SAN ANGELO, Texas — Downtown San Angelo, Inc. held its fifth annual Brews, Ewes & BBQ Cook-off competition Saturday where cook-off teams competed for cash prizes in categories such as ribs, chicken, brisket and lamb.
The event served several functions, according to DTSA Executive Director Del Velasquez.
“Primarily it’s an event to bring the community together and it’s a fundraiser for Downtown San Angelo, Inc.,” Velasquez said. “We are a non-profit organization, and this is a way for us to be able to help pay our salaries and continue to do activities and events that support our downtown community.”
The year was the first time the competition took place on the riverbanks in downtown San Angelo. Competitions in the past have been held in a location considered downtown, but further away.
Velasquez thinks it’s important to have cook-off and other events because the organization wants to drive attention and people to see what is happening downtown.
According to Velasquez, the winners will receive monetary prizes, with the top prize being for the lamb competition. The winner for that competition will receive a $1,000 prize. The prize money was donated by Double J, a new business in San Angelo.
Children will not receive monetary prizes; however, they will receive trophies.
Judging for the competition began at approximately 11 a.m. and Larry Justiss was responsible for organizing the judges.
“We have judges for preliminary tables and judges for final tables,” Justiss said. “We try to get celebrity judges in for final table.”
Anyone can be a judge, however, there is an age requirement that the person is at least 18 years old.
For an event such as the beans competition, it takes judges approximately one hour to complete the judging. Winners aren't announced until the award ceremony at the end of the event, according to Justiss.
Teams included past and first-time participants. Some teams chose to cook chicken, while others chose to cook different meats.
Jacob Fernandez is a member of the Rafter E cooking team and said the team participates in two or three cook-off competitions a month.
Fernandez said the team does as many cook-off competitions as they can, but admits it’s been hard over the last couple of months because of COVID-19.
Having events such as the cook-off competition is important because of the comradery, according to Fernandez.
“We do it as a comradery for our family to come out here enjoy and have a good time and good food,” he said.
In addition to Saturday’s competition, the team has participated in cook-offs in several cities including Del Rio, San Antonio, Lubbock, Uvalde and Laredo.
If the team wins, the money will go toward the next competition, which will more than likely be the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo, according to Fernandez.
Phil Webb and Jade Hambright are members of the Rub Me Tender cooking team and Saturday’s competition was the team’s first time competing in a cook-off.
According to Webb, events such as this are important because people want to be outside the home and be around each other.
Hambright agrees with Webb and said, “It’s a good way for the community to get together. It’s a fun event, you can bring the whole family out.”
Moving forward, the team said it may participate in other cook-off competitions.
In addition to the cooking teams, vendors were also on site. Karen Martin of KP Décor was at the event showing custom-made outside solar lamps.
Martin and a friend decorate the lamps after their husbands have made them. They have been doing this for a little more than a year, Martin said.
There are solar lights each with a personality, according to Martin.
“It’s one of those things where if you’re a hunter we have a hunting one; if you like dogs, we make dogs; we have sports teams and everything else,” she said.
The process from request to completely finishing the product takes approximately two weeks and depends on how long it takes to get what is needed, according to Martin.
Whether to host future events such as the cook-off competition in a location or alongside the riverbanks will need to be reevaluated, according to Velasquez.