The third time was the charm for Noah’s Bark at the third annual Cincinnati Kosher BBQ CooK-off and Festival at Adath Israel Congregation July 14.
The team of Jared Newman, Mike Broxterman, Aaron Ellison and Dan Weiss was named the Grand Champion out of 14 teams that cooked brisket, turkey, chicken thighs and beef ribs.
Not only were they Grand Champion but the team won two of the four categories – winning first place in the brisket and turkey breast categories. The team also came in second place in the other two categories chicken thighs and beef ribs.
“I know it’s a cliche, but teamwork” is what won it for Noah’s Bark, said Jared Newman. “Everybody on the team contributes in a meaningful way. Dan is a great chef and he made the sauce. Aaron is good with turkey. Mike prepared the chicken. Having the hands to take on the different tasks is huge.”
The team has been in all three Adath Israel Kosher BBQ Cook-offs now – Newman all three years and Weiss the first and third years – and the experience has helped.
“I expected us to do very well. I think having a couple of years under our belt, particularly with Jared kind of knowing what the judges are looking for. We did a test run as well about a month ago,” Weiss said. “I was confident in our ability to place high. I didn’t think we’d sweep every category, but after tasting the brisket, as well as some of our other meats, I was pretty confident in us placing high in all of the categories.”
Newman was responsible for the rub on the brisket. It has no secret ingredient, he said – it was 50 percent black pepper; 40 percent salt; and 5 percent garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
As for the sauce for the chicken, he said Weiss is “a wizard on the sauce. He was working off to the side and mixing the recipe.”
Weiss used a peach and mustard barbecue sauce.
“I used fresh peaches and kind of cooked those down with various other spices, and I used some Dijon mustard and molasses,” he said. “I used a little bit of ancho chili (pepper) powder, sweet paprika, a lot Vidalia onions. (In) the primary sauce I used fresh peaches and Vidalia onions and just cooked that down for a few hours; I did blend it at the end to smooth it out. I cooked it down and caramelized. Those are probably the two big elements.”
Weiss joked that his contribution to the team was making that sauce. “I think the judges liked how it gave a sweet spicy element to the chicken. I think that was well received.”
Newman said there was no overall secret to barbecuing. “It’s just doing a lot of little things right, from smoking the meat, to having a consistent temperature, how to trim and not overdoing it.”
The first year in the cook-off, Noah’s Bark cooked only brisket and came in second in the category. Last year, the team was fourth overall, but came in ninth in brisket.
They stepped it up this year. The work began at 10 p.m. Saturday when they started preparing the brisket, finally getting it onto the smoker between 11 p.m. and midnight. “The main thing is the brisket takes the longest,” Newman said.
Newman stayed with the team’s smoker over night, getting about three hours of sleep. Weiss was there until about 2 a.m. and then returned at 9 a.m. Sunday.
The ribs took about six to eight hours
“The last few hours get crazy,” Newman said. “The turkey has to go on. We are juggling a lot of different tasks, so it gets crazy. A team of four helps.
“There are a lot of little things. You have to pay attention when you prep the meat. You have to watch the temperature on the smoker. We’ve learned a lot of lessons over the years.”
Newman didn’t start smoking meat until about six years ago. That is when Weiss, his brother-in-law, had his bachelor party in Austin, Texas, and Newman ate barbecue brisket there.
“I had a barbecue awakening,” he said. “I thought there was no good barbecue (brisket) here (in Cincinnati) so I would make my own. I felt I could make a good brisket.”
Weiss said, “I take credit for convincing him to get that smoker and start.”
Newman likes to cook beef ribs in his backyard, but he cooks a different cut than what was given him at the cook-off. He doesn’t use his smoker at home a lot, maybe once every couple of months.
Weiss makes regular barbecue at home, but doesn’t use a smoker much. “I leave that up to Jared. I’ve eaten his barbecue probably a dozen or so times.”
The teammates said they will cook next year to defend their championship. And both said they have talked about joining other cook-offs.
“We’re thinking about it,” Weiss said. “If Jared wants to do it I’m definitely willing to partake in some other competitions.”