FREEPORT — Them Texas Boyz and the On A Mission teams hoped they had the right recipe to take home big prize money and a championship chair Saturday in the barbecue cook-off at the 72nd annual Fishin’ Fiesta.
Them Texas Boyz are a family from the Lake Jackson area, including parents Arthur Salazar Jr. and Martha Salazar, and son Arthur Salazar III and his wife, Yesenia Salazar. Friend Jamie Rodriguez is a big part of the team, having helped win the brisket category back in 2017.
“I am cooking chicken and ribs this year,” Rodriguez said. “This year I am trying something different with the ribs. It’ll be a spicy yet sweet recipe.”
The team was put together by Arthur Salazar III in 2014 after he finished his 8 1/2-year stint in the Marines. Since then, they’ve entered the Fishin’ Fiesta event every year.
“It is something we do together and it started by us doing it at the house,” Arthur Salazar Jr. said. “When he got out of the service, he just asked if we could try this. Since then we’ve been doing it.”
Hard at work on the chicken before the entry deadline Saturday, father and son worked hand in hand making sure every piece was optimal for tasting.
“In the summer of 2014, the first one we did out here at Freeport Municipal Park, it was a benefit and from there it just took off,” Arthur III said. “We started entering as many cook-offs as we could find and have since just kept enjoying them.”
With so many cooks in the family, duties are shared by all.
“We are all family and friends, and that is how the team came together,” Arthur III said. “We take turns on who cooks what. Every other cook-off we will swap who wants what. We will even have meetings about it.”
The On A Mission team came together when Dan Kuderspk bought himself a barbecue pit last December.
“This is our first time doing the Fishin’ Fiesta,” he said. “I really enjoyed seeing all of the kids from the Kid Fish this morning. But there is some good competition here among the 60 teams in the cook-off. We aren’t here to chase points for the IBCA; we are just doing this for fun and enjoy doing local cook-offs.”
Father and son Jeff and Justin Neerdaels from Alvin, and Ray Bower from Brazoria round out the team.
“The last two cook-offs that we entered we hit with the ribs, but we will see how they do today,” Kuderspk said. “I’ve come up with this recipe and we took second in Sargent and fourth in the Matagorda Go Texan Cook Off, and there were 75 teams there for that one. The way I see it is, if you end up in the top 10 percent and end up in the top six, then it is all a personal thing.”