Grillin’ by the Bay contest is back next week

The Brooklyn Paper
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Sheepshead Bay may be known more for chicken Kiev than barbecue chicken, but that all changes at the seventh annual Grillin’ on the Bay competition.

On March 26, about 30 teams of both pro and amateur ’cue enthusiasts from around the United States will compete for the best charcoal- or wood-fired chicken, ribs and beef in the courtyard of St. Mark School.

“The barbecue scene in Southern Brooklyn stinks, so the contest is a great way to bring in talented grillers from all over the country,” said Sheepshead Bay resident and contest founder Robert Fernandez.

Last year, the Long Island-based Blazin’ Buttz won, but at least one Brooklyn ’cue contender is vowing to bring home the crown.

“We’re going to win the whole thing this year,” promised Gerritsen Beach resident Jim Ryan of the Beer Belly Porkers team, who placed third at last year’s competition with its shrimp stuffed with basil, Parmesan dressing and dunked in Ryan’s “secret” barbecue sauce (a sweet molasses base with balsamic vinegar and apple sauce).

You don’t need to be a veteran pit master to throw down at the cook-off. The event also features a “Chili Smackdown,” where even casual home-cooks can show off their one pot wonders. Chili Smackdown rules say anything goes, as long as it simmers and comes in a bowl.

“Great chili is so subjective,” Fernandez said. “I like it with meat and peppers, but then there are your bean fanatics, your vegetarian and eggplant lovers and even your chocolate chili devotees. The great thing about the Brooklyn Chili Smackdown is you get to try it all!”

Grillin’ on the Bay at St. Mark’s School [2602 E. 18th St. between Avenue Z and Jerome Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, (718) 332-9304], March 26, 11 am to 4:30 pm. Free admission, though prices vary for the BBQ. Tickets are $10 for all-you-can-eat chili. For info, visit

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