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Mullins BBQ Cook-off offers free food, welcomed distraction from hurricane recovery

September 23, 2018
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Judges smell the aroma of ribs off the grill during the Fourth Annual Golden Leaf Festival BBQ Cook-off in Mullins on September 22, 2018.

MULLINS, S.C. – Organizers of the Fourth Annual Golden Leaf Festival BBQ Cook-off called it a long hard week for Marion County recovering from Hurricane Florence. However, they wanted to bring a much needed distraction and activity to the area featuring some of the top cooking teams competing for $12,500 in prize money.

The event kicked off with a performance from the Holiday Band.

Mayor William “Bo” McMillan said he was happy with the turnout.

“It’s not as many here as I would like to see but there are plenty of people who have other things to worry about and be concerned about,” he said. “If we bring happiness to anyone here then I’m very happy because people need a diversion. They need uplifting.”

McMillan and the organizers turned the event to a free public sampling of the teams.

“Overall I’m very pleased and they came to support us through terrible weather,” McMillan said. “And I would urge everybody to consider supporting the American Red Cross because they had people here a week before the storm even hit us. We just felt we needed to do something to lift the spirits of our people.”

Event coordinator Jim Bain said with so much food available they were able to serve the first responders in town in support of Hurricane Florence disaster relief. He also said a lot of good things came out of it.

“It has grown tremendously,” Bain said. “We had 23 teams registered for this event and with all of the road closures and everything that we had going on we still had 19 of those team come here. They have really knocked it out of the park and outdone themselves.”

Bain said the city of Mullins stepped up by inviting the public to attend for free.

“This is all about community,” he said. “Let’s try and get a sense of our community back.”

Quentin Tedder of S’Lowcountry Q returned as previous winners of the grand prize from Beaufort.

“I love it,” he said. “I think it’s very nice that the mayor opened it up for everybody. It’s nice to try and get things back to normal a little bit.”

Tedder competes in about 17 events per year and ranked third in the state in ribs.

“I just like the people and it’s just fun to me,” he said of competition along with supporting charities.

Gene Culbertson of Back Woods Bar-B-Que participates every year and said he always has a good time.

Brad Cannon of the Smoking Down South cooking team out of Aynor competed for the third year.

“First time we came was our very first event ever,” he said. “This has been great and everybody has been real accommodating.” Cannon called cooking a hobby and said he enjoys giving people good barbecue.

Dean Price’s Pimp My Pig out of Batesburg-Leesville finished in first place. Jason Singletary of Smoke Central came in second. Quentin Tedder of S’Lowcountry Q followed in third place. Tim Handy’s JT’s BBQ and Gary Taylor’s All Smoked Up rounded out the top five.

JT’s BBQ also took home the win in the Anything Butt Barbecue challenge. Eric Rich of Can’t Quit Smokin’Q won the ribs throw down among cooking teams.

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