CAMBRIDGE, Minn. – So delicious and aromatic!
The grilling scent of Compart Duroc pork tenderloins wafted through the Isanti County Fairgrounds.
At Minnesota’s largest Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) BBQ Challenge, the mid-May scents were wonderful, but attendees may had to do a double-take when they realized who was manning the grills.
Kids – ages 7-13 – were the cooks.
New this year, Compart Duroc sponsored a May 10 Compart Kids Que Challenge with kids each preparing and grilling one-third of a pork loin in just one hour. While adults were available to help with the fire, charcoal grill management, cutting and temperature checks, no parents could help.
Eighteen kids competed in the contest this first year, said Jim Compart of Compart Family Farms. Some kids, he said, were very polished and prepared, while others were still practicing their techniques – but the experience was good for all.
One of the largest items for the kids to manage was grilling time. They had to decide when to put their pork loins on the grill so the judges would have hot, properly-prepared pork to taste. Boneless pork loin is cooked to a temperature of 145 degrees followed by three minutes of rest before serving.
In addition to the new kids’ contest, the weekend BBQ competition drew 57 pro teams and 40 amateur teams and was hosted by the Minnesota BBQ Society – members of the KCBS. The KCBS is the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts with over 20,000 members worldwide. The group sanctions over 500 contests each year.
The Compart Kids Que included a junior class (ages 7-10) and a senior class (ages 11-13).
“The kids could do whatever they wanted to with it, and all they had to cook on was a small charcoal grill,” he said, adding that each one-third of the boneless loin was about 2.5 pounds. “It was amazing the difference in flavors of the various dishes.”
The kids brought their own utensils, sauces, seasonings, spices, and related items to complete their preparation and presentation of their dishes. Each dish was presented to the five judges in a Styrofoam (clam) takeout box in true barbecue fashion.
There were shish kabobs, pork chops and pork entrees served up to the judges. The kids used pineapple and peppers, lettuce or spinach greens, Italian dressing, and more.
Pork dishes were judged on appearance, creativity, taste and execution.
The winner of the junior class was Wyatte Aerial. First place in the senior class went to Hannah Lauer.
“The grain that is in our Compart Duroc pork loin – you can see the marbling,” Compart said. “When that marbling had melted, and they had put their sauce on it, you could see the darker sauce in the marbling.”
Compart Duroc plans to continue sponsoring the Compart Kids Challenge in the future to introduce children and adults to the great taste and qualities of Duroc pork products.
Compart Family Farms is made up of fourth generation swine producers. Originating at Nicollet, Minn., Compart Family Farms has multiple locations in Minnesota as well as a central Iowa location. Their premium quality Compart Duroc pork offers lean, but well-marbled flavorful products. A lot of their online products are packaged and advertised as perfect for competition grilling.
Kids barbecue events are held at various competitions throughout the year, Compart added.
“They’re usually just cooking hamburgers, so this was something totally new for the kids,” he said. “It was a good way to promote pork.”