Dozens of cooks throw down in the annual barbecue cook-off

By Beau Ebenezer

July 29, 2013 Updated Jul 29, 2013 at 10:42 AM CDT

MORTON, Ill. -- Central Illinois residents strapped on their aprons Saturday afternoon to compete to be crowned grand champion for the best barbecue in the area.

Nearly 60 professional and amateur teams took part in the 3rd Annual Morton Barbecue Throw-Down.

They roasted a variety of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket with their favorite sauces.

Although the competition got a little messy at times, organizers said it is all in good clean fun.

"A lot of people haven't been to an event like this, but each year it grows," said organizer Ryan Koener. "We have more and more family activity. It fits with our type of community and surrounding areas. We have people from all over coming to these events."

"We usually do better with chicken, but we're still in the middle of the pack," said Bloomington cook Andrew Hess. "Literally, there are three teams at this event that are top 20 nationally ranked in the points race. There is some stiff competition."

Proceeds from the Morton Barbecue Throw-Down benefit Illinois Cancer Care Foundation.

Last year the event raised more than $20,000. This year organizers hope to reach $30,000.

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