KCBS contests in Europe – History how it begun

Well sometimes you will be strucked by lighting. That what happened when I heard on the radio there was a guy organizing a WBQA World Championship BBQ  contest in Belgium in 2008. Same day I did the application for the contest.

What happened there was a live changing moments, not that we did that good on the contest, but 100 teams from Europe and beyond and 10.000 public  give it a magical environment and moments. This moment have led us to a worldwide BBQ family with a lot of adventures and meeting great people and new friends.

We did not have these kind of contests on a regular basis in the Netherlands. We diced with some other Dutch BBQteam  (Big Green Egg teammembers Ralph de Kok, Mike Meinema and Jeroen Hazebroek and me) to start a Dutch organization for organizing the Dutch National Championships under WBQA rules (in those days cheffy grilling style contest with sidedish and plating ). Well we organized a couple of  contests but backyard teams holding back to compete to pro teams. So we struggled to get teams. Mostly a combination of Dutch and Belgium teams between 8-12 teams totally.

At the same time I was also a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) member and dig in the low & slow barbecue cooking. Well I was better in these style of Barbecue then cheffy stuff.

In 2010 there was a WBQA contest in Germany Gotha where we going to compete when I get a call from Wayne Lohman (IO team International Outreach team  KCBS) they  will be in Amsterdam for a couple of days and the wanted to meet me because of contests we organize. They were also on their way to Gotha for a American style Barbecue demonstration. IO team consists at that point Bill & Debby Cage/Mariah & Wayne Lohman and Tony Stone. We met and had dinner in a Indonesian Restaurant and talked about barbecue, barbecue and barbecue. Awesome evening & diner.

At the constest we stayed in the same hotel at the same floor and in between our rooms a chesterfield couch setup where drank our whisky’s and beer  and the conversation goes further were we ended in Amsterdam. Well because of communication differences the demonstration did not go as planned and was instead a catering job on huge smoker for 400 people. Well that evening on the couch  I said  Ok we will do it and do it right. We decided to be a KCBS cook & judging class in april 2011 near Amsterdam.

In april 2011 we set up camp in Twiske Zaandam sadly Tony Stone could not come because he was ill. The replacement was Jim & Becky Johnson. Jim is award winning pitmaster with 78 grandchampionships under his belt and he would take care of the cooking class. It was a great class because of course IO team and because cooks and judges  got feed back directly.  It was a cooking competitionclass with the 4 meat categories. For all of us it was the first time to cook a brisket.

So when IO team suggested to do a mock up contest as they do in USA we have to decide how to named.  At the moment Tony Stone Low & Slow BBQ competition was born in honor to Tony Stone because he could not be there and he was the inspiration source for this event. So we had 9 teams from  Netherlands, Germany and Belgium who did  the mock up contest.

In 2012 Tony Stone Low & Slow BBQ competition  was the first KCBS sanctioned contest in Europe and celebrate their fifth anniversary in 2016.

Second contest in Europe was in the UK Snarestone Q  at the Canal in 2013 organized by Scott & Lindz (Miss Piggy’s). For me it was our first GrandChampionship.

In 2014 we had 4 contests Tony Stone, Q  at the Canal , Beer Fries & BBQ in Belgium  and Ruhrpott in Germany .After 2014 it went very quick with the contests now,

In 2015 first Invitational contest Prime Uve in Italy and the first W.E.S.T. Italy with special weather conditions with snows, wind and temperatures -15 and more

In 2017 first Invitational and open back to back Brew’n Q in UK

In 2018 fifth anniversary of Beer Fries & BBQ in Belgium celebrating this with 2 contests back to back

At the moment we have in Europe

  • About 1500 KCBS members in Europe and most of them are also certified judges and some Masterjudges
  • KCBS Reps: 8
  • Up to 150 KCBS competition teams
  • KCBS contests in Europe: 40 and counting
  • Countries: 14 Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary,Italy,Netherlands, Norway ,United Kingdom, Slovenia,Sweden, Swiss

For info about the contests in Europe https://www.kcbs.us/international/events

Harry Havinga

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