NOLANVILLE — Good barbecue is as much a science as it is an art, and 21 pitmasters put their best chicken, ribs, brisket and beans up for scrutiny during Sandy’s Lonestar Que 4 Kids barbecue cook-off Saturday.

Teams set up their smokers Friday night for more than prize money and a trophy. They were all cooking for a cause.

According to the Texas Department of Family Protective Services annual data book, there were 1,100 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in Bell County alone in 2013.

“As a member of the Central Texas Barbecue Association, whenever we can give back, especially to children, we are on board,” said Paul Bales, a Holland resident and member of team U-Got-B-Chitlin-Me.

Teams registered to compete in the pork, chicken or brisket cook-offs, as well as margarita and bean competitions. Before his mother’s recent death in December, Jarrod Young spoke with her about continuing her volunteer efforts.

A child abuse prevention volunteer and advocate for decades, 62-year-old Teresa Young helped create Aware Central Texas, one of the only nonprofit organizations dedicated solely to preventing child abuse in Central Texas.

“This was something she inspired and we did this with her blessing,” said Young, who organized the event.

The competition was a sanctioned, double blind judged CTBA cook-off to ensure sound judging, said head judge Harry Gary.

“As a judge, I’m looking to taste the true flavor of the meat without too many enhancements,” he said.

First- through 10th-place recipients, along with a grand champion and reserve grand champion, received cash prizes and trophies. Winners of the margarita and bean competitions split a prize jackpot, with 20 percent of the proceeds going back to the charity.

“We’ve already raised $8,500 in sponsorships,” Young said. “We hope to give around $5,000 or more to the charity.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at or 254-501-7567.

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