Grilled meat dazzles taste buds at BBQ contest

<p>Miniature United States flags adorn sample pieces of tri-tip steak at the booth of Weld Done BBQ sponcered by Lippert Components at the Buckaroo Barbeque challenge on Saturday during the Pendleton Cattle Baron's Weekend.</p>

The tastiest event at Pendleton Cattle Barons Weekend is the Buckaroo Barbeque Challenge drew 17 teams from Oregon,?Washington and Idaho to show their grill skills Saturday afternoon.

Participants had the choice to prepare tri-tip or pork ribs, or both, said Jessica Willard, event volunteer, and all of the competitors chose to cook both. Event winners receive cash and trophies and the people’s choice winner takes home a Traeger Grill, Willard said.

Cooking started in the parking lot at the Pendleton Convention Center at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, leading to the tasting at 11 a.m. and awards announced later in the afternoon. The competition has a 25-team limit.

“We had a lot of teams drop out this year because it is on Mother’s Day weekend,” Willard said.

Teams are permitted to use either gas, wood or charcoal grills. Some bring their backyard grill from home, but for Henry Moore of Kennewick, Wash., he graduated from that to a larger model.

He pulls a custom built, 18-foot trailer with three grills, a rotisserie system, Traeger pellet and a 72-inch propane grill. Moore said he also has a kitchen sink with a hot water heater built in to the contraption.

Grilling started out as a backyard hobby, said Allie Moore, his daughter.

“It’s a hobby and it just kept getting bigger,” Henry Moore said. “Everybody said go big or go home. We didn’t want to go home.”

He started cooking for his daughter’s graduation party, then anniversary parties and has done some catering for the Tri-City Water Follies boat races. He has been competing all over the Northwest for two years.

“I?like cooking tri-tip,” Henry Moore said.

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Contact Anna Willard at awillard@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.

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