Do you come from the land Down Under?
That was a lyric in an old Men at Work song from the 1980s, and it was apropos to Gonzales at the annual First Shot Cook Off that took place on Saturday, Sept. 21 at J.B. Wells Park.
Jane and John Burn, a happily married couple from the great country of Australia, were in town that week to check out Gonzales and test real Texas barbecue. They were staying at the Belle Oaks Inn and heard there was a barbecue cook off over the weekend while they were in Gonzales. It didn’t take them long to decide they wanted to taste authentic barbecue while in the states and opted to go out to J. B. Wells and see what all the activity was about.
“We have traveled extensively in the eastern United States, and we decided a few years ago we wanted to do something different,” said Jane Burn. “We thought Texas would be different for us, so a few years ago we started visiting Texas. We discovered Gonzales and found it to be a lovely and relaxing community. We have been here before. This is our third straight year in Gonzales.”
“We can really relax here,” said her husband John. “People are so friendly, and we just love the area and Texas and love being here.”
But the couple from West Perth, Australia was in for a big surprise when they got to J.B. Wells that Saturday afternoon. After introducing themselves to the volunteers who were registering cooking teams, the couple was immediately given the star treatment. Jane and John were introduced to local dignitaries, and then received a real surprised when they were asked: “How would you like to be judges for a couple of our barbecue categories?”
“We were thrilled to be asked,” said Jane. “I had no idea this was going to happen. Of course, we immediately said ‘yes.’”
“We have traveled around Texas and have had some great barbecue,” echoed her husband John. “We’ve had Baker Boys, City Barbecue, and other great brisket around Austin and the Hill Country. But this was really special.”
The Burns were chosen to be among the judges for the spare rib competition, and later found themselves judging the chili finals as well.
“The food was excellent, and we took it very seriously,” said Jane with a big smile on her face. “I am so full right now, but wow, what great food they made here.”
Her husband John was equally thrilled with the food, but also found a delight in judging for another reason.
“I can’t wait to tell my son back in Australia that we actually got to be judges at a barbecue cook off deep in the heart of Texas,” John grinned from ear-to-ear. “He is going to be so jealous.”
“He might not even believe it, so thank you for doing a story on us!”