Okie Smokey wins Wolfforth Cook-Off

Wolfforth’s new grand champion cook is Dave Cook, who was given the champion cutting board Saturday evening in the Wolfforth Community Center at Patterson Park.

Toby Cooksey was named the reserve grand champion.

Cook, who was assisted by Scotty Wynn, competes under the team name Okie Smokey BBQ.

“I’ve been smokin’ (meats) for a little over a year now,” Cook said. “To have a showing like this was completely unexpected.”

This was Cook’s third competition, and the second this year.

Cook has always loved to grill, but he said he only got a smoker about a year ago. He is in agricultural irrigation, and he said a number of customers have smokers. They invited him to come out frequently for meals and he said it looked like a lot of fun.

“So then, my wife bought me a smoker,” he said. “She saw how excited I was” about watching it.

Every chance he gets, he is now getting out and cooking some briskets, even volunteering to smoke a few for friends and associates while things are hot.

“There’s times I may have two-, two-hundred-fifty pounds of meat on that thing,” he said.

“These last ones that I turned in, I was pleased with them when I made them a month ago,” he said. “I knew, this was going to be pretty good.”

His intuition about that brisket was apparently dead-on: he took first place in brisket Saturday, as well as third place in ribs.

Cook said he started his fire at 5 a.m. Saturday, putting meat on the grill by 6 or 6:30 a.m.

“Briskets go on first; they take the longest,” he said.

It’s a challenge to keep the fires going all day, he said. While preparing chicken and ribs for the grill later in the morning, cooks also have to be watching the heat of the cooker, turning and rotating meat, preparing beans and other various foods for presentation. Beans were the first to be turned in for competition at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed at hourly intervals by chicken, ribs and brisket.

“It’s pretty fast-paced,” he said.

Cook described the competition as well-organized and hot.

“All the competitors that I met were extremely friendly,” he said. “It was a very enjoyable experience. I had a great time and look forward to going back next year.”

A semifinal judge in the brisket category, Bruce Carswell, said the experience of judging was fun, and he was surprised how organized the judging was.

“They told us to eat small bites so we wouldn’t get full,” Carswell said. He said by the time he was done, it had only whetted his appetite.

“There were a couple that were really, really good,” he said.

The smell and tang of the brisket even played into his judgements, and even though he worried he would barely be able to tell one from another after tasting several, he said it wasn’t a problem.

“You could tell the difference down to the last one,” Carswell said. “I was surprised how different the various servings looked.”

More than 100 people crowded into the air-conditioned Wolfforth Community Center to hear the results after 5 p.m. Saturday.

But although more than 50 teams or individuals competed last year, only 38 turned out this year.

Wolfforth Chamber President Terri Robinette said the chamber had prepared for more people, so the whole competition ran “super-smooth.”

“I couldn’t be happier at how smooth it went,” Robinette said.

Chamber officials will be meeting to talk about why there were fewer teams than expected, though.

“I don’t know if it was the weekend we picked,” Robinette said, noting there were other weekend events throughout the region, but the temperature also soared to 105 degrees.

Even the Boot Scoot concert and dance at the Patterson Park Pavilion had lower participation than last year’s event, she said.

“It was really low. That part was disappointing,” she said.

The chamber hopes to grow the event next year, Robinette said.

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