Top prize went to Darryl Hanson of Sonora, who cooked on an everyday Weber Kettle with what he called “essence spices.”
“I’ve never even been to one of these before, let alone enter one or win one,” he said before donating his $100 winnings back to the Police Activities League. PAL and the East Contra Costa Historical Society host the event at Harvest Park Bowl each year, and the 2008 edition earned $4,000 in donations for the two groups.
But the King of the Grill was the only thing judges could agree on. All three sub-categories ended in ties. Best Chicken was won by Leroy Myers and Kevin (Gunner) Ford; Best Tri-tip went to Darryl Hanson and Brett Swisher; and Best Ribs went to Kris McCullough and Michael Berry.
Things were a bit easier for the dessert judges, who managed to agree on a single winner. Wanda Zimmerman took the honors with her Peach Mango Cobbler, and also grabbed third place with her Cinnamon Bread. Wanda also donated her $50 winnings back to the cause.
“This is the first year we had any ties, much less a tie in three categories,” said chief judge Chris Becnel. “I believe that it means the competition is getting tight.”