Masters of the grill battle at Eighter from Decatur

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, June 2, 2018

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Chris Hatcher of Haslet admittedly overslept Saturday morning and didn’t get his brisket on the smoker as early as he intended.

Chris Hatcher of Haslet finished as the reserve champion.

“I started about an later. I got it on about 6 [a.m.]. It didn’t have as good of rest as normal,” Hatcher said.
But Hatcher found the right touch to bring home second place with his brisket at the Eighter from Decatur BBQ Challenge. Hatcher went on to finish reserve champion at the IBCA Texas State BBQ Championship event.
Shawn Hokanson of Dumas won grand champion.
The annual cookoff held before the JW Hart PBR Challenge at the Reunion Grounds drew masters of the grill from across the region to Decatur to compete for part of the $10,000 guaranteed payout.
“Competition comes out of Oklahoma and everywhere,” said Jim Nabers of Springtown. “The competition is stacked. I thought I did with the scale of competition.”
Nabers said he enjoyed the opportunity to camp next to Johnny Trigg of Alvarado, who has appeared on BBQ Pitmasters and won the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational twice, and get some tips.

Jim Nabors of Springtown hands out some his tasty ribs.

Hatcher, who won the Eighter from Decatur Challenge two years ago, said it’s one of his favorite events of the 25 to 30 participates in each year.
“It’s our fifth year here. It’s one of our favorites,” Hatcher said. “The promoters and judges run a good cookoff.”
Hatcher has been competing for seven years.
“My grandfather had a restaurant in Houston. I’ve been around it my whole life,” he said. “I saw it on TV. It looked like fun and I started cooking. It’s just a hobby. We just bought the trailer so we could bring the whole family.”
His son finished eighth in the steak competition.
“It’s a whole family affair,” Hatcher said.
Along with battling the competition for the best chicken, ribs and brisket, smokers had to weather the 100-degree heat.
“Today was a good beating with the weather,” Nabers said.
But he didn’t complain about his tasty results.
“It was the best ribs and brisket I’ve ever done,” he said.

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