When one thinks of BBQ food, images of meat roasting on a spit and spread across grills in the mid-west are conjured up. One Orange couple is giving the pit masters of Kansas City a run for their money with their BBQ specialties here in the northeast.
Q Haven BBQ, owned by Ted and Sheila Lorson kicked their 2015 competition BBQ season off to a great start April 11th, winning Grand Champion honors at the NYC BBQ Cookoff in Staten Island, NY. Q Haven took 2nd place in both ribs and pork and 6th in brisket to win the 33 team event. Next, the couple travels to Smoke in the Valley that is being held May 8-9 in Green Lane, Pennsylvania.
Q Haven has been producing championship quality BBQ since 2006. The team has won four Kansas City Barbeque Society grand championships and dozens of individual awards. Q Haven has also cooked at the prestigious Jack Daniel’s World Invitational BBQ three times, including in 2012 and 2013. Q Haven offers catering, vending and event services.
They couple admits they’d love to have more time to devote to BBQ, but work and a six year-old son are demanding on their time. Ted is employed by iHeartMedia writing radio news copy for the 24/7 News Source wire service. “I work from home which allows me to work on recipes while working!” he says.
Sheila works as a benefit analyst for an insurance company in Stamford called CISI that handles youth exchange policies. When the two aren’t working at their ‘real’ jobs, they’re working side by side in the kitchen, creating new recipes and perfecting flavors. “I could go on for hours about what I really think winning BBQ is all about. But to simplify it, you need to create a tender product with balanced flavors that looks great in the turn-in box. I have also learned that I have to cook what the judges like, which is not necessarily what I prefer myself. This took a long time for me to beat into my head,” Lorson says.
“I first had BBQ ribs at a place in New York City as a kid, but really began embracing BBQ culture when I went to college at the University of Alabama and tried Dreamland Ribs for the first time. I also went to Ridgewood BBQ in Bluff City, Tenn., in 1990, another legendary BBQ spot,” Lorson says.
The couple cooked their first contest in 2006, ‘almost as a goof,’ according to Lorson, and took 2nd place brisket and 3rd overall. “At our second contest in New Hampshire a month later we won grand champions and have been cooking ever since. Things didn’t take off for us until 2012 and we have won seven grand championships since then,” he said.
“We would love to do something to make our food available in Orange or somewhere close by, but Sheila and I both have jobs and a six-year old son named Max so it would take an unbelievable opportunity for us to launch a risky business venture like a restaurant. But maybe a food truck of some kind might be possible in the short term,” Lorson says. When time allows, the couple caters parties and dinners.
This year, the Lorsons are offering people the opportunity to join the team through the Competition BBQ Tailgate Experience: Want to experience a professional BBQ event, but just want to show up and eat world class BBQ? Up to ten people will have their own private party within our site, enjoying our world class BBQ right as it comes off the smoker.
Q Haven is also offering an Embedded Class with four students who will actually cook at a real Kansas City BBQ Society competition event with the team. “At many competition BBQ classes students are left asking ‘is that really everything they do in contests?’ There will not be any question whether or not the ingredients or processes we are using are the real thing because you will witness it all, from setup to meat prep, smoker management and the preparation of turn in boxes. You will share in our success at the awards ceremony, or help coddle our bruised egos if we don’t have a successful event,” Lorson says. Contact Ted Lorson for more information, pricing and availability at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The couple will be competing in Rochester, NY, May 23-24 and at Mohegan Sun’s Sun BBQ Fest June 13-14 (also vending at this event!). For a complete list of events Q Haven will be participating in, visit the company’s web site at http://tedlorson.wix.com/qhavenbbq, or follow them on Facebook.
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent