It’s a oft-repeated phrase that “It’s an honor just to be nominated” for an Oscar. The same can be said of being invited to compete in “The Jack.” That’s the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue, the most competitive meat-smoking contest on the planet. This year, for the first time, Smokecraft Championship BBQ Team, led by pitmaster Andrew Darneille, was among the 76 teams competing. Readers will recognize Darneille as the pitmaster and owner of Arlington’s Smokecraft Modern Barbecue.
Darneille wasn’t at the restaurant on October 8 and 9. He was in Lynchburg, Tennessee, with his team. So did they bring home the bacon? For a first-time competitor, it was an impressive showing. Smokecraft placed fifth in the world for pork and snared eighth place overall. That score meant that Smokecraft was the highest-finishing team from the Mid-Atlantic Region, which consists of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and DC.
“We are thrilled that our food was judged as some of the best in the world. It was incredible to meet and compete against so many amazing teams from all over the country. I couldn’t be more proud of our team, since it is virtually unheard of for a team to finish in the top ten overall its first time at the Jack,” says Darneille. “We look forward to hopefully being invited back and give it another shot in the future!”
Until then, diners can try some of the dishes that won Smokecraft raves from the experts in Arlington, including Darneille’s signature cedar-plank-smoked s’mores.
1051 N. Highland St., Arlington
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