Grillers Get Fired Up

Robert Fernandez, founder of the Grill'n by the Bay Cooking Contest, shows how it is done

Hey – I made the New York Daily News today.  Here’s the article.

Where there’s smoke, there’s barbecue.

Article by Ben Chapman,  Daily News Staff Writer

Grilled food fanatics from around the city will be out in force for Saturday’s Grillin’ by the Bay barbecue competition at St. Mark School in Sheepshead Bay.

About 1,500 spectators will pack the courtyard of the E. 19th St. school to watch 80 grill masters compete to win cash prizes for the best grilled beef, chicken and pork.

“It’s very competitive and very delicious,” said Sheepshead Bay tech consultant Robert Fernandez, who founded the annual cookoff six years ago to provide a showcase for New York‘s grillers to compete against out-of-town talent.

A dozen teams of amateur and professional cooks will vie for a piece of the $1,250 prize purse.

The teams have been working since last year to perfect their recipes, which will be ranked for taste, appearance and texture by a panel of professional judges.

“This is what we live for – we think about it all year long,” said Jim Ryan, 46, who is captain of the Beer Belly Porkers, a team that placed seventh last year.

Ryan, an office manager from Gerritsen Beach, cooks barbecue at least three nights a week at home for friends and family, and has competed in Grillin’ on the Bay every year since the first event in 2005.

He hopes to win tomorrow’s competition for his baby back pork ribs rubbed with brown sugar and cooked to tenderness.

“They taste so good they’ll knock you out,” Ryan boasts.

To win, his recipe will have to top ribs made by Robbie Richter, 46, a professional chef from Rego Park who runs the pit at Fatty Cue restaurant in Williamsburg.

Richter is captain of the Heritage Foods barbecue team and intends to take top honors for his pork ribs, which combine Asian flavors with American barbecue technique.

“Any chef can win, so you’d better come prepared,” said Richter, who spices his barbecue ribs with Indonesian black peppercorn and fish sauce.

In addition to the barbecue cookoff, Grillin’ on the Bay presents a homemade chili competition open to anyone who brings two gallons of the stuff to share with the crowd.

Audience members write the name of their favorite chili on scraps of paper, and the one with the most votes wins bragging rights until next year.

Learn more or make a last-minute entry at (917) 763-5062 or

Robert Fernandez’s shrimp and sausage Po’ Boy
(serves 6)

  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 cloves diced garlic
  • Salt, pepper
  • mayonnaise
  • 6 Sandwich rolls

Combine olive oil and lemonade with garlic, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Add shrimp. Marinate for one hour. Prepare a charcoal fire and grill the sausage until cooked through. Add shrimp and grill until pink.

Put mayonnaise on the rolls then add shrimp and sausage. Top with baby lettuce and fresh tomatoes.

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