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Bjorkman’s Ace to host barbecue cookoff

Published: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 4:40 p.m. CDT

McHENRY – Bjorkman’s Ace Hardware in McHenry will hold its seventh annual barbecue cookoff contest next month.

The contest, which raises money for charity, will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21 at Bjorkman’s Ace Hardware, 4520 W. Crystal Lake Road, McHenry.

Fifteen to 20 contestants are expected to compete in this year’s contest, cooking up beef, chicken and ribs for a panel of judges. The winner will get a Big Green Egg smoker/grill valued at about $650.

Contestants can use any type of cooker they choose. In past years, they’ve employed everything from trailer-mounted homemade steel barbecues to inverted flower pots to get the right flavor to impress the judges, said Steve Bjorkman, co-owner of Bjorkman’s Ace Hardware.

Event organizers draw from a pool of local judges. Judging the contest has become so popular, largely because of the mouth-watering food, the organizers had to create a waiting list of potential judges, Bjorkman said.

“It’s very competitive,” he said. “The judges really take this seriously.”

The cookoff, held in the store’s parking lot, is open to the public.

In addition to watching the contestants barbecue, there will be raffle prizes and a bake sale.

Food such as pork chop sandwiches, brats, hot dogs and stuffed peppers also will be available for purchase.

Proceeds from the cookoff will go to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Last year, the event raised more than $8,000 for the hospital. Over the past six years, it has raised about $30,000 for the hospital.

“It’s a fun day, and it’s for a good cause,” Bjorkman said.

Contestants can still sign up to compete in this year’s event, store manager and event organizer Gary Morley said.

To compete or for information about the event, call Morley at 815-385-3660.

The event has grown steadily since its inception. Several hundred people attended last year, Morley said.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he said.

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