Following Twisted Brisket at the 4th Annual Ribs, Pigs & Watermelons in Huntington Beach, California

As the sun began to rise, we headed out to Huntington Beach to see the Twisted Brisket competition BBQ team in action for the 4th Annual Ribs, Pigs & Watermelons, which is a KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) sanctioned event. Rob and Candace Rice hale from Costa Mesa, CA and started Twisted Brisket in 2012. Since then, it’s been a family and friend affair. Everyone has their job and feisty banter goes on as they work. The hardest working family member is Betsy, the smoker. They won the People’s Choice award at Ribs, Pigs & Watermelon in 2014.

7:00am – Twisted Brisket always goes for the People’s Choice and will participate in the public sale of their BBQ and special items they prepare for the crowd. Pig Candy and Twisted Chicken are prepped and put into the smokers. They are normally ready to sell when the gates open. Most teams will wait until all of the turn-ins are done before selling. They also start to check on their pork and brisket – wrapping and adding more seasoning and liquid before returning to the smoker.

9:11 AM – Twisted Brisket and Smokin’ Harts teams toasted with a shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey as a tribute to the people who lost their lives at the WTC attack in 2001. After the toast and shot, it was time to wrap and season the ribs.

10:00 AM – Gates open and Twisted Brisket is one of the only teams selling. They already have a line.

Pig Candy is bacon covered in a brown sugar spice mixture and smoked until it has a beautiful mahogany hue. When right off the smoker, they are crispy and the brown sugar mixture is caramelized on the outside. The bacon comes through along with a sweet, smoky flavor. OCFD (OC Food Diva) Rating: 4.8/5

Twisted Chicken is tender chicken chunks wrapped in bacon and covered in a brown sugar spice mixture. The bacon is crispy and caramelized on the outside. It also acts to seal in the juices on the tender chicken. The bacon adds a smoky, salty, sweet flavor to the chicken – pig candy and chicken all in one! OCFD Rating: 4.3/5

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse had a couple of their Handcrafted Sodas on tap. Root Beer had a head but dissipated too quickly and it was not very creamy. The flavor was not as intense as a typical root beer. OCFD Rating: 2/5. Orange Cream Soda had a good orange creamcicle flavor. But it definitely needed more carbonation. OCFD Rating: 3.5/5

12:00 PM – Chicken Turn-in. The chicken had a good smoke flavor. They could have used some more time in the smoker for an easier bite. OCFD Rating: 3.8/5; KCBS Score: 175.4288 (#8 out of 58)

12:30 PM – Ribs Turn-in. The flavor profile is reminiscent of sweet and smoky char siu flavor. The outside had a great mahogany color. Slower and lower would make these even more tender and juicy. OCFD Rating: 3.6/5; KCBS Score: 165.1200 (#33 out of 58)

1:00 PM – Pork Turn-in: Money muscle. It had a good smoke flavor and very pronounced smoke ring. It could use a little more salt as the sauce did not push the pork flavor forward enough. OCFD Rating: 4/5; KCBS Score: 157.6456 (#48 out of 58)

1:30 PM – Brisket Turn-in: Sliced brisket with burnt ends. Burnt Ends had a good flavor with a spicy kick on the end of the palate. It had a good smoke ring and smoky flavor from the oak and pecan wood. The chunks were super tender and just melted in the mouth. Sliced brisket had a nice bark. The rub had a good flavor with a spicy kick. It was a little drier than the burnt ends. OCFD Score: 4/5; KCBS Score: 167.4056 (#26 out of 58)

To end the day on a sweet note, Boy Scout Troop 412 from Fountain Valley sold Dutch Oven Peach Cobblers. A big improvement on the flavor of the cobbler this year. Unfortunately, it needed to be cooked a little longer as there was still raw batter on the bottom. The ice cream was a nice, generous touch. OCFD Rating: 4/5

Overall, Twisted Brisket came in 30 out of 58 teams with a score of 665.6000. But they managed to win the BBQ hearts of the public by clinching the People’s Choice award for the second year in a row!

Where you can catch Twisted Brisket this year:

To view more photos, please visit OC Food Diva’s Facebook page.

For more information:

Costa Mesa, CA