Joey Mac's Smoke Stax Team Wins Prestigious American Royal Barbecue Contest with "Green" Pellet Fired Smoker

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Pellet smoker-cooking trend takes team to Grand Championship at American Royal Barbecue invitational contest.

Joe McManus walked to the winner's circle at Kansas City's 2008 American Royal Barbecue invitational contest to collect $12,500 and the Grand Championship, which includes an invitation to compete for the next five years. The Naperville, IL team, Joey Mac's Smoke Stax, cooked the winning 'que on a pellet fired smoker. Pellet smokers have been a trend among competitors for the last 5 years as more and more teams have won contests using the smokers. Of the 106 teams competing in the Royal invitational, 20 of them cooked on pellet smokers.

McManus, cooking as Joey Mac's Smoke Stax, cooked on a pellet smoker. "I absolutely love the Fast Eddy's by Cookshack (pellet) cooker - it is a dream to use; you simply press a button and go. We all know it's a fantastic competition cooker. You get very consistent quality and there's never any question about how your product will turn out."

Pellets are considered a "green" renewable fuel source as they are made of 100% wood food grade sawdust, which is compressed into the small pellets used in smoke-cooking. These clean burning pellets are carbon neutral, and add no more carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere than the trees they came from. Many team captains express pride in "going green".

The American Royal Barbecue invitational cook-off was host to 106 cooking teams from the U.S. and Canada, all contending for celebrated titles and cash prizes. Teams using pellet smokers made up 20% of the total, winning not only the Grand Championship but first place in each of the KCBS-specified categories of brisket, pork, and chicken. Four of the top ten teams cooked on pellet smokers.

Teams who make the invitation list are no slouches. American Royal rules require that each team win a qualifying state championship, signed by the governor of the state. The team must win the state championship by beating 25 other teams in a Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned cook-off. Maurin says, "When you are going head to head against those cooking in the invitational, you are cooking against the best of the best!"

The American Royal open category included almost 500 teams, and Andy Groneman of Smoke on Wheels, using a pellet smoker, singlehandedly walked off with Reserve Grand Champion.

While competing is fun, it is also serious business, which is why "Choosing the proper smoker is of utmost importance," according Ed (Fast Eddy) Maurin, pioneer in the pellet smoker industry. Maurin says of his product, "I've been competing since 1986 and have learned from my own experience and from other Grand Champion winners what was needed to design and create what I think are the best smoker ovens on the market."


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