ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — People probably think of Carolina or Texas when they think of barbeque, not Rockford. However, there is an award-winning pitmaster in the “Forest City.”
He is part of the team that just won the “Best Beef in the World.” Little Nick’s BBQ, 3118 Auburn St., is part of a competitive cooking team called “Boar’s Night Out,” a bunch of guys who like to cook and have fun doing it.
Thaddeus Denthriff the 2nd, owner and pitmaster of Little Nick’s BBQ, said that it still does not feel real.
“My dad competed in barbecue and had some barbecue businesses as a kid growing up, so I have just kind of been ingratiated in the barbecue since the youngest memories I can think of,” Denthriff said.
Denthriff is a 4th generation pitmaster. He has lived in Rockford for more than a decade, and just opened up Little Nick’s BBQ last February.
“It was one of those things where it was really quick, everybody is in this euphoric stage, like is this real,” Denthriff said. “You know, by the time we figured out it was real, it was time to move on to the next meat… but it was a great time. It’s awesome, it’s barbecue heaven.”
“Boar’s Night Out” includes barbeque experts from all across the nation. They competed in the “Memphis in May World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest” last week.
“All these guys get together, and we bring all these palates from all these different geographies of the country, and they just all form these great things and these great ideas,” Denthriff said. “So that’s amazing to watch.”
The team placed three times in the cooking competition; 2nd place in vinegar BBQ sauce, 2nd place in Whole Hog, and 1st place World Championship in Beef.
“World championship barbecue is right here in Rockford, and for 2022 we can say the best beef in the world is right here in the 815,” Denthriff said. “I mean, it’s amazing, so we can all take pride in that.”
Little Nick’s BBQ is partnering up with Loves Park’s “The Bubble Hive” and has a food truck rolling around Rockford selling cannabis-infused BBQ sauces.