Purchase photos

Young chefs smoke the competition





In its third year, Kids Q, in conjunction with Blues, BBQ & Bargains, brought out more than 10 miniature professional chefs who prepared gourmet hamburger dishes.

Kids ages 5 to 15 each were given 1 pound of raw hamburger meat. They were able to choose a recipe to cook as long as it could fit into the provided box.

"I solemnly swear to objectively and subjectively evaluate each barbecue meat that is presented to my eyes, my nose, my hands and my palate," said Jonathan Williams, a representative of the Kansas City Barbeque Society. "I accept my duty to be a barbecue kids' contest judge, so the truth, justice, excellence in barbecue and the American way of life may be strengthened and preserved forever."

Williams started as a representative of KCBS 13 years ago. In addition to organizing the judges for the professional competitions, he oversees the kids.

"The Kids Q rules are more lenient," he said. "It's more open for them to do whatever they would like. We just want to make sure they have a good time and keep doing this."

Nicole Spray, Hays, brought several family members to participate in the competition.

"My husband is barbecuing in the contest," she said. "The kids all like to cook, so we entered them in the Kids Q."

Emery Spray, 6, made a "walking taco." He added grilled hamburger meat, lettuce, cheese and chips in a Doritos bag.

"He looked at a lot of recipes online," Nicole Spray said. "He tried different recipes and he thought this would go over well."

Her daughter, Haylie Spray, 12, cooked a donut burger.

"It has a donut bun," she said. "It like a Hawaiian type of thing. I decided to spice it up and pineapple tasted really good with the donut bun, so I cooked pineapple into the patty."

She compiled the donut and hamburger patty with pineapple chunks, and topped with an avocado spread.

Rylie Fairbank, 9, made a meatball salad.

"I'm making something weird," she said, "but it tastes good."

Bryson Fairbank, 7, kept stealing meatballs before they were on the plate.

"It's like his third meatball," said Kristin Fairbank, their mother. "We participated the first year of the competition, but we're being a little more creative this year. I took them to the store and told them to pick out whatever they wanted."

Bryson Fairbank invented the "Mexican Chaw Chaw." It is comprised of bell peppers, tortillas, cheese and hamburger meat. He won fourth place.

Jonas Hecker, Salina, is cooking in the adult competition, but he brought in his daughter, Bret, 5, for the kids' competition.

"She's been pestering me about doing on of these for a long time," he said. "We don't really take this too seriously. I do four or five contests a year."

Bret Hecker enjoys "flipping patties."

"I'm making hamburgers and cheeseburgers," she said with excitement.