Beth Torah to host Kosher BBQ

By Mike Precker

The Fourth Annual Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship is on Oct. 28.
Photo courtesy of Kansas City

With more teams than ever and a new competition for kids, the Fourth Annual Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship fires up on Sunday, Oct. 28. 

The daylong festival has become a delectable date on the calendar for the entire community, bringing together the National Cuisine of Texas and the Dietary Laws of the Bible.

Popular KLUV radio host and Texas Radio Hall of Famer Jody Dean returns to host the competition, which is sanctioned by the world-renowned Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS).

Dallas Kosher, the organization certifying that local food and facilities adhere to Jewish dietary law, will supervise every aspect of the event.

The Men’s Club of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson organizes the championship, which benefits the synagogue, the North Texas Food Bank, the American Red Cross and Community Homes for Adults, Inc., which provides group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Celebrity judges for the competition include Jill Grobowsky Bergus of Lockhart Smokehouse, “Kosher Guru” Gabriel Boxer, Vicki Nivens of Hard Eight BBQ, Knife Dallas executive chef John Tesar and Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn.

Last year’s championship drew more than 1,600 barbecue lovers for a day of smoking, grilling and family fun. Brian Rubenstein, co-chair of the championship, says he expects a bigger crowd and at least a dozen teams showing off their barbecue skills as the event continues to grow.

“We’ve put Dallas on the kosher barbecue map, and we’re drawing interest from around the country,” he said. “And we’re proud to bring the joy of kosher barbecue to the community as a whole.”

The competition will be held Sunday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of Sunnyland Patio Furniture, at the corner of Spring Valley and Coit roads in Dallas. 

The festivities will include music, cooking demonstrations, silent auctions, a kids play area, hot dog and pickle eating contests — and, of course, barbecue. Admission is free, with plenty of free parking on site and plenty of food available for purchase.

Among the new twists this year will be a Kid’s Que contest, with teams of youngsters and teenagers competing in their own abbreviated barbecue showdown.

The Beth Torah organizers founded the championship in 2015. Last year they won a national Gold Torch Award for community outreach from the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs for staging the event and encouraging other clubs around the country to do the same.

Kosher barbecue competitions have one obvious difference – no pork – but there are other distinctions. 

To ensure adherence to dietary laws, the Men’s Club provides all grills, smokers, utensils, condiments and spices — as well as the four meats in competition: chicken, turkey, beef brisket and beef ribs.

Because no work can be done or fires lit on the Jewish Sabbath, teams prepare the meats on Thursday night, then start cooking after sundown on Saturday.

As in all KCBS competitions, the society’s judges will award official trophies for all four meats, as well as crown the grand champion and reserve grand champion, who will share $500 in cash. The celebrity judge panel awards its own set of prizes for both the main battle and Kid’s Que. For more information, log on to

“We’re looking forward to another great day of barbecue for the whole community, Rubenstein said. “We have a passion for this, and we work all year so we can share it.”