Here is an article posted in Lancaster Online, written by Lynn Schmidt on October 9, 2012. The link to the original article is here.
Tom and Michele Perelka, a husband-and-wife team from New Providence, will compete this weekend for the title of national champion in the second annual Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour in Bentonville, Ark. The prize: $50,000.
“It’s a hobby that’s gone wild,” says Tom, a full-time manager of an automotive center. Michele is a personal trainer. They are the two-member team, Lo-N-Slo’ BBQ, which will compete against 49 other several-member teams. But to these barbecuing winners, more members on the team isn’t always better.
“Sometimes, there can be too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” Tom points out. “We’ve been organized; we both have things to focus on.” Tom is in charge of the actual grilling and Michele takes care of prepping, sauces and boxes.
“She’s in charge of all that, besides being in charge of me,” he quips.
“There is never any confusion to what needs to be done and who will be doing it,” Michele adds.
There is one other member of Lo-N-Slo’ BBQ who needs to be mentioned, even though she doesn’t actually compete – Sky, the German shepherd.
“She’s our p.r. rep,” Tom says. She’s also listed on their website, lo-n-slo-bbq.com, as taste-tester and greeter. Sky and a few lucky neighbors are the only ones who get to taste the Perelka’s winning barbecue most of the year because they don’t sell it.
“We’re just a competition team. My neighbors, they see my trailer come back from a competition and I’ll hear knocking,” Tom says, joking, adding that he’ll hear them panting outside the door.
Lo-N-Slo’ BBQ was one of 677 teams that competed and won at both the local and regional level to become one of the top 50 finalists to compete on the national level at The Sam’s Club and Kansas City Barbeque Society National BBQ Tour finals on Saturday.
“It will be well worth the 20-plus-hour drive,” Michele says.
All dishes in the competition will use meats from Sam’s Club. Each team will submit chicken, ribs, pork and brisket to be judged by a panel of 48 KCBS-certified barbecue judges, on taste, tenderness and appearance.
The overall winning team is awarded $50,000. However, with more than $500,000 in prize money, there are many winners in various categories. If the Perelkas win big, “Aruba is in the forecast,” Tom says. Prize money also would be saved for future competition expenses and Michele says they’d like to build “our dream outdoor kitchen.”