-place finish in chicken.
Altogether, the third annual championships were a success.
Steven Weinberger, one of the official judges, said he was impressed by the overall barbecue by all the teams.
“They all did a great job; it was difficult to separate many of the teams,” Weinberger, who is from New York, said. “This was my first time to Texas and the barbecue lived up to expectations; in fact it was even better. I hope to come back again.”
Weinberger also won an award himself as he participated in the pickle eating contest. Contestants had four minutes to eat as many pickles as possible, and Weinberger blew by the competition as he took home the pickle trophy.
“I’m a bit of a pickle aficionado,” he said. “I guess I needed to add a pickle trophy to my collection at home.”
If the food wasn’t enough — and it was — there were other attractions that kept attendees busy. There was a silent auction, local organizations had booths, and there was live music from Counterfeit Radio that kept people tapping their foot throughout the event.
Co-chairs for Sunday’s event were Brian Rubenstein and Sandy Dorf.
“We hope everyone who came out this year will come back next year, and anyone who could not make it this year, be sure to join us next year on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018,” Rubenstein said.