3rd Annual 'Up in Smoke Challenge'

The 3rd Annual “Up in Smoke Challenge” is an all-out “bong-fest” produced and hosted by Cheech and Chong, where folks compete for who grows the best “buds”, who can smoke the most Pakalolo (weed) without passing out, and last but not least, who can eat the most doughnuts from “da’ munchies”.

Nah, just kidding. lol

This is the third year for this very successful event, which took place this past Father’s Day Sunday, June 19th, 2011 at Aloha Stadium’s makai-side auxiliary parking lot. Brought to you by the good folks at Fresh Catch, with owner and chef Reno Henriquez at the helm here, the talents of home and pro cooks from all over the state of Hawaii compete for the BEST SMOKED MEAT, while adding to the attraction is a car show, vendor booths, a HUGE “bouncie” for the keiki, live entertainment, and of course ONO KINE GRINDZ, particularly of the smoked variety.

It must be noted that, due to “Hawaiian Sunday time contraints”, I arrived towards the end of the “People’s Choice” tasting segment, which took place from 11:30am to 1pm, so some of the smoked meat samples were nearly wiped out, yet thankfully all the competitors’ booths still had something to sample. I also left before they announced the winners, so I don’t currently have the results, yet I’ll contact the organizers to get the scoops and retro-post it here later.

In the mean time, what I DO have is the list of this year’s “Up in Smoke” contestants and the categories they competed in. Here they are:

UP IN SMOKE 2011 Contestants
Booth #3) VRM Pit Crew – chicken, pork, beef, anything goes
Booth #4) Dee Dee’s – fish
Booth #5) Always Smok’n – chicken, pork, beef, anything goes
Booth #6) Moana – pork, fish, anything goes
Booth #7) Guava Smoked – pork
Booth #8) All Game – pork
Booth #9) B&A Smokers – pork
Booth#10) Koa Alii – beef, fish
Booth #11) Maui Wowie – pork, anything goes
Booth #12) Black Velvet – chicken, pork
Booth #13) Flamin 7’s – pork
Booth #14) Big Boyz – pork, fish, anything goes
Booth #15) Gemini – pork
Booth #16) Buck Wild – beef
Booth #18) BK Smokers – pork
Booth #19) Hard to Beat – pork
Booth #20) Kealoha – chicken, pork, fish
Booth #21) Transplanted – pork
Booth #22) All Stock Meats – pork

The general public are given a ballot slip with a list of all the contestants, along with a checkbox for each category of meat — chicken, pork, beef, fish and anything goes —  where you circle to vote either OKAY (1), GOOD (2) or BEST (3). Now if I were the organizer, the event would be using The Tasty Island 1-5 SPAM Musubi voting (rating) system. Ha ha!

What’s great about the “People’s Choice” segment, is that the general public gets to sample all the competitors’ wares for FREE, where many of whom are more than eager to practically SHOVE their smoked meat entries down your throat in an effort to win your approval and “People’s Choice” vote. I tell ‘ya, when I left the place, I was absolutely STUFFED from smoked meat samples!

It must be noted that since I arrived “Hawaiian time”, I was in a rush to get as many photos as possible in a narrow time frame. Therefore, for the most part, I was unable to make notes of whose dish was whose. So the following photo coverage is a walkthrough with no team identification or other specifics on many of the entries. Also note, I didn’t have my high end camera on me, but just a bare bones point ‘n shoot model that I wasn’t familiar with the proper exposure settings for the best shot. Yet at least, you get a generalized visual idea of what this event is all about.


“Q’d” Pork Spare Ribs

“Q’d” Pork Spare Ribs

Smoked Chicken Thighs (meticulously trimmed!)

VRM Pit Crew Chief and BBQ Master Chef “Crash” (www.HiBarbeque.com)

VRM Pit Crew has won numerous awards at BBQ competitions across the United States. Cool (well, actually smokin’ hot) trophy!

What was most impressive is that many contestants really went “all out” and brought their “A Game” to this competition, including having professional banners with their own custom team logo, along with matching team logo t-shirt uniforms for their entire crew!…

Team “Guava Smoked”

Team “Dee Dee’s” (she’s on the right with the pink visor)

Speaking of which, I LOVE smoked fish, whether it’s marlin, salmon or whatevahz. Bagel Locks? Hook. Me. Up. Here at Dee Dee’s booth, her daughter “Sassy” (shown in photo above on the left) had her own special Smoked Salmon that Dee Dee deemed “Sassy Smoked Salmon”…

Team “Dee Dee’s” – Sassy Smoked Salmon

Sassy Smoked Salmon being cut up for People’s Choice service

Smoked salmon from Team “Big Boyz”…

Team “Big Boyz Smoked Salmon

Team “Big Boyz” Smoked Halibut

Smoked fish?

Smoked Marlin

Smoked Marlin

Smoked Marlin

Smoked Marlin

Smoked Lomi Tako (smoked octopus with diced tomato)

Smoked Lomi Tako (smoked octopus with diced tomato)

Time to head back to shore and up the mountains with this “Anything Goes” entry, smoked venison (deer)…

Smoked Venison (deer)

Of all the entries at this year’s event, I find it somewhat ironic that probably my favorite dish in overall flavor and texture was this Smoked Sausage…

Smoked Sausage

Bacon-wrapped turkey legs in the smoker

Bacon-wrapped Smoked Turkey Drumsticks

Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket wrapped in lettuce

Beef Brisket wrapped up in lettuce. This one is being presented to the judges.

Beef brisket

Beef Brisket

Smoked Pork, presented on a Ti Leaf and a traditional Hawaiian Poi Pounder

My question is: WHEAH DA’ POI? Da’ bes’ way fo’ eat smoke meat is wit’ poi!!!

Smoked whole Pork shoulder, cut into cubes

Smoked Pork

Smoked Pork

Smoked Pork

Smoked Pork

Smoked Pork

Smoked Pork

Smoked Pork with Sauteed Onions

Smoked Pork

(left to right) Smoked Marlin, Smoked Lomi Tako and Smoked Pork

That’s pretty much the gist of the “People’s Choice” tasting segment of this event. I should have gone to the judges table and got photos of the entries in their most presentable form, but I got caught up “wala ‘au’ing” (talking story) with folks at each booth, I couldn’t make it.

At least I got a group photo of the judges…

2011 3rd Annual “Up in Smoke Challenge Judging panel

While I can’t name everyone, I do know standing in the center in black is Fresh Catch owner and chef Reno Henriquez, who is the event producer. Second from the left looks like it could be Russell Yamanoha of KHNL News’ “Cheap Eats” segment.

Another rather fascinating highlight of the event was the arrival of a team of local wild pig hunters, with 5 pigs that had just been hunted earlier the same day, with the heaviest weighing in at 105 lbs…

Oahu Wild Pig Hunting Crew winners

The OTHER main attraction at this event is the The ‘Nobody Cares’ Car show, which also had a “People’s Choice” voting slip, where you write down your favorite “ride” under HUNTER TRUCK, CLASSIC CAR, STREET ROOD, DRAGSTER, MOTORCYCLE, MUSCLE CAR and IMPORT categories.

There was also a few vendor booths, such as Fresh Catch, who was selling their new Signature sauces…

Other vendors also had t-shirts, car collector memorabia and a few other goodies.

Plus a giant “Bouncie” for the keiki…

I was asked by Reno’s mom last year if I’d like to judge last year’s competition, which I just didn’t have the time for and turned the offer down. Admittedly, I have to “humbly” say, I think MY smoked meat tastes better than any of the offerings here. lol Therefore I should seriously consider ENTERING the competition next year. I have a few “tricks” up my sleeve that I think will make mine stand out. He he.

Rounding it up, this year’s 3rd Annual “Up in Smoke Challenge” was lotsa’ fun, with plenty sights, sounds and, most importantly, ono kine smoked meat grindz! See you there next year!

For more information about this event, visit:

The Tasty Island related links:
First Annual Smoked Meat Competition a Big Hit
Big Island Style Smoked Pork
Big Island Eats: Roy’s Smoked Marlin and Smoked Ahi
Backyard Kiawe-smoked Pastrami
Kiawe-smoked Pastrami Ba-Le Banh Mi
Whole Foods Eats: Taro Delight Smoked Taro Dip
Kalua Pig roasted in a Barbecue Grill

P.S. Happy 4th of July everyone. Be safe and enjoy the fireworks!


7 thoughts on “3rd Annual 'Up in Smoke Challenge'

  1. Mmmm… tasty! Now we gotta add Yiddish to your repertoire… it’s ‘lox’ and not ‘locks’, brah! A freshly baked bagel or bialy piping hot from the oven, with lox and a ‘schmeer’ of cream cheese… nirvana!

  2. I like the presence of the wild pigs. The Alpha meets the Omega.

    Someone needs to sell poi at these events. Would make a killing. Need something to offset the ‘smoke fatigue’ on the tongue.

    I would be cool if you got more involved here. It looks like this event has legs AKA it will be around for a while. You are more than capable of judging this event but like you, believe you can make a difference by entering next year.

  3. I agree with Marcus on both the poi and you competing in next year’s Up In Smoke competition. We’ll definitely look forward to seeing you out there competing next year.

    Nice write up Pomai.

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