Morgan City headed to the pits Saturday for Bayou BBQ Bash competition
MORGAN CITY, La. — Visitors to Thursday’s “Meet the Cooks” at Hampton Inn & Suites got to taste food from some of the cooks who will be competing in Saturday’s Bayou BBQ Bash under the U.S. 90 Bridge.
The pre-competition event was put on by the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce as one of its “Business after Hours” events.
Tee Wayne Abshire of Gonzales and Tee Wayne’s Cajun Cooking, who will be competing Saturday, said he likes attending social events like Meet the Cooks night in addition to the competition.
“It’s not like we pull in, we start cooking, we have to do the contest and we leave,” Abshire said. “It’s more of a social thing. And that’s what breaks the monotony of having just a regular contest every weekend.”
Coming to Morgan City for the bash is “more of a vacation than an actual contest,” Abshire said. Abshire won one of the barbecue contests last year, and his son won his age group in the kids’ competition, he said. Abshire is friends with event creator Don Tellman, and said the competition is unique in that participants and spectators are somewhat sheltered from the “elements” under the bridge.
William Frank of Detroit, who was staying at the Hampton Inn, attended the social event and was in Morgan City for two weeks with the U.S. Coast Guard, based out of Key West, Fla., to attend school. He found out about the bash when he came into town and plans to attend Saturday, he said.
Frank said he loves being in Louisiana, and it is probably his favorite state to visit. “Seeing this right here, we don’t get this back home,” Frank said of the event. “The hospitality around here has been amazing.”
Bob Harrison, general manager of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Morgan City, said the hotel also hosted the Meet the Cooks event before last year’s bash, and plans to continue to host the event.
Greg Smith, of St. Amant and the Hot Ash Smokers team, said this is also his second year to attend the social event and competition. Smith plans to compete in all of the barbecue categories Saturday, he said.
Smith cooked buffalo wings for people to sample at the Meet the Cooks event Thursday.
B&G Smokehouse in Morgan City was among others serving food Thursday giving samples of pulled pork and coleslaw at the event.
Meet the Cooks was sponsored by Hollywood Truck Plaza and Louisiana Custom Cote, St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce President Donna Meyer said.
The event “was better than expected. The food was great … I think everyone enjoyed it. The door prizes were unbelievable,” Meyer said.
Smith said creators of the bash, Don and Mata Tellman, have done “an excellent job” bringing the competition from where it was at last year to where it is now. “They’ve doubled everything as far as cook wise, vendor wise and as far as arts and crafts, everything is doubled,” Smith said.
The Meet the Cooks is “kind of let your hair down and have a good time,” Smith said.
“One of the basic things I enjoy about it is making people happy,” Smith said.
Smith competes in barbecue competitions as a hobby, he said. “I enjoy doing it just to meet the people I meet, competition,” Smith said. Smith meets people from “everywhere” when he goes to competitions, he said.
On Saturday, in addition to the competitions, food for sale, and arts and crafts booths, Vince Anthony and The Blue Notes from Morgan City will be playing dance, swamp pop, and oldies from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.