Competitive barbecue pit man Jason Ganahl is juggling two major meat feats this month: Not only is he on his way to Bentonville, Arkansas, for a national barbecue championship on October 10, but he's in the final stages of opening GQue Championship Barbecue, the smokehouse and restaurant that he hopes to open by the end of the month at 120th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster.
Ganahl secured a spot in the Sam's Club National BBQ Tour championship in Bentonville when he placed in the top ten of a regional qualifying round in Las Vegas this past April. His barbecue team, also named GQue, is the only Colorado team to make it to the championship, where a total of fifty teams from around the country will compete for a cash prize and bragging rights.
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The event is sponsored by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, and participants are chosen based on a year's worth of local and regional competitions that whittled the field down from 750 teams. Last year, Ganahl just missed the cut for the championship round, finishing eleventh at the Las Vegas regional. This year, he's confident he can represent Colorado well with a high overall score that combines individual scoring from chicken, pork, pork rib and brisket categories.
Back at his restaurant, Ganahl recently took possession of an Ole Hickory Pits smoker — which he named Duane — delivered from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Duane will burn a combination of pecan and hickory once Ganahl returns from the Sam's Club competition to fire up some test rounds of smoked meats before opening day. While that day is still a few weeks away, you can check out the menu on the GQue website to get a preview of the championship barbecue to come. Ganahl is a Kansas City native, and his barbecue leans toward the KC style in seasoning and technique.