by The Great Foodini

Homer Simpson has been my spirit animal since I was in the fifth grade.

My very favorite scene in all thirty years of that show’s existence was when Homer went to hell and as he was being dragged toward the gates of hell, he drooled on himself and mutter a sensuous “Barbeque”. Once the doors slammed behind him, he began to scream “aaah, but there’s only hotdogs in here”.

Barbeque has been a major part of my life growing up in the South. My dad did steaks on Fridays and later in life, my steak was accompanied with ribs. We had moved to California for a job for a while and we would bbq and grill shrimp, shark and all kinds of other great things. We also learned to roast corn there too.

As an adult, and a food writer, I have had some great barbeque, but one thing that this artery clogging past time of mine has gotten me into as a side bar hustle is judging.

We are in this season and I am traditionally asked to guest/celebrity judge several BBQ events on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The first one this year, is one of my favorite events, the 13th annual D ’Iberville Barbeque Throwdown.

Now let me tell you, barbeque judging is a heavenly world for someone like me. Sure, I’ve taken classes on how to properly judge a brisket slice and all that, and I promise I take it all seriously, but one thing that sits in my mind is the fact that 20 people who are very proud of their special dish; proud enough to put it up against other dishes, are doing their level best to give me the very best barbeque I’ve ever had.

So, as I prep my body for the greatness that is about to occur on the D’Iberville Town Green on Feb. 23rd, I ask you this, if barbeque is as American as Apple pie and the star bangled banner, then is it my patriotic duty to eat all this charred goodness? I say yes.

Even though I will be steady eating from basically noon until 4 p.m., I plan to try to visit the huge selection of vendors, watch the people’s choice competition and ride a few rides.

This is one hell of a party each year and the whole town smells like nothing else but flame-broiled goodness. Please stop by the bbq tent and yell hi to the Great Foodini, because I will be covered from head to toe in barbeque sauce and doing what I do, making food disappear.