Pork is just not kosher, says Allen resident Brian Rubenstein. Jewish people who keep kosher don't eat pork because of religious consumption restrictions laid out in the Bible. That hasn't kept Rubenstein and his friends from eating barbecue, however.
Rubenstein is one of three members of the Men's Club at Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson organizing Dallas' first kosher barbecue championship. It features four meat entries, no pork. They even snagged celebrity chef Simon Majumdar (Iron Chef America, Cutthroat Kitchen) to be master of ceremonies for the Oct. 25 event.
The competition will be open to 20 barbecue teams and is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. It'll also be supervised by Dallas Kosher to ensure each participant is following proper dietary rules. Teams are responsible for turning in beef ribs, brisket, turkey and chicken thighs. To comply with kosher rules, the organizers will supply grills, smokers, utensils and even condiments, spices and meats. Which is to say: This competition will require considerably less prep work on the part of the participants.
It also levels the playing field. "It's truly a matter of who knows how to [cook barbecue] the best -- not just who has the money to buy the best meat and ingredients," Rubenstein says.
The competition is slated for Sunday, Oct. 25 because Jewish law prohibits fires to be lit from Friday evening to Saturday evening. Cooking can begin after sundown on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Participants don't have to be a member of the synagogue -- or even be familiar with keeping kosher. They just have to respect the rules.
Anyone's welcome, and in fact two teams from Kansas City have already signed up, Rubenstein said. Teams pay $400 to participate, and some of that money goes to Congregation Beth Torah and to the CHAI House, which supports special needs adults.
The first-place winner will receive a custom-made trophy. Rubenstein wouldn't elaborate on what it looks like. Just this: "We have gotten some amazing feedback from the people who have seen it."
The organizers may also offer a "prize package," but that hasn't been decided yet. Consider it a competition for fun, bragging rights, and perhaps a trophy worth displaying.