MASON CITY | Iowa's Smokey D's BBQ of Des Moines added another Up in Smoke BBQ Bash championship to its impressive list of accomplishments on Saturday.
The team of Des Moines restaurateurs Darren Warth and Sherry Warth beat out North Iowa cookers Pig Skin BBQ, of Rockwell, for the overall win.
They won $3,000 and a towering trophy featuring a golden pig.
Pig Skin won $1,500 for its second-place finish. Lucky's Q of Denver, Iowa, won $1,000 for finishing third overall.
“We had a good cook today,” said Darren Warth. “Things went pretty well. Some categories were better than others, but we're pretty consistent.”
Iowa’s Smokey D’s switched a few things up this year. It worked: They were third in brisket, fifth in chicken, ninth in ribs and second in pork.
Teams were judged on presentation, taste and tenderness.
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“We did something totally different today in pork. We got second today in pork, (so) it paid off,” Darren Warth said with a smile. “Probably not going to do that again. ... We really took a chance but it did pay off today.”
He declined to say what they changed. Some things must be kept a secret.
Saturday’s victory will be extra sweet because the Bash can be unpredictable, Warth said.
Iowa’s Smokey D’s won a championship in 2012, but also has finished near the back of the pack.
“It can be a humbling place, but it's always a great place to win," he said.
When they aren’t out on the competitive barbecue circuit, the Warth’s are busy with three Iowa’s Smokey D’s restaurants in Des Moines. Their culinary career started with a catering business run out of their driveway in 2006.
"Our business is crazy. We were featured in (The Food Network show) 'Diners Drive-ins and Dives' last year, so everything is just fanatical, but we have the greatest staff in the world,” Darren Warth said. “We have the ability to get out and compete almost every weekend of the year if we want. It's just a great time. We love our life."