4th Place Finish

Candy Weaver

BBQr's Delight
Final Score
92.0781
KCBS Score
652.4
WFC Score
94.125

That jumbo lump crab meat we got in Orange Beach was some kind of fabulous! I'd make that dish at home anytime.

Candy Weaver of Pine Bluff, AK is no stranger to a smoker. The truth is her family business has been manufacturing and selling wood pellets for home, restaurant and competitive smokers for decades, and she's been competing in and judging at barbecue contests since 2003.

"A friend of mine asked me if I would compete in a local contest, but I'd never really done anything like that before. Lo and behold I won first place for my sauce and, stick a fork in me, I was hooked!" Since then she reckons she has competed in close to 200 events and admits that she has a problem when it comes to collecting equipment for her hobby. "I think I have 17 different cookers right now. Which one I use depends on what day it is."

For most of those competitions, she cooks by herself, ("I like to have only myself to blame!") but at last year's World Food Championships in Orange Beach, AL, Weaver brought along two friends to help her out as she competed in the Cowboy Charcoal Fire & Ice Women's Barbecue Championship Series . She qualified to be a part of the Fire & Ice challenge by finishing in the top ten of all female-led barbecue teams in the Kansas City Barbecue Society's competition circuit with her team BBQR's Delight. In Orange Beach, Weaver took part in a two-day challenge against nine other female pitmasters for the chance to win a share of $15,000 in gift certificates from Manning Jewelry.

Round 1 was a grilling challenge where the competitors had two hours to prepare a dish for a panel of judges using Cowboy Charcoal and a Bull Outdoor grill. Weaver came prepared. "I practiced that dish a lot! I made a crab-stuffed pork tenderloin with bacon-wrapped stuffed shrimp served with ramen noodles and a Napa cabbage slaw with vinaigrette. I called it 'Pork & Surf.' That jumbo lump crab meat we got in Orange Beach was some kind of fabulous! I'd make that dish at home anytime."

The judges agreed with her assessment, because Weaver found herself in second place at the end of the first round, just a point out of the lead. The second round was more familiar to the pitmasters as they prepared the four standard KCBS competition meats: chicken, pork ribs and brisket. Although her scores in round 2 dropped Weaver back into the pack by the end of the competition, Weaver is at peace with her performance. "I'm not ashamed of anything I turned in, but I guess the judges didn't agree. Plus the quality of competitors was very high, almost 100 of the best teams in the country!"

Well, maybe "at peace" is a little generous of a description of Weaver's obviously competitive attitude. "If they do this again, I'm gonna come back and I'm gonna win it!" For her fourth place finish, she received a $1000 gift certificate from Manning Jewelry, and she took advantage of it to create yet another great memory. "I really enjoyed working with my team, so I took the money and had Manning design custom pendants and a lapel pin for the three of us. When they showed up just after Christmas it meant a lot to me to be able to give the gifts to them, because they meant a lot to me. I told them that when we win next year, I'm going to replace those zirconiums with real diamonds!"

There's that competitive spirit again...