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'Viva La Barbacoa!' this weekend at the Great Pumpkin Farm; guest appearance by Food Network's 'Chopped: Grill Masters' champ Melvin 'Chef Boots' Johnson


Tue, Sep 18th 2018 03:55 pm
Loosely translated, "Viva La Barbacoa" means "long live barbecue" - and that's the theme for the annual KSBC-sanctioned OINKtoberfest, being held this weekend as part of the Great Pumpkin Farm's Fall Festival. OINKtoberfest is New York state's official and longest-running barbecue cook-off event. Teams from all over the East Coast and Canada are scheduled to compete.
The tradition of Mexican barbacoa is slow-roasting various meats in a brick-lined fire pit in the ground. Often the meats are wrapped in plant leaves, such as banana or agave, to help keep the meat moist. There are regional variations across Mexico using different meats, seasonings and sauces, but the principal is the same.
"Low and slow cooking with a wood fire is as traditional as it gets for real barbecue and, with the resurgence of Mexican food throughout the country, it only seems appropriate to celebrate this style of barbecue at this popular cookoff event," organizers said.
Meet-and-Greet with Chef Melvin 'Boots' Johnson
Guests at this weekend's Fall Festival will have the opportunity to meet Chef Melvin "Boots" Johnson, who was recently crowned champion of the Food Network's "Chopped: Grill Masters" tournament. Boots was able to showcase his culinary background and blend his knowledge of barbecue into a winning formula as he was able to dethrone champions from North Carolina, Texas and Kansas City.
Boots is gearing up for the launch of his Red Cup BBQ Sauce collection as well as the release of his up-and-coming book, "Dad's Day Off." In addition to "Chopped: Grill Masters," Boots has made appearances on competition series such as "Cutthroat Kitchen," "Man vs Child" and "Late Night Chef Fight." He will be at the Fall Festival all three days this weekend.
Additionally, guests can enjoy finger-lickin' barbecue from the participating contestants (visit https://www.greatpumpkinfarm.com/event/oinktoberfest-bbq-cookoff/ for a list of participating teams).
Admission to the Fall Festival is $8 per person. Children ages 2 and under are admitted free. Discounted tickets are available at all Buffalo and Rochester Wegmans.
The Great Pumpkin Farm is located at 11199 Main St., Clarence. It features plenty of free, onsite parking. Complete event information is available at www.greatpumpkinfarm.com. The 2018 Fall Festival guide is available at all Wegmans locations or online at http://www.guide.greatpumpkinfarm.com.
About the Great Pumpkin Farm & Fall Festival
Since 1996, when it first hosted the World Pumpkin Weigh-off and was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for the first 1,000-pound pumpkin, the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence has grown. Its annual Fall Festival is Western New York's largest fall family event in the region, and includes popular events such as OINKtoberfest, New York state's official barbecue cookoff; the Pumpkin Trebuchet competition and the Pumpkin Farm Olympics.

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