SAN ANTONIO – Preparations were underway Thursday for the fourth Texas Kosher BBQ Championship, held at the Congregation Agudas Achim.
"We are in the process of what’s called kashering grills," Rabbi Jeffery Abraham said. "We have to get the grills to 500 degrees."
Kashering is the first step in creating kosher barbeque. The process involved Rabbi Abraham taking a propane torch to dozens of grills.
“All that crud that people love, normally in their barbeque grills, we have to actually get it all off,” said Abraham.
The event's goal is to raise awareness about the Jewish religion and raise money for charities and is a true mix of Judaism and Texan cultures. Those attending may only be able to detect a small difference between kosher barbeque and the standard cut of meat.
"The biggest difference is how the cows are raised and how it’s slaughtered,” said Abraham. “It’s supposed to be in the least painful way for the animal."
There are also rules, dating back some 4,000 years to the biblical writing of Leviticus, as to when Jews can eat meat and what kind.
"The animal has to chew its cud and have split hooves and fish has to have scales and fins,” Abraham explained.
In other words, you can expect tender brisket, chicken, and salmon. H-E-B is donating a literal ton of kosher meat for the event. As for barbeque purists, experts say that cooking meat kosher does not take away any flavor, as wood and smoke are the true drivers behind the barbecue’s taste.
"You can still use all the spices and seasonings,” added Abraham.
Catalyst Catering, a division of the San Antonio Food Bank, is one of 15 groups participating in the competition. Director Carolina Martinez Reyna said they are prepared to be creative.
"We have a couple things in mind, but we’re not releasing any secrets yet,” she said.
Cooking of the meats will commence Friday, before a Pre-Q party Saturday with the actual competition slated for Sunday. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for kids 6 to 12, and free for those 5 or younger.
Proceeds will go to the San Antonio Police Department. Collections will also be held for the San Antonio Food Bank, Haven for Hope, and the San Antonio Battered Women and Children’s Shelter.
The event is open to everyone. For more information click here. http://thetexaskosherbbqchampionship.com/