Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson Culinary Festival 2010 Double Throw Down

BBQ ribs
Image by WordRidden via Flickr

Tucson Culinary Festival 2010 Double Throw Down

Along with the margarita tasting championship, the reserve tasting, the grand tasting, and the Copper Chef Challenge at the barbecue brunch is the double throw down.

Here’s the skinny on what’s going to happen. BrushFire BBQ will compete against Chad’s Steakhouse for the best barbecue prime rib. Frankie’s Cheesesteaks will compete against Acacia for the best cheesesteak sandwich. Unlike the Copper Chef Challenge which will happen before your very eyes, the throw down restaurants will bring their finished products to the Sunday event for the judges to decide the winners and you the guests will get samples. It should be lots of fun.

Tucson restaurant trivia that’s not so trivial:

–Chad’s Steakhouse will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2011.

–BrushFire BBQ has won Best Barbecue for Best of Tucson in the Tucson Weekly for 2009 and 2010. This year BrushFire took the hot first place honors at the Chili Cook-Off held at Jonathan’s Cork, Frankie’s Cheesesteak was second, and Pastiche, third.

I chatted with BrushFire BBQ and Chad’s Steakhouse trying to wrangle some cooking secrets from their lips but as I was politely told, if they told me, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. (You got that right!) But both did share that they would be putting in a lot of extra time and burning the midnight oil (whatever that means) in preparation for the throw down competition.

Nevertheless, here’s what they had to say:

Ben Rine along with business partner Jared Wren (Ben & Jared) own BrushFire BBQ and Shaun Herrington owns Chad’s Steakhouse.

KZ:  How long have you been a member of Tucson Originals? What’s the advantage of being a T.O. member?

BR: About 1 ½ years, we like networking with other local restaurant owners. We benefit from the advice, the assistance, and most of all, the purchasing power.

SH: Being a part of the Tucson Originals has been a wonderful experience. It puts us on the map with other local businesses. The exposure is fantastic and it brings a buzz to the place.

KZ: What’s the secret to good barbecue?

BR: Quality ingredients, time and effort, slow smoked in our smokers. P.S. We make everything from scratch including freshly baked bread daily.

SH: Staying true to cooking techniques which includes sauces and rubs. Don’t waiver  and don’t veer off place. Can I say that we’ll be pairing our prime rib with mashed potatoes from our catering menu?

KZ: What your restaurant’s most popular item?

BR: At BrushFire both the pulled pork and brisket are neck in neck for sales. Can I say that we use White Marble Farms for all our pork products? It has the same standards as beef.

SH: Prime rib roasted slowly all day and slow-cooked baby back pork ribs

KZ: I also spoke to Jennifer Pyres, Chad’s catering director who wanted to add that Chad’s has full service catering with delivery for all events from small luncheons to weddings and offers a stellar product on time.

Doesn’t this make you hungry for the Tucson Culinary Festival Throw Down which happens October 31 at the Loews Resort?

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