Midtown Alley BBQ


I know what you’re thinking. I said last week that I was going to choose a winner for my Ribs Challenge. I even promised a full rundown of each of the places I visited! Wow…someone is overly ambitious! Winking smile

Well, friends…I told a teeny tiny fib. The full rundown (and winner!) of the Ribs Challenge will be announced next week. This week I’m going to talk about a really cool thing I did a few weeks ago.

I helped judge a BBQ contest! The Midtown Alley BBQ Contest, to be more specific.

That’s right. I was asked to be a judge, along with Greg Lukeman (Executive Director of Food Outreach), Skip Steele (Executive Chef of Bogart’s Smokehouse), and Gerard Craft (Chef/Owner of Niche; he also owns Brasserie and Taste). Um…little old me? Sitting next to some of the biggest names in the St. Louis food scene?


Just kidding. I did feel awkward (as I always do!), but I was also very flattered (and excited!).

More about this contest. It took place at Atomicdust, which is a design and digital marketing agency here in St. Louis.

Atomicdust, along with several other local agencies (Switch, Scorch, Toky, Marketplace, HappyMedium, and Spot Creative) held a friendly competition to earn the title ‘Best in BBQ’.

I arrived early, so I was able to walk around and snap a few pictures of the competitors getting ready for the contest.

I was able to get a sneak peek of what was to come…

And I also enjoyed an ice cold beverage Winking smile

Soon enough, it was time to sit down and chow!

All of the judges were given scorecards. We were instructed to rate each dish on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best) in four categories: Presentation, Flavor/Balance, Execution/Cooking, and finally, How Much Did it Rock? I’m pretty sure that was my favorite category. Smile

Time to eat! Each dish was brought to the judges, one by one. We could eat as much or as little of each dish as we wanted. Since I knew there were twelve dishes to try, I attempted to pace myself.

With all of this amazing food (yes, seriously…I loved every dish!) it was really hard to pace myself, and by the time the 12th plate was placed in front of me, I was stuffed. But I pressed on, of course. I take my judging responsibilities very seriously. Winking smile

You may be wondering why there are only 11 pictures instead of 12. Well…I forgot I was a food blogger for a moment and scarfed it down before I thought to take a picture! Oops.

In between tasting dishes, I observed the crowd. One thing I noticed? More than a few people were snapping pictures.

It felt really weird to be the subject of photos, since I’m usually the one behind the lens!

After all twelve dishes were sampled (and the scorecards were turned in), the crowd waited patiently for the results to roll in.

While we waited, I snapped a few pictures of the cool trophies.


I also chatted with the other judges for a bit.

Skip (the executive chef at Bogart’s) told me he read my review of Bogart’s! I was super flattered. Gerard told me he didn’t usually read food blogs, but I promised him that my reviews are usually nice and are always fair and honest. (And I honestly loved one of his restaurants–Brasserie!)

Finally, it was time to announce the winners.


3rd place went to the pulled pork by Thaddeus from Switch,

2nd place went to the Bo Ssam pork by Dan from HappyMedium,

and 1st place?

That went to the pulled pork by James from Atomicdust!

Well-deserved wins, although they were all amazing in my book.

I had a great time at the event; it’s crazy to think that my little hobby blog has opened the door to such cool opportunities! Thanks again to Atomicdust for asking me to be a judge. If you need a judge for next year, I’m totally game. Winking smile

See you next week! I promise I’ll have the Ribs Challenge winner for you then! Smile

  • Thank YOU for judging! You’re awesome. Glad you had a good time, and yes, if there is a 2nd Annual Midtown Alley BBQ – you wil for sure be invited back!

    – Danielle @ Atomicdust