Carl Perry is a recognizable figure at many Sisters events. His Trails End BBQ Company recently won a cook-off competition in California. photo provided
By Jodi Schneider McNamee
Trails End BBQ Company proprietor Carl Perry of Sisters used his barbecue skills in the San Juan Bautista Rib Cook-off and won first place in both ribs and sauce.
The well-established event highlighted professional rib teams from California, Oregon and Nevada that served over 8,000 pounds of ribs dripping in secret sauces during the cook-off promoted by Williams LTD.
And Perry sold 800 racks of St. Louis style ribs during the two-day event.
"It takes a lot of work and a lot of help. I had a great team of 12 that put their heart and soul into the competition and it felt so wonderful to hear our ticket number called as winner," Perry told The Nugget. "We try so hard to get just the right formula for the sauce."
And that isn't the easiest thing to do when you're crafting 30 gallons of your secret sauce in just two days.
The self-taught cook has been perfecting his barbeque sauce for years and plans to manufacture the product in the future.
"It's a sauce that I developed using a dozen different ingredients and is quite a process to make," he said.
And no, he wouldn't give his secret sauce ingredients to The Nugget's reporter.
Perry has been entering the annual cook-off in the San Juan Bautista rib competition for 14 years. The rib cook-off is always a blind competition.
"They attach a ticket to each container and nobody knows who turned in the ribs or sauce," Perry said. "Other than that, they have the People's Choice Award that Trails End BBQ won the year before.
"We set up on a Friday night and started cooking at 2 a.m.," Perry said. "You're pretty much running on adrenaline the whole weekend. My right-hand man, Sean Hill from Redmond, showed up at 6:30 Saturday morning after I got the first batch going so that at 10 a.m. when the event opened we had two cookers full of ribs."
Perry cooks the ribs in the smokers for four hours, and before he serves the tenderized meat, the racks are put on a grill for about five minutes to caramelize the sauce.
Trails End BBQ displayed three different sauces at the competition: mild, medium, and hot.
Perry's barbecue career kicked off accidently when a friend needed him to step up and barbecue ribs at the Deschutes County Fair in 2001.
"My friend was just finishing up a big event in Washington and just didn't have the time to set up that year," he recalled.
Perry gave it a shot on one day's notice and the rest, as they say, is history.
Perry bought one of his friend's smokers and has been serving up ribs at Sisters Rodeo and the Deschutes County Fair ever since.