Kentucky Punk-Rock Barbecue Champions


It takes a while to find them in today’s election-dominated newspaper, but here is an interesting story from today’s Courier-Journal:

Kentucky Team Barbecues with the Best – Kentucky-based bbq team the Moonswiners — Chad, Chris and Jason Hayden — won the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue last month.

“It was shocking,” said Chad Hayden, a plumbing engineer and chief cook of the Moonswiners. “It’s the most prestigious barbecue event, and it’s got some pretty strict criteria for getting in there. The American Royale champion cooked in it. The Memphis in May champion cooked in it. I’m kind of a big fish from a little pond.”

Tana Shupe, Jack Daniel’s Distillery manager of guest services, who organized the 19th annual invitational barbecue, said, “The Moonswiners were sort of an unknown. We haven’t seen them a lot in this area. But they were right on the money, came in, took first place in chicken and brisket, second place in pork ribs, and ran away with the grand championship. And since Jack Daniel’s is owned by Brown-Forman in Louisville, we kind of feel like they’re a hometown team.”

More than 25,000 people descended on Lynchburg (pop. 361) Oct. 26-27 to see judges choose the grand champion, reserve champion (second place) and winners in eight categories: pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket, chicken, cook’s choice, home cookin’ from the homeland, sauce and dessert.

Fifty-nine other U.S. teams and 21 from foreign countries, including Poland, Norway, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Turkey and Switzerland, competed for the coveted title.

The Moonswiners received $2,500, bragging rights to winning the top event on the professional barbecue circuit, and the chance to defend the title next year.

Pretty awesome, right? However, what the C-J missed is the Moonswiners’ punk rock ties. Jason Hayden is of course known to all aficionados of Louisville music, as a current member of the great bands Verktum and Rude Weirdo, and a former member of The Web, Crain, Sunspring, and probably more bands I’m forgetting. Anyway, congratulations to the Moonswiners!


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